In an effort to eat healthier, I’ve been packing my lunch to take to work with me. Doing so saves me $$, I eat better, lunchtime decisions are easier and I can run a quick errand while still having a respectable lunch to look forward to.
However, long gone are the days when packing a sandwich or just a bit of left-over’s is going to pass muster; instead, I’ve been assembling a large, colorful salad (2 cups) with about 5 oz of protein, opting for leaner meats like chicken and turkey. And, sometimes, I’ll use a bit of water-packed tuna just to mix it up. Sunday afternoons I cook up the chicken or turkey and wash and chop up a variety of fresh vegetables including:
- English Cucumbers
- Red Onion
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Red Peppers
- Mushrooms (I buy these washed & pre-sliced)
- “Shreds” – shredded Broccoli-Carrots-Cabbage slaw
- Fresh green beans or sprouts
- Zucchini, sliced & chopped
- And whatever else is in season – this week, I’ve added sliced fresh strawberries. Ooh la la!
All of these yummy, crunchy veggies are tossed with a variety of lettuces – bib, romaine and iceberg. If I’m feeling particularly inspired, I’ll add spinach for good measure.
I have been feeling good about my game plan because, generally speaking, about 1 hour of prep time nets me 4-5 good quality lunches for the week! After supper every night I assemble the next day’s salad, pop in the chicken, turkey or tuna and –voila – it’s ready for me to “grab & go” in the morning. To make it easy, I keep a jar of Balsamic Vinaigrette in our office fridge.
So, it was with great delight that I found the following on sale at my local grocery store: 1 lb of Italian seasoned ground turkey breast for $2.74. Normally 1 lb of ground turkey sells for $4.99/lb where I shop – and this was on clearance ??? Screech!!!!!! My shopping card skidded to a halt and, happily, I placed not one but two – count em two – packets into my cart. I figured I’d make one packet into turkey patties and freeze the other for future use (just shape and roast 10 min per side at 350 degrees). Awesome!
Because I had some grilled chicken on hand, yesterday was the first day that I tried one of my turkey patties with the daily salad. As I am wont to do, I ran a quick errand and, before I left, took the salad out and set it on my desk for later. (I despise cold lettuce clanging against my teeth – shudder!!)
I was back in my chair within 30 minutes so I easily had time to peruse some online news sites while I enjoyed my lunch – first I cut up my turkey patty and spread it through the salad, then I drizzled a small amount of the Balsamic over the mixture. Yum-o!
Taking a big bite, the first thing to assault my senses was the taste.
And. it. wasn’t. good.
What the ???
Fennel? Basil? Oregano maybe? Try dirt… dried toads and bovine toe-jam!
Whatever the offender’s nature, it tasted like a mix of 3 day old coffee, scorched licorice with gorgonzola cheese sprinkled on top! Yuck!
I couldn’t enough drink water quick enough to drown out the taste of that nastiness.
Ever hopeful, I combed through the salad, thinking that perhaps the next bite would be better?
No offense to black licorice, which I happen to love but … This was no black licorice. This was a rude combination of basil, oregano, salt and maybe a touch of fennel thrown in for added measure. And it was nasty. Disgusting. Disturbing. I actually …. shivered.
Pouting, I picked out the offending gnarliness and chomped my way through the rest of my roughage, feeling like the Billy goat I resembled. Scrounging through my stash of healthy “snacks,” I settled on a Greek Yogurt, ½ a banana and a handful of almonds for the balance of my lunch.
Next time, when something’s on sale, I’m paying attention as to why that might be? And my cart? It’s staying far, far away from pre-seasoned anything. Shudder.
How about you? Experience any mishaps in the *sale* section lately?