Chicken · Comfort Food · Lightened Up Recipe

Country Chicken Pot Pie (Reduced Fat!)

Chicken Pot Pie is one of those classic comfort foods in my book. I have made them for years with my homemade pie crusts and we love that version, but I’ve come across a recipe that is so savory and yet also reduced in fat, and so much faster! The answer to both less fat and less time comes in the form of a reduced-fat crescent roll! These make preparation so easy!

The filling for this pie can be changed to suit your family’s taste buds. The recipe calls for fresh mushrooms, which we loved in there, but if that’s not your jam, you can leave them out and use whatever veggies you love! Here’s the tasty recipe:

Ingredients

1 tsp Butter
1 small chopped onion
1 cup Sliced Mushrooms
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups Frozen Mixed Vegetables
1 Cup chicken broth
3 Cups Cooked, chopped chicken breast (a rotisserie chicken is great for this!)
2 Tbl. flour
1/2 Cup Fat-free Evaporated milk
4 Reduced-fat Crescent rolls – I used all 8 that came in the can.

My big dish was rather shallow, so I put some of the filling in single serving bowls for another day.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a 10-inch round shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Coat a large pot with cooking spray. Add butter and melt over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, until tender, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Stir in paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Add vegetables, broth and chicken. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. In a small cup, combine flour and 1/4 cup of evaporated milk; stir into chicken mixture. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup of evaporated milk and cook until mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
  4. Spoon chicken mixture into prepared baking dish. Unroll crescent rolls and arrange dough around inside edge of baking dish to form a border (there will be a hole in the middle). Bake until rolls are golden brown and filling is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Cut into 6 pieces and serve.
Every bite was so savory!

My husband and I were both happy there were leftovers for another day. I popped the dish back into the oven so the crescent rolls would get crispy again. It was just as good the second time around!

Eating healthy is deliciously disguised in this comfort food makeover! I hope you’ll try this soon!

This Broccoli Salad or this Green Apple Salad would make great accompaniments to this pot pie!

With love from my country kitchen,

cakes · Lightened Up Recipe

Apple Cake & Caramel Sauce without the Guilt

Just because you’re trying to lose weight (as I talked about here) or maintain your current weight doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a sweet treat every now and then. While my husband and I have been on Weight Watchers, we’ve occasionally enjoyed a small portion of some type of dessert. I feel like it’s been crucial to do so every now and then so that sweet tooth gets satisfied (and we’ve realized that just a little bit does indeed satisfy!).

I personally don’t love the desserts with artificial sweeteners, and after a fail or two, I have decided to simply use recipes that cut back on fat instead. Cooking Light has been my go-to for most of those kind of recipes, but then last week I fell upon this Apple Cake recipe from my Gooseberry Entertaining Cookbook! What? Their recipes are usually quite high in fat, but this recipe uses grated apples to make up for the normal fat ingredient. The result? A super moist and flavorful cake that we loved! I will admit that the caramel sauce was different. It wouldn’t be the kind of sauce you’d make for dunking apple slices, but it’s good on the cake. Considering that my traditional recipe calls for 1 stick of butter and this has only 1 tablespoon, I’ll gladly enjoy the flavor of the caramel without the added fat! Here’s their recipe…

Warm Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1 egg, beaten
2 c. apples, cored, peeled, and shredded
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Caramel Sauce:
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
2 T. all-purpose flour
1/8 t. salt
1 c. water
1 T. butter
1/4 t. vanilla extract

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Mix together egg and apples; add to flour mixture. Stir in walnuts. Spread in a lightly greased 8″x8″ baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Prepare Caramel Sauce: Combine brown sugar, flour and salt in a small saucepan. Gradually add water; stir until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook for one to 2 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Serve Cake warm, drizzled with Caramel Sauce. Makes 9 servings.

If you want to make this really special, go ahead and make up some fresh whipping cream and add a sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin spice.

Think ahead to Thanksgiving and pin this on your Pinterest board so you can have a yummy, warm Apple dessert and not blow your calories for the day! You can have your cake and diet, too!

Another cake suggestion that’s lighter is this this Carrot Cake. It’s one layer and super moist and delicious! An Angel Food Cake is also a lighter alternative. This one is super good. I wish I had the WW points for these or the nutritional values, but I’m not that savvy! So sorry!

Happy baking!

Healthy Eating · Lightened Up Recipe · Refreshment

We Lost Weight and Feel Great!

I begin this post today with a little trepidation because I was warned that if I ever shared about weight loss on my blog, I would get some hard hits and ugly comments. I’m not sure why that would be the case, but I’m confident that anyone who disagrees will do so kindly. =) I’m sharing this personal subject matter because it refreshed my husband and me in helping us feel better, and I thought it could encourage and refresh someone who may be feeling as we did early this summer. How is that? In need of taking off excess pounds.

Shepherd’s Pie

I mentioned on Monday that my husband and I decided this summer that it was time to take charge of our health. I had a high cholesterol report and we both had felt uncomfortable in our clothes and at the sight of the scale. I’m only 4’9″, so if I gain a few pounds, it looks like a lot more. We had been eating whatever we felt like, and it was beginning to show. But what to do? I had tried before to simply “watch what I eat,” to no avail. After a day or two, I’d give up and cave into my old habits, so I looked around a bit at our options…

  1. We could do one of the diets where you order their food, drink their drink and eat strange things like cauliflower everything. While I’m happy for those that are helped by these plans, this option just didn’t work well for our lifestyle. We are with people in many settings that involve food and we didn’t want to have to bring our own meal along just to accommodate a diet.
  2. We could bite the bullet and sign up for tried and true Weight Watchers. I checked out their prices and found I could initially get 3 months for around $21. I liked the fact that :
  • We could eat “normal” foods.
  • Weight Watchers would give us an amount of “points” to follow for weight loss.
  • We could track every meal on the WW app, making it super simple.
  • We could save up extra points for the times when we would be celebrating with family or friends and going a little off the diet path.
  • We could find delicious recipes not only from Weight Watchers but also other sites that tally WW points.
  • We would not be hungry because they have a long list of “Zero Point foods” that keep you snacking if you need something to eat.
  • The WW app lists tons of restaurants and the points of their menu items, making eating out a simple choice of what we could enjoy and what we needed to avoid.
  • The WW app is so easy to use and also encouraging as you use it to track your foods and also weigh in each week.

When I contacted WW to begin, they asked for my height, age, current weight and how much I wanted to lose. My goal was ten pounds; my husband wanted to take off 30. They then gave me my number of points to use each day, along with a list of Zero point foods and access to all the great recipes right on the app.

My recent post of Turkey Meatloaf in the crock pot is a WW recipe!

One benefit of having the app was that I could search for a particular food and see the point value before I indulged. It was amazing to me how high some of our “normal” foods were. Seeing the point value gave me the option of choosing to lighten up a recipe, or even have just a bite of that dessert instead of a whole piece…which, by the way, always satisfied my sweet tooth!

Here’s a photo of my app one day. I had 23 points each day. The “Weekly remaining are the “rollovers” – the points that I hadn’t used that were accumulating for a day when I might need more than the 23 points.

In three month’s time, we had both reach our goals! It came off slowly and wisely and we ate so well we never felt like we were really dieting. Oh sure, we weren’t snacking on tortilla chips at the Mexican restaurant anymore or eating sweets each day, but we had delicious and nourishing foods at every meal. I lost track of how many watermelons I purchased this summer. That was our treat with zero points!

We’re both in maintenance mode and feeling terrific. We’ve really changed the way we eat are thankful for the Weight Watchers plan that made it so easy to get on track! I’m still using the app, just to keep up with our daily points. I think it’s going to help us with the upcoming holidays and all the gatherings and wonderful foods that come with them. Again, it’s not that we won’t be indulging, but we’ll know how much to have and when to replace it with something more healthy. I’ve learned that portion control is also key. You can have that bowl of cheddar popcorn for a nighttime snack, but make it a smaller bowl. As they say, all things in moderation.

I get no kickback from my promotion of Weight Watchers, I just wanted to share it with others who might wonder how to take off unwanted pounds easily. If that’s you, I’d encourage you to at least check it out. They’re always offering start-up deals that are quite reasonable. Since your health is involved, it’s a wise investment.

If you have questions about Weight Watchers, feel free to leave it in the comments!

Some of our favorite Weight Watcher recipes:
Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce
Shepherd’s Pie
Four-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
Smoky Tilapia Tacos

Refresh yourself by taking care of the body God gave you; it’s His temple.

Lightened Up Recipe · Side dish

Fried Green Tomatoes

Does every part of the country enjoy Fried Green Tomatoes like southerners do? Down here they come on BLT sandwiches, under poached eggs and also deliciously just on their own. Their batter of cornmeal/flour preceded by their bath in buttermilk makes them crispy on the outside, and tangy and soft on the inside. You just can’t beat a fried green tomato fixed this way….or at least that’s what I thought!

Enter this lighter version of the recipe that is browned in a pan without any batter coating its exterior. What? Is this possible? Yep. It’s simply browned in teaspoons of Canola oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. The little twist comes from the creamy Remoulade that is served with it. Oh my goodness! What a delicious combination the sauce and green tomato make! It was enough for me that I didn’t even miss the crispy batter, and I bet you won’t either! Neither did I miss the extra fat and calories! Here’s how to make them:

Pan-Fried Green Tomatoes with Cayenne Remoulade

2 Tbl. light mayo
2 Tbl. Plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Creole seasoning (I used a dash of Cayenne pepper)
4 medium green tomatoes, cut into 1/2 -inch slices
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 tsp Canola oil

Instructions:

  1. To make remoulade, stir together mayo, yogurt, mustard, and Creole seasoning in small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of tomatoes and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to platter and keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and tomatoes. Serve tomatoes topped with remoulade.

Slice tomatoes
Season and place in skillet with oil
Make remoulade and serve with tomatoes

I served them with grilled chicken and brown rice and it was a wonderful summer meal! If you love green tomatoes, but still want to eat healthy, I urge you to give this recipe a try and see if you’re not converted!

Lightened Up Recipe · Side dish

Lightened Up Easter Menu

I love having options, and when it comes to cooking, it’s even more true!  Making Easter dinner made me challenge myself to find recipes with a little less calories and carbs, since most in my family are trying to watch both.  We splurged a little, but it was a good feeling to know that things were made lighter this year! I love the option of making our favorite recipes, but reducing the calories in them!

Spiral Glazed Ham
Baked Potato Casserole
Green Beans with Almonds
Strawberry Kale Salad
Rolls ~ Deviled Eggs
Light Coconut Pie and Light Chocolate Pie

I tried a new potato dish that was really good, but healthier by tweaking just a few ingredients!

 

Baked Potato Casserole

8 medium potatoes (about 2 1/2 to 3 lb. total), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded 2% cheddar cheese, divided
6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
Sliced green onions (optional)

Directions :

Place potatoes in large saucepan. Cover with water; bring to a boil. Cook over
medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; drain.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole dish.
Return potatoes to saucepan; add evaporated milk, sour cream, salt and pepper.
Beat with hand-held mixer until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese and half of bacon. Spoon mixture into prepared casserole dish.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. Top with remaining 1/2 cupcheese,
remaining bacon and green onions. Bake for an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
TIP:
This casserole can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated. Cover with foil and bake at 350° F for 40 to 45 minutes or until heated. Uncover; top with cheese,
bacon and green onions; bake for an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

For dessert I made two pies from Cooking Light – Chocolate and Coconut.  Both are still decadent!

We all splurged a bit for Easter, but maybe that was because we felt a little better about the healthier options in other food!  Did you splurge at Easter or stay to the healthy side?

denise a