Another year over, folks. And another January full of good intentions.  Does anyone else feel like they’ve been on a caloric free-for-all over the past couple of weeks, or months?  Don’t answer that unless your answer is yes, in which case- answer that and make me feel better.  My life has been upside-down crazy for the past 3 months or so while Kate and I finished up our travels (combined we totaled 79 plane rides in 2012), and my family finished building a house, moving into said house, packing old house and unpacking new house, hosting holidays, having Christmas, and now putting away Christmas.  It’s been somewhat of a runaway train and I’m excited for this new fresh start to the year to get back into a routine.  My stomach is excited, too.

We’ve started somewhat of a tradition here at Our Best Bites of every January focusing all month long on wholesome eats.  It doesn’t mean we post “diet food” and swear off all the good stuff, it just means we pack up our industrial sized bags of chocolate chips for a few weeks and post good, fresh, healthy meals and try to include nutritional info when we can.  We even usually sneak in a reasonable treat or two- and I have an awesome giveaway coming up in the next week or so.  If I can get my house put together all the way I’m also going to take you on a little tour of my new kitchen this month.  See?  So much fun stuff!

In talking to my friends and readers of this blog, I’ve noticed that the meal most women my age have trouble with is lunch.  If you are a stay-at-home-Mom, you don’t want to spent time in the kitchen really cooking a meal for just yourself, but you want something more substantial than the chicken nuggets and mac n’ cheese you make for your kiddos and know you’ll snack on if you don’t eat something else.  And if you go to work, you struggle with avoiding quick convenience foods, take-out, and work place junk food.   I’ve mentioned before that my husband is usually home for lunch, and while I don’t go all out and cook a meal at noon, the two of us usually whip up a more adult meal while our kiddos are munching on their PB&J’s.  It has to be quick, but we want something good.  I’ve had some success with weight loss over the past few months and I’ve learned that for me, lunch is an important meal. I had bad habits of snacking all afternoon long, and fixing up a real, substantial little meal has done wonders for me.  Lunch is also often a time when I try to use up the partially eaten vegetables and other ingredients I have stacked in baggies and plastic containers in my fridge.  I almost always have half of an onion, half of a lemon, and half of a tomato.  Don’t ask me why, but seriously, I end up throwing all of those things away on a regular basis, so this is a good way to use them up!  When I cook chicken for dinner, I always make extra to have just for stuff like this.  Leftover rotisserie chicken would also work great.

I’ve written this recipe for 2 so it’s easy to make at lunch time, or if you’re single or without other family members eating with you.  It’s easy to multiply if you want to make a bunch.

First we’re going to make a basic bruschetta mixture.  Diced tomato and onion and some fresh basil if you have it.  In the summer basil should be readily available (maybe even on your windowsill or backyard) but it can be pricey to purchase at the store.  If that’s the case, you could sub a bit of dry basil since we’ll get more basil flavor in the pesto anyway.

A little drizzle of balsamic vinegar goes in, and we’re going to skip the traditional olive oil here since we won’t be needing that.

Give that a quick mix and set it aside.  You could make this part ahead of time as well and just store it in the fridge.

Next we’re going to make a little sauce for our shredded chicken.  Store-bought pesto is a great thing to keep in your fridge.  It is caloric, but in reasonable amounts can easily be part of a healthy meal.  What I love most about pesto is how versatile it is in the kitchen.  It’s such a quick way to add flavor to so many different types of dishes and it lasts quite a while in the fridge.  Costco sells jars of pesto for a great price, and while we’re only using a small amount here, if you buy a container from the grocery store, you can easily use it in all sorts of other recipes.

Combine just a little light mayo, light sour cream, pesto, and a little zest and juice from a lemon.

Since we’re talking about light ingredients here I thought I’d post a pic of the mayo I use.  I’m super picky about brands of mayo and even more picky when it comes to light mayo.  Some reduced fat/calorie mayonnaise are just horrific tasting and will absolutely ruin recipes.  My favorite brand of light, is the Best Foods (or Hellman’s) with the light blue lid.  The other one I use is Kraft with Olive Oil.  I’ve found both of those have good flavor and texture and work well in recipes.  Just my two cents.

Now we’re going to take that quick sauce we made and combine it with some shredded, cooked chicken and a little sprinkle of toasted pine nuts.  I usually have a bag of pinenuts in my freezer, but if you don’t, and you don’t want to buy them just for this recipe you could leave nuts out entirely, or sub toasted walnuts, pecans, or almonds.  Also, if you’re not counting calories, feel free to add more than the small amount called for!

You can assemble this recipe on tortillas, flat bread, a sandwich roll, pitas, or eat it carb-less from a bowl if you wanted to.  I like these 50-Calorie Soft Wrap Mini’s from La Tortilla Factory.  I also love these in pita’s (and if I’m not counting calories, focaccia all the way.  With melted mozzarella. And extra pesto. And chocolate cake for dessert.  With ice cream on top.)

Throw down some shredded romaine lettuce (spinach is good too), top with the chicken salad mixture, and spoon the bruschetta tomato mixture on top of that.

These are good-sized servings, too.

You get crunchy lettuce, flavorful tender chicken, a crunch from the pine nuts, and a  sweet and savory bite from the balsamic bruschetta mixture.

The great thing is, the calorie count is reasonable enough to pair it with a bowl of soup or some fruit, and it seriously took just a few minutes to make.

I also love making these in mini pitas.  They work great for lunch, or for party appetizers too.  A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese in yummy in there too.

If you’re filling pitas, I suggest warming them first so they’re soft and pliable.  I love mini pitas because then you get to eat multiples :)

 

Here’s a few other quick-fix lunch meals I love!
Sweet and Salty Salad Wrap
Flatbread Pizza with Spinach, Caramelized Onions and Feta
Eggs on Toast with Creamy Spinach Sauce

 

 

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47comments

  1. 1

    Great recipe and I can make this ahead of time so I’ll have the What to Take for Lunch question solved. Thanks for making me a little more efficient!

  2. 2
    Ellie says:

    Great recipe. Funny cartoon. And since you provided many of the recipes for our caloric free-for-all we all appreciate you providing recipes to help us get back on track!

    • 2.1
      sara says:

      Ha! Okay, I’ll give you that one ;)

      • Ellie says:

        Oh, I’m not placing blame in any way. I made the choice to enjoy every delicious bite all by myself. I’m just glad you give us both kinds of recipes to help us stay balanced. Happy new year!

  3. 3
    Tina Reeve says:

    This looks great! We are definitely going to try this soon. We love Bruschetta Chicken – this twist is going to be great! As for the caloric free-for-all – I actually did pretty good. I only let go for the last week and a half. I only gained one pound! I was very happy and proud! Now it’s time to get back on the band wagon!

  4. 4
    Cara says:

    I LOVE it when you guys give the nutritional info! I know it is more work, so I really appreciate it!

  5. 5
    Kristi Von says:

    You’re so right about lunchtime…I was just thinking that this year I need to be better at making myself lunch so I won’t snack on fishy crackers all day. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. 6
    Kelsey says:

    This looks DELISH!! Can’t wait to try it! I love that it’s small portions, because this is something my husband and little boy would probably not eat. Yum!

  7. 7
    Stacey says:

    Sounds like a delicious combination! Can’t wait to try it.

  8. 8
    Sue D. says:

    These look delicious. Thanks for doing a month of healthy eating!

  9. 9
    Colin says:

    This all looks delicious, but since I am a poor college student pine nuts are a little outside my budget. Is there something else I can use instead, or should I just leave them out?

    • 9.1
      sara says:

      Oh, I actually meant to write a note about that! You can totally leave the nuts out, or sub toasted pecans, walnuts, or almonds.

  10. 10
    meredith says:

    Thank You for this one, it looks fabulous and just the kind of quick. easy and deliciously healthy meals I’m needing right now!! Love your January posts … looking forward to the entire month!!

  11. 11
    Jill says:

    I haven’t seen the 50-Calorie Soft Wrap Mini’s in my stores… where do you find them?

    • 11.1
      sara says:

      I’ve found them in my local grocery stores, like Albertsons. If your store sells La Tortilla Factory stuff, these are new so they might just be rolling out.

  12. 12
    Candice Sanders says:

    I made this recipe this evening. It was great for dinner! As I was dinning without teenagers and hubby tonight the 2 portions will give me lunch tomorrow!

  13. 13
    Paige says:

    Any idea how long the bruschetta mixture will keep? Wondering if I could make enough one night to last me through two or three lunches. Also, do you think it would get too soggy to make the wrap and take it to work, or should I carry all the parts in separate little containers and then assemble it at lunchtime?

    • 13.1
      sara says:

      Yeah, it’s definitely good for a couple of days. It might start getting a little soggy after that, but it will prob still taste good!

    • 13.2
      Nan says:

      To keep your wrap less soggy by lunchtime you could also not chop the lettuce, but use a larger sized piece of lettuce to line your wrap before you add the filling.

  14. 14
    Mj says:

    I glanced at the pictures first, and then went back and read the recipe… is there garlic in this? (We love garlic) It seems to make an appearance in the pictures but not in the description…

    • 14.1
      sara says:

      Ha, good eye! I was going to mention- I don’t think it’s worth it to peel a clove of garlic and use a teeny tiny bit, but I always keep bottled minced garlic and I put a little of that in there. It’s fine with or without garlic. I live by a “if in doubt, add garlic” rule ;)

      • Mj says:

        A very good rule! That is an unspoken rule in our household as well… if we get down to a half bunch of garlic, my Darling hubby panicks… we’ve even invested in freezed dried minced garlic for our food storage. :)

  15. 15

    I really hate lunch time because I get sick of plain old sandwiches! This looks like a tasty twist and great way to beat the lunch time blues!

  16. 16
    Olga DC says:

    It’s 11:35pm and I’m craving these right now!They look delicious ! :

  17. 17
    Denise says:

    Sounds wonderful!! And ooh, ooh!! For even fewer calories, make these into lettuce wraps!! I can’t wait to try this recipe!! :)

  18. 18
    cwaltz says:

    I totally appreciate the nutritional information too. I realize that things vary depending on brands and all but it is good to have a guideline to know where things fit into a 1500 calorie day. Thank you for including it.

  19. 19
    Kt Wells says:

    Lovin’ your hot pink nails!

  20. 20
    garysgirl says:

    These looks easy & delicious!

  21. 21
    shari says:

    Actually saw you last year in Layton, and have followed faithfully since. I was wondering when you list nutrition, if you could put the sugar count, as I have to keep track of that. The recipe sounds yummy!!

  22. 22

    i’ve recently made my own brushetta and found a couple finely diced sun dried tomatoes add a HUGE amount of flavor with not wetness or fat. Get them dried in NO oil in the produce section

  23. 23
    Heidi hatch says:

    Oh good night this looks so yummy! Can’t wait to try it.

  24. 24
    Amanda says:

    These look sooooooo good, I love the idea of bruschetta in a wrap, yum!

  25. 25
    Lillian says:

    Do you have a recipe for nut free pesto? I am allergic to all peanuts and tree nuts and have been looking for a good nut free pesto. Thanks!

  26. 26
    Tracy says:

    The recipe looks really good, a must try. I love the dish you placed the wrap in. Where did you find such?!?

  27. 27
    alyssa says:

    sounds delicious. although your nutrition count is a bit deceptive – i’ve never seen a 50calorie tortilla!

    • 27.1
      sara says:

      Nothing deceptive there, Alyssa. That’s why I specifically note with the nutritional info that I calculated calories using a 50 calorie tortilla and linked the specific product. They’re very tasty and should be available at most major grocers. Keep an eye out!

  28. 28
    Jenn Michael says:

    Made this tonight, delish! Keep those healthy recipes coming:)

  29. 29
    Ashley C says:

    These are very yummy!

  30. 30
    Christy W. says:

    Just made these for dinner tonight. Big hit. It will definitely go on my tried-it-and-loved-it Pinterest board. Thanks again for a terrific recipe.

  31. 31
    Alison C says:

    I was wondering if you could include fiber in your nutritional information. I am trying to calculate points and need that information to do so.

  32. 32
    Amelia says:

    Made these over the weekend, and they were a hit! I had to use dry basil since I didn’t have fresh. I think the fresh basil would really make it much better, but overall we really enjoyed the recipe! I cheated a bit and did put some oil in the tomato mix, and also sprinkled shaved parmesan cheese on top. Delish!

  33. 33
    Michelle S. says:

    These.Are.Perfection. I even got my 4 year old to eat them and that is really saying something because she’s such a picky eater. Absolutely delicious recipe, and really, one can never go wrong with pesto anything. Thank you!

  34. 34
    Alicia says:

    I’ve had this recipe in my “want to try” pile for months now, and finally made it. Let’s just say that it won’t take months for me to make it again! It was AMAZING! Thanks!

  35. 35
    meg says:

    This was SOOO good!!!! I made this for dinner tonight and my seven and four year old gobbled it up and were yumming all the while. Thank you for your consistently super delicious recipes!! I love all your healthy lunch ideas because they make for fast dinners too:)

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