I Can Make This Better. Probably.

The Mr. and I go out for dinner once a week.

‘Cause we still date and stuff.

This used to involve really really yummy, but high fat, high calorie meals, alcohol and then usually a take-home dessert/snack and a movie at home.

Every. Week.

Now that I’ve been on this detox, though, my restaurant options have left me wanting. I can usually find something on the menu that is detox appropriate, but there are some places that I just don’t even bother going. Like my favorite place in town for a Reuben sandwich. And my favorite place for pizza. But, when he suggested Ruby Tuesday this week I thought of their garden bar which I LOVE and remembered seeing different chicken dishes on their menu, so we went. I got my ice water and started cruising the menu. I’ve been to three restaurants in the past five weeks and I’ve gotten steak, salmon and salmon… so I scurried over to the chicken section. There were several options but two of the dishes were covered in BBQ sauce and one was deep fried. I decided on the Chicken Bella, which was a grilled chicken breast with sauteed baby portabella mushrooms and artichokes with a Parmesan cheese sauce. My plan was to have the parm sauce replaced with olive oil and to ask what the mushrooms were sauteed in. If it was in butter I was going to ask that they be cooked in olive oil instead.

I was a gal with a plan.

When the waitress came I told her what I wanted and asked for the sauce replacement, which she was happy to do. Then I asked if the mushrooms were sauteed in butter or oil. It was one of those deer-caught-in-headlights moments. She stammered for a moment till I asked, “Oh, are they already prepped for the day?” to which she replied that they come prepackaged but she can go ask what’s in them.

<face palm>

Prepackaged mushrooms? The Mr. says that I’m a bit of a food snob, but seriously, how hard is it to slice up mushrooms in the morning and have them ready for the day? Come on, I’ve watched Anne Burrell

Now, to be fair, the dish was actually good, especially since I’m getting tired of fish, but the mushrooms were definitely over-processed (I suspect canned. One squeaked. <Shudder> ) and likely cooked in butter so I felt a little unsettled about it. I said, as I often do, “I can make this better.”

That’s what I set out to do this week. My first run was ok, but I need to work on making a richer sauce with the mushrooms. Needs a little more tweaking and testing.*

First theirs

chicken bella 1

Then mine

chicken bella 2

I sauteed a bunch of sliced of portabellas along with a sweet onion and a pinch of red pepper flakes. In another pan I lightly browned some garlic slices and added two jars of marinated artichokes hearts (reserving the marinade for dressing later this week.) In ANOTHER pan I stir-fried some zucchini fresh from the Farmer’s Market that morning. All that going on while the Mr. grilled the chicken. I made my plate with a chopped tomato drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but the rest of the family got baked potatoes.

Needs a little more work to be worth a recipe I’d share, but I still prefer it over Ruby’s. I know exactly what’s in it and it was very healthy.

Off to research mushroom sauces! Also, need to improve food photography.

* “Tweaking? A project that needs tweaking? T-W-E-A-K-I-N-G?” Name it.

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