Southwest Chicken Salad

This was dinner last night and lunch today – delightful, filling, and good for you too!

mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm!

You Need:

2 BBQ Chicken Breasts
2 cobs of corn
1 can of black beans
2 Avocados
1 lime
Lettuce and/or spinach
Salsa
Whatever else you might want to toss into your salad…

 

I BBQ my chicken and corn at the same time.  I always put the corn on the bottom rack of the BBQ, husk and all (just be sure to soak it in water for 20 minutes + before hand!), and then use some salt-free Club House Chicken spice and a bit of BBQ sauce for the chicken.  Meanwhile, I clean my lettuce, spinach, lime and avocado in some Purslane Veggie wash, and then open a can of black beans.  Anything canned is usually pretty high in sodium, so I always rinse my beans thoroughly and this lowers the sodium content dramatically.

When the corn and chicken are done, I husk the corn and slice it off the cob, and then dice up the chicken breast into bite size chunks.  I put these onto a bed of lettuce and spinach, then top with the black beans and cut up pieces of avocado.  I then squeeze the juice from the lime on top, and scoop on a couple of dollops of salsa.  Mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm!

As I said earlier, this made for two pretty substantial meals for me.  If you’re planning to eat twice (as I did), I would keep your ingredients separate, and then cut up the avocado just before serving the second time.  I heated the chicken and corn in the microwave before putting into my salad today.  It was still fabulous the second time around!

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Eat and Tell: Some of the Meals I’ve Been Eating Lately

Two posts in two days…apparently it’s the weekend and I actually have a teensy bit of time for writing to you!  On that note, I feel like I have taken pictures of food lately, but then not had any time to write about my meals…so I thought I’d roll a few posts into one.

Sesame Fish:
Tilapia
2 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp rice vinegar
2 tblsp lite/low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp chopped garlic (I use 3 or 4 cloves)
2 tblsp sesame seeds
Spray broiler pan w/ olive oil cooking spray and place Tilapia.  Whisk together liquid ingredients and garlic, then pour over fish.  Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and broil at medium heat for about 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
I made this for dinner when Rob was still here, and he left for work up North on Monday morning…so I’m guessing this was dinner on Sunday.  The Sesame Fish recipe is straight out of the 17 Day Diet book, and it’s one of our favourites.  Healthy, quick, easy and delicious – what’s not to love?  As you can see in the picture, we ate this with steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower that had been sprinkled with a bit of Mrs. Dash and some KRAFT light 4 Cheese Italiano, accompanied by a tossed salad and a mug of green tea.  Delightful meal – super filling and perfect for next day leftovers!
Fajita Soup:
In a large soup pot sprayed with olive oil, saute:
Coarsely chopped onion
Chopped red, yellow & orange peppers
Finely chopped jalapeno pepper (seeds too!)

Sprinkle in a packet of low sodium fajita seasoning and stir, then add:

Baked chicken breast (I use whatever I have on hand – this time it was about 4 large breasts that I had sprinkled with Mrs. Dash, cooked, chopped and frozen last week)
Broth (I go for low sodium or no salt added whenever possible; this time I used 3 tetra packs of chicken and 2 of veggie)
796 ml can of no salt added diced tomatoes
540 ml can of Aylmer Spicy Red Pepper tomatoes
127 ml can of chopped green chilies
540 ml can of black beans (rinse these first to get rid of the goopy sauce and a LOT of unnecessary sodium!)

I let the soup simmer for a while (usually 1/2 hour or longer) and give it a little stir occasionally.

I usually make a giant pot of this soup so that I can freeze a few containers for quick meals when I’m rushed; it is one of my all time favourites!

Turkey Taco Salad:
Spray a large frying pan with olive oil and add ground turkey breast (I use 2 packages of Lilydale that come as a combo pack at Costco – I’m not exactly sure how much that is).  Fry, stirring occasionally, until browned fully.
Add a packet of low sodium taco seasoning mix and about 1/2 cup of water and stir.

While turkey is browning, wash, dry, and chop your salad veggies.  I use green leaf lettuce, spinach, carrots, celery, cucumber, red onion and Roma tomatoes, but you can feel free to add whatever salad ingredients your little heart desires!

Add salad to a large bowl and top liberally with turkey, then sprinkle a bit of Light 4 Cheese Italiano (occasionally I leave out the cheese), and finally add a few spoonfuls of your favourite salsa.  Mix it all together and enjoy!

This was last night’s dinner (I actually ate TWO bowls of salad), and as you can see, I enjoyed it with a large green tea from Timmie’s.  Although I’ve won 7 free coffees (which I always sub with green tea), I was not so lucky last night.  I’ve been picking up the tab of the vehicle in line behind me pretty regularly, so I’m hoping good karma comes my way and I win a vehicle before Roll Up the Rim is over…positive thinking, right?!

Spicy Chicken Veggie Soup

This is what I ate for dinner tonight:

I took this pic with my Blackberry; no ever said I should be a photographer.

It was delicious.  It also fits Cycle 1 of the 17 Day Diet, which I have been following lately.  I ate two bowls full with about 1/2 cup of fat-free cottage cheese and an apple.  I know that the 17 Day Diet says I am not supposed to eat fruit after 2 pm, but I don’t care.  I sometimes eat more than 2 pieces of fruit in a day too.  I am such a rebel.

Here is how I made the soup:

I sprayed a baking tray with EVOO using my new Misto Oil Sprayer, and then sprinkled Mrs. Dash Chicken onto 3 large chicken breasts before baking at 350 for about an hour.  While the chicken was baking, I went for a run.  My house did not burn down, and I wasn’t even a little bit worried that it would.
When I came home, I took the chicken out of the oven and let it rest to cool a little.
I chopped up:
3 large carrots
5 celery stalks
1 white onion
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
I threw all of the veggies in a soup pot with a spray of EVOO, and cooked over med-low heat until the veggies were a bit soft (I tossed the veggies in the pot as I chopped them, but I’d say it was about 10-15 min total).
Then I chopped the chicken breasts, and added 3 Tetra Paks of Campbell’s No Salt Added Chicken broth, 2 Tetra Paks of Knorr Vegetable broth and a can of Aylmer Accents Spicy Red Pepper tomatoes.  I sprinkled in a dash each of Sage and Thyme, then added a packet of Old El Paso Smart Fiesta low sodium Fajita mix and 3 bay leaves.  I let the soup simmer on low for about an hour before I dished it up to eat.  Like I said earlier – it was delicious!
What I love most about soup is that I can make a giant pot, eat some, freeze some for quick meals at a later date, and leave a bit in the pot in my fridge to reheat for the next day or two.  All of those meals from less than 1/2 an hour of actual work.  Soup is my friend.

Baked Salmon with Agave Nectar

This is a delightful recipe that I “nutriti-a-fied” to fit with the 17 Day Diet.  You can see the original here.  I had beautiful intentions of taking a picture of my dinner last night, but my camera batteries are dead, and for the life of me I cannot find the charger.  Some day soon – I promise.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of Agave Nectar
2 tbsp soy sauce*
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
black pepper (4-5 turns of the pepper mill)
1 Salmon fillet*

Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish.  Combine other ingredients in a measuring cup or small dish and whisk together.  Pour over salmon, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Turn salmon about 1/2 way through.  Pre-heat oven to 400 ° and cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes (time will depend upon the thickness of your fish).  When the salmon flakes easily with a fork, you will know it is done. Makes 5-7 servings, depending on how hungry you are!

The Verdict:  Rob and I both LOVE this recipe, and it is super duper easy to make; he even cooks it once in a while!  It goes well with any vegetable, but my favourite is roasted asparagus with balsamic vinaigrette and a side salad.  Delicious!

* I try to use lower sodium soy sauce.  We have read all of the labels in our supermarket, and even the “Low sodium” versions are pretty high in salt.  China Lily is the brand we found with the lowest sodium content, but it still has 570mg/tbsp.  If I find a brand with lower sodium I will give it a try. 

* The original recipe calls for 1lb of salmon, but I use a whole fillet of Atlantic Salmon that looks like this:

This is a picture of TWO fillets for those of you who are confused.  If you are going to use both fillets, I would double the recipe.  Just a thought.

 

I am confident you could use salmon steaks instead with lovely results, but I’ve never tried it myself.  The skin on the fish actually freaks me out a little bit.  I fully realize that is ridiculous, you don’t have to tell me.

Chicken Soup for the 17 Day Dieter’s Soul

I promised recipes, and since I’m doing Cycle 1 of The 17 Day Diet, I figure that it sorta makes sense to start there.  One major change we’ve made with our cooking is to use low or no sodium products when possible.  Usually we find this doesn’t actually make a big difference in taste – especially when we use other spices to punch up flavour.

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Except for baking the chicken, I did everything in one pot.

Bake 3 chicken breasts at 350° for around 35 min (I think – it might have been longer.  I actually did this the night before since I needed chicken for something else, then just chopped it and put it in the fridge for next day’s soup.)  I usually sprinkle with a salt-free seasoning like Mrs. Dash Chicken.

Saute chopped onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms and garlic in a tiny bit of Olive Oil (I’d say it was around 10 min by the time everything was chopped and tossed in the pot)

Toss in some chopped purple cabbage and let it cook until slightly wilted (probably 3-5 minutes).  I used about 1/4 of a small head since I had it on hand for something else and wanted to try purple instead of green, which I had used before.

Add broth (I used 2 Tetra Packs each of Kitchen Basics unsalted Chicken / Vegetable broth) and a can of diced tomatoes (I used 28oz can of Alymer No Salt Added).

Add chicken breast pieces and additional spices (I used a shake of Sage, two shakes of Thyme and a very small handful of dried Basil.  It tasted boring, so I added a packet of Old Elpaso Smart Fiesta reduced salt taco seasoning).

Simmer on low for a minimum of 15-20 minutes, up to an hour or more if you’d like.

The Verdict:  I’ll admit it:  I’m a title writing recipe misleader.  This chicken vegetable soup recipe concoction wasn’t awesome.  It wasn’t terrible, either, and maybe someone can learn something from it, so I’m posting it anyway.  It tasted alright, but both Rob and I agree that something was a little odd.  It certainly wasn’t anything so special that it nurtured my soul.  Sorry to deceive you – I just wanted you to read my very first recipe post.  I was already a little sad that the soup wasn’t amazing; I didn’t also want to be sad that no one was reading my first recipe post.  Plus I was kind of proud of the clever title, which I basically picked out before I even made the stupid soup.

Enough with my whining/groveling – let’s talk about what was up with the soup.  I have made virtually identical soups before that tasted fabulous, so why was this one weird?  Hmmm…excellent question – let’s figure it out!  I am pretty darn amazing, and my Grandma is basically the Queen of soup…so most of the time my soup concoctions are delightful creations.  Once before, though, I did make a beef vegetable soup that had the same “odd” quality.  What do these two soups have in common, you ask?  Two things:  they both had mushrooms, which I don’t usually put into veggie type soups, and they both used the Kitchen Basics Vegetable broth.  The odd flavour could be one of these things, or a combination of the two…but I tend to think it’s the veggie broth.  It’s darker than other veggie broths I’ve used in the past, and it had a slightly different smell as well.  Again, not bad, just odd.  I usually don’t care what brand of broth I buy (aside from the low sodium part), but maybe I will start paying more attention from here on out.

While it wasn’t a big hit flavour-wise, the soup was pretty filling.  The chicken pieces add protein, and all the veggies keep it thick enough to be a satisfying meal.  I would make this soup again, but I would try a different vegetable broth, or perhaps go with straight chicken broth instead.  If you give it a shot and come up with something tasty, please let me know what you did differently to make it that way!