Written by Chris-
“…small helpings, no seconds, no snacking, and a little bit of everything.” – Julia Child
I laugh every time I read this quote. It sounds like my life! Working in a test kitchen, I sample a little bit of everything – and by doing so, I consume way too many calories! I recently heard a stat that recipe developers gain 3-4 pounds each year. That’s just scary!
I often joke about wearing my stretchy pants when recipe contests come along. My weight fluctuates depending on what recipe projects I am working on, but pounds gained eventually come off. It’s all about finding balance – good nutritional balance paired with physical activity.
Finding nutritional balance can be challenging, especially if you are on the run, or work in the culinary field (all those little tastes really add up!). I recently shared a few healthier eating/lifestyle tips that work for me over on Together Counts. Check it out if you’d like. And remember, it’s ok to give in to those little cravings every now and again. Having foods “off-limits” just increases their allure, in my opinion. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation… even moderation.”
Let’s not forget exercise – love it or hate it, you’ve got to do it. Finding time is difficult – and I am the first to complain about lack of time. If you can’t carve out at least 30 minutes in your day, try to find creative ways to incorporate bits and pieces of exercise into your daily routine. Years ago I shared a tip (albeit embarrassing tip) with People magazine about doing squats and lunges while blow drying hair. I even have a Kettlebell in our test kitchen/at my desk – it provides a great arm workout while editing recipes! Find what works for you and stick to it.
Chicken Pot Pie, a culinary classic. Something I like to do is lighten up traditional favorites. It’s always fun to see if Nestlé brand managers or my family can tell a difference. This recipe is my latest attempt. Pot Pies, prepared in the traditional way, can top 25 grams of fat per serving. In this lighter version (a slimmed down 12 grams of fat per serving), I substituted lowfat evaporated milk for the cream. I also incorporated more vegetables and used a buttermilk biscuit in place of the traditional pastry crust. I’ve made this recipe for my family several times now. Since I have their stamp of approval, I thought I would share it with you.
Ingredients needed for 8 servings:
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 3 celery ribs, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- Fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or sherry (optional, but I’d add it!)
- 3 cups water
- 2 teaspoons MAGGI Instant Chicken Flavor Bouillon
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 can (12 fluid ounces) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
- One 3 1/2- to 4-pound rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat shredded , about 4 cups (to cut fat, use cooked, shredded chicken breast)
- 1 cup (or more!) frozen green peas
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (you can use ¾ cup all-purpose flour and ¾ cup whole-wheat flour if you’d like or 1 ½ cups white whole-wheat flour to boost nutrition)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup reduced-fat buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Combine carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, oil and ½ teaspoon salt in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Cover; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, for 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables have softened.
Stir in wine; cook for 1 minute or until almost evaporated. Stir in water and bouillon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.
Whisk cornstarch and evaporated milk together; stir into sauce. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens. Remove from heat; stir in chicken, peas and parsley. Season with ground black pepper.
Divide mixture between eight 8-ounce ramekins as shown above or spoon into 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Cover to keep warm while you are making the biscuits. (Creative note: pint-size mason jars without lids work great with this recipe and they are adorable when baked! You will need 9 jars total.)
Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk and melted butter together. Gently stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined and no pockets of flour remain (add another tablespoon buttermilk if dough doesn’t hold together well).
Drop dough into equal mounds over ramekins, spreading out mounds somewhat so they cover most of the filling (as shown above). If you prefer for the biscuits to be more uniform, form each mound into a ball then flatten slightly and place over ramekins. Place on baking sheet. If using a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, drop dough into 8 mounds a few inches apart over hot filling.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the biscuits are golden and the filling is bubbly. Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Dig in!
Here’s to a healthier, more balanced 2012! (My pups are ready to take me for a walk… this will be my physical activity today!)
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