Chicken Pot Pie with an Almond Cheddar Crust

chickenpotpie_glutenfree_casserole

 

The last few weeks have been crazy for this dietitian. My baby girl will be here in less than a month, so I’ve been rushing to get her room ready, clothes washed, and hospital bags packed. Plus, I was fortunate enough to have two baby showers recently. baby shower_dietitiansPictured is me at 35 weeks with some of my local dietitian friends. I even ate a cupcake without checking my blood sugar after (I’m a rebel sometimes)! One of my amazing gifts was a BOB running stroller. My post-pregnancy goal is to complete the Arcardia triathlon again in August, so the stroller will be great for the running training portion. It’s really important for me to have a fun fitness goal for after she arrives–for my health and sanity. I hear motherhood is just a tad crazy in the beginning, so I know it will be a challenge to balance my time and energy, but I have a goal to achieve! I’ll keep everyone updated on my progress with getting back in shape and getting a new nutrition plan lined up post baby. I can’t deny it will be nice to eat more carbs again after the birth, since my gestational diabetes will be no more. As of right now though, I’m still counting my carbs, and trying to make healthy lower carb meals–like this chicken pot pie made with an almond meal and cheddar crust! I never said low-carb had to be any less delicious!

 

Whether you are gluten-free, diabetic, or just looking for a tasty alternative to the classic chicken pot pie, I know you will love this recipe. Instead of using heavy cream and butter for the crust and filling, I went with 1% milk and olive oil to make it heart healthier. There is also NO chopping of vegetables required for this meal, because I used a bag of frozen mixed vegetables–the standard bag with green beans, carrots, peas, and corn. I also used shredded rotisserie chicken as another time saver. For the almond meal crust, you could definitely use a store-bought brand like Bob Mills almond meal/flour, or you can easily make your own in a food processor or high-powered blender using roasted unsalted almonds. Simply run the almonds through a food processor until there are no more nut pieces, and it resembles a course flour. If you grind too much, you will have almond butter (not a bad mistake). The crust recipe is very forgiving, so don’t worry if your almond meal is too course or fine; I still had some chunks in mine with no baking consequence. The recipe is very easy to prepare–just some mixing and heating! It’s also super filling and savory, making it the ultimate healthified comfort food. For you almond meal crust skeptics, my husband absolutely loved this recipe, and he doesn’t even like regular chicken pot pie!

 

chicken pot pie_gluten free_bowl

 

 

Rice Crispy Almond Butter Truffles

crisp rice almond butter truffles

 

Being under house arrest inspires delicious creativity, so you can thank the snowy Oklahoma weather this past weekend for these chocolate covered delights. I somehow managed to whip up these truffles in the middle of my 13 hour binge watching marathon of Season 3 of House of Cards (no shame). I really just wanted something sweet, and I desperately needed to get the circulation back in my legs from sitting on the couch for so long. It was really out of concern for my health that I ventured into the kitchen for dessert! I love for my sweet treats to be made with healthy ingredients whenever possible, and I like just enough sweetness to satisfy my sweet tooth, without being overly sweet. These rice crispy almond butter truffles fit those requirements perfectly.

 

Since I’ve basically lived off Whole Foods 365 brand crunchy peanut butter for the better part of my pregnancy, I thought branching out to almond butter would be a nice change of pace for this dessert recipe. You are of course free to use peanut butter; you can never go wrong with a chocolate and peanut butter combo! For the inside of the truffles I combined natural almond butter with shredded unsweetened coconut, chia seeds, puffed brown rice cereal, and agave syrup. The outside chocolate layer is 85% dark chocolate and a little coconut oil. They taste like a nutty rice crispy treat covered in chocolate!

 

Now you just need to make sure you have the ingredients on hand to make these almond butter truffles before the next wave of snow hits!

 

 

 

 

Bacon & Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo made with Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash Bacon & Broccoli Fettuccine

 

If you haven’t ever tried spaghetti squash, or swore you would never replace your beloved pasta noodles with a vegetable, I beg you to give this spaghetti squash fettuccine alfredo recipe a try. It’s not often that I feel like a large bowl of vegetables could in any way, shape, or form, replace the satisfaction received from the classic rich fettuccine alfredo, but this version does it. It has all the rich, creamy taste of fettuccine alfredo, without maxing out a days worth of carbs and fat in a single meal. Maybe it’s the bacon that makes the dish so awesome (it’s probably the bacon), but thankfully bacon can be included in a healthy diet, especially when it’s accenting over 2 cups of vegetables.

 

The spaghetti squash, broccoli, and tomatoes makes this an obvious healthy dish based on vegetable content alone, but the sauce is also way lightened up from the typical heavy cream alfredo–I used 1% milk instead of heavy cream, with just a little butter and flour to thicken up the sauce. You can substitute 1/2 the amount of cornstarch if you need this meal to be gluten-free.

 

My favorite part of this recipe is how full and satisfied I feel after eating it, without feeling heavy and lethargic like I would after eating a giant bowl of pasta. Plus, for people who are watching their blood sugar levels (like this pregnant girl is) this recipe fits perfectly into a diabetic meal plan with only 42 grams of carbs. It also comes in just under 500 calories–I’d like to see an Italian restaurant serve up those kind of numbers with this large of a portion!

 

Chicken Burrito Bowls

Chicken Burrito Bowl

 

The words “healthy” and “Mexican food” are almost never used together in the same sentence, and for good reason. Mexican food is typically loaded down with processed carbs in the form of a giant tortilla and spoonfuls of white rice, obscene amounts of sodium, and lots of fat from too much cheese. A quick lunch run to the nearest Qdoba or Chipotle may seem like an easy go-to meal, but you could be eating your own homemade Mexican-inspired chicken burrito bowl without any of the guilt or bloating you’ll get at the fast-food joints.

 

I created this recipe to serve as a dual purpose meal. It can be a filling family dinner, or a bulk recipe that you can reheat for lunch all week. If you are like me and can’t stand the idea of eating the same thing 5 days in a row,  just freeze 2-3 portions and eat for lunch the following week! This is a very straightforward recipe you can make Sunday afternoon, and it will reheat wonderfully when you are ready to eat it.

 

Unlike your typical Mexican inspired menu, this burrito bowl contains only the healthiest of ingredients: lean chicken, brown rice, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and fresh peppers. No giant white tortilla, globs of cheese, or chips to make you feel like you’re going to explode a few hours later. You can make this a vegetarian meal by omitting the chicken, throwing in an extra can of pinto beans, and cooking the rice in vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

 

Don’t forget–you can save time by cooking your protein in bulk. I baked the chicken breast for this recipe at the same time I was baking chicken for a different recipe. Don’t make cooking more time consuming than it needs to be!

 

Healthy Chicken Caesar Wrap

Chicken Caesar Wrap

 

It’s hard bringing your lunch to work every day–I get that. It’s especially hard bringing a healthy lunch to work every day. Not only do you have to wake up earlier to make your lunch, but you have to plan ahead for what you are going to eat, and shop for the ingredients you need. It’s obviously more convenient to swing by a drive through, or fork over at least $10 for a nicer meal, but it’s definitely not healthier or easier on the wallet. So I can at least help you by providing an easy packable lunch option. All you have to do is wake up slightly earlier–you can give me 5 minutes, right? Just drink some coffee if it sounds too overwhelming!

 

I ate this chicken caesar wrap almost every day this week for lunch, and since I may have gestational diabetes (still waiting on my 3 hour glucose results), I figured I might as well start myself on a nice carb-controlled diet. Did you know you can eat healthy, be active, and still get gestational diabetes? It doesn’t sound fair to me, but what type of dietitian would I be if I couldn’t coach myself on carb-counting! I used the multi-grain with flax Flatout brand wrap for this recipe. The wraps have a few more fluff ingredients than I would prefer, but they don’t tear up when you fold them (finally!), only contain 100 calories, have 9 grams of protein, and only 1 gram of sugar–overall a very good nutritional profile. You could absolutely use a tortilla or 1/2 a pita too, but I haven’t had much luck with my whole wheat pitas not tearing upon filling recently, so I went a new route. I filled my wrap with mixed purple and green romaine lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes, shredded herb seasoned rotisserie chicken, Annie’s artichoke and parmesan dressing, with just a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. I love all of Annie’s brand dressings because they are made with healthy fats, and real ingredients. You can use a rotisserie chicken as an easy way to get flavorful protein without cooking, just be sure to remove the skin to avoid unnecessary fat. You can either roll up the wrap like a burrito, or roll end over end like a cinnamon roll from the shorter side to make a spiral-type wrap. Pack it up and enjoy it with a piece of fruit for lunch!

 

Chicken Caesar Wrap_open