(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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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! 🙂

A COMPARISON: Tuna sandwiches

A side-view of half of a toasted tuna sandwich, loaded with tuna, green onion, lettuce, tomato and light provolone cheese on whole wheat bread.I used to think that a tuna sandwich was a healthy meal choice. In theory, it is. But no two tuna sandwiches are the same, it seems, and some are better for you than others. Admittedly, I am not a big fish-eater, so eating the tuna out of the can without any mayo is a cringe-worthy thought for me. Tuna salad sandwiches are my “thing” and pretty much the only way I get any fish into my diet.

But let’s compare: my old tuna salad sandwich to my new tuna salad sandwich. Both are between two pieces of bread. Both have cheese. Both have butter, lettuce and tomato. One is toasted. One is not. But one of these things is not like the other, so to speak. Let’s have a closer look, shall we?

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Homemade salsa

A bowl of homemade salsaI’m going to give a disclaimer on this one: this does not taste anything like the pre-packaged jars of salsa that you buy in the store. I think I know why, too; I omitted the scads of salt they use.

This is fresh-tasting with a bigger spice-kick than I expected (I generally reach for the mild salsa, so this is probably on the upper limit of mild for most people). You can taste the ingredients, not the salt. I think I prefer it, to be honest.

YMMV, however. Spruce this one up how you like it. Add more or less than what you see and don’t be afraid to experiment. Here’s what  I did:

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Homemade roast rub

An opened mini Mason jar labeled as "Roast Rub" with seasonings inside.I like throwing an eye of round roast into the crockpot on weekends for hubby and I to eat throughout the week. Some people use steak seasoning to season roasts. Others make their own. I like to make my own. Since I make a roast every week or two, I tend to make up extra rub seasoning and put it into mini Mason jars. Here’s what I’ve been using as of late:

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Homemade chili seasoning (mild)

A side view of a small Mason jar with a label that says "Chili Seasoning".Since I’ve been cutting back on my sodium intake, I’ve been finding it challenging to find spots to cut back on salt. I never really used to cook with a ton of salt to begin with — or so I thought. I suppose I should actually say that I never really added extra salt to cooking because it already exists in so many of our foods already!

Take a look at canned tomatoes. While I understand that sodium is used a lot in preserving foods, I know they have cut back on some things, marking them as ‘reduced sodium’ or ‘lower sodium’. So I compared two cans of diced tomatoes of the same brand. For half a cup of the regular brand, it was about 450 mg of sodium, but for the ‘reduced sodium’ can, it was only 25 mg. What a difference!

I didn’t even want to guess how much sodium was in a package of chili seasoning. Too much, I’m supposing. So I scoured the web, took some advice from a few different recipes and came up with my own chili seasoning to cut back on the sodium levels. Keep in mind that this is relatively tame compared to other seasonings, but in higher quantities in the crockpot, it can have a bite. My tastes prefer mild seasonings, so bump up the hotter ingredients if you prefer it spicy!

Here’s what I did:

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