Homemade chicken biscuit pie

A bowl of chicken biscuit pieWe’ve had grey skies on and off this week, so I’ve found myself craving comfort food. Keeping in mind my new meal plan regimen, I decided to see how I could revamp an old favourite: chicken pot pie. My old version was no doubt loaded full of sodium, fat, calories and carbs. This new recipe still has all that, but the values are no doubt cut back. Choosing lower sodium ingredients and limiting portions on the bread-like topping by using perfectly sized biscuits helps keep some of those values in check.

Here’s what I did…

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Chicken parmesan meatloaf muffins

Two 'muffin'-sized meatloaves made of ground chicken and seasonings are topped with homemade marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Served with cauliflower risotto.I love chicken parmesan when I go out to eat, but I’ve been avoiding it due to the elevated sodium levels I know the sauce will undoubtedly have, the breading on the chicken, etc. I’ve been learning that some of my favourites from restaurants over the years are not the healthiest of choices and tend to have a million calories, two million grams of fat and an ungodly amount of sodium. Chicken parmesan is no exception, sadly.

But does this mean I have to swear off of it? No! Why not make my own and adjust things to fit my dietary needs? I’ll save my waistline from expanding (or my feet!) and save my pocketbook too!

I had a craving for it one night but didn’t have any chicken breasts to make it myself. What did I have? Ground chicken. What could I do with that? Well, I make beef meatloaf ‘muffins’ all the time, so why not do the same with the chicken? They’d have bread crumbs worked into them, using a similar theme to chicken parmesan. And heck, I have light parmesan in the fridge at all times! If I made up my own sauce, I could control the sodium considerably. So I went to work on it and here’s what I did:

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Low-carb adventures: ground chicken meatloaf!

A plate with chicken meatloaf, corn and coleslaw (vinegar-based).In my low-carb adventures, I’ve been introduced to some new foods and new ways of cooking, but after two solid weeks of really watching what I ate, I was craving comfort foods. One such comfort food from my childhood was meatloaf dinner! I wanted meatloaf, potatoes, corn on the cob, lots of butter, gravy, etc. Well, I came up with a compromise for  some of that heaviness by messing around with some of the components of  that dish. Instead of a whole corn on the cob, I snapped the cobs in half and steamed them, then cut the corn off one of the half-cobs and omitted the butter. Instead of potatoes, I whipped up a homemade vinegar-based coleslaw (no carrots, as I’m not a fan). And for the meatloaf, I used ground chicken instead of ground beef. Here’s what I did:

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Homemade marinara sauce

A bowl of homemade marinara sauce sits next to a plate of appetizers.For our New Year’s Eve night in, I realized that I had forgotten to pick up a jar of marinara sauce, so I set out to make my own. I had seen a recipe for marinara sauce a long time ago and remembered it for the most part. Sadly, I no longer remember where I saw it. So I had to wing it. Here’s what I did. Continue reading

Christmas leftovers stew

A bowl of stew with a spoon sticking in it.We all end up with leftovers at Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate!), don’t we? I know I do. Not only did we have leftover chicken from our Christmas-Day-at-home this year, but also turkey that Mom sent home with us the night before.  We had an entire veggie tray that was just going to waste, too. So, I put  on my thinking cap, set my big stew pot on the stove and started to clean out the fridge. Here’s what I did…

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Things to do with pre-roasted chickens from the grocery – Day 1

A plastic container with a cardboard wrap-around handle on it holds a 1 pound pre-roasted chicken, purchased from the grocery store.Let’s face it: it’s too hot to use the oven when it’s the middle of a scorching summer season. Hell, I don’t even enjoy cooking on the stove-top or on the indoor grill in the summer. Anything that gives off heat makes me groan. But some things are necessities. I have a bunch of chicken in the freezer that just isn’t getting cooked because, well, it’s frozen and I don’t want to get the oven baking.

So on a whim, I purchased two of those pre-roasted chickens from the grocery store today.  I usually shop at Metro due to convenience, but most places sell these things. They’re about $10-15 per bird. These ones were $9.99 exactly, so I picked up two. (Also, I have no idea what “Mammoth Barbecue Chicken” means, unless a one-pound bird is super-huge. I have never bought a whole chicken before, so I have no point of reference.)

I decided to buy two, tear them up and see how many different meals we can get out of them (as well as how many dishes — to see how economical this was). Theoretically, these two birds should feed us all week if I play my cards right. Granted, I’m a white-meat gal. I have issues with the dark meat (largely texture-based), so the legs and wings will be going to hubby (and I’m sure he’ll be happy about that!). In other words, forgive me if this is breast meat-centric.

Today’s dinner? Take a peek:

A bowl of the finished product: Roasted chicken & sauteed mushrooms over pesto-slathered spinach & cheese ravioli..

Roasted chicken & sauteed mushrooms over pesto-slathered cheese & spinach ravioli.

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Apple-baked chicken & noodles with apple cream sauce

Apple-baked chicken with noodles drizzled with an apple cream sauce, accompanied by asparagus tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette dressingBefore I start to explain, go to this Food Network recipe for Apple Cider Chicken by Sunny Anderson. This is what I based my chicken dish off of. The main difference is that instead of finishing the entire dish off on the stove, I baked mine in the end. I still seared the chicken breasts (and I had 6, not 4) in the pan and sauteed the apples, onions, garlic, seasonings, etc. in the pan. Then after the apple cider was added and cooked down a bit, it was then poured over the chicken , I added a bit more cider, and I baked it all off at 350F for 30 minutes until the chicken’s internal temperature was 165F.

Then, while the chicken baked off, I got to work on a sauce for some egg noodles as a side dish. Here’s what I did:  Continue reading