Helloooooo. Today it’s all about make-ahead Southwest Chicken Wraps with black beans, corn, green chile and a creamy ranch-inspired avocado dressing plus a few thoughts on self-directed kindness, a practice I’ve been thinking about lately. And, as you’ll see, the wraps and kindness go hand-in-hand.
I’m learning that a great gift to give myself is a deliberate act of kindness. Specifically, asking “what would my tomorrow-self appreciate?” Not only does the question help get things off my to-do list that have long over stayed their welcome, but it encourages self-care in a way I’ve never experienced before.
Living alone for the last 10 months (the longest I’ve been alone in 20 years) has helped tame my “need to please others” tendency and, as a result, for a while not much got done. When you constantly put others ahead of yourself it’s a little shocking when there’s no one but you to put first. So, the question “what would my tomorrow-self appreciate?” has helped take myself off the back burner and, at the same time, examine things I used to consider drudgery and had great resentment towards (hello, vacuuming) in a whole new light.
It’s so simple, this act of service. I find it jump starts me out of periods of zone-out. You know, when some mindless activity (i.e. Candy Crush, endless Facebook scrolling, and Netflix binges) induces a zombie state. It’s during those times the question works wonders to snap me out of my boredom slump and it inspires some random act of self-directed kindness. Not because I feel like I should, or because I feel like someone else expects it, but because I want to for me. Or, I should say, my tomorrow-me. It’s as if my wiser tomorrow-self is gently nudging my today-self out of her lull. Sometimes it leads to some mundane house chore, an hour lost in a book, a walk with Feynman, or a little more time and focus on a project. Sometimes it’s the conscious choice to do nothing and watch Real Housewives. My tomorrow-self has a funny way of knowing exactly what I need and I’m learning to trust her.
And, a lot of times, not surprisingly, the answer leads to the kitchen.
Last Sunday it was brownies. It’s sort of nice to know my tomorrow-self accepts her sudden onset chocolate cravings as a fact of life, so I made a batch of chocolate chip brownies. Except, instead of leaving them on the counter – a sure-fire way to make them disappear in a day – I wrapped each slice and placed them in the freezer as a little future gift to myself. After, since I was already in the kitchen, I peeled and quartered ten oranges and tucked them in a covered bowl for quick orange smoothies throughout the week. Brownies and smoothies. Sounds like a good balance.
And a day later I answered the question with these southwestern chicken salad wraps. It was a make-ahead project to break my recent habitual lunch of peanut butter and honey sandwiches. As I mixed together the black beans, chicken, corn, green chiles, and cilantro I was certain my tomorrow-self would give her yesterday-self a big warm hug of thanks.
Southwest Chicken Wraps
The inspiration for these southwest chicken wraps started with a ranch-inspired avocado dressing from a blogging friend, Jennifer Meyering. It’s a simple dump and blend dressing made with fresh herbs, sour cream, and buttery avocado. Giving it a day to rest in the fridge does wonders to develop the flavors, so I made all of the components for the wraps and stored them in the fridge along with the dressing. So, this week, when lunchtime rolled around it took less than five minutes to assemble, roll, and slice the wrap.
Peanut butter sandwiches are all but a distant memory now and both my today-self and tomorrow-self are very happy about that.
Some Ingredients You’ll Need
- Black beans, green chiles, cilantro, corn, and fresh lime juice.
- I love raw red onion, but sometimes it goes rogue and takes over a dish with it’s pungency. To remedy that I diced the onion and submerged it in cold water for ten minutes. Giving it a soak mellows it out, so it maintains it’s flavor without it’s aromatic boisterousness.
- I grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts, but any sort of cooked chicken – like rotisserie, baked, or pan-seared – will work.
- I used fresh parsley, dill, and chives for the dressing, but the original recipe Jennifer shared uses dried herbs. The measurements are different, so refer to her avocado ranch dressing recipe if you want to used dried herbs.
- Flour tortillas or any other sort of wrap that you like.
Making the filling and dressing for these Southwest Chicken Wraps gives all the flavors a chance to develop. Keep each component separate in the refrigerator so when lunchtime rolls around all you have to do is wrap it all up in a tortilla.
Ingredients for the Dressing
- 1 medium avocado, peeled and cored
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- ½ tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- Juice from ½ a lemon
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
Ingredients for the Wrap Filling
- 1 cup diced red onion (about ½ medium onion)
- ½ pound boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded out to a thickness of approximately 1 1/2-2 inches and seasoned with salt and pepper.
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Large flour tortillas
Make the Dressing:
- Add all of the ingredients, except the milk, to a food processor or blender. Pulse until smooth and creamy. If the dressing is too thick, thin it with a tablespoon a milk. Add an additional tablespoon if needed. Transfer to a container, cover and place in the refrigerator.
Make the Wrap Filling:
- First, soak the diced onion for ten minutes in a bowl filled with cold water. While the onion is soaking, cook the chicken. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the hot pan and cook on each side for approximately 4-5 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove it from the pan and let it rest for five minutes. Slice it into bite-sized cubes, transfer it to a covered container and place it in the refrigerator.
- Drain the diced onions. In a large bowl, mix the onions, black beans, corn, green chiles, lime juice, cilantro, and salt. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator.
- When ready to serve, place some of the filling on a tortilla, top with diced chicken, and drizzle a few tablespoons of the dressing on top. Roll the tortilla, tucking in the ends, slice and enjoy.
Depending on the size of wrap you use the serving amount will vary. I used large, burrito-sized tortillas that holds a lot of the filling and makes approximately 6-8 wraps. The nutrition information is based on a serving size of six.
- Calories: 531
- Sugar: 7g
- Fat: 18.1g
- Carbohydrates: 51.2g
- Fiber: 7.7g
- Protein: 45.2g