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Wonderful Wraps

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They’re  trendy, they taste great and, they’re inexpensive- Wraps are for everyone, whether you’re a first-time cook, a working mom in a hurry or a kid fixing an after-school snack..

When trying wraps at home, keep these tips in mind:

• Instead of layering the ingredients onto the wrap, as stores do, mix all the stuffing ingredients together first. This will make assembly easier.

• Make several wraps ahead of time, then freeze them individually in plastic wrap or a microwave safe container to pop into the microwave on days when time is short.

• If a child is old enough to make a peanut butter sandwich, he is old enough to make a wrap. Keep a variety of stuffing’s and wraps on hand for quick, nutritious, after-school treats.

• A wrap can be eaten with a fork and knife, or made portable by wrapping it in aluminum foil. Start from one end, peeling the aluminum foil down like a candy bar wrapper.

• After removing a wrap from the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes to make cutting easier.
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What’s the best  way to wrap a wrap to keep all of those fresh ingredients from spilling out? It depends on the wrap you choose.

Pitas can simply be folded in half over the filling, then wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, which is peeled down as the wrap is eaten.

For a tortilla wrap, position the ingredients in a small rectangle on the bottom half of a round tortilla. Fold in two sides until they meet in the center. Fold the bottom of the tortilla to the center over the filling, and continue rolling.

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Here’s a few recipes to get you started:

ON-THE-GO BREAKFAST PITA

4 eggs, slightly beaten
One 16-oz. package shredded hash brown potatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
4 whole wheat pita bread
4 slices ham
4 slices Swiss or cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, thoroughly mix the eggs, hash browns and chives together. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Divide the egg mixture and spread evenly on top of the pitas. Lay a slice of ham and cheese on top of each. Fold the pita sandwich in half and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Open the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Pitas can be sliced after 10 minutes, or wrapped in foil to take along and eat in the car on the way to work or school. Makes 4 servings.

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TURKEY AND VEGETABLE WRAP

Leave off the turkey and you have an excellent vegetarian wrap.

1 large sheet of lahvosh (or flour tortilla)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup mild salsa
1/2 lb. fresh spinach leaves
1/2 lb. roasted turkey breast, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 cups grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, mixed

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the lahvosh/tortilla on a sheet pan and brush with the tomato sauce. Spoon the salsa over the sauce. Layer on the spinach leaves, followed by the turkey breast, red pepper, onion and zucchini. Top with the grated cheese.

2. Heat in the oven just until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Fold in the sides of the wrap. Then roll the wrap tightly, starting with the long end. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into 4 portions. Makes 4 servings.

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WRAP CLASSICO

This wrap is a burrito, filled with savory black beans, crunchy peppers, rice and Mexican seasonings. For a more authentic treat, replace the
Monterey Jack cheese with a mild flavored Mexican or Spanish cheese, such as manchego.

1 15 1/2-ounce can black beans, drained
1/2 cup chopped and seeded red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped and seeded yellow bell pepper
3/4 cup cooked long-grain white rice, warm
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup picante sauce
1 tbsp. enchilada sauce
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
2 10- or 11-inch flour tortillas

1. Heat the beans in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the peppers, rice, cilantro, picante sauce, enchilada sauce and cumin; cook until warm, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Divide the bean mixture between the tortillas and top with the cheese. Wrap by folding the sides towards the center, folding the bottom towards the center and continuing to roll. Makes 2 servings.

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SLOPPY JOE WRAP

Sloppy Wrap3/4 cup chili sauce
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup diced onion
Salt and pepper
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. spicy sausage, removed from casing and crumbled
2 cups cooked white rice, warm
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion
1/2 cup sour cream
4 10- or 11-inch flour tortillas, flavored if you prefer

1. Combine the chili sauce, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar in a small bowl. Stir in the oregano and cumin and set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper and cook until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the chili sauce mixture and stir to combine.

3. Return the skillet to the stove. Heat the skillet and add the ground beef and sausage. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until meat is browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the onion mixture, rice and scallions and mix well.

4. Divide the sour cream and spread evenly over each tortilla, leaving at least a 1-inch border. Divide the meat mixture over it and wrap, folding in the side, then the bottom and then rolling up. Makes 4 servings.

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For the nutrition-minded cook, one of the advantages of making wraps at home is that they let you control nutritional value. When you eat out, remember that less may be more and save half of your wrap for another meal.

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