Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Diet Wagon

If I drink Slim-Fast for breakfast and then have a
glazed donut with my coffee during my morning break, does it really mean I’ve fallen off the diet wagon? And landed squarely on a big, cushy pile of bakery items?

I’d like to think that all of the fresh veggies from the garden and the Slim-Fast (even though it is the milk-chocolate flavored kind) balance out all of the sweets my co-workers insist on sharing. Sitting in a cube has its disadvantages, like being the one who is located closest to the cabinet where all the goodies are put after meetings! I was doing so good, too: my desk was stocked with organic cereal bars and fruit, a few cans of Slim-Fast just in case I either forgot to pack a healthy lunch or was just too rushed to grab something before leaving the house in the morning.

I need to work on replacing all of the quick stuff (a.k.a. unhealthy, overly-processed fast-food type stuff) in my freezer with some healthier, home-cooked meals for when I am short on time. I used to do this when the kids were younger and my husband and I worked opposite shifts.

Some of the things I prepared extra of and froze were lasagna, tater-tot hotdish and chili. The chili isn’t so bad for you, but I really need to work on finding a few more healthy (and tasty) short cuts to add to my quick-to-cook arsenal.

I’ve been really slacking lately, as far as the home-cooking goes. Frozen pizza and chimichangas are far to enticing in the frozen foods aisle. I know this because I saw a horrible picture of myself taken by my husband a couple of weeks ago. Let’s just say I won’t be sharing that photo on any of my blogs! It was less than flattering.

Here’s my healthy recipe for this week. This is a bare-bones recipe that can be added to however you wish, so have fun!

Crunchy Mandarin Almond Salad With Chicken

1 package ramen noodles, broken apart into small pieces and separated
1 small can Mandarin oranges
½ a head of lettuce, torn or shredded
¼ cup toasted almonds
sesame oil
1 grilled, skinless, boneless chicken breast – cut into strips or bite-sized pieces (or substitute 1 can of cooked chicken)
sliced red onion
Dressing of your choice: a fat free poppy seed or any Asian-inspired dressing you like will do.

Sautee the ramen noodles in hot sesame oil until lightly toasted. Remove noodles from pan and put chicken in the pan to heat through. While chicken is warming, toss toasted ramen noodles with remaining ingredients (except dressing), then top with the chicken immediately before serving.

Here’s a list of additions, if you want to add more:
Dried cranberries
Sunflower seeds
Sesame seeds
Sliced green onion
Sliced red or green cabbage
Chopped bell peppers (any color)
Fresh edemame (baby soybeans in the pod)
Fresh sugar-snap peas
The greatest thing I love about salad is that you can mix together just about any combination of vegetables and it still tastes good :)

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