(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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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.)

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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A little extra work goes a long way: Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Sandwiches

Pesto stuffed chicken sandwich on a six inch whole wheat sub bun

Every now and then, I crave a good sandwich. But since I’ve pretty much sworn off of most deli meats due to the high sodium levels, I’ve not had many sandwiches as of late. We had some chicken in the fridge a couple of weeks ago, so I looked in the cupboards to see what I could do. I could just make a sliced chicken sandwich, a grilled cheese with chicken on it or even a chicken salad sandwich, but I’m not a huge fan of that last one, either. But all of these had me thinking, “Ho, hum, boring.”

Even a Chicken Club sandwich wasn’t giving me much excitement.

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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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COMPARISON: Smart Ones breakfast sandwich vs homemade

A box of Smart Ones English muffin breakfast sandwiches.Recently, I’ve reviewed a couple of frozen meals, but I thought I’d switch it up a bit today and compare two products today instead of just giving you my random, meandering thoughts on what I thought of the frozen meal in question.

Today, I’m going to compare a frozen meal with the nearly identical product made from scratch, specifically made with ‘lighter’ ingredients. The frozen meal in question is Weight Watchers “Smart Ones” English Muffin Sandwich. I like these because they’re easy enough to throw in the freezer at work and to toss into the microwave on morning break (I’m one of those freaks who can’t eat immediately after getting up in the morning).

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