It's finally here! Capsule Cooking time! I've been hyping this series for weeks now and I'm ecstatic to get started. Are you ready to revolutionize the way you think about meal planning? Let's get cooking!
Wait! What's Capsule Cooking?
A year or so ago, I stumbled across a recipe for oven-baked chimichangas. My fridge held the leftovers from a Sunday roast and I needed to use the meat before it went bad. Not that food ever goes bad in my fridge.
Okay, fine. Yes, it does. More than I care to admit. But we can forget I said that.
Anyway, I decided to alter the recipe a bit to use up my roast. My first attempt at the chimichangas included meat, beans, rice, and cheese. We topped them with lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, and sour cream. My family, who approach my food experiments with trepidation (we've had a few, uh, spectacular failures), scarfed down every single one. That's when I knew I was on to something. Oven-Baked Chimichangas went on our regular meal plan as a way to clean out the fridge and Handyman Husband and our boys were thrilled.
Fast forward a few months...
While making our new favorite meal, I came up with a brilliant brainstorm. Yes, I am claiming it to be genius because I'm overly proud of my creation.
What if I did a different filling? Say...something deliberate and not leftovers?
I already had a few customizable recipes (which will be featured in future posts) and I loved that I could get so many variations from so few recipes. One more would be awesome!
BUT...what if...what if EVERY recipe was customizable? Main dishes, side dishes, desserts... And what if I got others to provide input and put their own spin on the recipe? In the words of my 14yo, "That would be EPIC!"
Thus Capsule Cooking was born.
Capsule: Baked Tortilla Wraps
For today's capsule, I roped in my friend, Julie, to be my guinea pig, I mean, fellow tester. I explained the concept to her and she was all over it. After tasting her contributions, I'm thrilled to have her along for the ride. She's brilliant in the kitchen!
Our inaugural capsule is: Baked Tortilla Wraps, which are essentially those Oven-Baked Chimichangas, but with different fillings. My poor family suffered through a couple more spectacular failures and enjoyed a couple of immediate hits before I figured out what works and what doesn't.
What works: dry fillings - meat, shredded or sliced cheese, vegetables, rice, beans, etc.
What doesn't: fruit, sauces, or anything drippy. It leaks out of the wrap and goes all over the baking sheet, creating a big gooey mess. It is possible to have a sauce, but you have to put the wrap seam side up and secure with a toothpick. Even then, the tortilla doesn't always crisp up very well. Sauce it afterwards. You still get the flavor without the mess.
And one last key tip: DON'T OVERFILL YOUR WRAP! It doesn't fold very well and can slowly unwrap in the oven.
- flour tortillas
- vegetable oil or cooking spray
Notice there are no amounts for the ingredients. That's because you can make as many or as few as you'd like. Some days, I make just enough for our family. Others, I make a couple of pans full so I can freeze the leftovers for those days. You know the ones I'm talking about.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment.
Set out your ingredients and prep. Refrigerated items do not have to be heated. Meat should be precooked, though.
My little prep bowls satisfy the hyper-organizational side of my personality for holding the prepared ingredients. They have lids, so whatever I don't use goes straight into the fridge. Where it doesn't go bad. Nope. No unintentional funky science experiments here.
|Ingredients for my Chicken Cordon Bleu variation.|
Once your ingredients are ready, prep your workspace. I like to use a dinner plate to assemble each wrap since it's the perfect size for the Mission Soft Taco flour tortillas I love. The plate catches the excess oil/cooking spray so I don't have to use as much on subsequent tortillas.
Working with one tortilla at a time, brush oil or spray both sides. Until yesterday, I was solely using cooking spray for my wraps, but Julie suggested brushing on vegetable oil. During our test kitchen, we did both and I couldn't taste a difference between the two. Do what works for you.
|Julie is my lovely hand model here. |
She didn't want me to get a picture of her face, but that will come.
Oh, yes...it will come.
Add the filling, being careful not to overfill. We actually did overfill this one a bit, but it behaved itself and didn't bust open. Whew!
Now to fold. There are dozens of ways to fold a tortilla, but I'm going to show you how I do it. Julie had a crash course as we took these photos because my kinda fancy schmancy camera scared her and she didn't want to be the shutterbug.
First, fold in the sides. Try to keep the filling as close to center as possible as you do so.
While holding the sides in place, fold up the bottom. The filling will try to escape out the opening if you squeeze too hard at this point. Easy does it...
Now roll the bottom up. Don't be afraid to gently stretch the tortilla to get a more secure wrap.
Place the wrap seam side down on your prepared baking sheet. If you're squeamish about handling a greasy tortilla, you can wrap it dry and brush on the oil once it's on the baking sheet. I like knowing every bit of my tortilla is crispified (is that even a word?), so I don't mind the oily hand thing.
Space the wraps at least an inch or two apart in case the filling oozes out or the tortilla breaks apart. I don't normally do more than eight to a pan.
|I buy my parchment in large sheets that need to be cut in half for my pans.|
But why cut when you can tear using the edge of the counter for a 'cutting guide'?
Serve plain or with an appropriate sauce. If you'd like to freeze your wraps for later, let cool completely before putting in the freezer. To prevent humidity from building up in the freezer bag, freeze the wraps on a freshly papered baking sheet for a few hours. Transfer to a freezer bag.
To reheat, you can pop the frozen wraps in the microwave or in a preheated oven. They're great for Handyman Husband's lunch and my boys' breakfast before they head off to school.
The Breakfast Wrap: Sausage, scrambled eggs, cheese, onions, garlic, red pepper, and green pepper. Can be served with salsa or eaten on the run. This combo is full of flavor. I told you Julie is a culinary genius!
|Chicken, broccoli, and cheese|
Chicken, Broccoli, and Cheese: Exactly what the name says. Chicken, frozen broccoli florets, and Velveeta. Frozen broccoli doesn't cut very easily, so I scavenged the tiny pieces floating around the bag and they cooked wonderfully.
|Chicken Cordon Bleu|
Chicken Cordon Bleu: Chicken, ham, and swiss. By itself, this one is a little dry. Add your favorite mustard parmesan sauce to amp up the flavor.
Gooey Mess: This was our favorite, hands down. Velveeta, ham, and broccoli. But the name is accurate. If you place this one seam-side down, it will leak all over your pan. Seam side up and secure it with a toothpick. It tastes like a Hot Pocket.
But way better.
|Ham & Potato|
Ham & Potato: Ham, southern-style hashbrowns (frozen), and cheese. Word of warning - the hashbrowns go a long way. Use them sparingly or they'll overpower the other ingredients.
Southwestern: Chicken, rice, salsa, cumin, salt, chili powder, cheese, black beans. You can tell which ones Julie came up with. They're the fancy ones with spices and everything. I just like my fast and easy. I did provide the chicken for this one. Oh, yeah. I'm cool.
Vegetarian: I'm cheating a bit. This is just the Southwestern one without the chicken. Almost good enough to convince me to become vegetarian myself.
Just kidding. I can't give up bacon.
What variations can you come up with? Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Bonus points if you can come up with a fantastic dessert option. The sky's the limit. Go for it!