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Hi and welcome to Love and Bistros! A place to write about baking, travel, and living healthy. I have a major sweet tooth but I attempt to stay healthy in between desserts!
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Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

Healthy BBQ Pulled-Chicken Sandwiches

Not too long ago, I discovered a delicious sandwich at a local pub – a BBQ Pulled-Chicken Sandwich. To call it “delicious” would be putting it lightly, it is scrumptious – I am a huge fan of BBQ-sauce on almost everything (from pizza to burgers), and this pulled-chicken sandwich is no exception.

I have made this sandwich a few times B.D. (before diet) but since attempting to eat healthy have long deserted this once favourite dinner of ours. But when Mister got a craving for it, and we really thought about how to make it healthier, we discovered this was an almost-perfect substitute!

I start off with a whole chicken, which the supermarkets name “Fast Frying” but I always roast it. I have no clue why they call it fast-frying, but hey, no complaints – you can also just BUY a roasted chicken from a deli, but I love making it myself!

In about an hour you go from raw and yucky to perfectly roasted and brown – and it smells so good! Try it! This time I sprinkled it with fleur de sel and some olive oil, but there are so many ways to roast a chicken – add garlic, onion, or any other spice you love. Then, if you’re attempting a healthy version, remove the skin and throw it away. I know, horrible, right? But if you’re not on a diet – eat it. Mmmm. I’m jealous.

The main source of trouble for the regular version of this sandwich is the barbeque sauce – packed with sugar, calories and so yummy that you can’t help but pile it on, it’s a huge factor in upping the ‘bad’ factor. And guess what? I couldn’t find sugar-free BBQ sauce, but the winner as the BBQ-sauce with the least amount of calories, sodium AND sugar in a 2 tablespoon serving? Budweiser’s Barbeque Sauce. Check it out – it was the winner by far! The other trick in ensuring the ‘healthiness’ of this sandwich was the bread we chose (D’Italiano’s Whole Wheat Thintini Buns), measuring a proper portion of chicken breast (100 grams), fat-free cheese, and using ONLY 2 TABLESPOONS of BBQ sauce.

Healthy Version: Cut off the two chicken breasts, place in bowl and shred with a fork. Measure out 100 grams / 3 oz. of chicken per serving, and add two tablespoons of barbeque sauce to each serving. After toasting the Thintini buns, place a slice of fat-free cheese on the bottom, scoop out appropriate portion of the chicken onto bun, and then I added pickle slices and a piece of romaine lettuce, with a healthy squirt of mustard on top.

Free For All Version: Remove all the chicken from the bones (including thighs, etc) and shred in a large bowl. Add a healthy dose of barbeque sauce and mix together to taste. On any kind of toasted bun, place a slice of your favourite cheese, scoop out as much chicken as the bun can handle and add any other condiments as desired – this includes Ranch or Caesar dressing which tastes amazing with the sweet BBQ sauce.

Serve With: On the side you can serve this with Caesar salad, sweet potato or regular French fries – or my choice, the green beans tossed with a bit of salt and pepper.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love my BBQ sauce and would’ve loved to pour more on top of my chicken, but at the same time it was filling and just perfectly flavoured (I could still taste the chicken!). This was definitely a success! Try it out and let me know how it goes!

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To Market We Shall Go

Sablefish with Asparagus & Broccoli

How happy am I today? I discovered two delicious herbal teas, tried sablefish for the first time, I’ve lost weight and I finally found a meat tenderizer (or, as I asked for it, a meat hammer). Let me start at the start.

Firstly, the scale announced a loss of 2.6 pounds, which I’m sure puts a bounce in any girls’ step! Dieting may not be fun at times, but seeing pounds drop is motivation enough! Then,┬áPrincess and I spent the afternoon lazing around Granville Island, one of my favourite places in Vancouver. The island is full of artisan shops, food markets, and also houses the elusive Kids Market – a dreamland for kids, one which can put any parent in the poorhouse.

I finally purchased some loose tea from the Granville Tea Company, a gourmet tea shop, which I’ve always thought of as somewhat intimidating, with arrows painted on the floor to steer traffic and a list of over 200 teas. It seemed a little like my first trip to Starbucks oh-so-many years ago, where I was somewhat worried about the line-up behind me, but continued to ask silly questions about flavours and discussed steep methods, thank goodness there were two people serving clients behind the counter! In the end I purchased two delicious fruity herbal teas: Lady Hannah and Angel Falls, and a Paris Tea Strainer, which fits perfectly over my over-sized Starbucks mugs and is a godsend if you love loose teas!

The Food Market is the perfect place to wander around and watch people and food. I purchased some of my favourite apples (Pink Lady) at $2 for 4 lbs, some asparagus and broccoli, a favourite of both Princess’ and mine. Meanwhile, Princess insisted on the obligatory stop at Lee’s Donuts, an adorable mom-and-pop style shop where you can purchase authentically made donuts that are still warm, and I had to watch her eat it as I pondered on a healthy choice to make for dinner.

Even though I am dieting I refuse to eat the same boring thing every night, if I never had to eat the same thing for a year I would be happy. So although this diet does have limitations, I try to use every single option, and in the end I purchased veal cutlets from the butcher, and sablefish from the Granville Island Smokery, which not only specializes in fresh and smoked fish, but carries an extensible selection of jarred treats, pickles and pears, dressings and spices. I picked up a large jar of sea salt, Fleur de Sel with Herbs d’provences, and the second I got home I retreived the jar from my bags, opened it up and took a big whiff – perfection in a jar. It should be called Heaven.

I preheated my oven and started preparing a dinner for two, just Princess and I. There are many times when it’s just the two of us eating together, nights where Mister has to work late or isn’t home before 8, and sometimes I end up making three different meals to suit everyone, but tonight we shared our fish.

On a baking sheet that I liberally sprayed with PAM (you can use oil/butter) I placed the two pieces of fish, broccoli and asparagus. I rubbed a pinch of the sel de mer and freshly ground pepper on the fish. Then I popped it in the oven for 12 minutes and it was ready. Serve with a slice of lemon and it’s divine.

It’s the simplest meal to make – fish with seasonings and veggies. There’s something to be said for simplicity. Even a four-year old likes it.

Easy Fish for 2

  • 2 portions of white fish
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • PAM or oil or butter
  • Sel de Mer
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Ground pepper
  • Lemon Wedges

1. Preheat oven to 205┬░ C.

2. Grease up baking sheet. Arrange fish in the middle and vegetables all around. Rub a pinch of each sel de mer & herbes de provence into the fish, and then sprinkle with ground pepper.

3. Bake until fish is completely opaque and flakes when touched by fork, approximately 10 – 15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedge.

If making only one portion, reduce time accordingly. When making larger portions, increase time accordingly.

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