Quick and Easy Dinner: Crockpot Roasted Chicken

I guess it is really more like steamed chicken when you cook in the crockpot. But whatever. I have posted about doing this before but I am posting about it again. Posting stuff like this helps keep me on track. I have been terrible about making dinners lately – seriously. Lots of frozen pizza and pre made food it is horrible. Really trying to get back on track with making nice dinners. The new cookbook I got the other day should help with that.

I love chicken. The thing that sucks about making your own chicken is that it costs the same or MORE then just buying it already cooked. Kind of stupid really but I am sure this is better for me. And I get the satisfaction or knowing I made it myself. I also find when I buy the pre-cooked chicken I ended up buying a pre-cooked side or something bad for me to go along with it for an instant dinner. Cooking the chicken myself leads to all around better and healthier cooked meal.

So yah, buy a chicken and stick it in your crockpot before work. I topped mine with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cajun seasoning. I poured a splash or a bit more then a splash of wine into the bottom of my crockpot. Put the lid on and turned it on low. I let it cooked while I was at work. Super easy.

When I got home I steamed some broccoli and made some mashed sweet potato. I did both things in the microwave. Dinner took less then 30 minutes to prepare in total and the chicken cooked itself while I was at work. Awesome.

Oh, and it tasted DELICIOUS!

Quick and Easy Dinner: Taco Salad

This is one of our favourites around our house.

First you cook up some extra lean ground beef or chicken chicken or turkey or whatever you want. I like to add some taco seasonings.

Then you take some lettuce, I like to use this stuff:

free express iceberg garden salad mix

Free Express - Iceberg Garden Salad Mix

I dump in on a plate or in a bowl – whatever I am in the mood for. Sometimes I top it with chopped tomatoes, cucumber and onion – sometimes I am lazy and don’t. I add some cheese, the ground meat and use hot sauce and light sour cream for the dressing!

Pretty straight forward, it takes maybe 10-15 minutes to cook the meat and that is that. Calories are going to depend on how much meat and cheese you use – I probably use too much. But it is delicious!

The Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge Calories

I seriously love this Laughing Cow cheese – it is great and so low in calories. But, I have always been confused about the calories of it. My package says it is 35 calories for one wedge of Original Laughing Cow Swiss. It confused me because everything online said 50 calories per wedge for Original and 35 calories for Light. Finally I looked into this mystery and it has to do with the fact that I live in Canada and 99% of the Nutritional Information online is for the US.

The_Laughing_Cow

So why is the Canadian laughing cow less calories then the US? Normally Canadian products have more calories, it is law in Canada to declare fiber calories but in the US they can omit them. A good example of this is Regular Fiber One cereal – in Canada a serving is 100 calories and in the US a serving is 60 calories. Technically your body doesn’t use fiber calories so that is why they don’t have to declare those calories or something… anyway back to the topic of Laughing Cow or La Vache Quirit as it is commonly called in Canada.

The reason Canada Laughing Cow Cheese has less calorie per wedge then the US is *drum roll* the wedges in Canada are smaller! DUH! I feel kind of silly for having to research this to figure out the answer. One Wedge in the US is 21 grams while a Canadian wedge is only 16.5 grams. So there you have it folks, our Canadian cheese is small. I personally find one Canadian sized laughing cow cheese wedge to be the perfect size.

If you haven’t tried this cheese yet you must! It is kind of like cream cheese but a million times better. Apparently they make all kinds of flavours of it; never tried them though. I buy my Laughing Cow at Costco – it’s about a dollar or two more then the grocery store and I get 4 times more Laughing Cow. So if you like this stuff, I strongly suggest you get it at Costco!

The Laughing Cow cheese is awesome on crackers, sandwiches, toast, bagels, fruit, pasta, veggies – the list goes on and on. This is one of my favourtie “low calorie” foods.

Tip: Making a Lasagna Healthy – Add Veggies!

I really wanted Lasagna on Monday, so I caved and made one. But I put a bunch of veggies in it and you would never know.

Into the ground beef I ground, half a zucchini, 2 tomatoes, 2 onions and a hand full of white mushrooms. Next time I would probably add more zucchini and tomato. And into the cottage cheese I ground a couple cups of broccoli. I tried to use less cheese but didn’t measure.

Anyway it turned out really good. Next time I will measure what I am doing so I can post a recipe with nutritional information. An estimate tells me it was about 500 calories for a 6th of the Lasagna – I used one of those regular size Lasagna pan – so a 6th is a pretty huge serving! I just can’t be 100% sure because I didn’t measure my cheese or weigh my noodles. I tried to google “calories in one lasagna noodle” with no luck. So I don’t know the exact calories. But anyway, next time I will try and make a recipe post about the Lasagna. Same with my veggie packed Shepard’s Pie!

Honestly it did turn out really good, the boyfriend had no problem eating seconds and even thirds. And then eating more the next day for lunch… you get the idea.

I love packing the veggies into foods like Lasagna, Shepard’s Pie – because it is easy to hide them and lowers the calories of great comfort foods! Wontons are another food I grind a lot of veggies into. I love Wontons.

Must be lunch time if I am posting about food.

How To Save Calories At Starbucks

Let me introduce this beautiful little world to you: Misto.

Misto means steamed milk, typically half steamed milk and half coffee (or tea, or americano, etc)

For example, a grande non-fat latte has 130 calories while a grande non-fat coffee misto has only 70 calories. The great thing is, you can add the word misto to most any drink.

Coffee Non-Fat Misto
Americano Non-Fat Misto
Tea Non-Fat Misto

Add some sugar-free syrup to any of the above, and you have a delicious drink for few calories. Just remember to ask for non-fat.

My favourtie drink of the moment: grande, non-fat, sugar free vanilla, african red tea bush, misto

With a name that long, you would expect it to be packed full of calories; but nope, only 70 calories!

So next time you make a trip to your local Starbucks for a special treat, try a misto!

If you are just a regular black coffee drinker, this might not appeal to you. Though, I do love a regular Non-Fat Coffee Misto.

Not only does a Misto save calories, but money too! A coffee misto is much cheaper then a latte. Pay with a registered Starbucks and get syrup and steamed milk (on some combinations) free!

Starbucks Non-Fat Coffee Misto – Nutritional Information
  grande, 16 fl. oz.
    70     calories
    0       grams of fat
    10     carbohydrates
    0       grams of fiber
    10     grams of sugar
    7       grams of protein

(and no, I do not work at Starbucks, I just want to share the love of a misto)

Food On The Go

Sometimes I just can’t find the time to make my meals and usually it results in eating out and/or something stupid – but it doesn’t need too! There are lots of healthy choices out there that are quick, convenient and take little or no time to prepare – sometimes it just requires a little shopping and thinking. Keep in mind a lot of these pre-packaged food choices cost more then doing it yourself, but if you don’t have the time sometimes it is worth the bit of extra money to have someone package it for you! So I have created a list of food items, I will put the calorie information as I know it but keep in mind it does vary from brand to brand. There are tons of options out there, these are just foods I eat often (I have provided links to some of my favourite brands, but there are lots different brands out there offering similar products.) – be creative, walk down every isle of the store and look at all your quick options! The key is to just be creative!

You could eat any of these as snack or mix and match as a meal!

  1. instant oatmeal (120 calories) – comes in all different flavours (calories do vary)
  2. kozy shack rice pudding cups – no sugar added (90 calories) – they also have tapioca (90 calories), chocolate (90 calories) and butterscotch (80 calories)
  3. del monte fruit cups (50-100 calories)
  4. jell-o sugar free cups (10 calories)
  5. jello-o sugar free pudding cups (60)
  6. source yogurt cups (40-60 calories) – I really love the dessert flavours! There are lots of other yogurt cups out there, the bigger they are the more calories, also have a look for fat free
  7. unsweetened apple sauce cup (50 calories)
  8. 7 melba toast – round ones (70 calories)
  9. 1 ryvita crispbread (40-80 calories)
  10. rice crackers (80-100 calories)
  11. kraft thin cheese slice (40 calories)
  12. can of regular tuna (90-140 calories)
  13. ocean’s tuna snackit (190 calories) also comes in salmon and a couple other tuna flavours
  14. mini can of flavoured tuna (100-180 calories)
  15. canned soup (70-200 per half cup calories) – look for lower calorie options like campbells healthy request or primo, chicken and vegetable will be lower in calories then clam chowder – just pick your soup wisely!
  16. Lipton Cup-A-Soup (50-80 calories)
  17. chewy quaker granola bars (100 calories)
  18. nature valley sweet and salty bar (160-170 calories)
  19. sun-rype fruitsource bar (with and without veggies) (130 calories)
  20. canned muscles/oysters (140-200 calories)
  21. canned sardines (170-200 calories)
  22. cottage cheese, half cup skim (90 calories)
  23. 100 calorie pack, like thinsations, chips, rice cakes (100 calories)
  24. rice cakes – plain and flavoured (30-60 calories per large cake)
  25. 14 mini rice cakes (100 calories)
  26. cheese string or stick (60-90 calories)
  27. popcorn – smart pop mini bag (100 calories) w/ popcorn seasoning
  28. beef jerkey – 1 large piece (80 calories)
  29. sliced deli meat, chicken or turkey 1 slice (approx. 10-20 calories depends on thickness)
  30. sliced veggies (calories are low and vary) with 1tbsp light dressing (20 calories), cucumber, celery, peppers are all very low, carrots are higher
  31. piece of fruit: apple (80 calories), orange (60 calories), banana (100 calories), peach (60 calories), 1 cup grapes (100 calories)
  32. boiled egg (70-80 calories) – I usually boil them when I am in the shower, make a few at a tim; they last forever in the fridge!
  33. 2 tbsp hummus (40-60 calories)
  34. quaker oatmeal to go bar (200 calories) – I find these really filling
  35. pre packaged smoked salmon 2oz (50-60 calories)
  36. pre packaged cooked small shrimp 2oz (30-50 calories)
  37. (I hope to keep adding to this)

This list could go on and on – take an hour go to the store and just walk up and down every isle, it is amazing the food items you can find that are quick and low in calories. Some of these foods will take a few seconds to put in a bag or a container but you could have your lunch/dinner/breakfast/snacks packed in under 5 minutes – just mix and match and be creative! Pair you can of tuna with some crackers, veggies, and a cup of soup! The options are endless once you start thinking about it.

Food Tip: Mayonnaise

For me mayonnaise is a food (or condiment) that I don’t want to waste calories on. I look at is as something to mix with my tuna or to put on a toast with tomato or egg, etc.

1 tbsp of mayonnaise has 90 calories! WOW! And to think, you probably use more then 1 to make tuna sandwich, you could easily add 200 calories to your sandwitch with mayonnaise alone!

1 tbsp of light mayonnaise has 45 calories – not too bad.

But if your like me, and you don’t care or even notice the different between mayonnaise and miracle whip then look at this:

1 tbsp of regular miracle whip has 40 calories! 40! But wait… it gets even better…

1 tbsp of LIGHT MIRACLE WHIP HAS 15 CALORIES, amazing – you can from 90 to 15 calories, saving your self 75 (and really more if you use it like I do in my tuna!)

I know when I first discovered the light miracle whip I was ecstatic! I don’t even use it that often, couple times a month maybe; as I don’t really like it that much, but for those few times I do use it – it is nice to be able to use it and not worry about all the extra calories I am adding. Even if you are hard core about your mayo (as I know some people really like one better then the other) give the light miracle whip a try, and save yourself the 30-90 calories :)

Another idea I like, is to use a light ranch or caesar dressing in place of the miracle whip, it is slightly more at 20 cals a tbsp but adds a nice extra flavour.