Take it or Leave it; This Ain’t No Restaurant

September 13th, 2011 by Kelly Serjeantson

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I was possibly influenced by the fleeting full moon, or hadn’t had enough sleep last night, or WHATEVER, but I was not in the mood for the whining and complaining about dinner today. It started on the walk home from school – “What’s for dinner, Mom?” This was my answer:

“Geez, 950 million people NEVER have to ask that question because they HAVE NO FOOD.”

Sign of things to come in my house, I tell ya.

So fast forward to 5pm. I have helped with homework, stood over kids unloading the dishwasher (don’t get me started on the complaints there), done 2 loads of laundry, made my oldest walk the dog and suddenly, it’s time to get some food on the table.

Yesterday, I made some yummy grilled, spice-rubbed chicken breast. I served them over rice for the menfolk in the house while my daughter & I went out to eat.  I had four left over and figured I could do something interesting with them. The day was gloomy here, threatening skies, a little cool – a comfort-food kind of day.

My mom once made a wonderful Chicken Divan, and since I had all the right ingredients, I figured, why not? We aren’t generally casserole people, but with three kids in hockey this winter, I think we might have to convert.  Then came my dilemma:


I have one who won’t touch broccoli, one who gags at creamy things, another who is pretty well only eating when the wind is right and the last who is (ahem) watching his cholesterol. Since I believe that a happy mom makes for a happy house, I thought, What the heck? I’m making this anyway because it’s what I want.

I did turn to my trusty friend, the Internet, for a quick recipe. I had a general idea, but rightly guessed that a little guidance was in order.

So, thank you, Paula Deen for the recipe.  This beautiful Southern woman knows her casseroles. However, I nearly choked when I saw amount of sour cream, mayo and cheese she uses. I quickly thought about my husband (and his cholesterol count) and decided that I needed to shape this up a bit if it was going to suit my family.

So, here’s what I did:

  • Used 1 fresh head of  broccoli instead of frozen. (Nothing wrong with frozen, I just didn’t have it! Sauteed it with onion, garlic & chicken before adding sauce)
  • Halved the amount of chicken, and cut into cubes instead of shredding.
  • Used a quarter of the sour cream (no fat) and mayo (Olive oil based).
  • I only used 1 can of soup (because I didn’t read the list thoroughly!) I didn’t have it on hand, but next time I would used reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup.
  • I did not add any extra salt, figuring that the soup would have plenty. Also, the chicken was nicely spiced, so no extra flavour was required.
  • Oh, and because I drank it all the night before, I left out the wine!
  • Last, I used crushed whole wheat crackers instead of buttered bread crumbs for the topping.
  • Served it over rice (used all my leftovers! Yay me!)

So how did it all turn out?    Well… IT WAS AWESOME! 

The kids, despite their initial resistance, ate, and one asked for more. The broccoli-hater pushed her evil green bits to the side without complaint. My reflux-boy had no problems and the fair-weather eater? Well, a little more prodding was required (i.e. raw broccoli traded for cooked) but he ate too.

Verdict? This won’t be in regular rotation due to the higher calorie/fat count, but it was delicious. I will consider it whenever I have some leftover chicken lying around, and a hankering to torture my children…

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Swiss Chalet, Not OK

November 11th, 2009 by Kelly Serjeantson

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I used to love Swiss Chalet. They used to have best fries and the rotisserie chicken, combined with a bun, and their savory dipping sauce was the perfect comfort food. However, on Tuesday, when I had to be at a catering event and I was pressed for time, I decided to make things easy for my family, so I decided to order Swiss Chalet as a treat.

The ordering was easy enough — you either order online or call a central dispatcher and they send someone out with the food.

The food seemed to come fast enough. I paid the money, which seemed a little pricey compared to what I use to pay before, but never the less, I provided a good tip to the delivery person. However, when I brought the food to the kitchen, juice from the chicken was leaking all over the place, the buns, unwrapped, had been loosely thrown into the bag, and butter packets were opened and oozing curdled butter out of the packages .

Broken Swiss Chalet Container

Broken Swiss Chalet Container

Disappointed, I tried to make the best of it and served the food to my family. However, the disappointment continued. The chicken wasn’t cooked very well and was very fatty and the potatoes were shrivelled.

My family rightfully complained and I called to complain. However, instead of getting a live person, I was forced to endure a 10 minute survey that automated attendant told me it would take 4 minutes.

Swiss Chalet has automated their processes so much, it seems they have taken the human element out of their operation.

Where is the love? Where is the pride? Did the auto attendant cook my food? If so, it would explain a lot.

How are their chickens being raised? What am I eating? Why was the chicken so fatty? If I’m just a number to them where I’m being handled by an automated attendant, what kind of standards are applied to their chickens?

Oh, my reward, for calling in? I was given a code that I could redeem for desert next time I ordered.

That said, I won’t be ordering from Swiss Chalet again.

Anyone who wants the free desert, can have it. The code is: SC479139