Monday, March 30, 2015

Banana Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Greek Yogurt Frosting

I am always trying to stay on top of recent food trends and try them out in my own kitchen. This time it is pancake cupcakes. I mean who doesn't want a cupcake for breakfast?! I usually top my pancakes and waffles with greek yogurt in place of some of the maple syrup for sweetness and protein. So when I saw a way to make greek yogurt frosting on healthy aperature, I had to give it a try! By straining out the liquid overnight you get a thicker, creamier yogurt that spreads like frosting.

As many of you know my favorite combo is banana, peanut butter and chocolate so I topped the banana pancakes with chocolate chips and peanut butter drizzle. However, you can top these off whatever way you like. They came out perfectly moist and delicious and can be enjoyed just about anytime of day!

Banana Pancake Cupcakes with Maple Greek Yogurt Frosting
servings: 6


Maple Greek Yogurt Frosting
  • 2 cups greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powders
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 banana
  • chocolate chips (optional)
  • peanut butter drizzle (optional)

Maple Greek Yogurt Frosting
1. Add greek yogurt to a large coffee filter and place in a stainer. Place strainer in a medium size bowl to catch any water that leaks. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge over night.
2. The next day remove strained yogurt from the fridge and place in a medium bowl and mix in maple syrup.
1. Turn oven on to 350 degrees. Add paper liners to a muffin tin.
2. In a small bowl, add vinager to milk and set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl add flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
4. Whisk egg into milk mixture.
5. Add wet mixture into dry mixture and mix just until combined.
6. Slice banana thin and place a slice on the bottom of each muffin liner. Then add equal amounts of pancake mixture to each muffin liner ( I filled about half way). Top each with another slice of banana. Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Slightly cool then top with maple yogurt fosting and additional toppings.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Crispy Baked Chicken 2 Ways


     This month's Recipe Redux theme is "Two for One".  So basically, one recipe that can be used or eaten two ways.  I am a huge fan of leftovers because they are so quick, but I often don't want to eat the same thing two nights in a row. One recipe I love is my crispy baked chicken. The cornstarch and corn flakes help keep the chicken moist and crunchy just like fried chicken, without all of the calories and fat!  It is also the perfect recipe that can be cooked once, and then warmed up later or eaten cold on top of a salad.

Crispy Baked Chicken
Crispy Baked Chicken
Makes: 8 servings

  • 2 pounds of chicken
  • 1/4 cup corn-starch
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg white, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1. Filet chicken, cutting chicken breast in half length wise. Pound with kitchen mallet to even out chicken breasts then cut in half again. You should end up with about 8 pieces of chicken.
2. In separate dishes add corn starch, eggs and crushed cornflakes mix with parsley and salt.
3. Lightly coat chicken breasts in corn starch, then coat with egg and then coat with cornflake mixture.
4. Place breast on baking sheet. Cook for 15 minutes, flip then cook for another 5-10 minutes until chicken cooked through.

     This week I used the crispy chicken to make a quick chicken parmesan. Once the chicken is cooked I topped it with tomato sauce and mozzarella. I baked it in the oven to allow the cheese to melt then topped it with fresh parsley and served it over a bed of whole wheat spaghetti. Since the chicken was already cooked, I had dinner on the table in under 20 minutes!

Crispy Baked Chicken Parmesan

Crispy Baked Chicken Parmesan
Makes: 4 servings

  • 4, 4 ounce pieces Crispy Chicken (see above)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • whole wheat spaghetti

1. Use cooked crispy chicken, top with 1/4 cup sauce and 1/4 cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes to allow cheese to melt.
2. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve over whole wheat pasta.

      The next day I made a crispy chicken Caesar salad with the remaining chicken. I like my chicken cold on salads so I just pulled the chicken out of the fridge, sliced it up and put it on top of a bed of spinach, veggies and topped it with my homemade Caesar dressing. And it only took 10 minutes to prep the dressing and chop the vegetables and chicken!

Crispy Chicken Caesar Salad
Crispy Chicken Caesar Salad
Makes: 4 servings

Caesar Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4, 4 ounce pieces Crispy Chicken (see above)
  • 4 cups of spinach or mixed greens
  • Veggies: tomatoes, peppers, etc
  • 2 tablespoons Caesar dressing

1. To make dressing. Add all ingredients to a Mason jar or other bottle with a top. Shake to mix.
2. For the salad. Assemble spinach, top with chopped vegetables, sliced chicken and Caesar dressing.
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pina Colada Brown Rice Porridge

      “By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by USA Rice Federation and am eligible to win  prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

      In honor of National Nutrition Month, the USA Rice Federation is challenging us “recipe reduxers” to come up with a healthy recipe using US grown rice. Rice often gets little praise with all those other super grains out there these days, but rice provides us with many nutritional benefits. Rice is naturally gluten free, low in fat and sodium free and provides high quality protein. Whole grain varieties like brown rice, are high in fiber which can help reduce your risk of chronic disease like heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Rice is also convenient and affordable and super versatile in the kitchen.


       Rice is often used as a side dish or in an entrĂ©e, but rarely is it used as a breakfast food. But, why not?! I am a big fan of rice pudding and thought how about a rice porridge for breakfast? And with my recent trip to Panama and love for tropical fruits I was inspired to make a Pina Colada version of rice porridge. I ended up using leftover brown rice I had from the night before, cooking it with coconut milk and pureed banana and pineapple. For additional crunch and texture I topped it all off with banana slices, almonds and coconut flakes. It ended up being perfect hot for breakfast and just as great cold for a snack the next day. Both ways were equally delicious and definitely made me feel like I was back on the sandy Panama beaches!

Pina Colada Brown Rice Porridge

Servings: 2

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 banana, divided
  • 1/2 cup pineapple (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar ( or honey)
  • Toppings: shredded coconut and almonds (optional)
1. In a food processor or blender mix together pineapple and half of the banana. 
2. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add in cooked rice, coconut milk and fruit blend. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.
3. Once cooked add in sugar.
4. Serve hot or cold and top with  shredded coconut, sliced almonds and slices of remaining banana.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle

Happy March! Not only does that mean spring is just around the corner but it's also National Nutrition Month!! This year's theme is "Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle". Sounds oddly familar, eh?

This month dietitians all over the United States are encouraging everyone to come up with an eating plan that focuses on consuming less calories, making informed food choices and getting in a healthy dose of exercise each day to help maintain a healthy weight which reduces your risk of chronic disease. One thing we are not doing is encouraging a specific diet to follow. We want to promote healthy habits that can be sustained for life!

This week I'm giving you tips on how to consume less without depriving yourself! It's all about eating mindfully by listening to your body's hunger cues, focusing on nutrent dense foods and letting yourself indulge on occasion.

Eat Mindfully

Step 1: Eat when you are hungry / Avoid skipping meals

When your stomach begins to growl or you feel lightheaded it is a good sign that your body needs something to eat. Going too long without food can cause you too eat too much and can also slow down your metabolism both of which can lead to weight gain. So if you are getting “hangry”,  my advice to you is to eat a snack (a healthy one of course!).  It’s calories but in the long run you will end up eating less at your next meal.

Step 2: Eat slowly

If you followed step one this should be easy. What I have found works is to really enjoy the taste of my food, this includes chewing your food a few times before swallowing. Also, avoid any distractions including your phone, computer and television. When distracted not only are we not able to enjoy the taste of our food but we often don't realize when we are full. Another great idea is to eat with someone. Talking helps slow down our eating.

Step 3: Stop eating when you feel full (not stuffed)

If you have taken the time to enjoy your meal by eating slowly you will most likely be able to tell when you're full.  And when I say full I don’t mean stuffed and uncomfortable, but satisfied and no longer feeling hungry. This is your body telling you to stop, time to digest. Your next meal is only a few hours away!

Balance what you eat: The 80/20 Rule

The truth is no one is good about eating healthy 100% of the time and it's okay to indulge every so often. The "80/20 rule" encourages choosing healthy nutrient dense/low calorie foods 80% of the time. These foods include vegetables, fruit, lean protein, vegetable protein, whole grains, low fat dairy and healthy fats like olive oil and avocado. The other 20% of the time it's okay to enjoy some of those higher calorie, low nutrient dense foods like snacks, baked goods, sweets and fatter cuts of meat. The overall message here is moderation, and everything can fit!

What are some ways you eat mindfully and balance what you eat? Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Baked Coconut Chicken with Cauliflower Fried Rice

After many weekends of escaping to the mountains to ski and enjoy all this lovely snow we have in New England, I finally had a weekend free to spend in the kitchen creating a healthy version of a classic take out food.

My Baked Coconut Chicken with Cauliflower Fried Rice is inspired by my husbands love for Chinese Food. Although delicious, fried rice can be salty and high in calories and fat. For a healthy version, I cut down on the calories and bumped up the nutrients just by switching the rice for cauliflower and used lower sodium soy sauce and less oil to reduce the salt and fat. These simple changes cut down the calories from carbohydrates and fat by over half! A typical 1 cup serving of fried rice is about 230 calories while my version is only 100 calories a serving (not including the chicken).

Cauliflower is definitely a popular food these days because of its nutrient content and versatility in the kitchen. Cauliflower is packed with fiber and antioxidants and is low in calories and carbohydrates, working great as a substitute for rice, potatoes and even pizza crust! After making cauliflower rice I am addicted and so is my hubby!

As a pairing for the cauliflower rice I added baked coconut chicken. I used corn flakes instead of breadcrumbs to give the chicken the crunch and crispy texture of fried chicken without all the added fat. The coconut adds to the texture as well as give this dish a tropical feel and taste.  Considering how juicy and moist the chicken came out, I think it will be making a frequent appearance in my house!


This recipe is great because you can use just about any vegetables you have left over in the fridge or freezer. The only time consuming part is preparing the cauliflower and chicken, so if you are able to do some of the prep the night before you will save yourself some valuable time putting it all together.

Baked Coconut Chicken with Cauliflower Fried Rice

Servings: 4 
  • 2 chicken breasts 
  • 1/2 cup crushed corn flakes
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg

Cauliflower Rice
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil 
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • ½ cup bean spouts
  • 1 cup frozen mix vegetables
  • 3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • scallions, for garnish 
  • 1/3 cup light coconut milk 
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce 
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional for a bit of heat)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. For chicken: Mix corn flakes, shredded coconut, and salt. Set aside in a bowl. Add egg to another bowl and whisk. Filet chicken (cut in half lengthwise). Cut chicken into small chunks, and thin slightly with meat tenderizer (optional). Dip each piece of chicken into egg then cornflake mixture. Place coated chicken on a cookie sheet then bake in oven for 15-20 minutes.
3. For Cauliflower Rice: While chicken is cooking prepare cauliflower rice. First remove stems from cauliflower, then in batches process florets in food processor. In a large skillet or wok, over medium heat add coconut oil and sesame then add onion, garlic and cauliflower and cook for 5-8 minutes. Then add in snap peas, bean sprouts and frozen mix vegetables and cook for another 5-8 minutes. Add in soy sauce and mix to combine. Make a well in the middle of your rice and add the eggs. Scramble eggs until cooked, then stir eggs into rice.
4. For Sauce: Mix ingredients in a small bowl then add into another saute pan to heat. Add in cooked chicken and coat with sauce.  
5. Serve chicken over cauliflower rice and top with scallions as a garnish.

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