Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lunches That Say "Eat Me" Without Your Waist Saying "NOOO!!!"

Hello Dear Readers!

I hope all your Halloweens were safe and full of joy. We gave away the large sized candy to the little kids and you should have seen the way their eyes lit up and grew to the size of saucers when we showed them the box full of the goods. One little girl, not much older than 4, was so enamored with us that she decided to stick around for a couple minutes and tell us some of her favorite things, such as pink and purple being her favorite color.

Well, it rained over on our end so we still have a full box of large sized candy and a whole bag of mini candy left! To resist chomping them all down, here is a weeks worth of lunches that will satisfy your tummy and your taste buds! I'm a big believer that lunch should be the heaviest meal that you eat during the day. Breakfast should be there to wake you up and power you through till lunch but lunch is powering you for a lot longer during the day. Dinner should be definitely lighter than lunch since you are not doing anything in the evening (unless you are a super hero by night then feel free to take a lighter lunch and a heavier dinner to help you crime fight through the night). A heavy dinner means food just sits in your stomach while you sleep. You don't require all those calories to boost you while you sleep!

Day 1: Chicken Breast with Balsamic Vinegar and Garlic 

Servings: 4
Hint: Make the chicken and mushrooms the night before so the only thing you have to do during lunch is boil the pasta!

Ready in: 30 minutes (total)
Day Of (pasta only): 10 minutes

Nutrition (1 serving of chicken; add in pasta calories if used): 265 kcal; Cholesterol: 76mg; Fiber: 1.1g; Sodium: 106mg; Carbohydrates: 9.7g; Fat: 11.5g; Protein: 30.7g

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (portabello recommended)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Your pasta of choice (calories from pasta are not included in nutrition area)
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Rinse the mushrooms and pat dry. Season the flour with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute the chicken until it is nicely browned on one side (about 3 minutes).
  2. Add the garlic. Turn the chicken breasts and scatter the mushrooms over them. Continue frying, shaking the skillet and stirring the mushrooms. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, broth, bay leaf and thyme. Cover tightly and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter and cover with foil. Set aside. Continue simmering the sauce, uncovered, over medium high heat for about 7 minutes. Swirl in the butter or margarine and discard the bay leaf. Pour this mushroom sauce mixture over the chicken and serve.

Day 2: Shrimp Stir Friend with Snow Peas and Garlic

Servings: 4
Hint: Prepare all the ingredients the night before by placing ingredients in little baggies and containers to easily add into pan while cooking. It is premeasured and separated! The day of, all you do is cook!

Ready in (as long as you prepped the night before): 10 minutes

Nutrition: 207 kcal; Cholesterol: 173mg; Fiber: 1.3g; Sodium: 2172mg; Carbohydrates: 7.8g; Fat: 7.8g; Proetin: 24.7

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspooons rice wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 6 ounches snow peas, strings removed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • Rice (not included in nutritional information)
  1. In a large bowl, stir salt into water until dissolved. Add shrimp, and set aside 5 minutes. Rinse shrimps, and dry on paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together broth, rice wine, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Cook shrimp, turning constantly, until pink on all sides, about 1 minute. Stir in garlic, ginger, and 2 teaspoons oil. Stir in snow peas, chives, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir-fry 1 minute more.
  4. Stir broth mixture into skillet, and continue cooking until sauce thickens. Serve immediately.

Day 3: Chicken Pesto Paninis

Servings: 4
Note: The calories for the original recipe are fairly high, but I have included some alternatives that a fellow reader has provided to make this healthier :) Do not be deterred. Also, have the chicken precooked if you decide to go with this option on the meat. This is super yummy!

Ready In: Less than 20 minutes if you don't grill all four paninis!

Nutrition: 641 kcal; Cholesterol: 61mg; Fiber: 4.4g; Sodium: 1076mg; Carbohydrates: 60.9; Fat: 29.4g; Protein: 32.4g

  • 1 focaccia bread, quartered
  • 1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
  • 1 cup diced cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  1. Preheat a panini grill.
  2. Slice each quarter of focaccia bread in half horizontally. Spread each half with pesto. Layer bottom halves with equal amounts chicken, bell pepper, onion, and cheese. Top with remaining focaccia halves, forming 4 sandwiches.
  3. Grill paninis 5 minutes in the preheated grill, or until focaccia bread is golden brown and cheese is melted.
Healthier Options For This Recipe:
  1. Use 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of Classico jarred pesto.
  2. Use sliced turkey instead of chicken or use a rotisserie chicken that is precooked.
  3. Use Mozzarella rather than Monterey Jack to reduce fat and calories.
  4. You don't have to use focaccia just any for of sturdy bread.

Day 4: Grilled Roasted Red Pepper and Ham Sandwich


Servings: 1
Hint: To cut down the calories, use a light mayo and a lighter bread to make this sandwich. Also, rather than making a full sandwich, make half a sandwich and eat a salad on the side or a bowl of tomato soup! :) Be sure to cut the calories in half if you decide to half the sandwich. The nutrition is for the full sandwich.

Ready In: 15 minutes

Nutrition (1 full sandwich):  551 kcal; Cholesterol: 84mg; Fiber: 1.9g; Siudm: 1749mg; Carbohydrates: 32.1g; Fat: 35.1; Protein: 27.1g

  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise or condiment of your choice
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 thin slices ham
  • 1/2 roasted red pepper packed in oil, drained and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
  1. Spread mayonnaise onto one side of each slice of bread. On one slice of bread, place one slice of provolone cheese, then ham, red peppers, and the other slice of cheese. Top with the other slice of bread with the mayonnaise facing the filling. Butter the outsides of the sandwich, and sprinkle a little bit of Parmesan cheese onto the butter.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat until warm. Fry the sandwich on both sides until golden brown and cheese is melted. If you have an indoor grill, this sandwich may be grilled that way also. Cut the sandwich in half, and serve.

Day 5: Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

Servings: 8
Note: You can use any type of light fish for this recipe.

Ready In: 15 minutes

Nutrition: 224kcal; Cholesterol: 63mg; Fober: 0.1g; Sodium: 220mg; Carbohydrates: 0.8g; Fat: 12.8g; Protein: 25.4g

  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 pounds tilapia filets
  1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Day 6: Cajun Crawfish and Shrimp Etouffe

Servings: 6
Nice Lousiana Meal!

Ready In: 1 hour 10 minutes

Nutrition: 264kcal; Cholesterol: 196mg; Fiber: 1.4g; Carbohydrates: 9g; Fat: 14g; Protein: 24.9g

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons seafood seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • 1 pound crawfish tails
  • 1 pound medium shrimp- peeled and deveined
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, and stir constantly until the mixture turns 'peanut butter' brown or darker, at least 15 or 20 minutes. I use a large fork with the flat side to the bottom of the pan in a side to side motion. This is your base sauce or 'Roux'. It is very important to stir this constantly. If by chance the roux burns, discard and start over.
  2. Once the roux is browned, add the onions, garlic, celery and bell pepper to the skillet, and saute for about 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and fish stock, and season with the seafood seasoning. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Season the sauce with hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper (if using), and add the crawfish and shrimp. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.

Day 7: Chile Basil Sesame Chicken


Servings: 4-6
This recipe is for the healthy seekers! And its delicious to boot!

Nutrition:  389kcal; Cholesterol: 132mg; Fiber: 1.4g; Sodium: 2370; Carbohydrates: 6.9g; Fat: 13.6g; Protein: 57.1g

  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 whole dried chile peppers, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  1. To Marinate: In a medium nonporous glass dish or bowl combine the soy sauce, chicken broth, olive oil, sesame oil, sesame seeds, chile peppers and basil. Mix well and add chicken. Turn to coat, cover dish or bowl and refrigerate to marinate for up to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat grill to high heat with the grate set 6 inches from the heat source, and lightly oil grate.
  3. Remove chicken from dish, discarding any leftover marinade. Grill chicken over high heat for 7 minutes per side or until cooked through and no longer pink inside.
Recipes compliments of

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