Upside Down Chicken Pot Pie

What you will need:

2 32oz cartons of gluten-free chicken broth

1 pound of chicken breast cubed

I bag of frozen peas and carrots

Rice Flour

Sea Salt & Pepper (to make it gluten-free, be sure that the pepper has no fillers)

Gluten-free Bisquick or other gluten-free biscuit mix


Start with a large boiling pot or terracotta pot. Turn the burner to medium and add your two cartons of chicken broth. Add the raw cubed chicken and bring to a boil. When the chicken is just about cooked through, add the frozen vegetables. From there you can add salt & pepper to taste. As a thickening agent, and to keep the recipe purely gluten-free, use rice flour to bring the broth to your desired level of thickness. I usually use about 1/3 of a cup. Turn the heat down and allow the soup to simmer. Test the flavor and add additional spice to taste.

While the soup is simmering, put together your biscuit mix and bake according to the mix directions. 

So what makes it "upside down" is that instead of having the filling in a biscuit-like crust, the filling is poured over the biscuit. To serve, simply drop a hot, ready biscuit into a bowl and ladle the filling on top. 

This is such a warm, comforting meal on a cold day and has become a family favorite.

Happy Cooking!!




Tara's Easy Bean Salad

OK, OK, so most of this is out of a can. But you all know that you've got dinner parties and harvest gatherings and you need something quick to bring. This is so simple. You probably have most of the ingredients on hands.

You'll need:

1 can black beans-drained

1 bag of frozen corn

1 can of garbanzo beans-drained

I medium onion

1 can of Trader Joe's (or other brand) roasted red tomatoes with green chilis-drained

Chipotle Vinaigrette




Texas Pete (for heat)


First defrost the corn. I just put it in water and microwave it.

Combine cans of black beans, garbanzo beans, roasted tomatoes and your defrosted corn. Chop the onion and add. Chop about 1/3 a cup of cilantro and add. For flavor, I add about 4 tablespoons of my fave chipotle vinaigrette, lime, sea salt, and a few drops of Texas Pete for a little heat. I basically eyeball the salt and lime juice and continue to add to taste preference. 

I threw this together for a group dinner and it was a big hit. Happy Pot Lucking!!

Easy Fall Salad

As most of you know, I am a fanatic about all things having to do with Wegman's groceries and grocery stores. Every time I go, it's truly a "foodie" experience. The company appreciates good food and good customer service and it really shows. Despite whether or not you live near a Wegman's store, you can put together this easy fall salad in no time.

Start off with a salad bowl full of spring mix, add in some raw pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, and (of course) apples. I prefer honey crisp apples because they are crunchy and sweet, but put in whatever you like or have on hand.

Top it off with a fruity vinaigrette. I really like Wegman's Organic Pomegranate Blueberry Vinaigrette.

To make it a meal, just add a grilled protein on top.

Credit for this recipe goes straight to my favorite-Wegman's! You can find more delicious recipes on their website by clicking here

Enjoy all the harvests of fall. More recipes to come!

Tara's Northern Girl Ice Tea

When my family first moved to North Carolina, we stopped at Bojangle's on the way in. That was the first time this Yankee ever tasted sweet tea and I couldn't stand it! I think I cried in the car because I thought Bojangle's was the only type of food that I was going to eat for the rest of my life... and I shuttered at the thought.

I know, my southern friends, your tea is sweet and so are you, but I just can't do it. I'm sorry.

However, I totally know what you mean about the black tea after flavor and the dryness. So, I came up with my own version of herbal ice tea, that may even have some of you converting from your sweet tea ways...we shall see. 

First, take 10 cups of water, pour them into a pot, and bring them to a boil. Then, drop in the tea bags and lower the heat to Medium/Low so that the tea can simmer.

Here is my formula for figuring out how much tea to use...

6 Base + 2 Flavored + 2 Herbal

For example: 6 English Breakfast + 2 Peach + 2 Mint

This works for virtually any combo. If you want the tea to be really minty or have a strong herbal taste, you can add mint leaves or the herb to the water along with the tea.

Let the water simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the tea bags.

Add 2 tablespoons of Wildflower Honey and stir in. This will take the edge off the tea flavor.

Add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.

Let the tea cool in the pot, then transfer it to a pitcher or mason jar. Be sure it's cool enough.

I confess I have busted several jars because the tea was too hot.

Let the tea cool in the fridge and enjoy it later that night on the patio. I don't add ice because I prefer my ice tea not be diluted. But you just have fun with it now, you hear, and take some time to relax, ice tea in hand, this summer.


Corinne’s Post-Workout Smoothies


Happy Monday Friends! Today marks the beginning of a journey that some friends and I are taking to get in shape this summer. After a relaxing yoga workout on my friend Corinne’s breezy porch, she introduced me to some delicious post workout smoothie ideas. I asked her if I could have the recipes to share and she said, “YES!”



I (Corinne) have a Nutribullet which has done wonders for my smoothie routines and clean-up is oh so easy, I could hug it! You can get the Nutribullet with a 20% off coupon at Bed Bath and Beyond. Also, my hubby loves these smoothies, and that is really saying something!

You can click here for product info on the Nutribullet.


Favorite Green Smoothie

1 cup Raw Kale

1/2 cup Frozen Pineapple

1/3-1/2 Frozen Banana (I slice mine up and keep them in baggies in the freezer. You can do an unfrozen banana as well.)

1/2 cup Frozen Mango

1- 1 1/3 cup Cold Coconut Water (Trader Joes has great priced Coconut Water!) 

1/2 tsp, Vanilla Extract

Juice of 1/2 Lime or Lemon juice

Honey or 1 packet Stevia to taste


Note: The Nutribullet is similar to the Vitamix in that it does an awesome job really pureeing thick super greens like kale, if you have a lower grade blender you can sub in spinach for the Kale.


PB & J Smoothie (more like Almond Butter and Berry smoothie)

1 cup raw Kale

1 cup frozen berries (You can use any mix you like, I would not suggest using just blueberries; try something that has raspberries and blackberries)

1/3-1/2 Frozen Banana

1-1/3 cup Cold Coconut Water

1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1-1 1/2 TBS of Almond Butter

Honey/Stevia to taste

Add a dash of cinnamon


For added protein to either recipe, add a dollop of non-fat Greek yogurt or a scoop of protein powder.


Blend and Enjoy!


Tara's Parmesan Encrusted Chicken 

Don't let the name fool you. This recipe is far easier than you think and far less messy. 

To start, I like to buy the thin-sliced chicken breasts from Wegmans. I like these cuts in particular because they cook evenly and are very tender.

Breading Mixture:

For the mixture, combine about 1.5 cups of bread crumbs. My go-to brand is progresso with the Italian seasoning. Then I add parmesan/romano cheese, salt + pepper, and small amounts of onion powder and/or garlic powder (depending on my mood or what I am making it with). 

I rinse the chicken then cover it with bread crumb and place it in a glass pan. Once the pan is full, I sprinkle on olive oil or spray it on with a misto to coat the chicken. I bake it on 350 degrees. I turn it over once and, if needed, spray additional olive oil on the chicken to moisten it. The olive oil helps give the chicken a crispy texture without actually frying it.

And there you have it. You can put it over pasta or even squeeze some lemon juice on it. It's delish and a great way to enjoy chicken minus the frying. :)

Mom's Applesauce Cake

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This recipe is one of my all-time favorites. As a child, I always looked forward to company coming over because that meant mom was going to pull out her go-to dessert recipe, Applesauce Cake!!!!

Its so yummy and moist. Definitely a true crowd pleaser!

What you will need:

2.5 Cups of Flour

2    Cups of Sugar

1.5 Teaspoons of Baking Soda

.25 Teaspoons of Baking Powder

1.5 Teaspoons of Salt

1    Teaspoon of Cinnamon

1    Teaspoon of Nutmeg

.50 Cups of Vegetable Oil

.50 Cups of Water

1.5 Cups of Applesauce

2   Eggs

I start by combining all the wet ingredients in my empire red kitchen maker (not that I am proud of that or anything-haha!). Then I slowly mix in the dry. I pour the batter into a crisco covered, glass baking pan. I bake at 350 degrees in an 8 x 8 pan for about an hour. It's a slow bake, but soooo worth. :)

After it cools, I like to sift some powdered sugar over the top and maybe add some strawberries for garnish. 

This size cake should feed about 6-8 people. 


Pita Pizza

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While most humans crave soup or hot cocoa on a wintery day, I found myself craving hot pizza with oozing mozzarella cheese and steamy tomato sauce. Doesn't that sound dreamy? After Michael managed to shovel my car out of a snow bank, we headed to Harris Teeter, possibly the only grocery store opened near our house in the wake of the snow storm we had today.

As I was comparing pizzas in the frozen food aisle, feelings of worry and guilt kept creeping up. I just finished a juice cleanse. Should I really be stuffing my face with carby pizza? A little, Italian voice inside of me said, "Yes, yes!" Another voice in my head said, "stick to your diet or you'll be bursting forth from your dress for the wedding in 3 weeks. Hmm...voice number 2...thats right!

After inspecting the Digiorno Box, and realizing that eating half of that pizza would account for basically one day's ration of calories, I knew I had to think of another dinner option fast. That's when it came to me. Surely, there was another way to indulge my craving without eating the equivalent of a days calories in the process. 

So, I grabbed a bag of Mediterranean Flat Bread (you can use any pita bread, including organic and/or wheat for added nutrition), Prego Italian Sausage and Garlic Tomato Sauce, and Low-Fat Mozzarella Cheese to make homemade pita pizzas. 

Basically, all you do is put sauce and cheese on a pita and bake it for 10-15 minutes. Dress it up with a salad if you like. 

I have to say, they tasted soooo good, especially with the little chunks of sausage in the tomato sauce. As my grandma would say, "This tastes like more." (In other words, its so good, it's beckoning you to eat more of it.)

And to top it off, check out the nutrition comparison below. Believe me, no taste was compromised by going the homemade route. I enjoyed every bite and didn't compromise my goal to stay healthy.

1/8 Digiorno Italian Sausage Pizza:

Fat-28 grams


1 Homemade Pita Pizza (with small pieces of Italian sausage):

Fat-14 grams


Boom! Done! Take that, frozen processed food!!!!

Starving Artist Stew




This is seriously so easy,  and it's hot and delicious on a cold winter's day. 

Here is what you will need...

2 bottles of your fave tomato sauce

1 pack of polenta

1 yellow onion

1 green pepper

1 pack of mild or hot italian sausage


Salt & Pepper



Add pack of polenta and tomato sauce into a terracotta pot and let simmer. In a frying pan, add olive oil and fry the onions until clear. Chop or grind the sausage and add to the pan. Add one green pepper or other vegetable(s) as desired. For flavor, add salt and pepper to taste. I recommend adding marjoram because it brings out the flavor of meat. A little garlic salt would also be good if you don't need to talk too close to anyone that day. When the items in the frying pan are cooked, add them to the mixture in the terracotta pot and let them all simmer together. The result is a steamy, hot stew that is warm, salty and filling for these long winter days. 

PS-Sometimes HomeGoods has terracotta pots for a great price. They are amazing for cooking and really hold and influence the flavor of whatever you cook in them.