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 

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