Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dancer's Nutrition: Lunch Time

As I head back to work on Monday after a three week winter break, I will be adjusting back into my routine.  No more lazy days with late afternoon lunches (sometimes accompanied by a beautiful glass of wine) for me.  I will be returning to my home office to choreograph, peruse iTunes for new music and brainstorm for a new way to make shuffle ball change (that's a tap reference for you non-dancers) look amazing.  When I'm working at home I often am looking for an easy lunch option that I can quick throw together and keep on working.  Also, my lunch needs to be rather filling so that it will keep me fueled for my long nights at the studio, even though I am always carrying snacks in my bag  for my commute home.

When I was creating this recipe I was trying to come up with something creative and not your typical turkey sandwich.  However, I did want it simple enough to make so that busy families and my young dancers could prepare it without feeling overwhelmed.  This chicken guacamole sandwich is not only super healthy, easy to make but it can also be made one day ahead making it perfect to pack for a school lunch, or for me to enjoy at my computer desk in between choreographing dance steps.

Chicken Guacamole Sandwich

1 large boneless skinless chicken breast
2 lemon slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
5-8 dashes Tabasco Pepper Sauce (optional)
1 garlic clove, chopped (optional)
4 pieces sliced bread, toasted
2 small tomato, sliced
2-4 leaves of lettuce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken breast in a piece of foil.  Drizzle the olive oil on top and season with salt and pepper.  Place the two lemon slices on top of the chicken breast.  Wrap the foil around the chicken breast and place it on a baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Once cooled discard the lemon slices and chop the chicken.  Note: This can be done a day or two ahead of time and stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

In a medium mixing bowl place the avocado.  Using a fork or potato masher, smash the avocado.  Add the 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, red onion, cilantro, Tabasco and garlic.  Stir to combine all ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the cooked, chopped chicken breast and stir well to combine.

Spread about half of the chicken avocado salad onto one slice of the bread.  Top it with the lettuce, tomato and finally the other slice of bread.  Repeat this for the second sandwich. Cut in half and enjoy.  Makes 2 sandwiches.

Note: If you want to make the chicken avocado salad ahead of time, use plastic wrap to cover it pushing the plastic all the way down onto the salad to keep the avocado from browning.

Need to make this vegetarian?
Substitute the chicken for tofu, tempeh or make it crunchy by using a cucumber.

Need to make it gluten free?
Place the guacamole chicken into the leaves of lettuce, top with the tomatoes and enjoy it as a lettuce wrap.