Chicken Salad

I have been experimenting with my chicken salad.  I have never been one for a salad with a TON of mayo, and in an effort to be healthy, I have been looking for ways to cut back on fat.

With that in mind, I have been trying to find a substitute for the mayo in my chicken salad.

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I started by replacing all of the mayo with fat free plain greek yogurt.  It wasn’t bad….but it wasn’t good either.  I ate it, but I can’t say I was looking forward to ever eating that again.  Sigh….I figured I would play with the ratio of mayo to yogurt and FINALLY came across the perfect combination – 2/3 yogurt to 1/3 mayo.   Low fat, delicious, and as an added bonus – extra protein from the yogurt.  Now I just need to eat it on greens and not in a roll….baby steps people, baby steps!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

OK, new week, back on the wagon or at least closer to the wagon.  I decided to spend the day cooking up a storm so I would have plenty of healthy choices in the fridge for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Eliminating the need to stop on my way home and make unhealthy food choices.

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I made a batch of vegetarian stuffed mushrooms and put them in individual containers to either take to work for lunch or re heat for dinner this week.   I started by cooking up a batch of quinoa.  While that was cooking, I sauteed eight ounces of sliced mushrooms, one onion diced, and two small zucchini.  I seasoned the veggies with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

I combined a cup of quinoa with the veggies and stuffed them inside red bell peppers.  I whisked together a cup of white wine and a cup of tomato sauce and poured that into the bottom of my pan.  I carefully placed the peppers in the sauce, covered the entire thing with foil and baked it for about 40 minutes.  I took the foil off and continued cooking for another 10 minutes, then pulled it out, let it cool and packed it into containers.

I am taking one for lunch today – hopefully it tastes as good as it looks and smells!

Beef….

Is what I did for Thanksgiving!  This year it was just the hubby and I for dinner.  Our niece has a big family Thanksgiving meal at her house on the Saturday after Turkey Day so I knew we would be having turkey.  It gave me a chance to change things up a bit.

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Between my work schedule and the husbands travel schedule, I haven’t been spending as much time in the kitchen as I like.  I find it very therapeutic, so I took the opportunity to spend the entire day in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.   We started with bacon and homemade buttermilk waffles.

Because honestly, a day that starts with bacon is ALWAYS a good day in my book!  For lunch, I made a pot of pasta fagioli soup and paired it with a good old grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

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Late afternoon, I put out a plate of cheese and crostini, I found a really awesomely sharp cheddar and a creamy brie.  It was a perfect little bit to get us through the second football game of the day.

Finally, it was time for dinner.  Our first course was homemade pumpkin ravioli.  I made the filling in the morning and just before dinner, I made the dough.  I picked up a ravioli maker from Williams Sonoma and it made my life so much easier.  That and the pasta rolling attachment for my kitchen aid meant I went from a ball of dough to actual ravioli in under twenty minutes!

I made a very simple cream sauce, butter, cream and Parmesan cheese for the ravioli, they were amazing.  I can’t wait to make them again!

For dinner, we grilled beef tenderloin steaks and asparagus, and I made twice baked potatoes. I even made homemade bread using my sour dough starter, I am telling you, I was in the kitchen ALL DAY LONG, and I loved it!

It is always good to end the day on a sweet note, neither the hubby or I are big fans of pie, so I made a caramel apple cheesecake instead.  It was AWESOME!

 

It was a very relaxing, enjoyable day, which I think we both needed and for which I was truly grateful.

Frittata

On Sunday afternoons while prepping and/or cooking dinner, I have been making myself a frittata to take with me to work during the week.  I eat it as either breakfast or I add a small side salad and have it for lunch.

This week I decided to go vegetarian and make a mushroom, broccoli, and cheese frittata.   I started by sauteing the mushrooms in a bit of coconut oil.  Once they were nicely brown, I added them to the bottom of my pie plate.  I topped the mushrooms with some shredded mozzarella cheese, then a whole head of steamed broccoli.   Once all of that was in the pan, I poured in the egg and milk mixture.

fritatta

I bake it for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.   Once it comes out of the oven, I let it cool, then slice it and place it in containers to take with me to work.   It is an easy, quick, and satisfying lunch (or breakfast if I am in the mood for eggs!) and it helps keep me on my diet.   I would KILL for some potatoes or a nice side of toast if I were eating this at home, but since I don’t have a way to cook those at work, I am generally satisfied, thank goodenss!

 

Crustless Quiche

I am not a huge fan of pie crust so instead, I made a crustless quiche.  I started by browning up three slices, diced,  of thick cut, pepper crusted bacon.  Once the fat was rendered and the pieces were nice and crisp, I drained them on a paper towel.  Using the bacon fat in the pan, I sauteed an 8 oz container of baby portobello mushrooms, then added one small onion, diced.  Once the onions and mushrooms were cooked, I removed them from the pan, added a bit more oil, and sauteed up some fresh spinach.

I layered the meat and veggies in the pan, topped it with a little bit of shredded cheese and poured in eight eggs that I had whisked with a little heavy cream and seasoned with salt and pepper.

It took about 35 minutes to cook at 350 degrees.   I had a slice for breakfast, the rest I took with me to work each day, along with a tossed green salad, for a quick, inexpensive, and healthy lunch option.  While I am not a big fan of eggs first thing in the morning, I love eating quiche for lunch alongside a green salad that is tossed in a vinegary dressing.

The end is in sight….

Whew, it has been a crazy two weeks, I have been working non stop for days.  I have worked the last fourteen days straight, six of those days have been 15+ hour days and five of those I have had less than a six hour turn around.  To say I am tired is putting it mildly!  The good news……one graduation ceremony is done, I have one more to go and then I get FIVE, count ’em, FIVE whole days off….IN A ROW…. I can’t seem to contain my excitement.

Anyway, I have been trying to eat well, since sleeping well doesn’t seem to be an option right now, and I have been doing fairly well.  I made a really large batch of quinoa salad and took that with me to work to eat for lunch, and the occasional dinner.

mexican quinoa

I will admit, I took a lot of help from the store on this one.  I bought two different kinds of fresh made salsa and dumped them into a batch of cooked quinoa.  It was tasty, colorful, filling, and best of all HEALTHY!   It really saved me from eating cookies from the vending machine this week, thank goodness, and I didn’t have any of those horrible sugar crashes. Win/Win situation, if you ask me!

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I am not a huge fan of casseroles, they are OK, but not usually my cup of tea.  I have been feeling like we are in a rut so I pulled out a few recipe books to see what sparked my interest.

I came across one for a chicken enchilada casserole that you make with brown rice (which I had leftover in the fridge), refried beans, enchilada sauce, frozen corn, diced onions, and cooked chicken.  You top the entire thing with cheese and bake it off.

Seemed simple enough and I figured if it was awful, we could order pizza.  Well…..to my surprise it was really yummy.  So yummy in fact, I took some to work for lunch the next day.  Practically unheard of in my house….I am not a fan of leftovers!

chx enchilada casserole

It was super easy to put together and once it all went into the casserole dish, I was able to fully clean up the prep dishes and the kitchen.  I stored the leftovers in the dish it baked it so clean up was a snap.  I made a huge salad to go alongside the casserole and as you can see, I topped it with a dollop of sour cream.  The hubby really liked it so I marked it as a recipe that I would be willing to try again, next time I am going to cook the diced onions, the recipe called for tossing them in uncooked, but they were a bit crunchy, I have a few other ideas on how I would change the recipe for next time….but that’s another post for another time!