Light Chicken Pot Pie

Light Chicken Pot Pie on Whisk Together

Toy Update: I got a new toy!!!!  Last summer was sooooo hot that turning on the oven was impossible.  So, this year I got a new toaster convection oven and it is AWESOME.  It is already hot outside and we have the AC on because of the children’s allergies.  I made this pot  pie in the toaster oven (reducing the temperature by 25 degrees since it is a convection oven.)  What did I do without this?  I can bake the fries in it while the fish or main meal bakes in the large oven.  We’ve broiled hamburger buns, baked oatmeal fudge squares, made pies, and a host of other things this week.  If you need a recommendation, then I really like our Breville Smart Toaster Convection oven. I know it is more expensive than the ones at Target, Walmart, etc.  But, many of those models had burn warnings in the reviews because the cheap models get really hot on the outside.  This one does not get TOO hot on the outside.  And it would take just one trip to the hospital to eat up the difference in price… so I got the non-burning model.

Recipe: Chicken pot pie is normally leftovers thrown in a pot of cream of something soup with veggies added as an afterthought.  This version contains no cream of soups and uses the chicken to flavor the broth which I liked.  A normal serving of chicken pot pie with two crusts and all the creams is around 610 calories per serving.  This recipe made with the puff pastry is only 340 calories.  (13 grams of fat instead of 36 grams and 5 grams of saturated fat instead of 17)  I did not tally it with the pie crust.  I happened to have pie crust in the freezer and thought it would be silly to go out and use puff pastry.  Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE puff pastry.  But using up what I have is usually a priority for me.  So, here are two ways to make this.  I’m sorry I don’t have a photo of the inside.  We ate it all before I could get a shot.

You can find puff pastry in the freezer department.  Pepperidge Farm is the main producer of it.  Need a dessert or breakfast to use up the rest of the puff pastry?  Try this one!  The apple pastry is one my favorite dishes ever.

Servings:  a 9×13 is usually too large for our small family of 2 adults and 2 children, so I cut the recipe literally in half and threw it into a 9″ pie dish and threw a pie shell on top.  But, I used the same methods, ingredients and everything.

Light Chicken Pot Pie
serves 8

1 – (9.5″x9″) sheet of puff pastry, thawed  (or 2  pie crusts, but will increase calories)
1/2 cup AP flour
2 tsp. oil
1 onion, chop fine
1 celery rib, chop fine
3 and 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tb. low-sodium soy sauce
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
3 carrots, peeled, halved and 1/4″ thick pieces  ( I chop baby carrots since I have those on hand the most)
1 cup milk (calorie count uses whole milk)
3/4-1 cup frozen peas
2 Tb. fresh parsley, chopped or 1 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees (or 375 if using pie crust).  Lightly flour your counter and roll the puff pastry into the size of your serving dish – a 9″x13″ pan.  Put the pastry on parchment that is on a cookie sheet or baking sheet.  Using a sharp knife, make shallow rectangles throughout the pastry – 8 rectangles total.  Don’t cut all the way through!  Bake the pastry on the sheet for about 8 minutes or until puffy.  (Skip this if using pie crust)

2.  Now, in a non-stick skillet toast the flour for about 5-6 minutes on medium high.  Stir quite often to avoid burning.  I have made chicken pot pie before, but I think this step really helps the flavor between the two I made.  Once toasted and light golden, put in a bowl to use later.

3.  In a dutch oven or 5 qt pot, heat up the oil.  Add onion and celery for 8-10 minutes.  Add in broth and soy sauce.  Add chicken and carrots.  Simmer, cover and reduce heat to low until the chicken is done (160 degrees) which takes about 15 minutes.  Take the chicken out and shred.

4.  Add your 1 cup milk to the flour and mix that up until smooth.  A whisk would be good.  Then add that to the pot.  (Or if you mess up and just dump everything in the pot instead, that is okay too because I did that on accident).  Stir and stir for 2 minutes – until it gets thicker.

5.  Take your pot off the stove and throw the chicken back in with your peas, parsley and lemon juice.  Add some salt and pepper.

6.  Pour this mixture into a 9×13 baking dish (or 9″ pie plate if you cut the recipe in half… or you could do 2 – 9″ pie plates with 2 pie crusts on top of each!).  Put your lovely pastry on top.  Pastry is so pretty!  Cut four steam vents in the top.  Bake about 15 minutes and cool.  Remember pastry needs to be at 425 and pie crust at 375.  Bake the pie crust one for 30 minutes.

Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Chicken Potpie


Everyone has their own version of chicken potpie.  I wanted to make a version of potpie with no “cream of” soups.  No more canned anything, but still wanted a fast recipe.  This recipe came out thinner than canned potpie versions, but made up for it in taste.  The whole thing was gobbled up.

Chicken Potpie
yield 4-6 servings

16 oz. bag of frozen mixed veggies (cut corn, carrots, green beans and peas)
2 Tbs. butter
2 chicken breasts, chopped into little pieces
2 Tbs. diced onion
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half (or 1/4 cup cream and 1/4 cup milk)
1 tsp. dried parsley or 1 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
1 – 9″ round pie pastry

1.  Preheat oven 400 degrees.  In large skillet, melt butter.  Add chicken and cook until cooked through.  Add onion and cook 2 more minutes.
2.  Stir flour into chicken mixture.  Add broth, half and half and parsley.  Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid.  Reduce your heat to low and simmer for another 10 minutes.
3.  Stir in the frozen veggies.  Add some salt and pepper to season.  Pour mixture into a 9″ pie pan.
4.  Lay the pie crust over the potpie mixture and press the dough into the rim.  Cut 3-4 slits into the dough.
5.  Place pie pan onto a cookie sheet to guard against spillage and bake for 30 minutes.  I use a pie crust shield on all my pies, but that is up to you.  Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma “Cooking at Home” by Chuck Williams

Chicken Mac and Cheese

Reading now:

I finished watching part of the HBO drama “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” with Oprah since I adore the book.  The book is fantastic and was a hit at our book club!  I really couldn’t finish the HBO show.  I was bored …. maybe because I knew what was going to happen?  I’m not sure.  I stopped watching after 30 minutes.

I did also start the Margaret Peterson Haddix series “The Missing, Book 1″ that was in one of our 4/5th grade classrooms.  It was great!  A very fast read – I think I finished in a couple of days.  The plot moved along and the kids were interesting characters.  I love the revelation at the end.

Recipe:

What kid doesn’t like chicken or mac & cheese?  This dinner was a hit with kids big and small and will be for yours too!  I just love the Instant Pot and use it to cook almost everything now from roasts, pasta, rice, yogurt, stew, soup and chicken.  I haven’t used my slow cooker in years now unless I need to keep something warm for a pot luck.  I don’t like how chicken dries out and the roasts are still not cooked all of the way by the time I get home.

I do include how to make this without a pressure cooker/instant pot in the Notes section!

**Warning**  If you do use the Instant Pot or pressure cooker for the recipe, please release the vent SLOWLY.  I made the mistake of releasing the valve full blast!!  Pasta water and chicken stuff sprayed everywhere!  But don’t worry!  You can learn from my mistake.  Use a towel or wooden spoon to move the vent halfway slowly and not quick like me 🙂

 


Chicken Mac and Cheese
 
:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small bite size pieces
  • 8 ounces dried elbow macaroni or spiral pasta (I like whole wheat)
  • 1 and ½ cups half and half or milk
  • 1 Tb. all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. mustard or Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 and ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces) (or use your favorite cheese)
Instructions
  1. Add to you instant pot: 6 cups water, chicken and pasta. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. (No pressure cooker/instant pot? Just go to the notes section)
  2. Once finished cooking, SLOWLY open the valve HALFWAY. Allow the pressure to slowly release.
  3. Pour the chicken and pasta into a colindar.
  4. Meanwhile, put the pot back on the stove or insert back into the Instant Pot. Switch it to saute mode and keep it on normal. Add the half and half, flour, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk together! Allow the mixture to come to a boil and boil to thicken for about 2-3 minutes. Whisk while it boils to keep the bottom from getting too hot!
  5. Now, add your pasta, chicken and cheese back into the pot. Stir it all up and eat!
  6. Serve warm with a salad, peas, broccoli or any of your favorite veggies!
Notes
No Instant Pot? Fear not! Just cook the pasta and drain. Use the same pot to the saute part of the recipe where you mix the half and half, mustard, etc. Boil and thicken 2-3 minutes. Add the cheese. Stir. Add the pasta. Add in some rotisserie chicken and voila!

Recipe from "The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book" by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

 

White Chicken Chili | Instant Pot

Hey Everyone!  I’m still alive 🙂  Just took a long pause to continue my photography and teach 4th grade full-time for a few months.  Next month I will be a full-time student at the University of Missouri and possibly part or full-time teacher as well… we’ll see how this goes.  🙂

But hey, we are here for the recipes, not my opinion on the last presidential election that we missed on the blog.  Whew!  Maybe that’s a good thing we missed it….

Book Review: 

Rosalind Wiseman has written a comprehensive guide to helping girls through the teenage years and even the tweens. This is a must read for any parent that has a daughter! The author delivers in a conversational tone a plethora of advice from years of clinical experience. Quotations from teenage girls are scattered throughout the book giving firsthand knowledge of the world of “queen bees.”

The first section is about friendships, groups of friends and the roles friends play. Next, parents and parenting styles are discussed. Then, anger management and what to do about parties. Online communication and boys are included in the chapters as well. The book is lengthy… which is a blessing and a curse. “Queen Bees and Wannabes” has so many scenarios that it will probably have what you are dealing with or what you will be dealing with in years to come. All 412 pages will not apply to everyone. But I can guarantee that some of this book will apply to all parents and help them – and their daughters – through whatever physical or emotional hurdles they may have to face and guide them through facing it together.

I received a sample of this book to read from Blogging for books so i can give my honest and unbiased opinion/review.

Recipe:

My Instant Pot is still my new favorite toy!   Check out this blog post with more things to do with the Instant Pot like:  make yogurt from just milk, make a 10 hour roast in 1 hour, cook chicken without drying it out, make chili in 10 minutes, hard-boiled eggs where the shell comes off in one piece, make perfectly cooked brown or white rice.

Now to the chili… we have tons of deer meat and been eating chili like crazy the past few months.  To shake things up a bit, I made white chicken chili.  I have tried several ways and finally came across some ingredients that help a lot:  Trader Joe’s fire roasted diced green chiles.  YUM!  Try to find them if you can.  If not, that’s okay and find the Mexican food aisle in your store and they will have canned green chilies.

*If you want to use dried beans – that works too!  1/2 cup dried beans = 1 can of beans.  So, I used my Instant Pot the previous day to pressure cook the soaked beans.  They were done in 12 minutes on high pressure using natural release.

White Chicken Chili (and Instant Pot Option)
 
Prep time
Total time
 
:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 and ½ cups diced chicken breasts or tenderloin (with tendon removed)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tb. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • 4 cups chicken broth (reduced sodium preferred)
  • 2 cans (3 cups) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 ounces canned green chiles, diced
  • 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. For regular pot: Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced chicken and onion. Cook until no longer pink - about 8 minutes. Add garlic with the spices and cook 30 seconds.
  2. Once the garlic and spices are fragrant, add the broth, beans, chiles and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste
  3. For Instant Pot: Turn on the Instant Pot to "Saute" on Normal/Medium. Add oil and once hot add the chicken and onion. Cook until no longer pink - about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and spices and cook those another 30 seconds. Turn Instant Pot off.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients. Turn the Instant Pot back on to Manual mode and set for 10 minutes. Or press "Chili" and reduce the cooking time to 10 minutes. Make sure the vent is sealed of course!
  5. Release the pressure and your chili is finished! If you want it thicker, put the Instant Pot on saute with the lid off to reduce the chili.

 

 

Oh Yeah – Fried Chicken … Don’t Be Scared

fried chicken breast recipe with olive oil

In five years with this blog, I don’t think I have EVER fried anything.  But these chicken breast on sale were just screaming to be fried.  I’m not sure how dead chicken breast can scream, but they can.  So without further ado – here is one pansy who never EVER fries anything.  And lived to tell the tale.  So you can too.

This is better than KFC guys!!  And cheaper. And healthier. Faster?  Well by the time you get into your car, drive over to KFC, pay your bill and drive home you could have some nice juicy chicken at home.

Have a lot of chicken and can’t eat it all?  Well I will eat it!  Oh well… or you could freeze it.  Then just reheat in an oven for a quick and easy meal.  You don’t want to microwave it unless you want soggy fried chicken and… what’s the point of that?  Or cold.  I love it cold too.

fried chicken recipe with olive oil

Here are just some quick tips for non-greasy and yummy chicken:

  1.  Use a Dutch oven.  You can use a 12″ cast iron skillet.  It just splatters more.  I had almost no splatter with my Dutch oven.
  2.  Olive oil is healthy-er and that is what I used.  You could use any oil you like.  Traditional fried chicken in the south is fried in Crisco.  But I had olive oil and did just fine.
  3. For non-greasy chicken, pull it when it is done.  Don’t let it sit in the oil past that.
  4. How you put the cooked chicken down is important!  I put a cookie sheet covered in paper towels on my counter.  Cover that with a wire rack.  Put the cooked chicken on the wire rack.  This way the bottom won’t get soggy.  This is what you see at KFC as well -a wire rack to hold the chicken.
  5. I didn’t marinade my chicken.  Nope.  No buttermilk no nothing.  Because well … I’m lazy and forgot!  I’m sure it is tasty and we could do a taste test on marinaded and non-marinaded.
  6. Yup just 5 tips

fried chicken recipe with olive oil

Oh Yeah - Fried Chicken ... Don't Be Scared
 
:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat or AP flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika or smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder (omit if you don't like spicy!!)
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup olive oil (extra virgin if you have it)
  • about 3 pounds chicken breast (4 large chicken breast)
Instructions
  1. Mix together in a shallow bowl: flour, salt, paprika, garlic powder and cayenne. Add some black pepper if that floats your boat.
  2. In another shallow dish, whisk together the eggs.
  3. Put a large Dutch oven on the stove or 12" cast iron skillet and fill ½" high with olive oil. Heat on medium heat.
  4. If your chicken breasts are thick - like 1" or more at the large end, take a knife and slice them in half horizontal to create two thinner chicken breast. You want them about ½" thick.
  5. Now have your assembly line going: first chicken, then flour, then egg mixture, then plate.
  6. Dredge chicken in the flour, then egg, then back in the flour mixture again. Set on the plate. Repeat until all the chicken are ready to go.
  7. Using tongs, add the chicken breast into the oil one layer at a time. Mine could hold 2-3 pieces at once. Cook 5 minutes. Flip. Cook another 5 minutes.
  8. Set the chicken down on a wire rack over a cookie sheet and/or paper towels. Repeat with all the chicken. If you are worried about them getting too cold, then place into an oven at 170 degrees to keep warm.
  9. Serve warm with your favorite fixings. Mine are mashed potatoes, coleslaw and green beans.
Notes
If the chicken is not cooked through the middle, place in an oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or so.

 

Pot Roast & Instant Pot Recipes

 

Pot Roast Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Happy Sunday!

 

Recipes!

There were over 200,000 Instant Pots sold on Amazon on Prime Day.  I have been posting about it since I received mine this winter and thought I would compile.

Use these recipes as guides.  The shredded chicken can be used with BBQ sauce, salsa or just plain to freeze for later.  The rice pudding can be made using the Rice or Brown Rice instructions and served for a side dish with fish or a stir fry.

 

Rice Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Rice Pudding

Homemade Yogurt Instant Pot Recipe

Greek Yogurt and Plain Yogurt

 

Shredded Chicken Instant Pot Recipe

Shredded Chicken

Pork Tenderloin Instant Pot Recipe

Chili Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin

Pork Chops Instant Pot Recipe

Asian Style Pork Chops with Broccoli

Chicken Enchiladas Instant Pot Recipe

Chicken Enchiladas

 

I realized I have made pot roast in the pressure cooker half a dozen times and never posted it!  Here is the pot roast we make.  Cut into chunks for beef stew and faster cooking times 🙂

Forget to put the 3 pound roast in the slow cooker this morning?  Make it in the Instant Pot tonight!  We think it tastes BETTER than the slow cooker.  Plus you get the added health benefits of the pressure cooker.  Woo hoo!

For this recipe, I combined the list of America’s Test Kitchen’s pot roast ingredients with the method of a pressure cooker.  America’s Test Kitchen know their stuff.  If I had to have just one cookbook to carry with me on a deserted island, it would be “Cook’s Illustrated” by America’s Test Kitchen.

For Beef Stew, I basically follow the same recipe.  I toss a few tablespoons of flour in there and the meat is already chopped of course.  Then, I cook it on high in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes.

Pot Roast & Instant Pot Recipes | I Have Made So Far
 
:
Ingredients
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 3 lb. chuck roast (I have used bottom round and top round too), trimmed of fat
  • 1-2 onions, quartered
  • 1 carrot, 1" pieces (or I use 1 cup baby carrots)
  • 1-2 celery ribs, 1" pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tb. tomato paste (freeze the rest for later)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp, kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1-2 russet potatoes or red potatoes, 1" chunks (optional)
  • 1 cup water or beef broth or chicken broth
  • ½ cup frozen peas (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put your oil in the instant pot and hit "sauté". Once hot, trim the meat on all sides. Turn machine off.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except peas) into the pot. Seal the pot and make sure the toggle is on "seal" instead of "vent."
  3. Put the machine on "Beef" or use "Manual" and cook on high pressure for 70 minutes.
  4. Once finished, vent using the quick release method.
  5. If you want to add peas, simply add them now and close the lid. They will cook in the pot for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve warm and eat!

 

Crockpot Lentil Soup

Detox Lentil Soup

What’s so awesome about lentils?

Lentils are cheap.

Lentils can be stored a long time because they are dried.

Lentils are a great source of potassium, calcium, niacin, zinc and Vitamin K.

Lentils are rich in fiber and lean protein.

Lentils are a super food!  We love our super foods here on Whisk Together!  🙂

Lentils are like chicken… they take on the flavor of whatever ingredients they are cooked with.

Detox Lentil Soup 3

 

This soup is great for those of you trying to lose weight!  Lots of protein, fiber and veggies.  Or trying to maintain weight.  Or just need a nice warm bowl of soup.  It is a nice blank canvas for anything you would like to add to it.  Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, lemon infused grapeseed or olive oil, red wine vinegar, etc. all taste great as a finishing touch.  If you are trying to add a “Meatless Monday” to the dinner menu, this soup would definitely fit the bill!  Simply add a side salad or whole grain bread.

Detox Lentil Soup 2

To keep the week going smoothly, I try to get a few things done on Sunday.  One of those is making a big batch of soup and one large bowl of salad.  That way I always have something to grab for lunch or a back up for dinner.  Especially since these soups and most of my salads don’t contain meat or dairy mixed in, then I don’t feel like it is going to turn bad in 6-7 days.

Crockpot Lentil Soup
 
:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chopped butternut squash (peeled and cut into ½" cubes)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (peeled and cut into ½" silces)
  • 2 cups chopped potatoes (Yukon Gold works well) or sweet potatoes (peel if you prefer and chop into ½" cubes)
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced (more garlic for more garlic flavor)
  • 1 and ¾ cup dried green lentils
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1-2 handfuls baby spinach or kale chopped into 1" pieces, optional
  • 1 lemon, squeeze the juice into the soup
  • Optional garnishes: fresh parsley, dried parsley, Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Into a large slow cooker, add all of the ingredients from butternut squash through ground pepper.
  2. Cook on high 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 hours.
  3. Add baby spinach and squeeze lemon juice into soup. Allow to wilt about 5 minutes.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste! I added quite a bit of salt and pepper. I also added Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute because it tastes great on everything.
  5. Add 1-2 cups of additional broth for a thinner soup. I like my soups on the thick side.
  6. Serve warm and enjoy.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Grace and Salt
http://graceandsalt.net/lentil-vegetable-crockpot-soup/

 

 

Chicken & Rice Casserole with Healthy Recipes for 2016

Chicken and Rice Casserole on Whisk Together

Happy New Year Everyone!  I hope you all had a great couple of three day weekends or some time off.

I have my photography website up and running again!  I took it down after my last child was born and her bedroom took over the indoor studio.  Some of my absolute favorite photographs of the kids were in the studio and I want to set that up again.

 

Here’s the website at www.maryrileyphotography.com.

Here’s the business card I finished making.  The large border is the trim that will later be cut off at the printing lab:

Back template business card verson 2 on Dec34

Exercise:
I have still been working out with my pals Daniel and Kelly for the past two years or so with great results!  What I eat is still about the same.  I was 135 pounds consistently from 2011-2013.  From 2014-2015, I have been around 138 pounds.  Sometimes 140 pounds.  But, the jeans still fit (for the most part) and nothing else has changed but my routine.  I think the extra 3 pounds is muscle.  Jillian Michaels uses 3 pound weights in her routines.  I purchased the Power Block weights* that Daniel and Kelly use.  These weights go up to 48 pounds total which might attribute to the weight gain.

**Note:  ALL of my Amazon links are not affiliated.  At all.  I make no money and just like linking to them so you know exactly how much the weights are.  I live in the state of Missouri – which passed a law that made Amazon cease all affiliates here.  For the weights, keep an eye on the price – it may change in January since a lot of exercise equipment goes on sale in January.  Last January (2015), the price dropped $40 around the 16th.**

January will be a GREAT month for Exercise!  Fitness Blender will do a new 60 minute workout every Monday.  January 11th they post a new 1000 calorie workout, and Monday (the 4th) will be a new 5 day challenge!

If you are new to exercise, try the 5 day challenge!  It is always fun and you can pick between high and low impact because Kelly and Daniel switch.  All you ever need is a set of weights which can be dumb bells, medicine ball, sack of flour (5 pounds usually), a gallon of milk (though… the milk might go bad…), etc.

If you are not new to exercise, the 1000 calorie workouts are SO much work but you feel amazing afterwards.  They are worth it and great if you are trying to get those last extra few pounds off.  Or, if you miss a workout day like I did on Christmas – then I just went ahead and did a 1000 calorie workout on Saturday to make up for two days of workouts.

Recipes:

Here is a collection of some recipes we make all the time at home and are really healthy for you while tasting amazing.

Greek Yogurt Egg Salad

Sweet Potato Soup

Pork Tenderloin and Beans

Light & Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Nacho Chili

Steak and Broccoli Stir Fry

Honey Ginger Chicken

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Green Lemonade (Kid Favorite!)

Paleo Swirly Crustless Quiche

Creamy Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

Harvest Salad

Butternut Squash Salad

Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe:

One of my hubby’s favorite meals is chicken and rice.  It was hard to find a recipe online that didn’t use cream of something soup or onion packet of MSG.  Instead this comfort food classic was re-invented with using just ordinary pantry items and real food from the fridge.

Real food and real comfort.  Whether trying to lose weight or just eat healthier  – here is a go to way of making a homemade classic.

Chicken & Rice Casserole
 
:
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 carrots, chopped into ½" pieces
  • 5 ribs of celery, chopped into ½" pieces
  • 1 cup wild rice, brown rice or white rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1" pieces
  • 4 Tb. butter
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground sage
  • 4 Tb. flour
  • 1 and ½ cups milk, warm preferably
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Into the pan, add the onion, celery, carrots, rice and broth.
  3. Cover pan with foil. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  4. In a medium pot on the stove, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, salt and sage. Stir together for 1 minute.
  5. Whisk in the milk. Keep on medium heat until the sauce becomes a little thicker.
  6. Once timer is up on the rice, add the raw chicken and sauce you just made. Stir together.
  7. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Cook 20 minutes. The chicken should all be cooked through. Cook longer if necessary.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

 

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup & Thanksgiving Menu

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup on Whisk Together-5457

 

Thanksgiving is here! Here is the Menu:

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast and Gravy-4501 on Whisk Together

One, We will be making this turkey again.  It is the best and we just can’t change it.  I have started roasting it in an oven bag, too.  It doesn’t get the skin as crispy, but no one here eats the skin that much anyway.  Make this turkey!  Need help with the gravy?  Here’s a great recipe that will ease your mind.  You can even make it and store it in the fridge the night before!  Just use the gravy portion of the recipe on the stovetop and do not use as much broth.

Two, we will have mashed potatoes.  A bag of russets, milk, butter, salt and pepper… there really is no recipe.

sweet potato casseroleCR

Three, my favorite side dish of all time:  Sweet Potato Casserole with Apple Cinnamon Topping.

Honey Wheat Rolls

Four, Honey Wheat Rolls.  You can substitute all purpose flour for bread flour.  Yes, you can bake them, cool them and freeze them for Thanksgiving.  Just set them out the night before to thaw on the counter.  Easier than going to the store!  (And tastier… and fewer ingredients…)

Apple Butter_2 on Whisk Together

Five:  To go on the rolls — Whole Apple Butter.  This is a new one I have not posted.  It is my Slow Cooker Apple Butter.  Instead of chopping the apples and discarding the core, I kept most of the core in the slow cooker for the apple butter.  Then, everything was pureed in the vitamix blender and turned into apple butter.  (I took some seeds out first because we don’t want to give anyone cyanide poisoning, do we?)

Dutch Apple Pie_1

Six:  Pie!!  Spicy Pumpkin, Dutch Apple and Cherry Blueberry Pie are our favorites.  Because you have to have pie.  Or pi.  Don’t want pie?  Make Caramel Apple Pie Bars instead!

Cranberry Orange Bread_3CR

Seven:  Cranberry Orange Bread – a quick yummy sweet bread that can also be frozen.

Bacon Wrapped Crackers_2 on Whisk Together

Eight:  BEST APPETIZER EVER: Bacon Wrapper Crackers.  We make these every holiday.  They take little prep time.  Taste amazing.  And you can keep them hot in the oven for quite a while as the guests arrive.  Just pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes or so.  Turn down the heat to 250 degrees to keep warm.  We kept them warm for about 20-30 minutes or so.
I know apps are served first, however I always make these last and always if I am the host.  I don’t want to use up someone else’s oven.  They can’t be prepped much ahead of time.  That’s okay.  They are sooo worth it.
Also, I have noticed a lot of Aldi’s crackers are not anything like the name brand.  The club crackers that I purchased don’t look, taste or snap like the Keebler brand.  I would recommend spending the extra 50 cents on the Keebler ones for this recipe because they won’t crumble in your hands when you wrap the bacon around them.  I never had this problem until I used the Aldi brand.  The same thing happened with the Aldi “Triscuits” too.

Apple Raisin Dressing_3 on Whisk Together

Nine, Apple Raisin Dressing.  Everyday ingredients.  And I use up whatever bread ends from loaves or loaves of bread that are accidentally squished in the deep freeze.  My favorite I have found so far that didn’t the chemicals from the box.

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup on Whisk Together-5460

 

Recipe:  But until that Thanksgiving Thursday comes, I still have to feed my family!  So here is a super simple and easy recipe that required little to prep and clean up.  The soup is ready in 10 minutes if made in the Vitamex blender.  It will take about 20-30 minutes in the pot on the stovetop.

Have too little time?  Have everything prepped in the fridge ready to go!  Or make and freeze for later.

I liked this soup because it was easy and delicious.  Everything is wholesome and fresh.

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup on Whisk Together-5464

Sweet Potato Carrot Soup & Thanksgiving Menu
 
:
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ onion, peeled
  • ½ Tb. olive oil
  • 1 sweet potato, baked
  • ½ apple, seeds or no seeds
  • 1 carrot, cut into four pieces (or 5 baby carrots)
  • 1 and ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. For a Blender: In the microwave, cook the onion and oil together for about five minutes. Stir once or twice.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients into the blender.
  3. Turn the machine on 1. Work the blender up to maximum 10 and blend for 5-6 minutes. The soup will steam when finished. Salt and pepper to taste
  4. For No Blender: in a medium pot or Dutch oven, cook the onion and oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add a diced apple and carrots. Saute another 8-10 minutes.
  6. Add the baked sweet potato (or add one raw with the apple and carrots finely diced). Add the broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Blend in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Vitamix

 

 

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