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!

Stuffed Pork Chops

How else to do you celebrate a long weekend on your feet – why carbs of course!

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The hubby loves stuffed pork chops, I am a sucker for anything breaded and I think we can all agree that a potato gratin is a thing of beauty.  Pair all of that with a nice healthy green veggie and I think it is safe to say all is right with the world.  I really do need to dial it back on the carbs, spring and summer will be here before you know it, but today….today, I both needed and deserved the carbs.  Oh, and a massage…and about 15 hours of sleep, but what I got was carbs….I am good with that!

US Physics Tournament

I haven’t had much time for cooking in the last two weeks, instead I have been working non stop.  We were lucky enough to win the opportunity to host the US Physics Tournament at our university last weekend.  I worked a total of 54 hours in three days between the set up and actual tournament.  I was one tired girl by Sunday night when we wrapped up the pizza party for all 200 of the event attendees.

The event was a logistical challenge and my entire team rose to the occasion beautifully! Team USciences for the WIN!

Each physics “fight” consisted of two teams of four and a panel of six judges.  We had six fights happening simultaneously, in multiple buildings, for two straight days.  My AV team was able to capture each fight on film and with the technology in the rooms, we were even able to  live stream the finals and award ceremony to the friends and family who weren’t able to attend in person.

We welcomed a total of thirteen teams from around the globe and the event went flawlessly.  The buses showed up on time, the food was plentiful and delicious, and the technology worked, whew! We set up a command center and tabulation room in our training center and with the help of a google document and wifi, we were able to significantly reduce the amount of actual paper involved with the event as well as keep everyone informed and updated in real time.

I think the best part of the entire event was the connections made between the high school physics students who came from around the world to compete.  We had teams from as far away as China and Tunisia and as close as the Philadelphia suburbs.  The level of competition was amazing, but the camaraderie and sportsman ship shown by all of the students was a beautiful sight to behold.

Word is we are looking to host this event again in two years, followed by the International Competition in 2021 – I say BRING IT, we are up for the challenge!

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

A while back, we had a pot luck lunch in our office.  I roasted off a few turkey breasts, sliced the meat and served them at room temperature with a cranberry flavored mayo and fresh bakery rolls.   I took the bones of the turkey and made a huge batch of stock, which I tucked away in my freezer for a rainy day.   Well folks, that day arrived.  I defrosted the stock and poached a bone in turkey breast in the stock.  While that was cooking, I started dicing up onions, mushrooms, carrots, and celery.

I stared by browning the mushrooms in a screaming hot pan until they were nice and golden brown.  I removed them from the pan, lowered the heat, added a bit more oil and the rest of the vegetables.  I seasoned them with salt and pepper and let them sweat.  I added the mushrooms back into the pan, strained the stock into the pot and brought it to a boil.

While the stock was coming to a boil, I diced up the turkey breast and added it to the pot.  When the liquid started boiling, I added two cups of a wild rice blend, stirred it around, popped on a lid and turned the heat to low.  I let it cook for 45 minutes before lifting the lid.  The house smelled amazing!

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Soup was done!  It tasted so, so good.  I knew the hubby wouldn’t be satisfied with just soup for dinner so I also breaded some chicken cutlets and made chicken sandwiches to go alongside.  I pulled out some buffalo wing sauce and tossed my chicken in that before putting it on my bun, the hubby just doused it with sauce and slathered the top of the roll with ranch dressing.  He was thrilled!

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Not a bad days work….If I do say so myself!

Cheesesteaks….

What do you serve for dinner on nights when you get out late, you don’t have  darn thing in the fridge and you are totally NOT in the mood for take out?  CHEESESTEAKS!

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Living just outside of Philadelphia, we have the benefit of being able to swing by the local market and pick up fresh shaved steak, no frozen crap for us!  I like my rolls to have some substance, no squishy soft rolls for me, thank you very much.   I had some provolone cheese in the fridge.  I did cheat and grab a bag of frozen fries….a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do… and ta-da……DINNER!

I definitely like to toast my bun, then add cheese and melt it, before FINALLY topping it with the browned meat mixture.  This is a picture of the hubby’s plate, he prefers his sandwiches with a bit of ketchup (sigh….I know, I didn’t do my due diligence when I married him….who puts KETCHUP on a cheesesteak…..at least he didn’t add mayo this time)

All in all, it wasn’t the healthiest dinner I have put on the table, but it was sooooooooo good!

Monochromatic Dinner

Some days my plates look amazingly colorful and dazzle me with their visual appeal….other days….well….lets just say I could use a little work.

Thankfully, the food tasted amazing, it just looked really, really boring on the plate!

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I had marinated the chicken in a lemon garlic marinade and baked it off.  I was absolutely craving mashed potatoes and I had a head of cauliflower that was begging to be steamed.  Again, not a stellar plate presentation, but each component was exactly what I needed it to be – the chicken was tangy and tender, the potatoes were creamy and luscious, and the cauliflower was perfectly al dente, exactly the way I like it.

Some days it is all about getting the food you need on the plate, today was one of those days!