Friday, June 29, 2012

“Wrap”- This Around Your July 4th Celebration!

Wishing you, my readers a Happy 4th of July! We're so grateful to live in this great Country and to celebrate the birth of our Nation. Most of us celebrate our Nation’s birth filled with family gatherings, picnics, barbecues, parades, and showing a great emphasis on the American tradition of Freedom. Many people display the American flag outside their homes or buildings. The most common symbol of Independence Day is the American flag, but other symbols include the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and in New York harbor where you can see the Macy’s fireworks display. I have to mention our thanks to the servicemen and women who have been fighting for our freedom and keeping our country safe. These are the people that our founding fathers would have called our heroes!

As July is upon us, the summer is really heating up. We are in the middle of our second heat wave here on Long Island. I’m sure you, like most people are preparing your menus for this July 4th for family cookouts. That means grilling hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, steaks, chicken, and veggies. Wraps are a great addition to your BBQ grills. I’m not talking about the wraps that you eat, (even though I will be sharing a wrap recipe later in my post) but wrapping food in something to give it a unique flavor and aroma. Some foods that you may cook on the grill may be small and may drop between the grates which would spoil your meal. So, what comes to mind, is foil. 
Aluminum foil is a great way to steam and cook vegetables as well as fish. Wrapping your foods with foil will keep all your spices in and it is an easy clean up as well. Besides using foil, there are many other ways to wrap your foods in. Here are some tips that can help you on using wraps for your July 4th cookout. If you plan on grilling corn on the cob, save some of the husks for wrapping your vegetables. A corn husk can give a slight sweetness to whatever is wrapped in the husk. Swiss Chard, Kale leaves and Collard greens brushed with some olive oil can also be used to house your recipe, just make sure it is closed tightly. Collard greens have thicker leaves than Swiss chard so that is a good green to use on your grill.

Don’t overstuff, less is more and don’t overcrowd the grill either. You want to cook everything evenly and you want the heat to circulate around your packets. Corn husks, fresh or dried have to be soaked at least an hour before grilling to reduce chance of burning. One more tip is, instead of using bamboo skewers for vegetables, use rosemary branches instead. Make sure you pull the leaves off and use your bare branch for your skewer; it will flavor your veggies or fish delightfully.

Now, to the wraps you can eat. The “wrap” sandwiches are variations of traditional sandwiches, but the bread is different. They are basically made of a flat type of bread and is spread with a hot or cold filling and rolled up. Wraps are a great way to use up leftovers, but your imagination is endless. To create a wrap, it is best to prepare all of your ingredients before you start. To assemble, either spread ingredients over the entire roll, leaving a 1-inch border all around, or spoon filling in a row down the center of the roll. Once it is filled, fold one end of the roll over the filling about 1-inch (this will keep filling from falling out the end). Then fold the other side of the roll over filling and now roll into a bundle. Next, wrap your wrap in clear plastic wrap and refrigerate. This will help keep the rolls shape. Then you can cut your wrap diagonally or in round rolls and enjoy.

My recipe this week is a wrap that I created for a lunch with my sewing group. I call it my “Chicken Surprise Wraps.” Everyone loves these flavorful wraps. This recipe is a very easy and refreshing. It’s an enjoyable way to have a cool July 4th celebration. Enjoy!

 Chicken Surprise Wraps

2 Flour Tortilla 12-inch Fajita size (8 count)
2 boxes Perdue Shortcuts Chicken strips (9 oz)
1 package of pre-washed spinach leaves (6 oz)
1 box Oscar Mayer Bacon fully cooked (12 count)
1 bag of Diamond Sliced Almonds (2.25 ounces)
1 bottle of your favorite Ranch dressing mix
2 jars of Roasted Peppers (olive oil & garlic) (12 oz)

Spread 2 tablespoons of Ranch dressing in center of each tortilla. Layer with the spinach leaves, a couple of strips of chicken, 2 slices of bacon, piece of roasted peppers, and then sprinkle with a hand full of sliced almonds. Roll up tightly and cut in half. Keep in refrigerator till ready to serve. Serves: 8-12 according to how much you put in them.

Till Next Time……..

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