Mu Shu Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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I remember loving all of my rotations during my internship to become a Registered Dietitian. While the clinical aspects of nutrition and being in the hospital was a seemingly natural fit for me, I wasn’t challenged or excited about clinical nutrition. I guess my thoughts on clinical nutrition (in the in-patient setting sense) is that I much prefer proactive nutrition rather than reactive nutrition. I like to educate and teach and see my patients over and over again and I lacked that bond and sense of accomplishment when helping people make changes in their life to improve their health.

I enjoyed the elderly population, but quickly realized that they can be one of the most challenging populations to work with. And I didn’t particularly care for 1. death or 2. paperwork and so I knew long-term care wasn’t a likely best fit for me, either.

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While most students hated their “food service management” rotation, I was happy to get down and dirty in the kitchen and this was wellllllllllllll before I could 1. cook, 2. wrote a blog, and most certainly before 3. writing a cookbook. I enjoyed the pace, the people, the food, the work…everything. But in truth, because it wasn’t the most glorious of RD jobs, I brushed it off the top of my list when pursuing jobs.

In my current role, jack-of-all-trades in my little community hospital, I once again, found myself in a hospital kitchen…running the show. I’ll be honest, my kitchen was a well-oiled machine prior to my arrival. I’d like to think I’ve made some positive changes, but since most of those changes have to do with nutrition and healthy food offerings, I’m probably biased.

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Yesterday, I sat in on a webinar focused on “Healthy Retail” in the clinical care setting – hospitals, etc. I sat there and listened for all 60 minutes and could proudly say that my little community hospital is leaps and bounds ahead of many other hospitals, including huge, huge, huge amazing hospitals. As I’m told, the food has always been amazing, but I’ve certainly introduced some new items and people have embraced (and loved) them all. We regularly serve quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and rarely serve anything other than the leanest of proteins. We serve the most stunning specialty salads with homemade vinaigrettes that bring people from the community in each day…just for the food. I swear, I’m going to work on getting our cafe on Yelp to bring in more business!

As I learned in the webinar, ethnic flavors sell well in most hospital cafeterias. Whether those flavors be Mexican, Asian, or even Indian (we make a killer homemade Tikka Masala!), people love them. The recipes I try out on the cafe menu are generally the ones Mr. P and I love most. In other words, this recipe and its Asian flavors will be making an appearance soon!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Mu Shu Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
A light meal ready in minutes and packed with flavor. Despite the so-so ratings on CookingLight.com, we LOVED this recipe!
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dry sherry
  • 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 7 oz slaw mix (about 2 cups)
  • 8 oz boneless, skinless rotisserie chicken breast, diced (about 2 cups)
  • ½ cup sliced green onions, divided
  • 9 Bibb or butter lettuce leaves
  • ¼ cup cashews, chopped
Instructions
  1. Combine first 4 ingredients (soy sayce through rice vinegar) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk; set aside.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add garlic and ginger to pan; sauté 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add soy sauce mixture; cook 1 minute. Add slaw, chicken and ¼ cup onions to pan; cook 1 minute or until slaw is slightly warmed but not wilted.
  3. Divide chicken mixture evenly among lettuce leaves; sprinkle evenly with remaining ¼ cup onions and cashews.
Notes
Recipe from Cooking Light
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3 lettuce wraps Calories: 271 Fat: 11.7 Carbohydrates: 15.7 Sugar: 6.0 Sodium: 558 Fiber: 3.0 Protein: 25.3 Cholesterol: 62

 TGIF!!! I have a happy hour tonight and tennis tomorrow! :-D Looks like a good weekend ahead!

Be well,

sig4

4th Annual Chili Contest: Entry #9 – Harvest Festival Chili

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Is there anything better suited for the day after Christmas than your most favorite pair of sweatpants? I agree. Comfy sweatpants are an absolute post-holiday must-have. With just a few days before the quickly approaching 2014 and all of the resolutions that come with that first day, first few weeks, and perhaps even the first few months of the year…most people are postponing all things healthy…for just a few more days. Never wise!

Some studies report that over 90% of Americans make new year’s resolutions having to do with health, weight, or getting fit. This probably comes as a surprise to…no one.

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In the past week, Mr. Prevention and I have slacked on the workouts and indulged in oh-so-good-but-not-good-for-you foods. But it’s not a time to have all healthy habits fall by the wayside. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been on Pinterest and other blogs saving recipes for when the real world resumes and everyone is back in the swing of things.

I doubled up on salad at today’s Christmas meal #3…green vegetables. Amen. Fiber – oh yes! Water, uh huh! I fully anticipate my father-in-law to stride over here, offering me a rare IPA brew before I’m able to hit “publish” on this post…

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The holiday season has The Prevention’s feeling very blessed. We’re thankful for great family and friends, health and happiness, enjoyable employment that provides, and the memories made in December to last a lifetime — family photos, YouTube videos not appropriate for all ages, white elephant shenanigans, signing cookbooks, endless games of Uno, psychedelic photos of Lily, and Yahtzee games that bring out the competitive side in all.

I’m also thankful for this little pieces of me — my blog. Thank you for reading and following along with our journey of (mostly) healthy eating. Mwwwah!

This Harvest Festival Chili is the 9th and next-to-last recipe in this year’s chili contest. Yes, I’m running a bit behind…but this year’s chili contest has been filled with winning recipes, including this submission from a long-time reader, Athena. Filled with fiber, lean protein, and moderately low in both calories and sodium, this chili recipe is sure to please.

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Harvest Festival Chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Traditional flavors and bumped up nutrition thanks to fiber and vitamin-rich winter squash.
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ to ½ tsp cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
  • 1 lb 96% lean ground beef
  • 1 (15 oz) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
  • ½ medium acorn or butternut squash (about 1 lb), peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 (15 oz) can reduced sodium kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 (15 oz) can low-sodium beef broth
  • ¼ tsp salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and green pepper. Stir frequently until vegetables soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper, stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beef and cook, breaking up the meat up until finely crumbled, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, squash, beans, corn, and beef broth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Notes
Recipe developed and submitted by Athena Russell
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1½ cups Calories: 284 Fat: 7.4 Carbohydrates: 37.3 Sugar: 6.6 Sodium: 495 Fiber: 9.5 Protein: 21.8 Cholesterol: 30

 One last holiday brunch and set of family photos and I do believe this holiday season will be a wrap. Happy holidays to you & yours!

Be well,

sig4

15-Minute Wonton Soup + Weekly Menu

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I have very mixed feelings about surprises.

The surprise of what Mr. Prevention or my sister-in-law will give as gifts, I love. They’re both great gift-givers and I always like being on the receiving end because lord knows, they’re both impossible to shop for. Truly. Impossible. Mr. Prevention has resorted to emailing me links and saying, “This is on sale, I’d like it for Christmas. Be sure you select free shipping. Love, Me.”

We’re real romantics around here, can’t you tell?

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The surprise of a haunted house or what will happen next in a scary movie – pass. Being told, “it’ll be a surprise…you’ll like it!” I hate that. A lot. My mind wanders way too much over such silly things.

Last night? Lots of great surprises. It was my hospital’s annual holiday party. Being a part of the event planning, I knew what to expect. Which, quite frankly, was very much the same as last year (if it aint broke, don’t fix it, right?). Except for the Dance Heads booth. That was new and totally fun. Hilarious, really.

Last night’s surprises were complete surprises. As the CEO was announcing the handful of award recipients (“Stars of Excellence” we call them)…my name was called. I was the last recipient called. My staff clapped, I think I got a “booooyaaa” (yes, I was surprised!) and I wish I could remember half of the nice things that were said about me as I made my way to the front of the giant room to receive my award. I was truly flattered. And very, very surprised.

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I weaved my way back to my seat…in the back of the room. I sat down, replaced my napkin to my lap and then I hear, “Most Improved Department Award goes to…Nutrition Services. Will Nicole and her staff please make their way up here?” Whaaaaaaa?! Too cool!!!

My boss handed me a  beautiful award that weighs about 40 pounds (no, seriously). He went on to talk about my department’s accomplishments — everything from patient satisfaction to the budget. My staff glowed with pride and I felt like a proud mama duck with all my older-than-me ducklings. It was a night of great surprises. I’m still on a little bit of a high this morning.

As for other pleasant surprises? How about 15-Minute Wonton Soup? This is my kind of winter meal ready in minutes. I thought it would be good, but it far exceeded my expectations. Love those kinds of surprises, too. ;)

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4.5 from 2 reviews
15-Minute Wonton Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
 
Simply delicious, and yes, very quick! I used "potstickers" from the frozen foods section. They were fairly inexpensive, quick to warm through, and are what truly make this soup delicious, filling, and special.
Ingredients
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ Tbsp sambal oelek
  • 18 oz (about 18) frozen dumplings or potstickers
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 oz raw baby baby spinach
  • 8 oz rice noodles, prepared according to package instructions
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over high heat, bring chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, sesame oil and sambal oelek to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  2. One boiling, add frozen dumplings/potstickers, mushrooms, and baby spinach to the boiling broth and simmer for 3-5 minutes until dumplings are warmed through and spinach is wilted and mushrooms are tender.
  3. Divide noodles between four bowls and cover with equal parts of the wonton soup.
Notes
Recipe from The Lemon Bowl
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 5 (about 2 cups with about 4 potstickers) Calories: 400 Fat: 9.2 Carbohydrates: 62.0 Sugar: 6.2 Sodium: 942 Fiber: 3.6 Protein: 16.0 Cholesterol: 18

 Easy cooking this week! There’s baking to do ;)

Weekly Menu: December 8th – 12th

  • Sunday: Loaded Baked Potatoes with Turkey Chili
  • Monday: BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadilla
  • Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Salad
  • Wednesday: Happy Hour/dinner with my staff :)
  • Thursday: CEO’s Holiday Party

 Back-to-back hockey games tonight and I hope to FINALLY see Catching Fire today. I heard it’s amazing! Anyone else see it?

Be well,

sig4

Crock Pot Meyer Lemon Chicken + Weekly Menu

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My mom BEGGED me to go to step class yesterday with her. Friday night, however, I informed her that “I am on ‘vacation’ and I’d be happy to go with…if I happened to be awake. However, I’m not setting my alarm to get up for a morning workout. Sorry.”

She pouted a moment. I held strong.

Of course Lily had me up at 7am so making it to an 8am step class was no issue. Minus the whole getting up early thing…when on ‘vacation’.

Let’s not let my mom know I actually enjoy the class, mmmkay? I don’t need her having too many expectations for my (“infrequent”) visits home.

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We got home from the gym and polished off the remainder of coffee she had brewed.

She had breakfast all planned out — my Whole Wheat Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Chocolate Frosting. (Let’s also pause to make note that as soon as she stopped whining about having to hunt around the baking aisle for whole wheat pastry flour, she was able to locate it…without issue). Anyways, she did the baking and I did the frosting and sprinkles. They turned out rather cute…cuter than mine, I must admit.

It was totally the sprinkles.

“Take pictures, Nik…I wanna be on the bloooogggggg. Take pictures, Nik!!” she pleaded.

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I guess next time I’m home, I’ll be bringing along my camera as to capture her culinary masterpieces a little better than my phone and Instagram. Regardless, she makes it onto the blog in some capacity…often. If begging for her donuts to make an appearance wasn’t story enough for Ma Prevention, get this one.

I’m sitting in bed last night editing photos. She comes in and asks, “Did we have green beans for dinner?” Mind you, we definitely did have green beans for dinner. She told me they were called “fancy green beans”, and furthermore, the recipe was made solely by her and contained bacon, cashews, and onion. They were heavenly and very unforgettable…and yet, she forgot them. Or swears they never made it onto her plate. Worse yet, my father is claiming the same. No wonder there were so many leftover green beans. #facepalm

I think Mama Prevention needs to stick with simple. You know, like this recipe which I ever so coincidentally happened to serve with green beans ;)

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Crock Pot Meyer Lemon Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 6 small potatoes (about 1½ pounds), quartered
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 24 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 Meyer lemon, cut into ¼ inch-thick slices and seeded
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio)
  • ¼ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • ½ tsp thyme leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the potatoes, onion, and garlic in the bottom of the crock pot. Next, layer the chicken breasts beside one another in a single layer (if possible); sprinkle with salt and pepper. Distribute the lemon slices evenly over the chicken breasts.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the broth, wine, lemon juice, corn starch and thyme; whisk well. Pour the broth mixture over the chicken.
  3. Cover crock pot and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Serve sprinkled with parsley and serve hot.
Notes
Adapted from So Tasty, So Yummy which was adapted from Cooking Light and my version of Meyer Lemon Chicken
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 chicken breast with 6 ounces potato Calories: 400 Fat: 1.8 Carbohydrates: 46.0 Sugar: 2.5 Sodium: 370 Fiber: 4.3 Protein: 42.8 Cholesterol: 83

Weekly Menu: December 1st – 5th

Heading back to Michigan soon. There’s not only a full work week ahead, but OUTDOOR hockey season officially kicks off! Brrr!! :-D

Be well,

sig4

4th Annual Chili Contest: Entry #7 – Pumpkin Chili + Weekly Menu

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Yesterday was…different.

Have you ever had an experience where you felt like you were witnessing something that you should do something about but you don’t know what the right thing is to do? Multiply that by 2 and backtrack to yesterday afternoon.

I’m out running errands in the blistering cold Michigan weather. I’m stopped at a stop light, sitting in my car just bobbing my head to the music. I look to my right and there’s an older gentlemen sitting on the curb of this main road. Just…sitting. His cheeks were beat red. I looked and him and my mind immediately goes to the worst case scenarios — he’s homeless and has no where to go in this frigid weather or perhaps even worse, he’s having a medical emergency. I just…froze. I didn’t know what to do and after not being able to catch his eye to try and read the situation, I continued on when the light turned green.

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I spent the next 5 miles thinking, “Nicole, you should’ve done something. What should you have done? I don’t know, but something.”

But then I then rolled up to the grocery store where my attention was quickly diverted from the man I didn’t stop for to a car POURING smoke from its hood. The car was parked a distance from other cars, but just as I slowed down to check out what was going on, other cars were doing the same. After just a few seconds, someone was running from a nearby gas station with a fire extinguisher. They popped the hood and the generous supply of air caused the fire to escalate quickly and there were then huge FLAMES coming from the car. The owner (I assume) was standing there, hands on his head, with his body language reading, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.”

Rather than going about my grocery shopping, I stayed as long as to see several good Samaritans with fire extinguishers help out and just a few minutes later, a fire truck barreling through the parking lot to assist.

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I got home from running errands after much longer than anticipated and all I could say to Mr. Prevention is, “It was so weird!”

Blah, blah, blah.

And it was. The morning was…weird. It’s not every day your running around town is so…different. But different is what keeps things interesting…what keeps us on our toes. Where am I going with this? This chili is unique…it’s different. It calls for a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice and a cup of pureed pumpkin. If you think for just a second this chili isn’t piquing your interest, think again. This is definitely a contender for 1st place!

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Pumpkin Chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs 96% lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeno, minced
  • 2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 28 oz low-sodium tomato juice
  • 2 (28 oz) cans no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a LARGE pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the beef. Brown the meat until no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat.
  2. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook an additional minute.
  3. Stir in beans, tomato juice, tomatoes, pumpkin, and seasonings; stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer chili for one hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
Notes
Adapted from All Recipes by Kathyrn (who also submitted Maui Chili from last year's chili contest)
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1½ cups Calories: 281 Fat: 5.7 Carbohydrates: 33.5 Sugar: 11.2 Sodium: 767 Fiber: 11.3 Protein: 27.3 Cholesterol: 48.0

Weekly Menu: November 24th – 28th

 I want to commit to Catching Fire today so that I can see the movie sooner rather than later ;)

Be well,

sig4