Satisfy-My-Craving-for-Banana-Peppers Sammich

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All I can think about today is banana peppers. The way their vinegary goodness prickles my tongue makes me swoon. Banana peppers, I must consume you immeds. Solution: a turkey sandwich stacked with layers of vegetabley goodness (and plenty of bp’s, of course.)

I am always on the lookout for bakery bread with the fewest number of ingredients. After all, who wants a paragraph full of preservatives and other shenanigans in their bread? I made this sammy on delicious, soy- and preservative-free six-grain bread with pumpkin seeds, which gives my meal a nice boost of fiber and iron and adds to the turkey’s protein. Avocado laces this lunchtime delight with oleic acid, an omega-9 fat that has been found to lower cholesterol. Avocados, especially those from California, are very high in lutein, an antioxidant that’s great for your eyes, skin and heart. A little spinach and some tomato slices for a burst of vitamins A, C & K polish off this delish & nutrish treat.

Satisfy my Craving Sammich

2 slices toasted wholegrain bread

3 slices natural turkey

1/3 avocado, sliced thin

1/2 heirloom or vine-ripened tomato

a smear of dijon mustard, honey mustard or low-fat mayo (if you must; ew)

banana peppers, pickles or jalepenos–whatever garnishes please your ‘buds!

Chili Chicken Salad

Scrounging for salad ingredients in my pantry and fridge (and sometimes freezer!) always makes for a fun experiment. This salad, with its avocado, roasted corn and spicy chicken, is Mexican-inspired. Take advantage of the warm weather and try grilling your chicken! Or, if you’re cooking it on the stove, steal my boyfriend’s trick of mixing a little olive oil with a plentiful dose of your favourite hot sauce (we like Trader Joe’s chili sauce–it’s smoky and tangy without being over-the-top hot) and cook the chicken in this delish mixture. This salad would be delicious with black beans for some extra protein or as a substitute for the chicken if you don’t eat meat. I added sunflower sprouts, which make a great addition to any salad–they’re crunchy and full of minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.

Ingredients (makes 2 salads):
1 package salad greens
1 package sunflower sprouts
2/3 avocado, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 small or medium tomatoes
2/3 lb. chicken breast
hot sauce and dressing of your choice to taste (I like Annie’s Organic Cowgirl Ranch)

1. Preheat oven to 400ยบ. Wash and dry veggies. Slice tomatoes and avocado.
2. Spread corn onto a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes. You can heat it in the microwave instead to save time, but roasting gives the corn a wonderful flavour.
3. Slice chicken into bite-size pieces and cook. Top greens with corn, chicken, tomato and avocado. Top with a little dressing and enjoy!

Turkey Meatloaf


My boyfriend’s return from a week in California definitely called for a celebration, so I asked myself, “What would Noah want as a welcome-home gift?” One word came to mind: Meat.

Relationships are based on trust, right? So would it be terrible if I DIDN’T tell him that the saturated fat-fest he was looking forward to was not made of beef, but ground turkey breast? The psychology student in me began to wonder: will the role of expectation work in my favour, or will it backfire? Will he be put off by a taste he’s not expecting, or will he be pleasantly surprised? I only had one shot at testing my theory in the meatloaf lab, and tension was running high.

In the end, it didn’t matter; turns out turkey meatloaf has a whitish color after it’s cooked, making it difficult to disguise (which I tried to do anyway with a layer of mashed potatoes spread like frosting atop the loaf-o-meat.) Though he saw right through me, (“Is that…turkey meatloaf?”) I needn’t have worried, cause it turned out to be a delicious experiment!

I also had an experiment going on the mashed potato front. I wanted to come up with a butter substitute that would add flavour and creaminess without all the fat, so I tried mashing them with light sour cream. Not a bad idea, if I do say so myself. Alone, these potatoes are not my proudest invention, but as a topping for the meatloaf, they really shine! I definitely suggest serving them together.

A couple of notes for other first-time turkey meatloaf makers: make sure you buy ground turkey BREAST rather than plain ol’ ground turkey. I almost made this mistake before I realized that ground turkey actually has MORE fat–including the saturated kind–than lean ground beef (presumably because all the fatty parts that you’d pick over at Thanksgiving are thrown into the mix.) Also, when your meatloaf looks ready, cut into the center to test for doneness. The ends of my meatloaf were ready before the center was cooked through, and it’s more difficult to tell if turkey is cooked sufficiently than it is to tell if beef is done. You want it to be white rather than pink, and the center should be about as firm as the edges.

Finally, a note about the time commitment involved: though you’ll probably only spend about 15 minutes actively preparing this meal, the meatloaf will require about an hour in the oven. This is a great meal to make if you’re able to start early; the bake time will give you plenty of time to mark things off your to-do list, play with the kids, browse Healthy Girl for tomorrow’s dinner, whatever. This meatloaf is great reheated for lunch, or served with a gooey egg overeasy on a weekend morning!

Meatloaf:
1.25-1.5 lbs ground turkey breast
1 cup crushed whole wheat crackers (put them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin–it’s extremely satisfying)
2 TBSP worcestershire or A-1
2 TBSP ketchup
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 TBSP parsley flakes, if you have them
2 eggs
a few grinds of kosher salt & fresh pepper

Potatoes:
Approximately 1 lb. of red potatoes
1/2 cup light or fat-free sour cream
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika, if you have it
salt, pepper, & crushed red pepper flakes to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the meatloaf ingredients together using your hands (this will get messy!) and transfer your concoction to a bread pan. I used a glass pan, which requires a longer baking time and I think may have contributed to the middle of my meatloaf taking so long to be done. If you’re using a metal pan, the baking time should be about 50 minutes to an hour; for a glass pan, allow an hour and 15 minutes.
2. Peel your potatoes if you wish (I usually leave the skins on mine.) Chop them up, throw them into a big pot and cover them with about 1″ of water. Cook until they’re easily mashable with the back of a spoon.
3. Mash up your potatoes and add sour cream and spices. Cover the pot to keep your potatoes warm until the meatloaf is done.
4. If kitsch really lights your fire like it does mine, spread your mashed potatoes over your meatloaf like you’re frosting a cake. Decorate the top with ketchup swirlies and serve it to your loved ones.

Leftover Orange Chicken Salad

Leftover entree matter is prime next-day salad material, and I always keep this in mind when I make dinner. Changing up the way you use last night’s dinner keeps things interesting! I always keep a bag or two of mixed greens in the fridge, plus a few other salad staples like a bell pepper, a cucumber and a pint of cherry tomatoes (actually, I suggest keeping your tomatoes OUT of the fridge; they maintain their nutritious qualities much better that way!) I also LOVE raw broccoli in salads and wraps; the flavour is great and the crunchiness is so satisfying!
For this salad, I added my (cold) leftover orange chicken to a big bowl of greens and tossed in orange pepper slices, tomatoes, bean sprouts, green onions, jalepenos, and a handful of slivered almonds. I drizzled a generous portion of the orange-soy sauce mixture over my salad, which served perfectly as a light, delicious dressing! If you’d prefer to use something a little thicker, I’d suggest a soy-ginger vinaigrette or maybe a citrus vinagrette (though some dressings with similar flavours might clash with the flavour of the chicken rather than complementing it.)

Ingredients:
leftover Orange Chicken a la Emma with sauce
salad greens
your favourite veggies!

…I think you get the idea!

Orange Chicken a la Emma


To my delight, my darling friend Emma joined me for a midnight dinner party last night to break up the monotony of my exam week. We agreed to experiment with orange chicken, which neither of us had made before, and it turned out WONDERFULLY! I attribute this dish’s utter deliciousness to her wise and calming presence in the kitchen, so if you have an Emma (or someone like her) I would definitely recommend throwing her into the mix.

Now, we firmly believe in making recipes accessible to everyone, no matter how stocked your pantry may be. There have been plenty of times that I’ve found a good-lookin’ recipe that gets me all excited, only to realize I’m either gonna have to shell out $50 for random stuff I’ll never use again, or make a half-assed version that can’t possibly compete. To prevent this from happening here, we’ve marked the use-if-you-have, but don’t-worry-if-you-don’t ingredients with an *. Let us know how your version turns out, what was awesome and/or what may have been lacking…our final product was thrilling, and I hope yours is too!

P.S. This recipe allows for plenty of leftovers. I’ll let you know what I did with mine tomorrow!
P.P.S. Try this dish with tofu instead of chicken for a vegan delight!

Ingredients (serves 4, plus extra chicken):
2 pounds, 8 oz. frozen chicken tenderloins (boneless & skinless)
1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized trees
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup brown rice (uncooked)

sauce
2 cloves garlic
1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled (you can substitute 1 tsp ground ginger if you have it)
2 green onions, chopped (the white parts are for sauteeing and the green parts are a garnish)*
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar*
1/4 tsp white pepper*
1/2 tsp garlic chili paste or siracha hot sauce (this addition depends on your threshold for heat)*
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 TBSP canola oil
1 TBSP light brown sugar
1 11-oz can mandarin oranges in light syrup (don’t drain–you want the syrup too!)
juice of 1-1/2 oranges (or about 3/4 to 1 cup of store-bought orange juice, depending on how sweet you want your sauce)
zest of 1/2 orange*

garnishes: bean sprouts, crushed red pepper,green onion, orange slices (you can use the remaining 1/2 of an orange that you didn’t juice)

1. Thaw chicken. You can do this by placing it in the fridge for about 6 hours, or submerge the package in a sink full of water for 30-45 minutes. When the tenderloins are thaw, slice them into one-inch cubes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat water for rice and follow directions according to package. It will take about 40 minutes to cook the rice, giving you plenty of time to prepare the rest of the meal.
3. Gather your ingredients, wash & dry your produce, and chop up your garlic & veggies. Steam the broccoli and peppers in a steaming basket, or covered in a frying pan with about 1/2” water.
4. Sautee garlic, green onions & grated ginger (if you’re using powder, add it at the end) in a BIG POT with 2 TBSP canola oil til garlic is slightly browned and everything smells AMAZING. Turn off heat.
5. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the pot. Add the chicken and coat well.
6. Transfer the chicken to a baking pan at least one inch deep, and pour all the extra sauce over the pieces. Bake for about 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
7. Create a base of rice and veggies on each plate. Add chicken and drizzle with extra sauce. Garnish with crushed red pepper, green onion, orange slices, and bean sprouts if you have them. MMMMMMM!