Matthew Mead, Associated Press
Gluten-free and lower-carb wasn't the goal, but that's what I got.
I was making dinner and all I really wanted was a fast, filling and easy chicken something-or-other. I was thinking chicken and refried bean burritos, but realized too late that I didn't have any tortillas. Rather than abandon the idea, I went ahead without. Instead of using the chicken as the filling, I pounded it flat and used it as the wrap itself.
The result was delicious, versatile and simple. Though I used refried beans and cheese as my filling, there's no reason you couldn't substitute the vegetables or whole beans of your choice. And while I used regular sour cream and mozzarella, you could make this dinner low-fat simply by switching to those varieties of dairy.
Best yet, this dish also is easily prepped ahead of time. The night before or the morning of, follow the recipe right up to the point of cooking, then cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook. Just be sure to use kitchen twine or toothpicks to hold the wraps together so they don't unroll during the day.
SPICY SMOKY REFRIED CHICKEN WRAPS
Start to finish: 45 minutes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
15-ounce can refried beans
1 teaspoon hot sauce (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Tomato salsa, to garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish
Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Carefully slice each chicken breast in half horizontally to create 2 thin fillets. One at a time, place each fillet between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until evenly thin and about twice as large. Sprinkle both sides of each piece of chicken with lime juice, then season with salt and pepper. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet, then set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the refried beans, hot sauce, cumin, paprika and cheese. Spread a quarter of the mixture evenly over each fillet.
Roll each fillet into a tight bundle. If needed, the bundles can be tied with kitchen twine or pinned with toothpicks to keep from unrolling.
Spritz each bundle with cooking spray, then bake for 25 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted at the center of the bundles reads 165 F. Serve topped with salsa, cilantro and sour cream.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 250 calories; 60 calories from fat (23 percent of total calories); 6 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 55 mg cholesterol; 20 g carbohydrate; 28 g protein; 6 g fiber; 940 mg sodium.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch or email him at jhirsch(at)ap.org.