30 August 2009

Facelift Number Three: A BIGGER Mouth Bite

Chilis sure makes some really delicious food, especially their burgers. In a past life I'd gladly eat any of their Big Mouth Burgers... but the lowest Calorie one has 820 Calories and 44 grams of fat! And that is just the plain "Old Timer" burger, too, which is just a burger, tomato, lettuce and mustard on a sesame seed bun - no cheese, no bacon, nothing! I decided to take on the unhealthiest of their burgers... four mini-burgers called "Big Mouth Bites".


Now it's time for a facelift!


8 ounces 98% lean ground ostrich meat
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 Arnold's Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins
4 mini-slices Sara Lee Aged Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 slices Butterball Lower Sodium Turkey Bacon
1 California haas avocado
2 tablespoons light sour cream
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Table Blend
1 teaspoon paprika
(Ignore the dressing that's in the photo; I ended up omitting it.)


Chop up the onion. If you have a food processor, use it! These pieces I chopped ended up being a little too big.

Combine the onion, garlic, Southwest Chipotle Mrs. Dash, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl.

Form mixture into 4 patties.

In another bowl, combine the avocado, sour cream, paprika and Mrs. Dash Table Blend until...

...it looks like this! Set aside.

Cook the bacon.

Cook the burgers.

Toast the Sandwich Thins and top with 1 tablespoon of the avocado spread and the bacon (crumbled).

Put one mini-slice of cheese on top of each burger and let it melt.

Place one burger on each Sandwich Thin and enjoy! Recipe makes four burgers; two burgers = one serving.


Burger, left; Guacamole Spread, right:
Combining both:
1186 fewer Calories (-75%)
80g less fat (-82%)
22g less saturated fat (-80%)
2354mg less sodium (-80%)
76g less carbs (-73%)
2g more dietary fiber (+25%)
25g less protein (-40%)

Again, it looks like protein went down. Definitely not my goal.

Now, you may wonder why I chose ostrich. Firstly, I like interesting game and I was curious when I saw the ostrich meat at a local international food market. Secondly, I've heard great things about it and how great of a healthy alternative it is from beef.

Feel free to use whatever meat product you prefer: ground chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, or even Gimme Lean. Gimme Lean is pretty delicious - I've used it a few times and although it has a good dose of sodium, it's a great meatless alternative if you need it.

As far as improvements to this, next time I try this out I will be sure to flatten the patties a bit more so they cover the entire Sandwich Thin. Otherwise this was extremely delicious and very filling!

Avocado spread recipe can be found here and the burger recipe can be found here.

If you have any suggestions for other fast food items for me to give a facelift, leave a comment or send an e-mail to FastFoodFacelift@gmail.com!

23 August 2009

Second Facelift: Panera Bread's Chicken Chipotle Sandwich

I had originally wanted to choose a different protein than chicken, as I did a chicken pasta dish for the last facelift, but I have always been intrigued by Panera Bread. Many believe since it is a sandwich, soup, and salad joint that it is automatically healthy. One look at their nutrition information tells you something completely different!

So, I decided to choose the item with the highest Calorie count: the Chicken Chipotle Sandwich


Now, it's time for a facelift!


4 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast
2 slices Butterball Less Sodium Turkey Bacon
1/2 fresh poblano pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
sprinkle of garlic powder
1 sundried tomato
1 tablespoon fat free sour cream
1 teaspoon Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 slices Sara Lee "45 Calorie & Delightful" bread
2 slices Sara Lee Aged Sharp Cheddar Cheese "Custom Slices" (approx. 20g)
1/2 cup baby spinach


Remove seeds and white flesh from the half poblano pepper and finely mince.

Rub the minced garlic, garlic powder, and minced poblano on all sides of one chicken breast. Let it marinate in the refrigerator in a zip-top bag while the prep continues.

Mince the sundried tomato and mix with the sour cream, mustard and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

Cook the chicken.

Cook the bacon, slice as shown, and set aside with the chicken. Now, it's time to assemble!

In a medium-heated pan, put a slice of bread and top with cheese, then...




Spread the remaining bread with the sundried tomato spread, then...

Top the sandwich!

Toast on the opposite side, serve, and enjoy!


671 fewer Calories (-63%)
43g less fat (-78%)
9g less saturated fat (-59%)
0g trans fat (-100%)
35mg less cholesterol (-24%)
1869mg less sodium (-73%)
60g less carbs (-68%)
2g more fiber (+48%)
2g less sugar (-32%)
10g less protein (-10%)

Okay, okay, so I didn't exactly want to lower the amount of protein, but 44g is still a significant amount to have in one meal. Protein is very good for you, keeping you fuller longer, especially with fiber and water.

The original sandwich has no spinach, but I added it for nutrients and because I don't like tomato (which is on the original). Add whatever veggies you'd like! I don't think this sandwich is very spicy, so I think next time I'll use jalapenos instead of the poblano pepper.

When eating this, I couldn't stop thinking about how delicious it was. I probably took only 5 minutes to eat it because it was a very savory sandwich! I've never had the Panera sandwich, but just looking at the pictures, I must say that mine definitely looks better. If only I had a panini press, I could add some awesome grill marks to it!

Full recipe can be found here. E-mail me your meal suggestions to FastFoodFacelift@gmail.com or by leaving a comment in this blog. Thanks for reading!

18 August 2009

"Kids Eat Free" Fast Food Marketing

[full article from USA Today]

If your kids can eat for a discount at a chain restaurant, are you more willing to eat there? How about if they can eat for free?

Apparently many fast food patrons feel that it is quite the incentive to indulge in the huge and unhealthy portions at IHOP and Fazoli's, among other restuarants.

I can completely understand how it is appealing to eat at these places if you have kids and they can get a free meal; what would normally be a $80 meal for a family of four could easily turn into a $40 meal. With the assistance of MyKidsEatFree.com, families can find some really great offers.

One of the best that I found in my area (Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky) was at Lone Star Steakhouse where two children can eat for free (off of the kids' menu) when one adult entree is ordered. Not too shabby!

But, even though these deals are pretty fantastic (or should that read fantastical?), they are a marketing scheme and some may say it promotes the complacency that comes with convenience.

What do you think?

16 August 2009

First Facelift: Rattlesnake Pasta

One of my favorite dishes that I used to get frequently in college was the Rattlesnake Pasta from Pizzeria UNO. I'd happily eat one of these (as would my boyfriend) and we'd split a dessert afterwards.


Mind you, this is the pasta only: no breadstick! Also, don't forget that the one plate is two servings, so double all of those values!

It's time for a facelift!

12 ounces chicken breast
8 ounces Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Penne
2 cups baby spinach
.25 cup Philadelphia One-Third Less Fat Cream Cheese
.25 cup fat free sour cream
2 tablespoons skim milk
1 jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
.5 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle blend


Start cooking the pasta.

Cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces and spice it up with Mrs. Dash, pepper, and garlic powder.

Cook the chicken in olive oil and minced garlic.

Slice up your jalapeno pepper after removing ALL of the seeds AND the white flesh!

Put the peppers in a medium-heated saucepan with olive oil and minced garlic.

Add the spinach and cook it...

...until it completely wilts, like this.

Add all of the creamy ingredients (milk, cream cheese, sour cream, parmesan cheese), pepper, and garlic powder and stir until creamy.

Add the chicken.

Add the cooked and drained pasta.




296 fewer Calories (-45%)
29g less fat (-77%)
12g less saturated fat (-84%)
41mg less cholesterol (-41)
5g more fiber (+153%)
2g more protein (+7%)
904mg less sodium (-84%)

And, in my opinion, it was pretty delicious! It was very, very filling and was the perfect portion size. The spices were great especially since I didn't use any added salt. (You could add salt if you feel the need, but in my opinion the cheeses add enough sodium.)

You can find the full recipe here!

This is just the first facelift of many. Please, remember to e-mail FastFoodFacelift@gmail.com or leave a comment with some dishes you would like to see have a facelift!