Wednesday, August 24, 2011


My schedule this semester is going to be interesting. The good thing about it is that I'm on campus at 9 am at the latest every day. Another good thing is that I'm done before noon every day, and if I don't feel like being a superstar and auditing a physics class, I'm done by 11. This is the perfect schedule to then go to the office and get a couple of hours of work in and still get home at an early time.

And it also gives me the perfect opportunity to bring my lunch to school and have plenty of time to eat it. I don't know how that last part relates to my schedule, but that was my train of thought at the moment. Mostly, I need to stop buying lunch on campus when I can bring something more nutritious and significantly cheaper.

And the perfect lunch that won't spill from my tupperwate into my backpack that also doesn't require immediate refrigeration is...SALAD! Actually, I came to the idea of salad because I'm in love with balsamic vinegar at the moment, but whatever. I need to eat more vegetables in general so this is perfect.

I was never one to like salad because I didn't think it filled me up enough (and I REALLY don't like lettuce). I still have that concern today so I turned to the interwebs for some answers.

After much searching, I found the sentence that somewhat summarizes what makes a salad filling. Essentially, what you need is a "little meat or fish, like chicken or tuna salad, or salads that incorporate hearty grains, or beans or pasta."

But my favorite was still the first result of my "filling salad ingredients" Google search:
Salads That Will Fill You Up on

Yes, please! If it's good enough for a dude, then I think I'll like it. Here is my favorite of the four listed:

Filling salad 2: Niçoise salad 

1/2 head Boston lettuce leaves
1/2 pound green beans, lightly steamed
1/2 cup vinaigrette (mixture of olive oil, the vinegar of your choice, and a squeeze of mustard)
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1-2 red potatoes, peeled, sliced, and boiled in water until cooked
1 3-oz can chunk tuna or 1 cooked tuna steaks
3 hard-boiled eggs, halved
1 red onion
1 can of anchovies
1/3 cup small black Niçoise-type olives
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp shallots
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley

Put the lettuce in a shallow bowl. Toss the beans with the shallots, a couple spoonfuls of vinaigrette, and salt and pepper. Baste the tomatoes with a spoonful of vinaigrette. Cook and slice the potatoes and arrange them with the beans, tomatoes and tuna in the center of the plate. Ring the platter with halves of hard-boiled eggs. Spoon vinaigrette over everything; scatter on olives, capers, parsley, and serve. This should make about three servings.

Fullness factor:
The complexities in taste will trick your mouth into believing you’re eating a huge seafood dinner. The tuna, especially when using the tuna steak option, and hard-boiled eggs provide a heavy protein base. The salty anchovies and starchy potatoes make this a satisfying, well-rounded meal, but each ingredient is so simple and healthy on its own that you never end up veering into unhealthy territory.

I'm not a fan of anchovies or olives so those will have to be omitted, but other than that this sounds amazing. Now I wonder if cold tuna steak is just as good as warm tuna steak...

I found another version that added and/or substituted the following for the eggs and olives, for 2-3 servings:
6 cups mixed salad greens (instead of Boston lettuce leaves)
1/2 small cucumber, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
12 small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 2-inch pieces

Another option that was suggested by Wikipedia is canned tuna, so that may be my back-up plan.

And here's another "filling salad" simply because I crave BBQ chicken sometimes:

Filling salad 4: Barbecue chicken salad

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 can sweet corn, drained
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 tbsps nonfat mayonnaise

Broil the chicken in your oven for 10 minutes on each side, or until juices run clear. Remove from heat, cool and cut into cubes. Toss together the chicken, celery, red bell pepper, onion, and corn. In another bowl, mix the barbeque sauce and mayonnaise. Pour over the chicken and veggies. This makes about four servings.

Fullness factor: When you’re craving barbecue but don’t want the calories or the hassle, this salad will really save you. In around 30 minutes, you can make as delicious a dish as most restaurants. It’s easy, healthy, and the chicken really fills you up. This is a salad any man can feel good about eating and not worry about looking like a rabbit.

A side note: you can substitute Fage Fat-Free Greek Yogurt for the mayonnaise and it will be just as tasty but much less calorific. In fact, Fage works as a substitute for mayo in all cases, except when you need to bake with it. In that case, I can't help you.

Oh, and all the canned stuff in these recipes can definitely come from non-canned sources, which is what I plan on doing. I'm just going to make something for dinner the night before that incorporates the canned ingredients and make them in excess for salad the next day (like corn).

This is the start of me trying to make my lunch from leftovers. It's a difficult thing for me to do since up until about a year ago, I never ate leftovers. They still gross me out, but I don't like cooking every day more than I don't like eating leftovers. Lesser of two evils, I suppose.

I've also found a great salad dressing from delish and Food & Wine:
Creamy Feta Vinaigrette - Serve with Mixed Grilled Vegetables
Brush thickly sliced zucchini, peppers, eggplant, and onions with olive oil. Grill until tender and browned. Serve warm, topped with the dressing.

Anywhos, for now, I have plenty of delicious meat from home to make some awesome sandwiches for the next week or so, but after that I'm totally making salad. Chicken or tuna salads are also on the menu for the colder months.

And lastly, I finally pumped up the tires on my junk commuter bike and they were at 15 psi. They should be at 65. That explains why it's been so hard to go anywhere. And here I thought I was just grossly out of shape.

P.S. In my search for delicious salads, I stumbled upon a blog that has some great ideas, called 101 Cookbooks. Here are the ones I'm planning on trying:

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