Happy Friday! These roll-ups are delicious, easy, and deceptively unhealthy! I say “deceptive” because they involve spinach, and when things have spinach in them, people tend to think they’re healthy. Therefore, you can bring these babies to a party and people will eat the shit out of them instead of the Rotel cheese dip and the mini pot pies and the chocolate fondue fountain (I have never been to a party where all three of these things exist, but one can dream). They will do this because they will see the spinach and the elegant wrap and think, “Thank GOD someone brought something healthy that wasn’t the boring old vegetable tray! I was worried I’d be eating celery all evening! Who even likes vegetable trays? What even is celery? Celery is just crunchy water! What the hell is up with that? Ergo, these roll-ups are my salvation!” And you, my heroic friend who has brought the roll-ups, can stand beside the buffet table and watch these delicacies disappear as fast as anything marked “Açaí” (those fancy letters are so exotic!) in a suburban grocery store, and you can feel confident that your appetizer is the most popular while also reveling in totally tanking everyone’s Weight Watchers points for the evening. Because in addition to the spinach, these little delights also have TONS OF CREAM CHEESE HAHAHAHAHA. You’re not a very good person, are you? No, you’re not. For shame. But your roll-ups are, like, really good. What’s in these?
Spicy Chicken and Cream Cheese Roll-Ups
- Olive oil
- 2 packages cream cheese (You can use the reduced fat kind, but they won’t be as tasty and you do not appropriately appreciate cream cheese, you skinny wuss.)
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2-3 cups spinach
- 1 packet Medium or Hot Taco seasoning blend (The kind that come in the, well, packets in the Mexican Food aisle.)
- 8 flour tortillas (or whatever strikes your fancy)
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded by pulling apart with a fork
First, cook the chicken breasts. However it is you do that. This would be a great recipe for re-purposing boring, leftover chicken breasts that no one wants to eat. If you don’t have leftover chicken and you want to make this recipe even easier, just buy a small rotisserie chicken from the store and shred it with a fork. There’s no shame in that. That’s what I usually do, because I HATE handling raw chicken. Every time I open a package of chicken breasts, I feel like I’m at the freaking Bodies Exhibit, except not everything is all neatly preserved yet. So, I guess I feel like I’m INSIDE A BODY because you know what? I AM. For some reason, chicken drives this home way more than any other raw meat, probably because they look so muscly, probably because THEY ARE ACTUALLY MUSCLES. Gag. Gag. Gag. I hate handling raw chicken on the same level as you would probably hate handling someone else’s poop. Not that you enjoy handling your own poop… You know what, I’m sorry for even bringing poop into a recipe for food. I really didn’t think that through. I apologize. But anyway, the point is I really hate raw chicken.
Another thing you could do, especially if you don’t really like the people you’re feeding that much, is use canned chicken. Yeah, I know, that’s horrible and gross and stocked in the same aisle as Spam. But, real talk: people eat tuna from a can all the time! This is pretty much the same thing, right? No? Not right? Fine. Suit yourself, chicken elitists.
Okay, here is where the instructions really start. Sorry for that tangent. I really hate raw chicken.
Right. You have some form of cooked chicken. It is shredded with a fork. Excellent.
Now, warm a little bit of olive oil in a large sautée pan over medium heat. Throw in the chopped bell pepper and saute until tender. Add the cream cheese and lower heat, stirring constantly to prevent the cream cheese from burning. When it’s starting to warm up and become easier to stir, add taco seasoning and shredded chicken breasts. Keep stirring till heated through and spreadable. Add additional spices (CAYENNE PEPPER YOU GUYS) to ramp up the spiciness, if you so desire. Remove from heat.
Spread chicken/cream cheese mixture onto tortillas–don’t go too thick, and spread it almost all the way to the edges because this is going to be the glue that keeps your roll-up together. That is obviously not what I did in the above photo. I just kinda clumped it into the middle and rolled. But do as I say, not as I do. Top mixture with a layer of spinach leaves, and roll up. You can either eat these like so, burrito-style, as your main course, or cut them into 1-inch rounds and spear them with toothpicks for a lovely appetizer, as in above, completely hypothetical party scenario.
*Note: the cream cheese mixture isn’t going to look like the tastiest thing on the planet. In fact, it’s going to look kind of like cat food. That’s what Todd calls this dish–“the cat food”–but in an excited way, as a cat would be excited about eating some really delicious cat food. Do not let this description stop you, because, hell-o, this thing is like 50% cream cheese, and if you make anything that is half cream cheese that doesn’t taste absolutely wonderful, you are doing something really wrong.