Chicken Tamale Pie

tamalepie1We have an elliptical fix-it man ghost.

Our elliptical has been making this weird clicking noise for the past month or so. My mom even noticed it this weekend when we were working out. Mr. P kept calling for someone to come out and take a look at it and yesterday was finally that day. We were sure to be home for our 5pm or after appointment and good thing because the elliptical repair man showed up right at 5.

Mr. P retreated to the basement with him to show him the problem and wouldn’t you know…the elliptical up and decided to work just fine. Mr. Prevention came up from the basement and was ticked to say the least. The man probably thought we were crazy, but I guess we have an elliptical fix-it man ghost!

tamalepie2On a completely unrelated note, this Chicken Tamale Pie was delicious! My coworkers, as always, think I eat really “weird” food. And I am that coworker that stinks up the break room with wafting scents of brussels sprouts and seafood…get over it, people! I’m not going to plan my lunch around your smell preferences!

But these leftovers at lunch created quite the commotion in response to its smells. In a good way.

As attractive as this pie is as a whole, it wasn’t exactly tidy to remove from the pan and ended up in one messy heap on my plate. Hence, these photos are lacking and few in number. But hey, image isn’t everything…especially with food.

I am natural drawn to recipes that have a Mexican twist and if I’m being honest, I love creamed corn. I know, I know…but it’s so good :) Everything in moderation! This recipe doesn’t epitomize health, but it isn’t lacking either. It’s pretty middle-of-the-road but packs lots of flavor. This is sure to be a hit with husbands and kids alike…even if served in an unattractive heap! Just ask my coworkers! They all but begged me to share :)

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Chicken Tamale Pie adapted from Cooking Light, as seen on Pinch of Yum

1/3 cup fat free milk 1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg) 1 1/2 Tbsp taco seasoning, divided 1/4 tsp ground red pepper 1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream-style corn 1 (8.5 oz) box corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy) 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles 1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce 2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded 3/4 cup part-skim (2%) Mexican blend shredded cheese 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped for garnish 2 Tbsp Cotija cheese, crumbled for topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a pie pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine milk through green chiles, using just 1/2 tablespoon of the taco seasoning, in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into pie plate. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until nearly set and golden brown.

While baking, toss the chicken in the remaining 1 tablespoon taco seasoning.

Pierce entire surface of the cornbread crust liberally with a fork. Pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Top with cilantro and Cojita.

Yield: 6 large pieces.

Nutrition Information (per piece): 351 calories; 9.7 g. fat; 38 mg. cholesterol; 841 mg. sodium; 46 g. carbohydrate; 1.2 g. fiber; 21 2. g. protein

Result: I had some trouble with this recipe. The suggested cook time for the “crust” was not nearly long enough. I ended up nearly doubling the first bake time (my changes are reflected above). You could certainly make this in a larger pan and reduce the baking time, however. I ended up using about 9 ounces of enchilada sauce…it started running over the edges. Oops. Despite the over-filled pie pan, this meal turned out great and was very, very flavorful. Certainly a crowd-pleaser! Enjoy!

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Wednesday already! Yay! Seriously, this week is flying by and I love it! I am looking forward to a rest day – my run yesterday was terrrrrible. I had planned a 6-mile run and totally pooped out after 3.75. My body was telling me to stop…for well over a mile, so I did. And I’m glad. My plantar faciitis is rearing its ugly head this week. Note to self: don’t wear cute heels when you teach, Nicole!

Be well,

Whole Wheat English Muffin Bread

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Happy Friday! Not to rub it in too much, but I got to sleep in a bit today. Oh yes, 7 am – gloooorious.

I have big plans today — punishment, really. I’m still beating myself up over not getting in my planned workout on Wednesday. I was in a rotten mood after dealing with rush hour traffic to take a stat lab to the hospital. A two-hour delay in my evening translated to a skipped workout and hanging out on the deck all night with Lily (yes, still loving this weather). The Lily girl is convinced bees and wasps are meant to be eaten. I’m not quite sure when she’ll learn. I like to think of her as smart, but at least I know she’s cute ;)

I digress. My punishment for punking out on my workout Wednesday is STAIRS. I have a route planned of 1/2 mile jaunts on either side of a 72-step staircase that I will run in sets of 3. I’m going to do that loop as many times as I can. Wish me luck.

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But before I do that, I’m hoping this Whole Wheat English Muffin bread will bring me as much success as my Whole Wheat Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread did on Saturday. Let’s hope.

Today’s recipe comes from Nicole’s blog (she has a great name, huh?), Cookies on Friday. I was assigned Nicole’s blog for a recipe swap and I’m so glad it worked out that I was introduced to a new blog! And a great recipe! Unlike me, Nicole is a baker, and a great baker at that. I want to sample everything she posts, but decided on this English Muffin Bread, which I turned into a whole wheat variety.

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As a lover of English muffins, this bread immediately caught my eye. On one of his recent trips to Kroger, Mr. Prevention came back with whole wheat English muffins and they were gone in no time. I don’t usually buy bread and prefer to make my own, avoiding all of the preservatives, added salt, and eighteen syllable mystery ingredients.

This bread was simple to make and kept well for a week in an air-tight Ziplock. I most enjoyed this bread with a smear of reduced-sugar jam or even better…Biscoff Spread — the reason for my guilt over skipping that workout. A spoon has found its way into that jar (perhaps a finger if I’m desperate) far too many times this week…that stuff is sooo addicting, and even better over a slice of this bread.

Let’s call that breakfast before this killer workout, shall we?

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Whole Wheat English Muffin Bread slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour via Cookies on Friday

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour 1 Tbsp sugar 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp baking soda 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) yeast 1 cup nonfat milk 1/4 cup water 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil cornmeal, for dusting

Directions:

In a large mixer bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and yeast; stir with the paddle attachment to combine.

In a small sauce pan, combine the milk, water, and oil and heat to between 120 and 130 degrees. Make sure to stir the liquid before measuring its temperature. Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients. Beat at high speed for 1 minute, the dough will be quite soft and sticky.

Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal. Using a greased spatula, scoop the dough into the prepared pan. Level out the dough.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan (no more than 1/4 inch above the rim); about 45 minutes.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 F.

Remove the plastic wrap, and bake for 22 to 27 minutes, until it is golden brown. Cool the bread for 5 minutes and then turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 12 slices.

Nutrition Information (per slice): 135 calories; 2.5 g. fat;  0 mg. cholesterol; 227 mg. sodium; 24 g. carbohydrate; 1.5 g. fiber; 2.2 g. protein

This was delicious and simple to make…and just as great made with half whole wheat flour. A slice of this bread for breakfast along with a pan-fried egg…or a smear of Biscoff. Mmm! Consider me a convert…no need for the processed stuff when bread-making is this simple. Enjoy!

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Off for that workout! Have a wonderful weekend!

Be well,

Whole Wheat Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread + Weekly Menu

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Yesterday morning, I rolled out of bed at 7:15 am.

I turned on the coffee maker, fed the dog, and did my usual morning routine. When I went upstairs to get dressed at 8:30, Mr. Prevention decided at that point that he would get out of bed and run the 5K race with me.

Five minutes later we were out the door, with Lily in tow. Mr. Prevention had no water, coffee, or breakfast. Hopefully, he paused to brush his teeth.

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I’m convinced it was my breakfast that had me run half-way decent yesterday morning. I had the last 2 slices of this stunning Whole Wheat Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread. Toasted, with a smear of Melt. And a latte. And water. Some people PREPARE for racing. Others just decide to run and place 8th overall (let’s note now that I am referencing Mr. Prevention).

We registered, met up with Donna and Layla, and tucked Lily away in the car parked under a shade tree with a peanut butter-stuffed bone.

I must have lost track of time because before I knew it the gun had fired and the clock had started. My MapMyRun app wasn’t recording and Pandora didn’t appreciate the sub-par signal out in the country. I walked the first 20 seconds to figure out my technology and began my run. At which point, I had a wardrobe malfunction. My capris kept falling down (due to being old and lacking elasticity, sadly…not because of weight loss) and I had to keep pulling them up.

cinnamonraisinbread5The race was an out and back and I didn’t glance at my pace until the 1.5 mile mark. At which point I saw I was on track for a sub-30 finish. I saw Mr. Prevention right around this point and he was officially on the “back” leg of the “out and back” course. He looked good and stopped to give me a funny face. I told him to catch up with the 2 grade school-aged boys who were a few strides ahead of him. I told him his legs are longer, he should get’em. ;)

For a mid-March morning, the sun’s heat was brutal on the black asphalt and I wished it was just a few degrees cooler. Around 2.3 miles, I started to struggle and until I rounded the corner for the final 0.1, it was rough going. I honestly wanted to walk, but I knew that I could do it.

I had super power Whole Wheat Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread fueling my legs!

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I sprinted…maybe I should say “sprinted”…the last 0.1 and finished in 30:04 (9:14 min/mile pace) according to the race clock (my app had me clocked faster). Had I not had technological and wardrobe malfunctions, I would’ve finished in my much sought-after 29-minutes. Oh well…

After the race, Mr. Prevention informed me that he finished in “22 something” (SERIOUSLY?!) and 8th overall. We retrieved Lily from the car and joined Donna behind the YMCA for an Irish ale, as any classy group of adults would do when there’s an awards ceremony going on in the front. Funny part was she brought the cooler and beers, but forgot a bottle opener. Rest assured, another racer was questioned about his possession of a bottle opener — attempt #1. Winner!

He retrieved an Irish (he informed us) bottle-opener( that looked more like a shoe horn) from his car and very happily popped the caps off our beers. What a guy!

Bread, run, beer…now that’s one heck of a St. Patty’s Day!

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Whole Wheat Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread slightly adapted from The Kitchn via Tide and Thyme (dot) Com

1 cup raisins 1 cup warm water 1 Tbsp active dry yeast 1 cup nonfat milk 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted 2 tsp salt 2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar 1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon 1 large egg beaten with 2 tsp warm water

Directions:

Put the raisins in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Let the raisins plump for at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Pour a cup of room temperature water into the bowl of a standing mixer or large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over top. Give it a few minutes, then stir to fully dissolve the yeast into the water.

Stir the milk, melted butter, and salt into the water. Add the flour and stir to form a shaggy dough. Knead in your mixer on low speed with a dough hook or knead by hand for 8-10 minutes to form a smooth, slightly tacky dough. Check the dough halfway through; if it’s very sticky (think: bubble gum), add a little more flour.

Toss the raisins with a few tablespoons of flour to absorb any residual moisture from when they were plumped. With the mixer on low, add them to the bowl and continue kneading until they are evenly distributed. If kneading by hand, knead in the raisins in two batches to distribute throughout.

Return the dough to the bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and beat together the egg and water in a second bowl.

Divide the dough into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out on the counter. It should be slightly less wide than your bread loaf pans and as long as you can make it (about 2 feet).

Brush the entire surface of the dough with egg wash, leaving about two inches clear at the top. Sprinkle generously with half the cinnamon and sugar. Starting at the end closest to you, roll up the dough. When you get to the top, pinch the seam closed. Transfer the loaf to your loaf pan seam-side down. Repeat with the other half of the dough. *Do not toss egg wash.

Let the loaves rise until mounded over the top of the pan and pillowy, 30-40 minutes. Halfway through rising, preheat the oven to 375 F.

Brush the top with some of the remaining egg wash. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the loaves from the pans and allow them to cool completely before slicing. Baked loaves can also be frozen for up to three months.

Yield: 2 loafs (12 slices each).

Nutrition Information (per slice): 150 calories; 2.2 g. fat; 6 mg. cholesterol; 200 mg. sodium; 28.5 g. carbohydrate; 1.8 g. fiber; 1.9 g. protein

Result: If I can make this recipe without any issues, anyone can. Yeast, multiple rises…let me tell you, it’s worth it. These loaves turned out beautiful and when I brought one loaf to work, everyone was so impressed! If there’s ever a time you want to bake for a bake sale…or have some weekend time to bum around the house, I all but insist you give this bread a shot. So, so good and very doable if not rushed for time! :) This bread kept for 10 days…when it gets a little dry, just toast it! LOVED this recipe…definitely a keeper! Enjoy!

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Weekly Menu: March 18th – 22nd

 My grades are submitted for the quarter and I am relinquished of all teaching duties for the next week! I believe this is what students call “Spring Break”, but you can find me at either of my dialysis units!

Be well,

Chicken and White BBQ Potatoes

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I went to college at the University of Illinois (AKA the best school ever – Go Illini!) which had tens out thousands of undergraduate students. To try and please the palates of all, each dorm would host various themed meal nights.

Needless to say, I was assigned a room in the one and only all women’s dorm on the entire campus. Move-in day was depressing. Not only did I have my sobbing mother waving goodbye in the circle drive, but I was doomed to never find a man. Truth be told, I went to college with my high school sweetheart and was later passed a note in my chemistry lecture of HUNDREDS of students.

“Aren’t you Hector’s girlfriend?” it said. Why, yes. Yes, I am.

“He was in my dorm room with my roommate until…really late last night.”

Obviously, we broke up a day later. Cheater dirt bag. I guess I just knew that things wouldn’t work out between he and I, because I distinctly remember being worried about the dating scene on move-in day.

C’est la vie.

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Anyways, my dorm hosted Soul Food Night.

Nothing against soul food (love it), but I would’ve preferred nearly any other option…but especially Spud Night. Or Mexican night. But mostly Spud Night.

The humble spud baked to a starchy perfection and then stuffed with any condiment or topping of your pleasure. It goes without saying that nacho cheese and jalapenos were some favorites among college freshmen. I usually opted for some combination of broccoli & cheese or salsa & sour cream (I’m pretty sure Greek yogurt didn’t even exist, in the US, in 2007…).

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Our campus was HUGE and walking was how all the millions of beer calories kept from falling over the waistband of student’s pants. Or in my case (outside of the beer), I was burning of the spuds as I hustled to the furthest away dorm for Spud Night.

When I moved into the sorority house, our cook Andre even added baked potatoes to the rotation, per my request. After freshmen year and my weekly engagement with stuffed spuds, there was no denying our future together (unlike that cheater Hector!).

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As I flipped through this month’s Cooking Light magazine, these spuds naturally caught my eye. And I mean, white BBQ…who wouldn’t pause to read on?

I’m not sure where the “BBQ” reference came from, but being a mayonnaise-lover, this sauce was phenomenal. I loved the punch of black pepper and sweet relish with the contrast of vinegar and sugar. I didn’t quite know how this would turn out, but I was blown away. And before you assume that mayonnaise = bad for you…be sure to check out those nutrition stats!

I…love…mayonnaise…!

To make things quick and easy, I used rotisserie chicken and you can certainly opt to bake the potatoes in the crock pot vs. baking for 50 minutes. Hands-on time, however, is about 10 minutes either way. Very simple, and I love the basic ingredient list. These were filling and a great balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat.

Stuffed spuds just reached a whole new level with this one.

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Chicken and White BBQ Potatoes slightly adapted from Cooking Light

4 (6-oz) russet potatoes cooking spray 1/2 cup low-fat canola mayonnaise 3 Tbsp white vinegar 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/2 tsp sugar 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 Tbsp sweet pickle relish 2 cups (12 oz) skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast, shredded 1/4 cup (about 3) green onions, sliced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Pierce potatoes with a fork, and coat lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 50 minutes or until tender. Remove potatoes from oven, and cool slightly. Cut a deep, lengthwise slit in each potato and squeeze the ends to loosen potato flesh.

Combine mayonnaise and next 6 ingredients (through relish) in a medium bowl. Stir in chicken*. Divide a heaping 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture among potatoes. Top each potato with green onions.

*I pulled the chicken off my rotisserie the day before and stored in the fridge. I covered it with plastic wrap and microwaved on high for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes before serving. Worked great.

Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Information (per loaded potato): 354 calories; 9 g. fat; 80 mg. cholesterol; 453 mg. sodium; 38 g. carbohydrate; 4.3 g. fiber; 29 g. protein

Result: These were fun…and unique! I can honestly say this was a first. With my love for potatoes, and chicken, and mayonnaise…this was pretty much a meal made for me. Even my mayonnaise-hating husband enjoyed this meal. The potato is very filling and much to my surprise, it reheated great. I will definitely make these again – dressed up spuds are my kind of meal! To save time, you can cook the potatoes in the crock pot during the day, swing by for a rotisserie, or shred ahead of time and store in the fridge like I did, and this meal really couldn’t come together any more easily. Enjoy!

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 Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Donna, Layla, Mr. P (?) and I are running a 5K this morning! Donna said she’s bringing shamrock sunglasses and Irish ale for afterwards…should be fun :)

Be well,

Foil Baked Basil Pesto Salmon

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It’s no surprise I’m a foodie, but…don’t judge me, please?

I already have my menu planned for next week.

Maybe it’s because of the spring weather and lighter fare are heading “in”, or because I’ve crossed paths with a few new blogs lately. Or maybe it’s because next week will be the first week in over 18 months that I will be home every night of the week during dinner time! (Students, I love you…but I love dinner, too).

I think my over-zealous meal planning has a bit to do with all of the above. Plus, I feel like I’ve been hitting the recipe jackpot lately…and I love it!

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I don’t normally micromanage my diet much, but rather, make good choices most of the time.

But yesterday and National RD Day had me thinking about what I had to eat for the day. Breakfast was a skim latte and a Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Parfait made with Greek yogurt (recipe coming!), lunch was Black Bean and Rice Stuffed Peppers and a Greek yogurt, and dinner was Tempeh and Broccolini Stir-Fry (recipe coming!). My snacks were a banana in the morning and an apple in the afternoon. When I got home from work, I went out for a 3 mile run in the 78 degree (!!), sunny weather. And after dinner, Mr. Prevention wanted to go get soft serve…so we walked — 2.25 miles each way.

Six fruits and veggies, all whole grains, vegetarian, and 7 1/2 miles of running/walking. Not too shabby!

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Like I said, I’ve been hitting the recipe jackpot and loving what I eat is so important to me. I wouldn’t eat healthy if I didn’t love the way it tastes. And healthy doesn’t have to be time-consuming…in fact, recipes like this can’t get much easier.

No, really.

This recipe is caprese-meets-salmon in one tidy foil packet. No clean-up, no dishes…just toss the mess (amen). The ingredients are simple and wholesome, and you can pair this salmon with just about anything. I opted for potatoes on this particular night, but I think any veggie or salad would go great. I’ve tried several fish-baked-in-foil recipes and they are yet to disappoint.

If you happen to not care for salmon, I think this dish would work well with chicken, too. Just be sure to check the center of the meat to ensure it’s cooked through before serving.

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Foil Baked Basil Pesto Salmon slightly adapted from The Imitation Chef and Kalyn’s Kitchen, original from Mark Bittman’s Quick and Easy Recipes from The New York Times

2 (6 oz) salmon fillets cooking spray 2 Tbsp prepared basil pesto 1 Roma tomatoes, sliced salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Tear two large sheets of aluminum foil and spray each with cooking spray; place salmon on top. Spread 1 tablespoon basil pesto on each piece and lay sliced tomatoes on top. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fold over sides and double the seams and ends so it is sealed completely. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, open carefully, and serve immediately.

Yield: 2 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 375 calories; 21 g. fat; 105 mg. cholesterol; 265 mg. sodium; 5 g. carbohydrate; 1 g. fiber; 36.5 g. protein

Result: It doesn’t get much faster or easier than this. And flavor? This recipe has that, too. I love new ways to prepare salmon and the fact that there’s no dishes is a major plus. I do think these could even go on the grill over indirect heat or under several layers of foil over the grates to avoid burning. Two thumbs up from the both of us for this salmon-meets-caprese meal for two!

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Clinic then giving my last final for the quarter!

P.S. Thanks for all your votes!

Be well,