Saturday, June 30, 2012

Another Award!!!

Thank you SOOO much Mess Makes Food for my 2nd award! She's got a lot of scrumptious baked treats on her site that make me go gaga... check out the Chunky Chewy Coconut and White Chocolate Chip Cookies (those are on my to make list...)

The rules of this award are:
1. Thank your nominator (and link back!). 
2. Nominate 5 other blogs, with less than 200 followers and post a comment on each blog letting them know they have been given the award. 
3. Copy and paste the award onto your blog.

And the nominees are.....

Congrats everyone and thank you again for another awesome award! It keeps me motivated to keep up with  blog and providing only the best for you all!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Baked Chicken Pan Pie w/ Drop Biscuits

I grew up having chicken pot pie practically once a week, it's my favorite! My mom would buy the frozen pie crusts, throw in a can of veg-all, a can of cream of chicken and 1 lb of diced up boiled chicken. Not exactly the healthiest meal - but I craved it. It's true comfort food for me. I would even order it at restaurants, if they had it available on the menu. But chicken pot pie can be taxing on any diet. It's heavy, creamy and bread-y. So let's lighten it up and make it better. I started by adding a ton of veggies, using very little oil (no butter) and skim milk (instead of cream). My version is so much better than any chicken pot pie I've ever had.  It has just enough of the creaminess I love, but not too much. It is so veggie loaded that most of the room that sauce would take up, is being taken up by the nutrient rich veggies. Having little drop biscuits on top allow you to control how much bread you want. I personally am fine with one 1 biscuit and a nice large spoon full of the chicken pie mixture. Now you might be thinking, why am I still calling it chicken pie, if there is no pie? Well, to me the dish is called chicken pot pie and that's what it reminds me of, even if there is no pie crust. So I'll just stick with it - makes it easier to explain. 

I used King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour, it's a lighter version on whole wheat flour. I used it so the biscuits wouldn't be so dense. I also used homemade chicken stock, but if you don't have any one hand, then I recommend a low sodium chicken stock. If you want to add more veggies or omit some, that would work. It's easy to customize what you want to have in the chicken pie mixture. As for the biscuits, the dough is sticky, but that is normal. If you want to add a little more flour to your hands, so you can handle them, that's fine. Just don't add too much. I just used a large spoon to scoop up the dough, and pushed it off with my finger on top of the chicken pie mixture.

Baked Chicken Pan Pie w/ Drop Biscuits

Cook Time: 35 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6-8

  • 2 tsp of oil
  • 1 lb of free-range boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced (leaves removed)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, mince
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 tbsp of white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 cup of organic skim milk
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 8oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced 
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

Drop Biscuits:
  • 1 cup organic skim milk
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil
  • 2 cup white whole wheat flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp of oil over medium heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, turn and repeat on the other side. Cover, lower the heat slightly and let the chicken cook until complete cooked all the way through or has an internal temp of 165F (about another 10 minutes or so, depending on the thickness of your chicken). Dice the chicken breasts in bite sized pieces and set aside.

While the chicken is cooking, heat the other tsp of oil over medium heat. 

Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper to the pot. Stir well and cook the mixture for about 8 minutes, or until all the veggies are soft. 

Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir well. Cook for about a minute (to get some of the flour taste out.)

Add the milk and chicken stock to the pot and stir well. Let the mixture cook for about 4 minutes or until it has begun to thicken. 

Add the mushrooms, peas, red wine vinegar, parsley and diced chicken. Stir together well. Remove the pot from the stove and let it cool slightly, while you make the biscuit dough.

Drop Biscuits - in a large bowl add the milk and coconut oil. Stir well. Then gradually add the sifted flour, baking powder, salt and parsley. Stir until combined, but don't over mix. The dough will be sticky, that is fine. Since these are drop biscuits, you don't have to use your hands. 

Now, pour the chicken mixture into a 9 x 11 baking dish. Spread out evenly. 

Top with dollops of the biscuit dough, a bit bigger than a tbsp of dough. You should have 16 biscuits in total. 4 x 4. 

Bake at 450F for 18-20 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown. 

Let the chicken pan pie rest for a few minutes before serving. 

When serving, scoop the mixture with a large spoon and re-top with the biscuits. 

Nutritional Info for 2/3 cup of chicken mixture and 2 biscuits(assuming it serves 8):
Calories: 290 ; Fat: 9g ; Carbohydrate: 29g ; Fiber: 5g ; Sugar: 4g ; Protein: 22g

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

NY Strip w/ Sassy Onions

I'll admit, I'm not much of a meat eater - but being pregnant sure does make you crave things your wouldn't normally eat. So steak for dinner it is! I prefer to make my own steak, as opposed to going to a steak house. I find that the meat is usually over seasoned, over priced and who knows where it came from. The key to making a great steak at home is getting the best quality of meat available (and a good sear on the outside). If it's great meat, it should be able to stand alone without fancy sauces, seasonings and excessive oil. Sure it's nice to have some seasoning, but not to excess - like most places prepare steaks. These "Sassy Onions" are a nice compliment to the NY Strip. It's like PB & J - steak and onions are meant to be together. NY Strip is a fairly lean cut of meat, so try not to over cook it. That is one reason why I love NY Strips - not super fatty but protein loaded. 

I purchased grass-fed NY Strips from Fresh Market (which happened to be on sale, my favorite!). Buying good cuts of meat on sale, and freezing them, makes eating high quality foods affordable. I purchased a decent amount to freeze for future use, since I don't normally see grass-fed NY Strips on sale. I'm a firm believer in buying in bulk, it saves you money and time later down the road. Just make sure you wrap the meat well, so it doesn't get freezer burn. 

My Dairy-Free friends - if you don't want to add the butter to the onions, that's fine, but it gives them a nice gloss and good flavor. I would recommend substituting it with a non-dairy butter, like coconut butter. 

NY Strip w/ Sassy Onions

Cook Time: < 25 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 4 


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp organic butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb of grass-fed NY Strip Steak, cut into 4 - 1 inch thick 

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet.

Season the NY Strip with salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp of Worcestershire on both sides. Let the meat absorb the flavors while you cook the onions. 

Add the onion to the heated skillet and saute for about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic, dry mustard and 1/2 tsp of Worcestershire. Saute for another 5 minutes or until the onions are starting to slightly brown and are real soft. Add the butter to the pan, salt & pepper and coat the onions well. Remove the onions from the pan, and set aside. 

Add the seasoned NY Strip to the skillet and let it cook for about 4 minutes on one side or until a nice brown crust has formed. Flip and cook for 4 minutes on the other side. 

Add the onions on top of the steaks and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low and allow the meat to cook to desired done-ness (about 4 more minutes to medium or longer for a more well done steak).

Serve the steaks with the onions on top.

Nutritional Info per Serving (4oz meat and 1/4c onions):
Calories: 200 ; Fat: 8g ; Carbohydrate: 5g ; Fiber: 1g ; Sugar: 0g ; Protein: 25g

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jalapeno Jelly and Brie Crescent Bites

I recent saw a post from a friend of mine, Ellen B (brie tartlets), that got me wanting some brie. I haven't had any in awhile, and being pregnant - once you've got a certain food on your mind - it's over. So I made these brie bites with some ingredients I had on hand. I received some Jalapeno Jelly a while back as a gift, and haven't put it to good use - so I used it in this recipe. They turned out awesome, I wish I had made more! But since it is only my husband and I eating them, it's a good thing that I only made 8. We ate them as an afternoon snack with some tea. The buttery crescent rolls with gooey brie and sweet/spicy jelly is a winner in my book. I will definitely be making these again. Maybe even for a party - they were very simple to make. Entertain can be a hassle sometimes, but with something as tasty and simple as these, bring it on! 

Once these were done baking, I noticed some of the cheese and jelly leaked out. Well since I'm not one to waste (especially cheese), I just spooned the drippings on top of the crescent rolls. It really made a difference, having a sweet spicy glaze on the outside. Yum! If you don't have jalapeno jelly, you could use red pepper jelly or if you prefer a fruit based jelly. I used Immaculate Baking Co. crescent rolls but you can use whatever kind of crescent rolls you'd like. These aren't super sweet or very cheesy. I kept the proportions pretty light but if you want to add extra cheese or jelly - I say do it. More glaze-y goodness to top them with.  

Jalapeno Jelly and Brie Crescent Bites

Cook Time: < 15 minutes
Prep: < 5 minutes
Serves: 8 rolls


  • 1 can of crescent rolls (should have about 8 rolls)
  • 8 tsp of jalapeno jelly
  • 2 oz brie

Preheat the oven according to directions for the crescent rolls.

Roll out the crescent rolls on parchment paper. Take 1 tsp of the jalapeno jelly and spread it evenly on the surface of each crescent roll. Top each crescent roll with a 1/4 oz of brie, at the larger end of the crescent dough. 

Take the larger end of the crescent and roll the dough towards the thinner end. Roll loosely. Place the side with the tip downwards. 

Repeat with all of crescents. Then transfer the parchment sheet onto a cookie sheet. 

Bake according to the directions on the crescent rolls container. 

Once they are baked, any excess cheese and jelly that ran out of the crescent roll, spoon on top of the baked crescent rolls. 

Serve warmed :) 

Nutritional Info per bite:
Calories: 135 ; Fat: 8g ; Carbohydrate: 14g ; Fiber: 0g ; Sugar: 6g ; Protein: 2g 

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Summer - So What's in Season?

It's finally summer time!! Summer brings up fond memories of fresh watermelon slices, picnics filled with cool salads and lots of outdoor activities. Grilling is also what comes to mind - unfortunately I live in an apartment building that doesn't allow me to have a grill, but I'll take my grilling elsewhere. Beaches, parks, pools... grilling can be done. Grilling fruits and veggies is beyond delicious. I love that flavor it gives to a simple corn on the cob. If you've never tried corn on the cob grilled - it is an experience to say the least (compared to boiled corn). It goes from "Oh look, corn on the cob" (dull voice) to "This is corn?! OMG" (crazy person voice). By the way - this is me speaking from personal experience. But don't think you are limited to just grilling. Making cool salads is also another way to keep yourself from sweating in the kitchen. With tons of great fruit to use, making an easy fruit salad can dress up any meal. Or making a fresh salsa that can is as easy as putting everything in the food processor and done! 

Living in South Florida can have it's perks. There is always an abundance of fresh produce year round, but especially in the summer time. I'm fairly close to a lot of farmer's markets and a few farms that let you pick your own produce. How awesome is that!?

Photo courtesy of

Here's a taste of what's in season:
  • Tomato
  • Corn
  • Watermelon
  • Summer Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Strawberries
  • Avocados
  • Bell Peppers
  • Green Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Peaches
  • Cantaloupe

A few recipes you can make with a some of these awesome fruits and vegetables:
Roasted Summer Squash
Strawberries N' Cream Oatmeal
Chocolaty Avocado Brownies
Skillet Cajun Hash
Roasted Balsamic Peppers and Onions

So many great things to work with - looks like I'm going to be in the kitchen a lot! Keep your eyes peeled for a lot of fruit & veg recipes in the next month or so. I recommend buying your favorites in bulk and freezing some to use throughout the year. Summer is short! So get to the market, stock up on the inexpensive, in-season, super fresh produce that is available before it's gone.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Whole Wheat Banana Flax Pancakes

It's the weekend - and that means I'm making breakfast! Since I'm not in a rush to get to work or start on my to-do list, I take the time to make something I've been craving or wanting to have. Pancakes - a go-to weekend breakfast item. Since I had a few bananas on hand that were either going to be used today or go in the freezer, I decided to add them to my pancakes. These are dense, filling and hearty. The whole wheat flour, flaxseed and egg give the pancakes that dense texture. Sure I enjoy light airy pancakes, but I end up wanting to eat 5 or so to feel satisfied. With these, 2 pancakes is plenty for me. The banana gives it a light sweetness, but these aren't sweet by any means. I like to control how sweet my food gets, so I drizzle a bit of pure maple syrup after they are cooked for a touch of sweet. A nice balance of protein, fat and fiber - these pancakes are not made up of empty calories, they are power packed! 

I recommend sifting the flour, it gives it a bit of air and helps the pancakes not get too dense. I used coconut oil to lube up the pan, but you could use whatever kind of oil you'd like. I usually use coconut oil or olive oil. I didn't want a fruity olive oil taste - so yummy coconut instead. These recipe doubles easily, in case you've got a really hungry family!

Whole Wheat Banana Flax Pancakes

Cook Time: < 15 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 8 (1/4 cup) pancakes


  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp organic ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder


  • 1 ripe banana, mashed very well
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites (cage-free), beaten

  • 1 tsp coconut oil (for pan) or use oil spray
  • fresh banana slices (optional)
  • pure maple syrup (optional)
  • dairy-free whipped topping (optional)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.

In a side bowl, add all of the dry ingredients. Mix well by hand. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mashed the banana very well with a fork. Then add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir well. 

Gradually stir in the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Try to not over mix. The batter should be thick and lumpy. 

Use about 1/3 of the oil - put it in the heated pan and distribute evenly. 

Pour a 1/4 cup of the pancake batter into the pan, spreading the batter out slightly. Repeat this step until the pan has the max amount of pancakes it can hold. 

Wait for the pancakes to slightly bubble on top (about 3 minutes) and then flip, to cook the other side. Cook for about 2 minutes or so. Remove from the pan and begin with the next batch of pancakes. Add a bit of remaining oil and proceed with adding the pancakes to the pan. Do this as many times as you need to finish off the batter.

Once the pancakes are done, serve warm. Top with fresh banana slices and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.  

My cute petite pancake stack with a few banana slices and a drizzle of maple syrup.

My husband's pancake platter - he's so proud :). He added a bit of whipped topping on his. 

Nutritional Info for 2 pancakes(not including optional ingredients):
Calories: 175 ; Fat: 3g ; Carbohydrate: 32g ; Fiber: 5g ; Sugar: 4g ; Protein: 7g