The Predominately White Meal

This post contains recipes for white beans, chicken wraps, and Anaheim pepper salsa.

I know that the reasons for eating a meal of color are more serious than, say, not wearing white after Labor Day, but I’m bucking the nutritionists today and serving up a predominately one-color meal. Generally you look in the fridge and pantry to see what you have and today it was all white—chicken breasts, sour cream, Monterrey Jack cheese, cotija cheese, white beans. On most days, we put together a meal by looking for foods of other colors—oranges, reds, greens—not only to add color variety, but a variety of nutrients. I’m cool with that, but today, I’m just going off the beaten path and seeing what happens with a one-color meal.

As it turned out, I couldn’t avoid a little green, and then a little red, but they did show up nicely against the rest of the pale palette. It would have been neat to find white lettuce and white salsa, but the stuff they call white salsa is either a mayo-based or bechamel sauce and not that appealing to me for a chicken wrap.

Chicken Wraps with Anaheim Pepper Salsa and White Beans

  • Servings: 2-4 or 10 wraps
  • Difficulty: moderate
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I’ve rated this recipe as moderate, only because cooks unfamiliar with cooking dried beans might find that step complicated.

White Beans

1/2 lb great northern beans

3-4 cups water

chicken bouillon or stock

2 cloves garlic, grated

salt & pepper to taste

1 small can (4.5 oz) chopped chiles

Cook the beans using the quick soak method:

  1. Rinse and sort beans. You’re looking for any stray stones or dirt in the beans. It has been a long time since I have found either of these, but it is possible, and you don’t want to bite into a stone.
  2. Add beans to saucepan with 3 cups water. Do not add any seasonings yet, especially salt, which can toughen beans and make them difficult to cook through. Bring the beans to a boil, then turn off heat and cover for 1 hour.
  3. Bring beans to a second boil, then simmer, covered for 1 hour. Pay attention during the last half hour to whether too much water has cooked away. This could depend on a number of factors, such as whether you have a true simmer burner or one that is a little higher.
  4. The beans are just about always cooked enough before the second hour is up so that you can add the rest of the ingredients during the last half hour. Check beans for doneness, if you are concerned, by spooning out a few and blowing on them in the spoon. If the bean skin curls up and breaks, they are done.
  5. Add bouillon per directions for 3 cups of water (I use Better Than Bouillon® chicken base) or drain the beans and replace the water with chicken stock. Some people say that replacing the cooking water cuts down on post-eating gas. You’ve been warned.
  6. Add the garlic, seasonings, and can of chilies and simmer for another half hour, or longer if you want to cook down the liquid. I like the beans to have a little sauce and not be too dry.

Chicken Wraps

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4-8 8″ flour tortillas, warmed (I did not pick up white ones to carry the meal theme further 😦 )

1 head Bibb lettuce or any soft lettuce with large leaves

1 cup grated or crumbled Cotija cheese

1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

Red pepper salsa (below)

This is a quick dish that is all construction after cooking the chicken. You could even make it with chicken pulled from a rotisserie chicken from your grocer. I like to cook chicken breast for wraps in large pieces and then slice when putting them together. Cooking them this way prevents overcooking and retains juiciness. Still, the whole breasts can be pretty thick, so I like to first slice them horizontally through to make two thinner pieces—that left me with four pieces to cook from the two breasts. I sauteed them over high heat in a little olive oil until just done, which I determine by slightly pressing on the thickest end until it just starts to not give. Then I let them rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes before slicing.

  1. Slice the cooked chicken breasts in in thin strips.
  2. Mix the two cheeses together—easier than adding them separately to the wrap.
  3. Line a tortilla with a large leaf of lettuce, add chicken, cheese, salsa and sour cream. Roll up with the bottom end folded in and the top open.

Anaheim Pepper Salsa

This turned out to be a happy accident from ingredients I had around the house. I had about 4-5 roasted, peeled, and seeded red Anaheim peppers in the freezer and wondered how a predominately pepper salsa would taste, instead of the typical tomato salsa. Very good.

Place the following ingredients in a food processor and blend to a salsa consistency:

4-5 Anaheim peppers, peeled and seeded

1 medium garden tomato

2 cloves garlic

1/2 medium white onion

2 tablespoons dried parsley

cumin and dried oregano to taste

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper to taste—I think I used at least 1 teaspoon of salt, maybe a little more

The salsa seemed a little flat, even with salt, so I added 1-2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, which was just the right note of brightness to compliment the peppers. I did not use cilantro, not only because I didn’t have any, but because I don’t really like it. In this salsa, parsley was the right taste without being overpowering like cilantro. My peppers, which had ripened to red, were a little zippy, but not with that kind of heat that overpowers flavor. I’m definitely putting pepper salsa in my list of favorites. I ended up with enough to put about 1 1/2 cups in the freezer in three containers.

Author: Barbara

I have a PhD in American Literature and taught in higher education for over twenty years and directed two Centers for Instructional Technology before retiring.

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