Whole Wheat BBQ Chicken Pockets

When we started Big Girls, Small Kitchen, we didn’t do any real market research. That’s typical of blogging, or at least it was in 2008. We simply figured that other twentysomethings suffered from the same limited resources–space, time, money, skill–that we did. We tried to sympathize with their cooking hang-ups and hoped they would sympathize with ours.

Recently, in a brainstorming session, a business mentor of mine asked a roomful of people where they got their recipes. His purpose, to show me to think about the competition, quickly became clear. But that competition was different than I imagined, according to my randomly selected, totally unscientific sample. While I went in believing I’d hear about the other blogs my colleagues were reading, instead I learned that they cooked from “family recipes,” “my head,” and “recipes from the back of the box.”

Humbled by my blog-centric thinking, I soon found myself inspired to read recipes on the back of every box I encountered. The kosher salt carton. The Annie’s soba noodle packet (make that dressing!). The package of grated cheddar cheese.

The latter is where I first came upon the idea of barbecue chicken wraps, an idea that lodged itself in the recipe-ideation zone of my brain.

I hope you don’t scoff that these are lowbrow, just because of where I got the idea. You, too, must have some family recipe that really came from the back of the bag of chocolate chips or the can of sweetened condensed milk. Right?

Whatever their origin, these back-of-the-bag barbecue chicken pockets solve a post-Memorial Day quandary of quarter-lifers and city-dwellers I don’t need market research to understand: how to bring summer into the kitchen when you lack a deck and a grill. The answer, in this case, is that you simply douse roasted chicken in barbecue sauce and roll it up in a wrap, using mustard for some kick, mayo for a little richness, greens for balance, and melty cheese to seal the pocket together.

Now, what would that roomful of peers say?


Whole Wheat BBQ Chicken Pockets
Makes 1 wrap, easily doubled

Obviously, I do not think that wraps suck. If you do, perhaps you’ll use two slices of bread to make this into a grilled cheese sandwich.

Olive oil
Two handfuls fresh spinach or other greens like kale or collards, slivered
1 whole wheat wrap
Dijon Mustard
1/3 cup chopped white meat chicken (here’s how I make mine on Sunday nights; you can also use meat from a purchased rotisserie chicken)
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
1/4 cup loosely packed grated cheddar cheese

Heat a small pan over medium-high heat and film it with olive oil. Throw in the spinach and sprinkle with salt. Cook til the leaves are wilted, stirring, about 2 minutes (slightly longer for collards or kale). Remove to a bowl and squeeze in a paper towel to remove all extra liquid. (Otherwise, your wrap will be soggy.)

Heat a dry cast iron pan over medium heat for 5 minutes, until quite hot.

Place the wrap on a plate. Microwave for 10 seconds, until pliable. Spread the center of the wrap with a little mayo and mustard. Pile on the chicken, then drizzle on the barbecue sauce. Arrange the cooked spinach on top of the chicken. Sprinkle with the cheddar.

Wrap up, tucking in the sides as you go.

Turn the heat to medium-low and place the wrap, seam side down in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, adjusting the heat so that the wrap doesn’t burn. The cheese should help the seam sear closed. Flip the wrap and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on the second side. Cut in half and serve.


  1. Love how simple and flavorful these are! What a great alternative to a traditional sandwich. Thanks for sharing!

  2. sweet! i’ll have to try these. i’m trying to work more greens into my diet too.

    and i love your idea of making the chicken on sunday night and using it all week. most of the time, during the week, i don’t feel like making things like enchiladas or wraps or chicken salads bc i don’t feel like turning on the oven and picking the chicken. good call!

  3. I have a horrible habit of not reading posts. I look at the food and then the recipe. I feel like I never have time to do more. I’m glad I read this post it was interesting. I actually have a few stacks of recipes I have cut off of the sides of food items:) Thank You!

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