Monthly Archives: July 2012

Salad with BBQ Chicken

Standard

A few days prior, I had boiled up some chicken breasts to use for my lunches and dinners throughout the week. There are so many ways to make chicken, and so many things to mix with chicken, I could possibly eat it every day of the week and never get tired of it.

Here are the main ingredients for my salad, lettuce, homemade healthy ranch, chicken mixture:


To make the chicken mixture, I cooked 2 pieces of reduced sodium turkey bacon and set it aside. In the same pan, I cooked some purple onion, added in my shredded chicken and some BBQ sauce, cut up the bacon and threw that in too.  I did all of this the night before (ate half for dinner, and then put half in a container to take for lunch).

 

The lettuce is self explanatory, and the ranch dressing is just simply so amazing that it deserves its own special post later on.

 

I kept all of the ingredients separate until it was time for lunch. Then I threw them all together. I really like the ranch with the BBQ, it may be one of my newest favorite flavor combinations.

Will likely not be posting every day during the weekend. I have two 12 year old swimmers from Japan who will be staying with me. Hope they like my cookin’!

Advertisements

Packing Healthy Snacks

Standard

Today was the first day back to school with the kids there. When the alarm went off at 5 am I was thankful I had prepared my lunch and snacks the night before. For lunch I had my delicious crock pot southwestern chicken and potato stew leftovers. And then I packed my must have snacks.

 

Let me tell you a little bit about my school. The elementary school that I work at is a completely nut free school. Lately there has been such an increase of students who have severe allergies so our school felt it was necessary to become nut free for the safety of those students. In addition, all schools across the nation have healthy guidelines that must be followed. As a teacher, I feel it is part of my duty to set an example for my students. If the expectation is a healthy snack for them, I better be eating healthy snacks too.

 

In searching for nut free snacks, I have found natural is best. When buying processed foods I need to check all of the labels to be sure it was not processed with nuts. More often than not, cookies, cereals, granola bars etc. are processed with nuts. But for example, I know for a fact that an apple is nut free.

 

Another thing I take into consideration is the balance of the snack. For a snack to sustain me longer than a half hour it needs to have some kind of fiber (usually a fruit or veggie) and some kind of protein. When I need a quick something to hold me over I usually go to fruits.

 

Actually having to pack the snack can be another issue. I simply love containers pictured below. If I had a child, I would likely pack their snacks this way too. With multiple compartments, balancing out the snack is easier. It also keeps things fresh and allows for things to be peeled ahead of time. For an adult, something like peeling a small orange may seem simple, but I have seen kids spend their whole recess time trying to peel one and then having no time to enjoy it or play. Same goes for whole fruits. I think it is great to eat the whole fruit, I pack mine whole. But for younger students it may be more challenging and take them longer to eat a whole fruit.
With that being said, here are the two snack packs I took today. I only ended up eating one, so the other one is already waiting in the fridge at work for me tomorrow.

The one on the left has hummus, carrots, grapes and raspberries. (2 PP on Weight Watchers) The one on the right has a light laughing cow wedge, 2 clementines, and celery. (1PP on Weight Watchers) Simple, healthy, and low prep. My kind of snacks!

 

You would also be surprised how many of my students ask for some of my snack, especially the fruits. I would much rather have them eating this kind of fruit then the little packets of fruit snacks!

Avocado and Tomato Wrap

Standard

This is an easy, yet tasty lunch, especially if you are a fan of avocados. Sometimes, I think this fruit (yes an avocado is a fruit) gets picked on because of its fat content. It’s important to recognize that it is a natural, good kind of fat. I don’t know about you, but I would rather get my healthy daily intake of fat from an avocado than from a bag of chips.
The wraps I use are a low carb, high fiber wrap. I love these wraps because I have never had an issue with them breaking, and I keep them in my fridge. Counting points for Weight Watchers, they are 3 power points. I can also successfully eat more veggies on a wrap than on a sandwich without them falling off.
To begin with, lay your wrap on your plate. Careful not to dirty any more dishes 🙂 Cut 1/4 of an avocado then simply take a fork to it, like this, and mash it.

If it is ripe enough, it should be pretty easy to mash up. When you are done mashing, it should look similar to this:

Next top it with your veggies. Try to keep the veggies toward the center of the wrap. I always use a lettuce, and tomato. The flavors of the tomato and avocado together just simply can’t be beat. I usually add in some red onion, but for some reason I forgot. Spraying/drizzling olive oil is always yummy too. Once your veggies are on, add some salt and pepper. End product should look like this:

To wrap it up I fold in the bottom first, and then each side. If you are packing a wrap for lunch, I recommend using foil to package it. It keeps the wrap wrapped up, and also makes it easy to eat when the time comes.

Serve your wrap with a healthy side, like fruit or carrot sticks, maybe a yogurt. Here’s what my plate looked like. And don’t judge me for using paper plates. The hubby is away and I hate doing dishes, especially by myself.

No Mayo Chicken Salad

Standard

Just to warn you, I am not usually this planned and organized for my lunches on the weekends. On a typical weekend it’s more of whatever is left in the fridge, or “where do you want to go?”  However, the wonderful hubby is out to sea, I miss him tons and tons and you better believe I am counting down the days until he is back. That also  leaves me with nothing better to do on the weekends but  make yummy meals, exercise and hang out with our fur balls!

Today’s lunch is one of my favorite’s. When I do pack this lunch, I be sure that I have somewhere to refrigerate it. There’s something about the chicken and avocado that just makes me need it refrigerated.

So no mayo, yes, it’s true. There are two secrets. 1, avocado. 2, laughing cow cheese. Here is the picture, below is the recipe.

I cooked up 2 chicken breasts the night before by boiling them in water. I then shredded the chicken put it in zip-loc bags and put it in the fridge. I will use this chicken for salads and wraps throughout the week.

Mayo-Free Chicken Salad

1/2 chicken breast shredded

1/4 avocado cut into chunks

1 wedge light laughing cow cheese

Juice from about 1/4 of a lime

Green onions (as much as you want to taste)

Salt & Pepper to Taste

All you need to do is mix all of the ingredients together. The cheese wedge and avocado give the chicken salad a nice creamy texture while adding a good flavor as well. If you are on Weight Watchers this recipe comes out to 7 Power Points.
There are many ways you could eat/serve this such as with lettuce as a salad, with crackers, as a wrap, as a sandwich, or as stuffed celery. Today I opted for a salad, I have to weigh in tomorrow and have been trying extra hard to be healthy this week!

Here is my finished product. By the way it was delicious!

My Crock Pot Is My Best Friend

Standard

It is sad, yet true, the crock pot is one of my best friends. This becomes even more truthful during the busy work week. The good news is the food always comes out delicious, it’s easy and my husband loves it too.

My lunch for today was left overs from a dinner I had made earlier in the week using my crock pot. This is one of my favorite recipes and is called Southwestern Slow Cooker Chicken and Potato Soup. I got the recipe from Weight Watchers online, but changed it up a little bit. My version is more of a stew than a soup. Also be cautioned, it is actually sweet potatoes, not just plain old potatoes.

The ingredients are simple, healthy and delicious. Here is how I make mine, you can compare it to the original recipe here if you would like 🙂

2 Chicken Breasts

2 uncooked sweet potatoes, or yams (with peels still on, chopped)

1 large onion (chopped)

29oz canned diced tomatoes

1 small can of reduced sodium fat-free chicken broth

1tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 cups frozen corn, unthawed

 

For the ingredients that need to be chopped I use this amazing chopped that we received as a wedding gift.

It’s my understanding that it can be purchased from Bed Bath and Beyond, or Target. It has already saved me a lot of time! Oh and it’s called the Vidalia Chop Wizard.

I do not chop my chicken, I throw it in whole along with all of the other ingredients, including the corn. I let it cook all day, and by the time I get home the chicken easily shreds apart. This recipe is simply delicious! I am sure you could add other veggies if you are looking to up your veggie intake.

Again, I love my crock pot. Throw everything in and forget about it until you are ready to eat!

Simple Steak Salad

Standard

I must say, by lunch time today I was a grouch. Today was a day that most of us dread. Today was the day I had to go to the DMV. In fact, I ended up going to 2 different DMVs and things took longer than expected. Normally, lunch time is 11:30, but today I didn’t eat until 1:30. I was HANGRY!

Here is what I ate:

I grilled up the steak last night. It is a lean sirloin with all visible fat trimmed off. I seasoned it with my all time favorite steak seasoning, McCormick’s Montreal Steak. Cut up what I didn’t use last night and threw it in the fridge. The salad is simple, lettuce, onion, avocado, tomato and the steak. I also put a little cumin, salt, and pepper on it. No dressing required the veggies are enough variety in flavor. If you are on Weight Watchers the only items that have points are the steak and the avocado.

I had lunch at home today so no packing was required. I have packed this before I just keep all my veggie toppings in it’s own separate container, the steak separate so I can reheat it, and the lettuce in a larger container so I can mix it all in.

This salad could also be made with any veggies or beans. The main key is the steak. I love steak in my salads!

Attacking The At Work Luncheon

Standard

One day into blogging about my healthy lunches, and bam! Up pops a challenge. (Or two). As a back to school treat our social club at school did a free breakfast for us. Then, my lovely principal did a free lunch for us.
I easily tackled the first objective. Realizing that there were likely to be pastries galore, I decided to pack my breakfast. Typically I eat breakfast at home, but I did not want to be completely unsocial. Knowing me, if I hadn’t packed something to eat there, I would have ended up eating at home AND at work.  I also knew I would need some snacks. Here is what I packed:

Overnight Steel-Cut Oats (thank you pinterest for the idea) with slices of banana and some frozen blueberries. My modified recipe is below. All my Weight Watchers people, that is only 4 Points Plus! For snack I threw a fat free greek yogurt (3 Points Plus), and a clementine (0 Points).
My prediction about the pastries was correct. But I was surprised to see an array of fresh fruit. I added some watermelon to my plate and had that with my oatmeal. Completely satisfied but anxiously awaiting to see if I could make my lunch healthy I got to work moving furniture in my classroom.
Before I knew it, lunch time had rolled around. Of course, my co-worker and I were first in line. You can still be a pig and eat healthy! To be completely honest, it just over joyed me to see the spread out for lunch. There were so many possibilities to be healthy it almost killed me! Knowing that others are making an effort to be healthy to just makes me feel good all over. Here’s what my plate looked like:

1 slice of wheat bread, turkey with red onions, lettuce and 1 blob of yellow mustard. Salad and assorted veggies (olives too) with lightly drizzled french dressing. Fruit salad. Proud of myself, for skipping the chips! Proud of my school for so many healthy choices! Attacked the luncheon and was successful!
By the way, that clemtine I packed, was never eaten. The refrigerator in my classroom works. In fact, it really works. When I went to eat my clemtine this afternoon it was frozen!
Now for the recipe! I prefer Steel-Cut Oats over oatmeal, and I love oatmeal. To me, the cut oats have a better texture, taste better and are better as a made ahead of time meal, which is what I’m all about. I use one serving in the morning, and then put the 3 other servings in containers to eat throughout the week. I must confess, I love these oats so much I sometimes eat them for dinner too!

Overnight Oats (makes 4 servings):

1 tsp olive oil

1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats

3 cups water

Fruit of choice fresh or frozen optional (I like bananas and or berries best)

1. In a medium sauce pan heat oil. Or if you are impatient like me skip this step and just throw it all in!

2. Add 1 cup of oats and lightly cook until toasted

3. Add 3 cups water

4. Cover and bring to boil

5. As soon as it starts boiling, shut off the burner but leave the pan on the stove. Leave it there all night long. Just a note, I usually get some spill over on my stove but it doesn’t bother me and cleans up early. I also don’t have a big pot.

5. Reheat one portion in the microwave.

If you are adding fruit I add frozen before microwaving, and fresh after microwaving. I have also added cinnamon and it’s delicious. No sugar needed just the fruit!

Keep it healthy 🙂