Thursday, June 5, 2014

protein packs

I mentioned the other day that I roasted a chicken and planned to use it for several things.  I gave the wings and legs to a friend to enjoy, I put the carcass in the freezer to use for making homemade stock, I chopped some up and made a barbecue chicken pizza for Bob tonight, and used the rest to make protein packs (for lack of a better term).

Protein packs are meals consisting of meat, cheese, and nuts.  I got the idea when I was in BJ's and saw Oscar Mayer now has snack packs called P3 (Portable Protein Pack).  It's a three-compartment plastic container with turkey breast, almonds, and colby jack cheese.  I bought a box, since I like anything that I can grab quickly and take on-the-go.  I can't remember how much I paid, but I believe there were 4 in the box and it was around $8.00.  A bit expensive considering it's a light snack for most people.  Although, for me, it's a meal, so I wasn't too concerned.  Each pack contains 170 calories, 11g fat, 3g carbs, and 13g protein.

I thought these were good; however, I wasn't thrilled with the turkey breast.  Anyone who has bought Oscar Mayer lunch meat (in the blister pack) or Lunchables knows the quality of those products.  It's salty and it's just guess.  It's chopped, formed, pressed, etc.  I know they have better stuff these days, but when I think Oscar Mayer I tend to think thick-sliced generic bologna in a blister pack. Mind you, I'm not dissing bologna; I love it.  Very thinly sliced, with mayo and cheese on soft white bread, or fried into a grilled cheese.  Nor am I dissing Oscar Mayer.  But there's a reason a package of the stuff is only a couple bucks, depending where you go:  it ain't good for you and it's not the best quality.  I see it as being more for kids.  But, I digress...

I figured I could make something a little more healthy on my own and it would be less expensive.  So, I used the roasted chicken for my meat portion.  I used 1 oz.  For my cheese portion I used 3/4 oz. of Emmentaler cheese (another half-price bargain at Big Y!); this is the real "swiss cheese" and it's quite funky, but delicious. For the nut portion I used 1/2 oz. of dry roasted peanuts, considering I have a giant tub from BJ's to use up. I played around with the portions a bit.  The goal was to keep it around 200 calories, stay around the same amount of fat and get the protein up to at least 13g.  My final product contains:  214 calories, 15g fat, 2.5g carbs and a whopping 18g protein.  Yes, the fat is high, but here's no getting around that when you're using cheese and nuts.  Next time I'll use a low fat cheese, maybe.  And although the calories and fat are higher, so is the quality.

I didn't have any small containers with compartments, so I used what I have.  I dumped a meal's worth into a big plastic zip-top bag.  I'd like to find something that's all one container, though, so I don't have to wash a million tiny containers.

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