Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Travelers Microwave Cuisine - Teriyaki Ramen Noodles with Chicken, Snap Peas and Carrots









     Modern motel rooms usually have a microwave oven.  For a traveler, cooking a simple meal can be relaxing and more satisfying than dining in a strange roadside restaurant or eating unhealthy fast food.  For travelers on a budget, cooking a meal in a motel room microwave can stretch the money that was set aside for vacation.  This recipe is made with ingredients that can be found in any grocery store or convenience store.  That is important for travelers.
     Ever since healthy snack foods became popular, small packages of washed ready to eat raw vegetables have been offered in convenience stores and grocery stores.  Sometimes the small packages of vegetables are sold with a dipping sauce.
     If you read the ingredients of the dipping sauce, then you may find that the small container of sauce is full of artificial or unhealthy ingredients.  When I see a list of chemicals on the label, then I usually discard the small container of dipping sauce and just eat the vegetables with a sprinkle of sea salt.  If you are calorie conscious, the saturated fat content of the dipping sauce can nullify the nutritional value of the raw vegetables in the package.  For this recipe, I tossed the dipping sauce out and used the vegetables to make this microwave ramen noodle recipe.
     Whole roasted chicken or roasted chicken pieces can be purchased in the deli department at grocery stores.  Reheating roasted chicken is much better than cooking raw chicken in a microwave oven.
     Individual portion packages of ramen noodles can be purchased for less than 25¢ a package.  Dried bouillon is included in the ramen package.  Ramen noodles are famous for being low budget college student survival food.  I have posted several gourmet ramen recipes and travelers ramen noodle recipes in this blog so far.  People like ramen!
     Small bottles of teriyaki sauce are sold in every food market.  Pre-made bottled teriyaki sauce is a real convenience for a traveler.  Most bottled teriyaki sauce needs no refrigeration.
   
     Teriyaki Ramen Noodles with Chicken Snap Peas and Carrots:  
     Trying to cook all the ingredients at one time will result in an overcooked mess.  It is better to do the cooking in stages, when using a microwave oven.
     Place enough water in a container to cook 1 portion of ramen noodles.
     Add 1 package of chicken bouillon.
     Place the container in a microwave.
     Cook the broth, till it comes to a boil.
     Add 1 portion of ramen noodles.
     Add 1/2 cup of petite baby carrots.
     Cover the container loosely with a lid.
     Cook the ingredients in the microwave, till the noodles become halfway cooked.
     Add 1/3 cup of fresh snap peas.
     Add about 3 to 4 ounces of thick large bite size slices of roasted chicken breast.
     Cover the container loosely with a lid.
     Cook the ingredients in the microwave, till the noodles become fully cooked.  Cook the ingredients, till the vegetables become tender, and so they still have a little crisp bite.  (al dente)
     Drain the broth off of the ingredients in the container and discard the broth.  (The broth can be sipped on separately like hot bouillon if you wish.)
     Add just enough teriyaki sauce to the ingredients in the container to lightly coat the ingredients.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Use a fork to mound the ramen noodles on the center of a shallow soup bowl.
     Arrange the baby carrots and snap around the noodles in the bowl so it looks nice.
     Place the roasted chicken pieces on the mound of ramen noodles.
     Sprinkle some thin sliced green onion tops over the noodles.
   
     This is a tasty, simple and healthy microwave ramen noodle recipe!  Travelers do not have to settle for high saturated fat fast food while on the road.  Cooking something nice relieves driving related stress.  Healthy food on the road helps a traveler to be more energetic when they reach the destination.  Making the food look nice creates a feeling of making something better than what restaurants serve along the highway.  Yum!  ...  Shawna 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Travelers Microwave Cuisine - Bacon Chicken Chile Cheese Burrito








     I was stuck in a motel room for over 20 days while getting ready to move back home to Las Vegas.  Most modern motel rooms have a microwave oven.  Since very few chefs focus on sharing recipe ideas for travelers, I figured that I would give it a shot.  The idea was to create a few entrees that required easy to find ingredients and to only use a microwave oven to do the cooking.
     In one of the first travelers recipe articles, I mentioned that many travelers do not like to dine in strange roadside restaurants that they do not know the reputation of.  Getting sick from food poisoning at a roadside restaurant is the last thing that a traveler wants to do, while on vacation.  I was dining in local restaurants for the first week that I was in this motel.  On the fourth day of dining in low quality local restaurants, I contracted severe food poisoning from eating bad chicken tacos.  The symptoms of the food poisoning were rather painful and I was very sick for two days.  I did report the restaurant to the health code authorities.
     After that lousy local restaurant food poisoning incident, I decided to prepare most of my meals in the motel room, rather than to risk getting sick from poorly prepared food.  This proves that dining in restaurants that you do not know the reputation of, can be risky for your health!  I had severe food poisoning seven times during the two years that I worked in Chicago.  The health inspection system is in shambles in both Illinois and Indiana.  There were many restaurants where I refused to even order food, because the dining room was filthy.
     Many times, travelers find themselves staying at a motel in a small town out in the middle of nowhere.  Sometimes there is a good busy restaurant in the area.  More often than not, small town restaurants along the highway are sub par and it is easy to get a meal that does not sit well on the tummy.  There is not unwritten rule that says that traveler has to eat at the only restaurant in town.  The are alternatives.  Buying food to make a meal with at a small town grocery store or convenience store is not a bad idea.  Packing a cooler with some food or packing non perishable food before hitting the road is good too.
     Whole roasted chickens can be found in the deli department at nearly every food market.  Small 4 ounce to 6 ounce cans of Mexican style sauces and canned chile peppers can also be found in nearly every grocery store.  Making sauces with a microwave oven is nearly impossible to do, so pre-made canned sauces are a good choice.  Packaged grated cheese is a major convenience.
     Bacon can be cooked crisp in a microwave oven.  Some bacon can be purchased in disposable microwave safe cooking containers.  A microwave safe cooking container is all that is needed.
   
     Bacon Chicken Chile Cheese Burrito:  
     Place 2 to 3 strips of bacon in a microwave safe container.  
     Cover the container with a loose fitting lid. 
     Cook the bacon, in a microwave oven, till it becomes crisp.
     Remove the crisp bacon from the container and set it on a paper napkin to drain off any excess grease.
     Place a large whole wheat tortilla on a counter top.
     Sprinkle a little bit of mixed grated cheddar cheese and grated Monterey Jack cheese across the middle of the tortilla.
     Place a thin layer of canned roasted poblano pepper strips over the cheese.
     Place a few canned red jalapeno strips over the cheese.
     Sprinkle a little bit more of the grated cheese mixture over the peppers.
     Place the 2 crisp bacon strips over the cheese and peppers.
     Place 3 to 4 ounces of sliced roasted chicken breast over the bacon strips.
     Sprinkle a little bit more of the grated cheese mixture over the chicken.
     Fold one end of the tortilla partially over the ingredients and roll the tortilla into a cylinder shape.
     One end of the burrito should be open and the other end should be sealed.
     Place the burrito on a plate.
     Place the plate and burrito into a microwave oven.
     Heat the burrito in the microwave, till the cheese melts and the burrito becomes hot.
     Remove the burrito plate from the microwave.
     Spoon some canned salsa chipotle on one side of the plate.
     Spoon some canned salsa verde on the other side of the plate.
     Place a few slices of avocado on top of the burrito.
     Sprinkle and cascade some diced tomato over the avocado slices and the burrito.
     Sprinkle some thin sliced green onion over the diced tomato and the sauces.
     Garnish the plate with a tiny pile of alfalfa sprouts and a turned radish.
   
     For a motel room microwave burrito recipe, this turned out nice!  Cooking a meal is a good way to relieve travel related stress.  Taking the time to make the plate look nice can result in smiling about how the meal that was just made is better than any food offered at restaurants along the highway.
     The next morning, if a fellow traveler starts idle chi chat in the motel parking lot and complains about getting a greasy lousy meal at the solitary local restaurant, you can proudly say that you found a place that served much better food than that!  Being your own traveling chef pays off!  ...  Shawna   

Monday, August 22, 2011

Travelers Cuisine - California Roasted Chicken Wrap






     More food for those who hit the road!  Road kill is an old expression that professional drivers use to describe any food or meal that is sold along highways or major travel routes.  Honestly, some of the food that is sold at restaurants along interstate highways does resemble road kill.
     Truck stop diners usually drew customers who had a sense of humor.  Customer questions like "What kind of meat is it?" were often answered by a trucker with a mouth full of food saying "I don't know.  Its smothered with gravy and it tastes pretty good!"  Then the customer would say to the waitress "That looks like good road kill, I'll have what he's having."  The expression "road kill" does not necessarily have mean that the food is bad.  Road kill is just slang for food found on the road.
     In the old days, old fashioned diners and truck stop restaurants were the dining options along major travel routes.  Professional drivers knew where the best highway diners were.  Hungry tourists looking for some good food often asked a professional driver where the best food was down the road.
     Diner and truck stop food was pretty good and the restaurants offered a nice atmosphere.  Simple blue plate specials like open face roast beef sandwiches and mashed potatoes smothered with gravy were just about as fancy as the food got.  Simple salads, soups and diet platters were the healthy dining options.  Back in those days, there were two diet platters on every diner menu.  One was cottage cheese with fruit and the other was a plain hamburger on a plate with sliced tomato and vegetables.  
     During the last thirty years or so, fast food restaurants saturated every town and exit on major highways.  Many of the old fashioned diners and truck stop restaurants were forced to close their doors.  Fast food restaurants even replaced old fashioned diner at truck stops.  Nowadays, there is almost only one option for dining on major travel routs.  Fast food road kill.  The expression "road kill" takes on a negative meaning when it is applied to fast food.  Fast food restaurants are notorious for offering highly modified, high complex carbohydrate, high saturated fat, genetically modified, overpriced food that has low nutritional value.
     Travelers do have another option.  Make your own road kill!  Packing a cooler with food before hitting the road or stopping at a small town food market is a good idea when traveling.  Whipping up a nutritious meal at a roadside picnic table or in a motel room gives a long distance driver a sense of accomplishment and relieves road related stress.  When healthy food is eaten during a long journey, a traveler will feel more alert and energetic when arriving at the destination!
      Wrap sandwiches are perfect for travelers who make their own road kill.  A standard California sandwich wrap recipe is made with turkey, but chicken can be substituted.  Lime juice is the original sauce for a California wrap, but in later years, buttermilk dressing often took the place of lime juice.  Along the east coast, mayonnaise is often slapped on a California wrap and that is okay.  Lime juice is rarely used to make a California wrap sandwich anymore, except in regions west of the Rocky Mountains.
     As far back as the early 1980's, the "California" name was given to any sandwich or omelette that had avocado, alfalfa sprouts, tomato and cheddar in the list of ingredients.  Back in those days, when people saw the word California on a menu, they associated the word with healthy food.  California was the leader of the pack as far as setting new healthy nutritious dining trends was concerned.
     When on the road, a California wrap is a good choice for a meal.  Grocery stores along the highway sell roasted whole chickens.  One whole roasted chicken is enough to make 6 to 8 California wraps.  The vegetables can be found at any farm produce stand or grocery store.  Since the ingredients are easy to find, a California wrap qualifies as good road kill.
     
     California Roasted Chicken Wrap:
     This recipe is good for using leftover roasted chicken.  Pre-roasted chicken from a delicatessen or grocery store is convenient for those who travel.  Bacon is optional.  Bacon can be cooked in a motel microwave.  Ordering a couple side orders of bacon at a diner restaurant is also an option when traveling.  Fast food restaurant personnel kind of freak out when someone only orders bacon!
     Remove the skin and bones from a roasted chicken breast.
     Cut the chicken breast meat into thin slices.  (About 3 to 4 ounces is needed for this recipe.)
     Set the sliced roasted chicken breast meat aside.    
     Note:  Crisp bacon can be acquired on the road at restaurants.  Bacon can be cooked in a motel room microwave.  A microwave safe container must be used, if bacon is cooked in a motel microwave oven.  After cooking the bacon in a microwave, set it on a dry paper napkin to drain off any excess grease.
     Place 1 large whole wheat flour tortilla on a counter top.
     Option:  If mayonnaise is the choice, spread it across the center of the tortilla.
     Place the roasted chicken strips across the center of a tortilla.
     Sprinkle a little bit of mixed grated cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese over the chicken slices.
     Place a few thin slices of avocado on the cheese.
     Place some alfalfa sprouts on the avocado slices.
     Place the 3 strips of crisp bacon on the alfalfa sprouts.
     Place a few thin slices of tomato over the bacon.
     Option:  If mayonnaise was not the choice, drizzle lime juice or buttermilk salad dressing over the ingredients.
     Fold one end of the tortilla partially over the sandwich ingredients.
     Roll the tortilla into a cylinder shape, with one closed end and one open end.
     The California wrap can be sliced in half or served whole.
     Place the California roasted chicken sandwich wrap on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with red tipped leaf lettuce leaf, turned radishes and a green onion sprig.
     Sprinkle a little bit of thin sliced green onion on the plate.
   
     Even when on the road, making an entree plate look nice is a good thing.  Creating a plate that has nice eye appeal puts a smile on a face.  This is a great tasting light sandwich wrap that is perfect for travelers.  Yum!  ...  Shawna 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Travelers Cuisine - BLT Whole Wheat Tortilla Wrap





BLT Wrap!
   
     In America, if you say the three letters BLT, there is only one thing that comes to mind.  Bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich!
     BLT sandwiches have been made since the late 1800's.  There are five required ingredients for a true BLT.  Bacon, lettuce, tomato, bread and mayonnaise.  The better the bacon, the better the BLT!  The better the tomatoes, the better the BLT!  Tortillas do qualify as bread.  Whole wheat tortillas are perfect for making a BLT sandwich wrap.
    The Sahara Casino in Las Vegas recently closed for possible renovations.  The Sahara had a popular eatery called the NASCAR Cafe.  The NASCAR Cafe was famous for the 6 pound burrito eating challenge special.  Finish eating the 6 pound burrito within the time limit and the prize was free food at the NASCAR Cafe for the rest of your life!
     The NASCAR Cafe offered an interesting BLT special on the menu.  The NASCAR Cafe BLT had 1 pound of bacon on the sandwich!  That huge BLT was guaranteed to make the cholesterol count go through the roof!
     Travelers who have few dining options when they bunk down in a motel out in the middle of nowhere do not have to settle for a lousy meal at a fast food joint.  Almost every modern motel room has a microwave oven.  Bacon can be cooked in a microwave oven.  A BLT Wrap is a nice light meal after driving the highway all day.
     A BLT sandwich is more appealing if it is served with fruit, rather than greasy french fries or a heavy mayonnaise based salad.  Even the most health conscious person cannot resist the temptation of a good BLT if there is some fruit on the plate!
     I made this BLT Wrap while stuck in a motel room that had a microwave.  I wrote the recipe for those who travel to areas where restaurant dining options are limited.  Making a creative light meal with a motel room microwave after driving all day provides satisfaction and it relieves stress.  Every item in this recipe can be found at a convenience store, a gas station market or any grocery store along the highway.  A microwave safe cooking container that is suitable for cooking bacon is all that is needed.  There is bacon that is packaged in modern microwave ready cooking containers.  Just take the container out of the box, follow the cooking directions and viola!  Crisp bacon!        
   
     BLT Whole Wheat Tortilla Wrap:
     Bacon can be cooked in a microwave and it will become crispy.  Microwave bacon does shrink in size, but nearly all of the fat will cook out of the bacon.  Less saturated fat is a good thing while traveling.  A plastic microwave safe cooking container is needed for cooking bacon.  
     Cook 6 to 8 thin slices of bacon in a microwave that is set to a medium heat level.  Cook the bacon till it becomes crisp.
     Set the bacon on a dry paper towel or napkin to drain off any excess grease.
     Place a large whole wheat tortilla on a counter top.
     Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise across the center of the tortilla.
     Place a few small leaves of red tipped leaf lettuce on the mayonnaise.
     Overlap several thin slices of rip tomato on the lettuce.
     Place the crisp bacon strips on the tomato slices.
     Fold one end of the tortilla partially over the ingredients.
     Roll the tortilla into a cylinder shape.
     The sandwich wrap can be cut in half or served whole.
     Place the BLT sandwich wrap on a plate.
     Place some leaf lettuce on the plate as a bed for the fruit.
     Place a portion of a fruit of your choice on the plate.  (I served the BLT sandwich wrap in the pictures with red grapes.)
   
     Making a motel microwave meal look nice adds to the appeal.  BLT Wrap!  Yum!  ...  Shawna

Travelers Cuisine - Cheddar Jack Red Jalapeno Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomato







     While stuck in a motel room waiting to move back to Las Vegas, I decided to create a few recipes for travelers.  Eating greasy high saturated fat fast food while on the road is not a good thing.  Finding healthy dining options at roadside restaurants can be impossible in remote areas of the country.  Stopping at a local small town grocery store near the highway or packing food in a cooler is not a bad option.  Whipping up tasty salad that looks nice in a motel room helps to relieve travel related stress.
     Cheddar chicken salad was popular in the 1980's, but most of the recipes lacked spicy zest.  Many chefs choose not to use chile peppers in recipes, because they fear scaring away customers.  What those chefs end up creating is bland middle of the road flavors that become boring after a few bites.  Experienced chefs do know how to use chile peppers to season food.  It only takes a tiny bit of hot spicy chile pepper to make a recipe taste lively.
     Green jalapeno peppers are in the mild to to lower medium spicy heat range.  Red jalapenos are usually milder than green jalapenos, but there are exceptions to the rule.  Any jalapeno that has the seeds removed will taste mildly spicy.
     The combination of cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, red jalapeno and chicken creates a tasty salad flavor that is nice for stuffing a tomato.
   
     Cheddar Jack Red Jalapeno Chicken Salad:
     This recipe makes one stuffed tomato!
     Grocery stores sell fresh roasted whole chicken in the delicatessen department.  A roasted whole chicken from a grocery store is a good for making a few meals while traveling.  About 5 to 6 stuffed tomatoes can be made with the meat on one whole roasted chicken.
     Chicken and cheese mayonnaise salads must be served shortly after the salad is made.  If the salad sits for too much time, then the cheese will soften and the texture will become mushy and unpleasant!
     Place 1 1/4 cups of diced roasted chicken meat in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely diced seeded red jalapeno pepper.  (Canned red jalapeno strips are fine for this recipe.)
     Add 1/2 of a chopped green onion.
     Add 1/4 cup of mixed grated cheddar cheese and grated Monterey Jack cheese.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add just enough mayonnaise to bind the ingredients together.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     
     Cheddar Jack Red Jalapeno Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomato:
     Vegetable snack packs are available at grocery stores and roadside convenience stores.  The vegetables can be used to garnish a stuffed tomato platter.
     Place 3 pieces of leaf lettuce on a plate, so the leaves point from center.
     Place 1 turned radish half between each lettuce leaf.
     Place trimmed sweet snap pea pods on each side of the radish halves.
     Place a small mound of alfalfa sprouts on the center of the platter as a bed for the stuffed tomato.
     Vertically slice a ripe tomato from the bottom to at least 3/4's of the way to the top of the tomato.  Cut 4 vertical slices total, so the tomato can be opened into 8 thin tomato wedge leaves.
    Open and fan out the tomato, so the tomato leaves form a tomato wedge leaf cup.
    Use a round scoop or spoon to mound the cheddar jack red jalapeno chicken salad in the tomato.
    Set the stuffed tomato on the bed of alfalfa sprouts on the platter.
    Garnish the stuffed tomato with a few thin slices of green onion.
 
     This is a good tasting stuffed tomato that looks nice!  Taking a little bit of time to create a simple motel room meal while traveling helps to relieve road related stress.  A good looking plate of food always puts a smile on a face.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

Friday, August 19, 2011

Travelers Cuisine - Artichoke Surimi Salad Wrap







     Travelers who drive long distances usually prefer not to eat a greasy meal at a fast food joint.  Travelers also prefer not to take a chance on dining at a local restaurant that has no other customers in the building.  No customers at a restaurant is usually a bad sign.  At small towns along the highway out in the middle of nowhere, those are often the only dining options.
     Packing some food in a cooler before hitting the road is not a bad idea.  Buying a few food items to make a meal with at a small town grocery store or a convenience store while en route is an option.  Making something appealing to eat at a roadside park picnic table or in a motel room is a good way to relieve stress and gain some satisfaction.
     About 25 years ago, surimi became popular in America.  Surimi is usually called imitation crab meat in America.  Surimi really does not taste like crab.  The "imitation crab meat" name was a marketing gimmick.  Surimi has been popular in asia for a long time.  Surimi is made from dried fish meal.  Surimi is a good nutritious tasty product on its own.
     Small glass jars of artichoke hearts are available in any grocery store and many convenience stores.  Artichoke hears taste nice in a mayonnaise surimi salad.
   
     Artichoke Surimi Salad:
     Place about 4 ounces of shredded imitation crab meat surimi in a bowl.
     Add 2 thin slice artichoke hearts.  (Canned artichoke hearts are fine for this recipe.)
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of black sesame seeds.  (optional)
     Add 2 teaspoons of finely diced red bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 of a thin sliced green onion.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add just enough mayonnaise to bind the ingredients together.  (About 1 or 2 tablespoons.)
     Mix the ingredients together.
   
     Artichoke Surimi Salad Wrap:
     Place 1 large whole wheat tortilla on a counter top.
     Trim the thick ribs off of 2 leaves of red tipped leaf lettuce.
     Place the red tipped leaf lettuce across the center of the tortilla.
     Place 3 or 4 thin slices of tomato on the leaf lettuce.
     Mound the artichoke surimi salad on the lettuce and tomato across the tortilla.
     Place some alfalfa sprouts over the salad mixture.
     Fold one end of the tortilla partially over the ingredients and roll the tortilla into a cylinder shape with one open end and one sealed end.
     The sandwich wrap can be served whole or it can be cut in half.
     Place the artichoke black sesame seed and surimi salad sandwich wrap on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with a small red tipped lettuce leaf, turned radishes and a couple of green onion slivers.
   
     Artichokes and surimi is a nice flavor combination.  Making the plate look nice creates a sense of accomplishment and it puts a smile on a face!  Yum!  ...  Shawna

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Travelers Cuisine - Catalina Surimi Sandwich Wrap








     Tortilla wraps have been popular since the 1990's.  Nearly every casual restaurant has a tortilla wrap offering on the lunch menu.
     The tortillas that are used to make sandwich wraps can be fancy.  Sandwich wrap tortillas are often flavored with dried green or red chile powder, cheese, tomato, herbs and many other flavors.  I chose whole wheat tortillas for this recipe.
     Surimi is marketed in grocery stores as imitation crab meat.  Surimi is made with fish meal or fish meat puree.  I do not like the name "imitation crab meat" at all.  Its really not an accurate description of the product.  Outside of America it is called surimi.  I have featured some fancy surimi products in past recipe blog entries.
     Catalina dressing became very popular in the 1960's and 1970's.  Catalina dressing is similar to a Russian dressing, but it is much zestier.  Catalina is a nice alternative to buttermilk dressing in a wrap sandwich.
     When traveling, the farther off the beaten path that one goes, the fewer restaurants there are to choose from.  A solitary fast food joint has taken the place of local diner restaurants in many small rural towns along the highway.  Finding restaurant food that offers healthy nutritional value is not always an easy task when on the road.
     Packing some food in a cooler or shopping at a small town food market is a good option when traveling.  Taking an afternoon driving break at a rest area or park that has picnic tables is not a bad idea.  Getting creative and whipping up a few healthy sandwich wraps helps to relieve travel related stress.  Eating healthy sandwich wrap out in the fresh air helps to rejuvenate a road weary traveler.          
     
     Catalina Surimi Sandwich Wrap:  
     Place a large whole wheat tortilla on a countertop.
     Place a few long slices of red tipped leaf lettuce across the middles of the tortilla.
     Sprinkle some grated cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack Cheese over the lettuce.
     Place a few very thin slices of plum tomato over the cheese.
     Place about 2 to 3 ounces of shredded imitation crab surimi over the plum tomato slices.
     Drizzle a little bit of the Catalina dressing over the ingredients.  (Go sparing with the dressing!  Bottled Catalina dressing has a strong flavor.)
     Sprinkle a few very thin slices of green onion over the surimi and dressing.
     Place a couple of thin slices of avocado on the surimi.
     Sprinkle some alfalfa sprouts over the ingredients.
     Fold one end of the tortilla over the ingredients.
     Roll the tortilla and ingredients into a cylinder shape.  
     The sandwich wrap can be served whole or it can be cut it in half.
     Set the sandwich wrap on a plate.
     Place a piece of red tipped leaf lettuce on the plate.
     Place 4 turned radish halves on the plate.
     Sprinkle a few very thin slices of green onion top over the radishes.
     
     Crisp, light and fresh tasting!  Sandwich wraps are like a healthy salad that can be eaten like a sandwich.  The Catalina dressing adds an appealing zesty flavor.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Travelers Motel Microwave Cuisine - Black Bean, Surimi and Cheese Whole Wheat Tortilla Burrito









     I am temporarily living in a motel room, till I move back to Las Vegas next month.  There is no kitchenette in this room, just a microwave oven.  I figured that I might post a few easy microwave recipes for travelers who are stuck at a motel out in the middle of nowhere and the only dining option is a fast food joint.  Fast food really is not a good choice for a road weary traveler.
    Travelers who have been on the road all day do not need a recipe that calls for extensive preparation.  Simple and easy is the key.  The items for this recipe are easy to find at grocery stores and can even be found at gas station convenience stores.  There are no rules to travelers cuisine.  Canned or bottled sauces are a convenience.  Canned refried beans are ready to be served after heating.  Grated cheese can be purchased pre packaged.  Tortillas are sold nearly everywhere.  Surimi is sold as imitation crab meat.  Packages of snack vegetables and mini salads are offered at every convenience store.
    The object of travelers motel room microwave cuisine is to make a good tasting nutritious entree that looks good on a plate with minimal preparation.  Just writing a few of these recipes may inspire travelers to create a decent meal, rather than settle for raunchy fast food in a one horse town.  After being on the road, cooking a meal does help to relieve stress.
   
     Black Bean, Surimi and Cheese Whole Wheat Tortilla Burrito:
     Place about 8 to 10 ounces of canned refried black beans in a bowl.
     Cover the bowl loosely with a lid.
     Heat the refried on a high setting in a microwave till they become hot.
     Place a whole wheat flour tortilla on a countertop.
     Sprinkle 1 handful of mixed grated cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese on the middle of the tortilla.
     Sprinkle a few slices of canned roasted chile poblano over the cheese.
     Mound the warm refried black beans over the cheese and chiles across the middle of the tortilla.
     Place 2 to 3 ounces of shredded surimi on the cheese.
     Roll the tortilla into a burrito tube shape, with one end left open.
     Place the burrito on a plate.
     Sprinkle some grated cheese over the burrito.
     Place the burrito into a microwave oven set to high heat.
     Cook the burrito, till the cheese melts on top and till the burrito becomes hot.
     Spoon some canned salsa verde on the plate.
     Spoon some canned red chile sauce on the plate.  
     Garnish the burrito with canned sliced red jalapeno.
     Garnish the burrito with canned roasted chile poblano strips.
     Garnish with radishes, diced tomato, shredded lettuce and sliced green onion.
   
     Simple, quick, delicious and nutritious!  Making the plate look nice will put a smile on the face and being creative relieves travel related stress.  That is the name of the game!
     When choosing refried beans, try to find a can that is labeled with the words vegetable oil instead of lard.  Refried beans that are made with lard are heavy on the tummy when on the road.  Yum!  ...  Shawna