Wednesday, June 22

Solar Ham-Chicken Tenderloin Rollups

One of the easiest ways to stretch a meal and fill tummies is by creating roll ups. The filling can be almost anything you want but this is not the time to get crazy with mixtures. They should complement the wrap so that diners don't grab their throats at first bite. You wants lots of 'ooomphs' and 'ummms' and rolling (not bulging!) eyes. Ham and chicken is a complementary combination that lets you have fun with a variety of flavorful fillings.  Simple sides, like garden fresh tomatoes and yellow rice, keep the meal light for summer.
I thought I had more than one package of chicken tenderloins on hand but that was not the case; thus, the roll up came to mind. The lettuces in the garden were getting sparse because of our intense heat, so I salvaged the best leaves and pulled the plants to make room for summer crops. The season's first tomatoes were ripe for picking. Two made it into the house; the other, warmed by the sun, begged me to eat it, right then and there. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

Using a base of two thin ham slices, I placed a flattened tenderloin crosswise on top. The ham slices were placed on a paper towel to absorb excess liquid. If you use smoked ham, adjust your seasonings to offset the stronger taste. Forgive the bad focus on this but, by the time I noticed it, I had moved on to the next step.

This was followed by two large leaves of lettuce set crosswise to the tenderloin. If your family prefers a less piquant variety, use any other lettuce that contains enough natural moisture to help the filling expand. For instance, either butternut or Boston lettuce would work; but, I think, arugula leaves would be too small and dry.

Finely chop one stalk of celery, one medium carrot, one medium sweet onion, and one clove of garlic (optional); combine in mixing bowl. In mortar and pestle, grind together one teaspoon each of sweet basil, oregano leaves, lavender buds, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Add two tablespoons of quinoa plus the herbs and spices to vegetable mix and stir to blend. If mixture is too dry, add one tablespoon of water or chicken stock. You want a wet but not drippy mix.
Place 1.5 tablespoons of mixture on lettuce, just below center line. Fold bottom and side pieces of lettuce over filling, then roll the ham and chicken, starting at bottom, over leaf-encased filling so that it just overlaps; bind with rubber bands or kitchen string about an inch in from both ends. Brown the roll ups in a dry skillet, over medium high heat.

Arrange in baking pan with seam side down. Cover with foil, place in SolarWear(TM) Carrier, and bake in preheated solar oven for approximately 45 - 55 minutes, or until roll up has fully expanded.

Remove rubber bands/string before serving. Is there anything better than a sliced garden-fresh tomato? It's the perfect side for this flavorful dish and the yellow rice makes this a very colorful plate; don't you think?


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