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Easy Lunches

In the age of working from home, I still find that taking time for lunch is essential. I like to maximize that time so having simple and quick lunches are helpful. I like to buy the precooked shredded chicken that most stores have available these days in the cooked food section, and repurpose it. It’s great for a batch of chicken salad or for the makings of a bbq chicken sandwich or taco which can both be prepared ahead of time over the weekend. I made both this week for salads, wraps and sandwiches. Check out the recipes below. 

Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

1 lb shredded chicken

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced onion

3 cloves pressed garlic

6oz plain Greek yogurt

2 boiled eggs (optional)

1 tsp fresh or dried thyme 

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add chicken to a bowl. 
  2. Dice onion and celery and add to bowl. Peel garlic and either mince fine or use a garlic press to mash cloves.
  3. Add eggs and mash with a fork. 
  4. Add Greek yogurt, thyme and seasoning. Mix well, then store in a container.
  5. Enjoy.

BBQ Chicken 

Ingredients:

1 lb shredded chicken

1 cup sliced onions

1 cup of water

1 tsp olive or avocado oil

1/4 cup bbq sauce of choice

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

 1 tsp cayenne

Directions:

  1. Cut a large sweet onion in half. Peel each half and thinly slice it. 
  2. Add onion to a large skillet with 1/2 cup of water over medium heat. Let water cook out, stirring occasionally to help onions soften. Add remaining water and oil and reduce heat. Cook for 7-10 minutes to caramelize onions.
  3. Once onions are caramelized, add chicken, bbq sauce and seasoning.Add a pinch of water and cook for 3-5 minutes until well incorporated.
  4. Store in a container and enjoy.

Ways to Enjoy

  • BBQ chicken: is great with sliced tomatoes and pickles on a sandwich or as a taco with mixed salad greens.
  • Chicken salad: goes great as a wrap with mixed greens, cucumber and tomato; great on top of a salad; can be scooped with crackers or chips

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Helping Hands

Tasty and healthy meal assistance

A little help from the store can go a long way to making quick work of dinner. I’m a big fan of portioned proteins for easy freezer storage and easier use for making the right number of portions at a given time. This shrimp and kale dish was elevated with a simple sauce using onion, garlic, a little stock and a roasted eggplant and tomato spread from Trader Joe’s. The spread while low in calories, was packed with flavor that easily added to this quick dish. This took 10 minutes to make and additionally, I made enough to freeze. You can always double this portion for a family of 4 or to have additional portions to freeze for easy meals during a busy week. Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb of shrimp

2 cups fresh kale

1/2 cup of fresh mushrooms sliced

1/2 cup of onion

1/4 cup of chicken or seafood stock

1/4 cup of eggplant spread

1/2 tbsp avocado oil (or olive)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of water


Directions:

  1. Rinse and kale and add to a skillet with a pinch of water over medium heat. Add onion and stir.
  2. Slice mushrooms while kale cooks and add mushrooms to the pan. Season and reserve a little of the powders for the shrimp. Cook for 3-5 mins.
  3. Add the eggplant spread and stir in. Add stock to deglaze the pan. Cook for 2 minutes and add to a plate.
  4. Add oil and let it warm. Add shrimp and seasoning and cook for 2.5 minutes before flipping and cooking for the same time.
  5. Top greens mixture and enjoy.
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Stewed Sockeye Salmon

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People are often surprised that I include canned fish in my pantry staples. While we all probably prefer fresh seafood any day, it doesn’t mean you should not have a canned option or two in your back pocket for a time where you don’t have time to go to the store, or if you have other financial priorities. One of my favorite dishes as a kid was stewed salmon in a spicy red sauce. My mom would serve it over rice with a salad or a cooked green vegetable. In keeping with that tradition, I cooked some of my thriving backyard greens. Check out he recipe below.

Stewed Salmon

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

2 cans of 14.5 oz sockeye salmon 

1 can of stewed tomatoes 

1 5-7oz can of tomato sauce (no salt)

1 1/2 cups diced onion

1 tbsp. minced or pressed garlic

1/2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

2 tsp. coarse black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne

Salt to taste (start with 1 tsp)

  1. If serving over rice, cook the desired amount of rice on the stove or in a cooker.
  2. In a medium pot, add olive oil and place over medium heat. Peel and dice onion and add to the pot. Stir.
  3. Mince or press garlic and add to the pot. Add a splash of water. 
  4. Once onions have softened, open and add salmon, stewed tomatoes and sauce.
  5. Gently break stewed tomatoes into smaller pieces against the side of the pot with a spoon. Add seasoning and stir.
  6. Top the pot, lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. If eating steamed veggies or a salad, prepare it now.
  7. Serve over rice and enjoy.