This 5-Ingredient Wrap is Our Family’s Favorite No-Cook Meal

published Feb 27, 2022
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Credit: Meleyna Nomura

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At some point in the last 14 years of parenting, I reluctantly came to a point where I realized there are situations where I have to lower the bar. The to-do list is never-ending, but adjusting my expectations (for myself and others) helps. Sometimes “done” is better than “perfect.” (I am more successful at this in theory than in practice.) But every so often, the stars align and what started as a compromise ends up being better than the original plan.

A prime example is the evolution of this hoisin chicken, a total family favorite. It started out as a slow cooker meal, which I ended up adapting for the Instant Pot. When I have my stuff together, I cook the chicken and rice together in the Instant Pot, pot-in-pot. Sweet, saucy chicken and rice is always a kid-friendly favorite. But there are so many nights I don’t even have the time for a legitimately quick and hands-off Instant Pot meal. (Ok, admittedly most of these nights are because I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer before 5 p.m.) And our especially busy springtime schedule means the nights we are all sitting around the table are much less common than I’d like. I need dinner fast, and I need it to be portable. 

Here’s what you need:

  • Tortillas (we like the 8” kind; more on that below) 
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Rice
  • Frozen pineapple
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

The Go-To, No-Cook Dinner Plan

For an easy dinner on-the-go, I reach for pre-prepped ingredients for a no-cook dinner inspired by my original hoisin chicken recipe. I pull and shred the meat off of a rotisserie chicken and squeeze bottled hoisin over it all and toss to coat. Instead of making fresh rice, I raid the freezer. Those frozen Trader Joe’s brown rice packets work great here, but I’ve always got my own frozen rice on hand. (Please note that this is not because I’ve planned ahead. I just toss any leftovers in the freezer if it’s been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days. I make a lot of fresh rice, so I don’t always get to the leftovers as quickly as I’d like to.) I give the rice a quick zap in the microwave alongside some frozen pineapple tidbits, and wrap it all up in a whole grain tortilla. I tend to favor a smaller 8-inch whole wheat tortilla here. Their holding capacity is the perfect size to fill you up enough without weighing you down before being active. But I’ve definitely used a burrito-size tortilla and really loaded it up if someone needed a bigger meal. (I’m a child of Arizona, and tend to have a variety of tortillas on hand at all times.) A squirt of sriracha and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro for the grown-ups is nice if you’ve got it — my kids politely (ha!) say “no thank you.”

How to Store and Transport 5-Ingredient Chicken Wraps

These wraps keep nicely in the fridge for a couple of days. They make for an easy grab-and-go option between school and spring musical rehearsals, pitching clinics, batting practice, or for the hour-long drive to the tournament baseball fields. My husband can grab one on the way out the door to pick up either kid, knowing they’ll be starving after a 2–3 hour practice, ready for them as soon as they slide into the back of the minivan. They’re available for anyone looking for something quick to eat between Zoom meetings.

My daughter is the type of person who will eat everything from leftover Chinese food to pancakes to pizza cold out of the fridge. She tends to eat half of her wrap cold while we pick up the carpool, then the other half during break in choreography class. Naturally, as siblings go, my son refuses to eat anything cold. Sandwiches have to be griddled, pizza reheated in the oven. Fortunately, these wraps heat up just enough in a 45-second spin in the microwave while he refills his giant game day water bottle. He’ll eat his in about three bites between the kitchen and the front door (while also tying his shoes and managing to get the dog riled up before he leaves). I make him eat some carrots or something green once we’re in the car. 

What started out as sort of a personal failure to not get dinner on the table actually ended up being the evolution of a sort of a perfect unicorn. Not quite dinner, more than just a snack, the sum of it all absolutely being greater than its parts. Even if I forget to take the chicken out, even if I rely on squeezing a bottle of sauce over precooked chicken, even if someone forgets their lines or strikes out or wore the wrong color jersey, it’s all these moments of compromise and adaptation that make up this whole lovely, messy, chaotic thing we lean on each other through. And it’s all a little easier when you’ve got dinner in your hand.