Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2 Quick Chicken Dinners for 1

Dinner for one again tonight!  
My husband hit the rocks in Nevada for a weekend of climbing while I sat behind my laptop and typed away at my paper.  Although I was sad to be alone for the weekend, I really appreciated that he 1) got to go play and 2) I had time to focus (FOOOOOOO----CUSSSSS)!  I made progress, so that is what counts. With that said I did not want to make a big meal, but it's important for me to eat something healthy.  Need to fuel the brain with the good stuff or I just crash!  I headed out to the grill and cooked up 2 chicken breasts to inspire the following dishes.

Spinach & Chicken Salad
2 cups baby spinach
1 Tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
3 oz grilled chicken breast, thinly sliced
1/4 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 sweet onion (Texas 1500, Maui or Vidalia), thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 lime, juiced
1 Tbsp thyme (can use parsley or basil, too)
Sea salt, to taste

Plate spinach and top with goat cheese.  Top with chicken slices.
In a skillet, saute onion and bell pepper, add in dressing for 1 minute and pour over salad. Serve!

Monday Night Chicken (Round 2 for grilled chicken breast)
2 baby cukes, quartered lengthwise
1/4 yellow bell pepper, thick sliced
1/4 cup hummus
3 oz chicken breast, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp parsley
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lime, juiced
1 pita bread, heated on a cast iron skillet or griddle

Plate cukes, peppers, and hummus (for dipping).  In a skillet, reheat chicken breast in olive oil.  Toss in parsley and lime juice.  Serve along side veggies, hummus, and pita bread for a quick and simple (yet delicious) dinner for one!

Cheers!  Now, it's time for a glass of wine and a chance to unwind a bit.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Buyer Beware

I'll admit that I am a bit of a nerd at the grocery store. I meander the aisles looking for new products to explore, taste, try, and yes--scrutinize. Food companies love to entice the buyer, which is fabulous marketing practices, but it can come at a cost. If you are not a savvy shopper you may be paying the price in your waist line if you are not careful.  Two products I saw today would have many scratching their heads.  So things to watch:

1. Calories per SERVING
2. Servings per container
3. Know how many servings you are going to eat and calculate what you will take in

Buyer beware:
photo source: http://www.taipeifood.com/products/index.html

Tai Pei's Asian Take Out boxes--all the same size and many with different servings per container.
Beef & Broccoli--170 Calories per SERVING with 2.5 servings per container = 425 Calories / container
Szechuan Chicken--150 Calories per serving with 3 servings per container = 450 Calories / container
Orange Chicken--210 Calories per serving with 2.5 servings per container = 525 Calories / container
Sweet & Sour Shrimp--230 Calories per serving with 2.5 servings per container = 575 Calories/container

Photo source: http://www.planters.com/varieties/harvest.aspx 
Planter's New Harvest Nuts--be aware that the serving size is 1/4 cup (that's 1/2 of an applesauce cup) and the servings per containers also vary.
Pistachio Grove--160 Calories per serving, 10 servings per container = 1600 Calories / bag
Dark Chocolate Forest Blend--170 Calories per serving, 8 servings per container = 1360 Calories / bag
Almond Orchard--150 Calories per serving, 9 servings per container = 1350 Calories / bag
Almonds--160 Calories per serving, 11 servings per container = 1760 Calories / bag
Cashews--160 Calories per serving, 15 servings per container = 2400 Calories / bag (WOW!)

I have numerous clients that tell me that they healthily snack on nuts throughout the day or they healthily choose trail mix as a snack. Yes, nuts are healthy, but watch your portions closely.  You can quickly overindulge.  With such creative names it's tempting to buy these creatively labeled foods.  If you do, be sure to come home and break out your measuring cup.  Measure out 1/4 cup and place that in a baggie or container so you know how much you are consuming (and not over-consuming).

Another favorite of mine are pot pies...do you eat a 1/2 or a whole?  Check out the labels so you know just what you are "supposed" to eat.

Do you have a favorite food find or a label to scrutinize?  If so, please share!

Venison Ragu

After a long weekend away it felt wonderful to come home and cook!  Perhaps I am strange, but I really do prefer a home cooked meal over eating out.  Granted, there are times when I am not in the mood and crave the simplicity of having someone else prepare me a meal--like a sushi chef!

My cupboards are pretty bare, but I do have some great stand-bys: pasta & pasta sauce!  I opted for venison ragu over fettuccine.  Why venison?  Because I have ample in my freezer from my fabulous nephews.  Venison is much leaner than beef and a great source of protein.  For 3oz of ground venison it is only ~160 Calories.  For more nutrition information check out this link:  http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/lamb-veal-and-game-products/4813/2

Venison Ragu
1 lb ground venison
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes (I like a kick!)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 jar pasta sauce (your choice, but I love Newman's Own Sockarooni)
8 oz mushrooms, quartered
1 lb pasta

  1. In a heavy skillet brown venison.  
  2. Add in seasonings: garlic powder, chili pepper flakes, oregano, and bay leaves
  3. Add mushrooms and stir
  4. Pour in sauce and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, bring a stock pot full of water up to a boil and add in 1 tsp of salt
  6. Cook pasta according to package directions
  7. Drain pasta and immediately toss in with ragu sauce
  8. Serve with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Beet Kick Continues!

The hubby and I spent a romantic Easter weekend at SE San Diego Hotel--very shi shi, almost too much for him.  :)  We did a have a nice "connection" weekend.  The restaurant at the hotel is Suite & Tender and it is very nice.  Although, don't go there expecting portions beyond petite!  I enjoyed it because it meant that we could try many things! Between the four of us (we shared dinner with our very dear friends, Kathie & Paul) we had:

  • Butternut Squash Soup--really tasty
  • Beet Salad (I'm on a kick)--yummy, but I can make it the same at home and for much less $
  • Fried Rock Shrimp--our favorite appetizer
  • Raw bar selections--fresh
  • Red Snapper w/Spanish twist--really flavorful
  • Salmon--decent, but I can make it better (so said my hubby)
  • Scallops & Venison--TINY!  
  • Apple Pie--devine!  Great pastry crust!!!
  • Ricotta Cheesecake w/ blood orange/pomegranate sorbet--ooooo la la, really tasty sorbet!
  • Chocolate Truffle Cake--nice hint of Mexican chocolate
The experience was great and the hotel is definitely a stylish & chic environment. 

Needless to say when we got home today we were not craving a big dinner (to say the least).  So, I grilled up top sirloin steaks (seasoned w/Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, S&P--yes that is it), a beet salad (recipe to follow), sourdough bread, and fresh strawberries for "dessert." Happy Happy!  It was an enjoyable and blessed Easter!

Beet Salad
2 beets, boil for 25 minutes or until fork tender w/ skin on and then peel + slice
1 oz herbed goat cheese, crumbled
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1 slice red onion, just enough for color
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Juicing It Up: Great start to the morning

With my veggies in hand and my juicer in my peripheral I begin to plan my morning shot of vitamins & minerals (plus, it tastes great!) This morning I have a little of "this" and a little of "that," but enough to throw it all together and get a decent dose of veggies. Generally, I discourage clients from drinking fruit juices unless they need excess calories, but if you keep the portions small (1/2 cup to 3/4 cup or 4 to 6oz) juices can fit into your diet. I prefer the vegetable kinds to take in ample vitamins & minerals without all of the excess calories. Vegetable juices range from 50 to 120 Kcals per 6oz.  Here is what I whipped up for breakfast this morning:

5 carrots (they weren't the huge kind)
1 baby cuke
1 lime (peeled)
8 strawberries
1/4 cup blueberries (all I had left)

Made ~12 oz

Served this with an egg sandwich:
1 English muffin
1 slice Pepper Jack cheese
1 soy-sausage
1 egg

This took me about 10 minutes to prepare and now I am out the door to meet with clients!  I hope you have a fabulous day!  Eat more veggies!  
Wendy Jo