Monday, March 19, 2012

Low-fat Chicken Pot Pie

Adapted from My
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 3 cups diced red potato (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups diced white onion 
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup sliced or diced carrot 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 3 cups fat-free milk 
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth 
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 12 ounces) 
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 (14 x 9-inch) pie crust, thawed
  • Cooking spray 


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add oil. Add potatoes and next 6 ingredients (through thyme), and sauté for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; sprinkle flour over vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in milk and broth. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken, peas, salt, and pepper.
  3. Spoon mixture into a 3-quart baking dish. Place pie crust on top of mixture in dish and secure pie crust around the top of the dish by pinching over the glass dish edges. Place dish on a baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until top is golden.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni (I used cavatelli)
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons margarine
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese(1.5 cups sharp cheddar + 1.5 cups medium cheddar)
  • 1 cup non-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  1. Cook pasta until tender, drain. Mix all dry ingredients together, set aside. Spray oven safe bowl or dish with cooking spray. Place half of macaroni inside. Sprinkle half of the flour mixture over top and top with half of the margarine, sliced into small slices. Sprinkle 1.5 cups cheese over. Repeat. Pour milk over all. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for thirty five minutes. Remove foil, top with bread crumbs and bake an additional ten minutes. Serve hot.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala


Adapted from Real Simple


  • 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • medium onion, chopped
  • cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) garam masala or Tikka Masala (Indian spice blend paste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1 cup basmati or some other long-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk


  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, cayenne pepper, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, cover, and cook until the chicken is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).
  2. In a small bowl, toss the cucumber and cilantro with the lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
  3. About an hour before eating, cook the rice according to your rice steamer's directions.
  4. Just before serving, stir the coconut milk into the chicken tikka masala. Serve over the rice with the cucumber relish.

Cinnamon Brown Butter Breakfast Puffs

Adapted from Betty Crocker and Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 9 to 12 standard muffin-size puffs or 30-ish miniature ones. Try not to overfill or you won’t get as great domes on them.

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup (5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup non-fat milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat with cooking spray 12 standard size or 30 miniature muffin cups, or line cups with paper liners.
Prepare coatings:   In a small saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat and continue to cook it, stirring frequently, until brown bits form on the bottom and it smells nutty and heavenly. Immediately remove from heat and set aside. In a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside as well.
Prepare puffs: Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together in a medium bowl and set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Mix in 1/3 of flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of buttermilk, repeating again and finishing with the flour mixture. Mix only until combined.
Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling only 3/4 of the way. (I filled mine higher and they ended up spilling over a bit and doming less than they are capable of.) Bake standard sized muffins for 20 to 25 minutes and miniature muffins for 12 to 14 minutes. When finished, muffins will feel springy to the touch and a tester inserted into the center will come out clean. Transfer them in their pan to a wire rack.
As soon as you feel you’re able to pick one up, take your first puff and roll the top and upper edges in the browned butter. Don’t be afraid to pick up the browned butter solids at the bottom of the saucepan; they’re the dreamiest part. Let any excess butter drip off for a second before gently rolling the butter-soaked cake top in cinnamon-sugar. I find if you roll too firmly, or have too much wet/not absorbed butter on top, the sugar can clump off, which is heartbreaking. Transfer puff to wire rack to set and repeat with remaining puffs. Eat warm.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Naked Chicken Burrito Bowls

  • 1.5 lbs. chicken (3-4 large breasts)
  • 16 oz. of your favorite salsa
  • 8 oz. frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 T chile powder
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t cracked pepper
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2 cups dry rice, cooked
 Optional garnish:
  • 8 oz. shredded cheese
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • Raw spinach leaves
  • 1 large or 2 small avocados, sliced for garnish
  • Sour cream or plain yogurt

  1. Place all ingredients in crock pot except for rice and garnish options. Stir well and make sure chicken is covered.
  2. Place on low setting for 8 hours.
  3. Chicken will just fall apart, so you can shred it easily right in the crock pot with a couple of forks. Mix well.
  4. Serve bowl of rice topped with chicken mixture.  Add desired garnish.  Serves 6-8.
My family really enjoyed this.  I was cooking for dinner club as well as a few other meals so I actually quadrupled it by doubling the batch and making it twice.  We ate it tonight and my family really enjoyed it.  Although the total cook time is long, the hands on time is very minimal. In a pinch, you could likely substitute the spices for a packet of taco seasoning. Very easy and makes great leftovers.  Two thumbs up! This recipe was inspired by one I saw on Budget Bytes.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Braised Peanut Chicken

  • medium onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced carrot (3 medium)
  • small red sweet pepper, cut into bite-size strips
  • pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
  • tablespoons lime juice
  • tablespoons soy sauce
  • tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons red curry paste 
  • garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • cup frozen peas
  • Hot cooked rice
  • Chopped peanuts (optional)
  • Snipped fresh cilantro (optional)
Directions1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, place onions, carrot, and sweet pepper. Top with chicken. In a medium bowl, whisk together broth, peanut butter, lime peel, lime juice, soy sauce, tapioca, ginger, curry paste, garlic, and red pepper flakes until smooth. Pour over all in cooker.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in coconut milk and peas. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
3. Serve chicken mixture over hot cooked rice. If desired, sprinkle each serving with chopped peanuts and cilantro. Makes 6 servings.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and it was a big hit in my house!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Crock Pot Applesauce

  • 12 organic apples peeled, sliced, and cored
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Add apples, water, and cinnamon to crock pot and cover with lid.
  2. Cook on high 4-5 hours.
  3. Whisk to mix (or blend for smoother texture).
  4. Let applesauce cool to room temperature before serving or refrigerating.  Also freezes really well!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Homemade Granola Bars


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup sliced or chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup peanuts coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashew pieces/halves
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 oz. dried fruit (I used cranberries, cherries, and blueberries)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Spray an 9 by 13-inch baking dish with PAM/olive oil mister and line it with parchment paper.
  3. Toss the oatmeal, nuts, seeds, wheat germ, flaxseed, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. 
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  5. Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. 
  6. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. 
  7. Add the dried fruit and stir well.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before turning out onto a cutting board and cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature. 

     ***Shortcut and/or for a "softer" bar: You can use wax paper instead of parchment paper, pour the mixture  into the prepared pan and just let cool for 2-3 hours before turning out onto a cutting board and cutting into squares, eliminating the baking step altogether.

    I wrapped the bars individually with saran wrap to be able to take easily in lunches, etc.

      Caramelized Onion Apricot Chicken Pizza

      • 1 pound of your favorite pizza dough (I did a whole wheat crust in my bread machine.  I used 1 1/2 c warm water, 1 T olive oil, 1 t honey, 1 t salt,  3 1/4c whole wheat flour, 1 T yeast on the dough cycle)
      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • 2 cups chopped red onions
      • 1/2 cup apricot preserves (you can also use peach)
      • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
      • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
      • 1 1/2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
      • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used a cheddar/jack combo)
      • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
      1. Preheat oven to 500˚F.
      2. Heat olive oil in pan and cook onions to caramelize them for about 15 minutes.  Stir frequently.  Turn heat to low, before adding in apricot preserves, vinegar, and mustard.  Stir for 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat.
      3. Roll pizza dough into desired shape and bake crust only for 5 min. 
      4. Spread shallot apricot mixture evenly over crust. 
      5. Top evenly with chicken. 
      6. Sprinkle shredded cheese and feta cheese evenly on top. 
      7. Reduce heat and bake at 425˚F for 12 – 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Makes 8 servings. 
      I'm not going to lie, I absolutely freaked out over this pizza and am already craving it again!  When making this en masse for dinner club, the caramelized onions and homemade pizza crust are labors of love, but if just doing it for your own family, this wouldn't be a big deal at all.  The combination of the flavors is DIVINE.  I'm not a person who is crazy over feta, but this unique blend of savory and sweet is addicting! I modified a recipe found at

      Thai Turkey Burger with Plum Sauce and Spicy Slaw


      Spicy Slaw:
      • 1/2 cucumber, coarsely grated
      • 1 carrot, coarsely grated
      • 1/2 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers
      • 1/2 cup grated cabbage
      • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
      • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
      • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
      • 1 garlic clove, minced
      • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      Plum Sauce: (or buy pre-made in the Asian food section)
      • 1/3 cup plum jam
      • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
      • 1 garlic clove, minced
      Burger Patties:
      • 2 pounds ground turkey
      • 1/2 cup grated red onion
      • 2 garlic cloves, minced
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 6 whole wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted
      1. To make the spicy slaw, mix shredded cucumber, carrot, and red pepper in a medium bowl. Mix rice vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt in a small bowl. Pour dressing over veggies and stir well. Place in the fridge for an hour to allow the flavors to meld.
      2. To make the plum sauce, mix plum jam, rice vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl and stir until smooth. * I couldn't find plum jam, so just used store-bought.
      3. To make the burger patties, heat oven broiler to 500. Place ground turkey, grated onion, garlic, and salt in a large bowl and gently mix all the ingredients together with your hands; form 6 burgers that are slightly larger than your buns. Place patties on a broiler pan and broil for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through and no longer pink in the center.
      4. To assemble the burgers, place a patty on top of the bottom half of each bun and evenly spread the plum sauce on top of each burger. Drain any excess liquid off the slaw and spread evenly on the burgers. Add the burger tops and serve. Makes 6 burgers.
      These burgers are healthy and delicious!  I was a much bigger fan that I anticipated and loved all the flavors melded together.  This recipe will definitely be repeated and could easily be eaten without the bun for a gluten free or lower calorie version.  Also, you can use a pre-bagged version of coleslaw mix and just add some cucumber and peppers to speed things up a bit. Slightly modified from a recipe I found on