Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Chicken and Rice Wraps

This recipe reminds me of a simpler time...for me that is.  Back when my husband and I were still in college in our first apartment.  I was still learning to cook.  We didn't have much, but we were ridiculously happy, young and in love.  Sounds like a movie, but it's true.

The other day I was going through old cookbooks and found a binder.  It's like a photo album with pockets and is filled with recipes that I tore out of magazines, newspapers, etc.  I ran across this recipe for chicken and rice wraps.  I had cut it out from a box of Rice-a-Roni back when I lived in that apartment.  Just looking at the recipe brought me back.  I knew I had to make it for old time's sake.

The entire time I was cooking, I kept remembering old times.  Little things that I'd forgotten, like how the lock on the sliding glass door was broken so we put a broom handle in the track to keep out intruders.  And the time I decided to cut my very long, curly hair super short and cried in the bathroom for an hour.  And the tiny Christmas tree we had that first year.

When we sat down to eat, my husband said, "Ya know what this reminds me of?  Our first apartment."  Isn't it funny how a recipe can instantly take you back?


1 TBS butter
2 TBS oil (plus a little more, if needed)
1 box chicken flavored Rice-A-Roni
2 large boneless chicken breasts (or 3 small ones), cut in strips
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 1/4 cups water
1 bell pepper, cut in strips
1 onion, cut in strips
8 flour tortillas
salsa and sour cream, optional

Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper (remember the Rice-A-Roni mix is pretty salty, so go easy).  In a large skillet (with a tight-fitting lid) over medium-high heat, brown the chicken strips in oil.  Do this in batches so you don't over crowd the pan.

Once all the chicken is browned, remove from skillet and set aside.  Brown the onion and bell pepper strips.  You don't need to fully cook them now, just get a little color on them.

Remove and set aside.  Melt the butter in the skillet.

Add rice mix (not the seasoning packet at this time, just the rice mix).  Cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted and golden brown.

Add the water, chicken, peppers, onions, chili powder and the seasoning packet.  Stir well.  Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat.  Cover and simmer on low for 15-17 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.

Let stand for 5 minutes before stirring and serving on tortillas.  Serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.

OK, so this is not gourmet.  But, I was just learning to cook back then and I felt great about myself that I was able to cook something that tasted great.  And this does taste great.  It's quick and easy and tastes great.  Nothing wrong with that!  Plus, it brings back really great memories.  If you're just starting out in life, one day you'll look back on something that reminds you of today.  It may be a food, or a song, or even a smell.  But, I promise, you're gonna miss where you are today.  So, take it in as much as possible.  Make some memories.  Because, before you know it, you'll be a lot older, wondering where the time went.  I know I am.

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