Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ligthen Up

Cauliflower Mash, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

First of all, let me welcome you to the shiny new and improved blog layout. What do you think? I hope you like it. I absolutely love it. When Sharnee over at Acorn Glue and I began the process of creating a new blog template I had very little idea what I wanted. I thought something two toned, feminine and scripty. What we ended up with was something in a completely different color palate, with a totally different look. Yet, I love it. Seriously, I can't stop visiting the site just to look at it. And while I'm still working on some kinks (centering photos on past posts for one example) I wanted it up for all to enjoy.

I've been participating in a weekly 'get healthy' group. A few women who meet up to focus on how to balance a busy and stressful life with making better choices with food and exercise. I've never been a part of anything like it, and the support is great. It's motivating to know that every week not only do you have people to reminisce with but are also accountable to. Because of that, I've been trying to recreate some of my favorite comfort foods into healthier versions. One of my favorites is chicken pot pie. I don't make a traditional pot pie either, it's laden with cream, white wine, and gruyere and topped with a fat slab of puff pastry. Clearly, not the healthiest of dishes. I wanted to create a dinner that was incredibly satisfying but much healthier. So I caramelized leeks, and brussel sprouts and created a creamy filling with a splash of fat free 1/2 and 1/2 as well as a sprinkle of Pecorino. Instead of using puff pastry I topped my lightened up version with a mash of yukon golds and cauliflower. These rich flavors, while used sparingly, easily tricked my tastebuds into thinking I was eating something with lots of rich, buttery depth.

If another cold, blustery or rainy day is headed your way in the coming weeks as winter disappears and spring blossoms in full force, I suggest you hunker down and give not only your soul, but your body a healthy and delicious treat.

Recipe : Lightened Up Chicken Pot Pie : Serves Four


2 leeks tops and bottoms trimmed and sliced thinly
4 carrots (I use organic, tops on, super sweet and amazing)
2 cups low sodium stock (veggie or chicken
1/2 pound brussel sprouts trimmed and cut into quarters
2 ears fresh corn, steamed, and shucked
1 cup frozen peas (use fresh if you can find them, they are not currently in season here)
2 baked chicken breasts cubed
4 TBS nonfat 1/2 and 1/2
4 TBS pecorino
2 Yukon gold potatoes quartered
1/2 cauliflower roughly chopped


1. Place onions in skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook until translucent, add carrots, then add a splash of salt and pepper and reduce heat to low and caramelize for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, perheat the oven to 400 oF and place brussel sprouts in a shallow, prepared baking dish. Roast for 30 minutes until slightly golden.

3. Add stock to onion and carrot mixture, cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

4. Boil potatoes for 15 minutes, add cauliflower, boil an additional 5-10 minutes. Drain, mash up with a pad of butter and season. Set aside.

5. Add brussel sprouts, corn, peas, chicken and cream to the onion and carrots. Reduce down until sauce is thickened, 5-10 minutes. If sauce isn't thick enough add 1/8 teaspoon of cornstarch.

6. Spoon equal parts of chicken mixture into four 5 inch deep ramekins or one small baking dish.

7. Sprinkle each with 1 Tablespoon of pecorino.

8. Top with a large dollop the mashed potato/cauliflower mixture.

9. Bake in already heated oven for 15 minutes, until browned and enjoy!