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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The comfort burger: a Meatloaf Burger

Meatloaf Burger on a whole wheat bun with some Monterrey Jack cheese and lettuce

Sometimes, you just want a burger. Last week, I was craving burgers so much that I almost caved and went to McDonald’s. *shudders* No. No. I’ve sworn off of that place, honest! I think in the last year, I’ve been there only once. Maybe twice. I’m trying to divorce myself from certain places that I know are just  bad news for me.

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Healthy food at work!

Three lunch containers with Shepherd's Pie, a salad and pureed tomato soup with baguette crackers.

It’s so hard to eat well at work sometimes. The cafeteria and fast food options are always the quickest and easiest, it seems, so sometimes it’s easy to forget about having a good, balanced meal at work. But a little bit of planning on the weekend might help through the week, if you’re lucky! See the image above? This was my lunch at work today. In fact, I’m just finishing up the soup now. (Sorry that the image is a bit blurry but by the time I realized, most of the food had already been devoured!)

Make-ahead meals are not only better on your pocketbook, but also on your morning prep and your waistline. I sometimes find it hard to plan my day’s meals nutrition-wise if I know I’m going to grab “something” at the cafeteria later because I didn’t have the foresight or time to pack something before work.

Today’s lunch consisted of things I prepared this weekend. Let’s take a look at each one and how easy it was to make each one…

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Rediscovering deli meat

A deli turkey sandwich on whole wheat toasted bread.Since I’ve been on this new low-carb, low-sugar, low-sodium kick, I’ve been avoiding deli meat like the plague. Why? Primarily due to the sodium levels.

Looking at some of the nutritional values for deli turkey or Black Forest ham was a bit of a shocker. Some of them were boasting 400+ mg of sodium for a single slice of meat.

I mourned the loss of one of my old favourites from my meal plan but I really couldn’t justify having deli meat sandwiches if the sodium levels would fill up my day’s worth of sodium in two sandwiches.

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Low-carb adventures: A new spin on Shepherd’s Pie (sweet potato-style!)

A bowl full of Shepherd's Pie made with ground chicken and sweet potatoI come from an English-Irish upbringing. Shepherd’s Pie was a bit of a staple in our house when I was growing up. You know, that English-Irish-Scottish-whatever type of casserole designed to use up leftovers? I’m not talking about the traditional one that’s done with a lamb mince.

I’m talking about the kind that your mom would whip up with the leftover mashed potatoes and veggies from the night before with some seasoned ground beef because it was a) economical and b) the only way she’d get the kids (you) to eat leftovers. 😉

Needless to say, I love Shepherd’s Pie, or at least the North American version of it. The only problem is, I don’t make it too often because we try to limit how often we’re eating red meat (especially of the ground persuasion) and with the starchy potatoes, it’s not exactly the healthiest of dishes.

Not wanting to give it up entirely in my quest to eat healthy, I had a bit of an epiphany. I had some sweet potatoes in the cupboard and ground chicken in the fridge that needed to be cooked up; why not do some substitutions? I had no idea how it would turn out, but here’s what I did.

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Low-carb adventures: Homemade chicken sausage patties

A breakfast plate of chicken sausages, an egg, half of an English muffin and some raspberries.As previously mentioned, I’m trying to watch my eating habits a bit more than I have in the recent past but I’ve found myself craving my old stand-bys. So this was a recipe I tried out of a craving for sausage. I had some ground chicken in the fridge and figured I’d give it a go. Surely, this would also mean the sausages would be lower in sodium, as they’re not pre-processed.

These are based on Rachel Ray’s Chicken Sausage Patties recipe on the Food Network’s website. The only adjustment I made was instead of pan-frying them, I popped them in my George Foreman grill for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through (as mine cooks hotter on the top than the bottom for some reason, so one side gets brown faster than the other).

Pop over to the Food Network’s site to check out the recipe. Hers says it makes up to 12 patties. I somehow got 15. And the nutrition values below are per patty.

I definitely give this one the two-thumbs up!

Nutrition Info

Serving: 1 patty

Calories: 112
Carbs: 2g
Fat: 5g
Protein: 15g
Sodium: 166mg
Sugars: 1g

Homemade marinara sauce

A bowl of homemade marinara sauce sits next to a plate of appetizers.For our New Year’s Eve night in, I realized that I had forgotten to pick up a jar of marinara sauce, so I set out to make my own. I had seen a recipe for marinara sauce a long time ago and remembered it for the most part. Sadly, I no longer remember where I saw it. So I had to wing it. Here’s what I did. Continue reading