18 April 2009

Chicken Noodle Soup with Grilled Ham and Cheese

My boss was on vacation this past week and whenever he's away, I always have these stretches of cooking nothing. I always manage to finish the work even when he's not there, but somehow I stress myself out about it enough that I can't bear the thought of coming home to do anything so complicated as cooking.

I did, a few days ago, make something I was going to post about - this sort of steak pinwheel with ricotta cheese in it - but when I cooked it, it looked like some sort of nasty flavourless meatloaf. And that's actually sort of what it tasted like, so I didn't bother. It wasn't really something that I'd made, anyway, the meat I got from the meat department at my work - whoever does the full-service meat case makes them - and I was serving it with a home-meal-replacement package of linguine. No effort required.

This is another no effort required meal and hopefully tomorrow or Monday I'll get back to making and eating proper food again because eating pizza pops and fast food and soup from a box is really not that healthy.

This dinner was kind of a mixed bag on the healthy scale, since I did have fresh (delicious) vegetables in the form of raw snap peas and the most luscious, sweetest grape tomatoes imaginable. And the sandwich wasn't bad at all - light rye bread, low-fat cheese (a blend of cheddar, mozzarella, and Monterey Jack), and extra lean Capicollo ham. But the soup... from a box.

It's Lipton's Chicken Noodle Supreme and does have a tiny speck of fibre and, as advertised, has no trans fat and is low in fat. But it's packed full of MSG and has far too much sodium in general. (One serving is 28% of the day recommended amount.) Even though you don't taste it, I'm bothered by the fact that one of the listed ingredients is chicken fat. I'm also a little annoyed that its tiny bit of protein (2 grams, I think, per serving) is buoyed up by "textured soy protein". (I find it a little creepy that so many processed foods have soy and corn in them.) I don't like that I can't tell when I eat it if the bits of chicken are actually chicken or if they're just textured soy protein.

Still, it tastes pretty decent, even though it could be improved by more and tastier vegetables. (The dried carrot bits never seem to quite rehydrate.) I'm not sure if it tastes okay to me because it actually does taste decent or if it's just that I remember being given Lipton's Chicken Noodle soup when I was a kid and the sense memory is as much or more enjoyable than the actual experience.

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