(Not Your Grandma’s) Chicken (or Turkey) Salad Sammy

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With Christmas festivities behind us, I’ll admit now that I’m feeling rather blaaaaaaah. All that rich food, things that I don’t normally eat, has wreaked havoc on my body. I need to get back on-program. Sure, tonight, we’ve got an evening of filo and puff-pasty hors d’oeuvres, wine and junk food, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat well prior to that and follow up with that in the new year.

Last night, we swung by the grocery store to pick up food for the next week and food for tonight’s festivities. Sure, hubby and the kitties and I are staying in, but we’ve got Season 3 of The Walking Dead sitting here, as well as Thor 2 — neither of which we’ve seen yet, so we’re going to have a fantastic night of superheroes and zombehs! 🙂

Where was I? Oh yes, food. So I picked up some of the usual suspects such as mini spanikopitas and sausage roll bites, but we also picked up a few of the Presidents Choice line of finger foods, which I will probably write up a review for later. But then I thought, “What? Are we going to eat hors d’oeuvres for days??” So I grabbed an econo-pack of ground beef and the fixings for tacos, as well as two pre-cooked chickens and some fresh veggies and bread from the bakery section.

So when I wanted breakfast (brunch at this hour, I guess?) I stared at the options and considered what would be a good energy booster without anything too heavy. Then it hit me: chicken salad sandwich!! Now, I was never a big fan of chicken salad sandwiches when I was a kid. Everyone tended to make them with chicken and mayo and not much else. It just tasted like mayo-covered goopy stuff to me. So I figured, why not add some texture and flavour?

Here’s what I did…
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Festive “Confetti” Breakfast Hash – Using Up Holiday Leftovers

So, we’re a few days after Christmas festivities and boy, do I have a lot of leftovers. For the most part, it’s a little baggie of this and a small container of that, mostly leftover from the veggie, meat & cracker trays I made for my Mom’s dinner on Christmas Day. Today, I was hungry and knew that some toast and peanut butter wasn’t going to “do it” for me, so I started taking stock of what I had in the fridge and freezer. Here’s what I found:

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First days of Winter call for “Empty Your Fridge” Soup

emptythefridgesoupWinter is coming…

I’ve actually only seen the first season of Game of Thrones but I thought this statement was appropriate. Last week, I was wearing just a fleece sweater to work, occasionally with a light scarf. This week, I was wearing the same sweater but with my winter coat and those little stretchy gloves. But no hat. Not yet. That’s just crazy talk. 😉

We’ve started seeing some flurries on and off and with the first signs of winter settling in, I start craving comfort foods such as Shepherd’s Pie (or Cottage Pie, really, as we use ground beef, not lamb, but my family has always called it Shepherd’s Pie), stews, casseroles and soups. So, I got up this morning and started rummaging around in the fridge to see what I could throw together to get that going.

What I came up with was really “a little bit of this, a little bit of that”. I had a few stalks of celery that were just starting to get rubbery (just barely). I’ve got half a bag of large carrots taking up some space in the crisper. Oh, about a cup of shredded cabbage that needed to be used or tossed soon… some dredges of minced garlic in the bottom of the jar on the door of the fridge… a leftover baked chicken breast… a part box of beef broth… half of a red onion and half or maybe one quarter of a white onion…

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Leftovers Breakfast Idea: Tex-Mex Omelette

Tex-Mex Omelette on a plate.

Okay, so this dish doesn’t look like much. Admittedly, it kind of fell apart in the pan on me. Probably a little too much filling. But hey, it was breakfast, I was half-asleep and I was very hungry. I didn`t care how it looked, so long as it tasted good.

And it really did.

The point of sharing this? That breakfast doesn’t have to take a lot to throw together. Just grab some leftovers from the night before, fry ’em up and throw in the egg to make an omelette out of it. For this one, I used some of the leftover fajita filling, a bit more seasoning (for the egg) and a bit of cheese. You could take it a step further and serve this with salsa and sour cream on the side, too, depending on how spicy the meat mixture is, your tastes, etc.

Frankly, I was too hungry to get that fancy.

And despite it looking like the dog’s dinner, it was very, very tasty and satisfying.

What do you put in your omelettes? I’m always looking for new ideas!

A different type of Club Sammy: Chicken Club Wrap with Turkey Bacon

The finished product: club wrap cut and shifted so you can see the filling inside.

I love club sandwiches.

I mean, what’s not to love? Chicken, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo… and lots of toasted bread. If you’re like me and you’re trying to cut back on your carbs, those three slice of toast might seem like a bit  much. As a result, I started omitting the middle slice, even in restaurants. Not only that, but although I enjoy toast, I found that club sandwiches have always been messy — not because of the fillings but because of the crumbs! LOL.

This is where flour tortillas and an indoor grill has really come in handy. I really like reinventing old favourites and I really enjoy trying to find ways to cut a few calories, carbs, fat, sodium and sugars where I can. So, I turned a classic club sandwich into a wrap. The changes I made include:

  • the wraps were made of whole wheat or multigrain flour tortillas
  • light mayo was used instead of full fat mayo
  • the cheese was shredded to use less (I’m not a fan of light cheddar, so I try to cut back on the amount of regular cheddar I use)
  • the bacon was low sodium turkey bacon

I made this on the weekend for my mom and she fell in love with the sandwich so much at lunch time that she said she was considering asking for another one for dinner! She had never had a grilled wrap before and so she commented that she really preferred the grilled version over a “raw” wrap. I agree with her, really. The grilling just changes the texture and taste ever so subtly. I might even whip a few of these up ahead of time, grill them off and throw them in the fridge, then just reheat them in the microwave at work this week. 🙂

Take a look at the spread on this wrap before I bundled it up:

All the fixings spread out on a flour tortilla for a club wrap.

Does that not look yummy? This is a great way of using up leftover chicken from the previous night’s dinner. What’s not to love about this wrap??

Warning: this is higher in sodium at just over 700mg of sodium. You can cut back on that sodium by finding a lower sodium tortilla, choosing a light cheese and even cutting the mayo out. But I enjoy mayo and as mentioned, I’m not a fan of light cheddar. I’ll run with it. All told, here are the nutritional values based on the sandwich pictured above:

Calories: 412
Carbs: 31g
Fat: 23g (you can cut back on this with the cheese and mayo alone, as these add up to 14g on their own)
Protein: 20g
Sodium: 786mg
Sugars: 2g

Considering this wrap is very filling (to me), these values are more than acceptable to me. I find I can eat one of these sandwiches and be satisfied until my next meal. Some people will make “club wraps”  (or sandwiches) with deli chicken meat — I don’t recommend if it you’re wanting to cut back on sodium. It’s tasty, but when possible, go for regular baked chicken to cut back on that sodium. An ounce of a plain, baked chicken breast has negligible sodium in it; 3 slices of deli chicken can have 600-800mg in them. You can also cut back on the sodium by only using one slice of turkey bacon — I used 1.5 slices this time. If you’re not worried about sodium, then make it how you like it! 🙂

If you have an indoor grill that grills both sides at the same time, at 360F, this sandwich should be done in about 3 minutes. If your grill only does one side at a time or you only have a grill pan for the stove, grill the wrap for 3 minutes  per side, placing another heavy pan on top to help flatten it. Don’t have a grill or a grill pan? Use a non-stick pan. But the grill really makes a pretty sandwich. Just look at those grill marks:

Club wrap just coming off the grill with nice grill marks.

(And  no, I didn’t use any non-stick spray. It just grilled up nicely like that, as my grill is pretty non-stick.)

Potato-Overload Leftover Makeover: Tuna Veggie Patties

Tuna veggie patty on a white plate.

I don’t know about you, but I have a horrible time judging how many potatoes to cook, even for just two people. I always end up cooking too many, or find myself wishing I had cooked up more — though I tend to err on the side of caution and the old family motto of better to have too much rather than not enough!

This week, I found myself in this very predicament. I had two bags of mini white potatoes and thought, “I’ll just cook them all up!” Well, that’s about 2 lbs of potatoes. For two people, I really should have been thinking this through a little bit. We couldn’t possibly get through all those potatoes and still have the rest of the leftovers (chicken, veggies, etc.). So, yesterday, I found myself staring at about a pound or so of cooked potatoes and nothing to go with them, as the rest of the meal components had already been devoured.

What on earth was I going to do with these potatoes?

I had a revelation while at work: Mom used to make us salmon-potato patties for breakfasts on the weekends sometimes with canned salmon. Now, as I’ve likely said before, I’m not a seafood/fish fan, but I can eat canned tuna or canned salmon. I always have cans of low sodium tuna in the pantry. Salmon, not so much — I really get grossed out picking out all the icky bits in salmon, so I tend not to buy it. I’m very particular about salmon — it can’t have any of those little bits in it (you know the stuff). Anyway,  I digress. I got thinking: why not do the same thing but with tuna???

I also had some uncooked veggies in the crisper that were needing to get used up soon before they went bad, so I decided to put my own twist on these. Mom’s were always salmon and potato with salt and pepper for seasoning. She may have even added onion to hers, but I don’t really recall. That was a lonnnnng time ago! And seeing as I can’t eat onion right now, I was looking for other ways to spruce these patties up. So here’s what I did…

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Making menus

spinachberrysalad-turkeysausage

This was my breakfast yesterday: spinach and berry walnut salad with light feta cheese and a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette next to a baked turkey sausage patty.

I posted this to Facebook and people raved about how good it looked. Then I shared a secret: I didn’t make the  salad myself, nor the sausage. They were pre-made at the stores. The salad was from Metro. I just added the feta and dressing (which I did make myself with some olive oil and raspberry balsamic vinegar). The turkey sausage patty was bought at (of all places) Walmart and baked for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven (flipping over once halfway through). I could have made these from scratch, yes.

But sometimes, you just want something quick and easy. With buying the pre-made (but fresh versions of these) foods, it makes meal-making pretty quick and easy. This post isn’t about short-cuts — though I encourage you to make whatever short-cuts you wish or to make everything from scratch if you so wish. No, this post is more about menu-making, to help my friend out. 🙂

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