(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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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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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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I’m still here! Honest! Have a curried potato hash. :)

A small plate of curried potato hash with potatoes, onion, bell pepper, celery and turkey bacon.

Sorry I’ve been gone so long! The last few months have been a little crazy but I’m still here, I promise. 🙂

So we’re days away from Christmas. Comfort foods are all around us. I’ve been to several restaurants lately and have been left feeling like a balloon from all the salt. I wanted a tasty breakfast for hubby and I this morning but one without all the salt. So I made a lightly curried potato hash. It’s a bit higher in the carb area because it’s based on potatoes, but you could cut back on that by halving the portion and serving with some fruit, a nice crisp salad or some eggs. The nice thing about breakfast hash is that you can adjust how much you have in a portion simply by serving it as a side rather than the main dish.

It is a bit high in fat — to cut back on that, try cutting back on the butter and oil, maybe trying to use a non-stick spray instead. (I might try that the next time I make this.) The sugars are primarily from the potatoes. The  onions and red peppers have a bit of sugar as well but compared to the potatoes, it’s not too bad.

Here’s what I did…

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Breakfast sammies without egg: turkey bacon & tomato!

Turkey bacon tomato sandwiches

Lately, the tomatoes we’ve been picking up have been absolutely beautiful. There is nothing quite like a toasted tomato sandwich when the tomatoes are fresh and sweet!

Admittedly, I often don’t like scrambled eggs much and get bored with eggs for breakfast if I have too many in a short period of time. I’m also not a fan of cereal. And who has time to make pancakes and such before work?

But a toasted tomato sandwich doesn’t take much time to throw together… or to spruce up. One of my favourite combinations is in the picture above: one slice light provolone cheese, two slices of low sodium turkey bacon, two thick slices of fresh tomato and a leaf of Boston or other leafy lettuce on two slices of whole wheat bread (Weight Watchers), with a touch of unsalted butter (to soften the toast).

DELICIOUS. Filling. Satisfying. It’s great for breakfast or for lunch and it’s nutritious. Omit the butter and cut out most of the fat and about 100 calories. For the sandwich as I make it, the nutritional values are: 346 calories, 24g carbs, 22g fat, 15g protein, 409mg sodium, 3g sugars.

Why stick to a traditional breakfast? I say, eat what is good to you! 🙂

Beef vegetable soup with a kick

Beef vegetable soup with a kick in a white bowl

We’ve had cooler weather as of late, so I’ve been craving more and more soup and stew. After having the hearty goulash soup from the Black Forest Inn upped my cravings for beef soup, specifically one I would consider to be hearty. I already had a large eye of round roast cooking in the slow cooker, so I thought why not use half of that for a soup and slice up the rest for sandwiches?

Then I considered what I wanted in the way of a flavour profile. I knew I wanted something deeper in flavour than usual and maybe something that cleared the old stuffy sinuses a bit. So here’s what I did…

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Lower sodium tuna croquettes

Two golden brown tuna croquettes (tuna cakes) on a plate with corn and baked potatoI think I’ve already said this but I’ll say it again: I do not like fish or seafood as a general rule. It’s true. I wasn’t even much of a frozen fish stick fan when I was a kid. Some of it upsets my stomach. A lot of it throws my texture issues for a loop. And mostly, I can’t stand the smell.

However, one thing I do eat because we had it a lot as a kid and I got a taste for it is canned tuna. Specifically, I enjoy Clover Leaf’s white tuna packed in water. I’m not a fan of all the fancy ones they have out now, like the dill-flavoured ones, jalapeno, lemon and herb and all that jazz. I guess with canned tuna, I’m a bit of a purist.

As I mentioned recently, I found out that Clover Leaf produces a low sodium version of this tuna, so I was pretty pleased with the prospect of looking for it in the grocery store. The difference is 100mg less sodium per half can. Considering half a can is a good-sized sandwich, this is awesome. Instead of 340mg in a whole can, it’s only 140mg for the whole can. And honestly, I can’t taste much of a difference.

Just beware: the flaked can has more sodium than the solid can. Do what I do and read every label.

With that said, I found myself with the prospect of baked potatoes and steamed corn on the cob last night but had no planned protein. Checking the cupboards, I grabbed three of the cans of tuna and thought to myself, “Tuna croquettes!” If you are asking what a croquette is (as I was, when I first heard it), just think (in this case): fried tuna cake. Kind of like a crab cake.

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