Oven Baked Chicken Chimichangas

I need to share a new recipe that I discovered a few weeks ago.  It quickly became a household favourite – meaning my boyfriend begs me to make these at least twice a week.  Chimichangas.  So good I could die.  Chimichangas are essentially deep fried burritos and can be filled with anything from beef and beans to chicken and veggies – anything you can think of really.  For these tiny tubes of tastyness, I stuffed my homemade flour tortillas with salsa, spinach, a few spices, cheese, and a whole lot of chicken.  I top them with some homemade guac and some Sriracha sauce and voila – a quick and easy Mexican dish that everyone will absolutely love – and to top it off, these are baked, not deep friend.

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I made these using my smaller tortilla wraps, where I divide my regular tortilla recipe into 16 rather than 12.  But you can easily buy a pack of tortilla wraps at the grocery store if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own.  The first step is to cook your chicken.  I do this by cutting my chicken into small cubes and placing it in a skillet with a little bit of water.  Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.  Next, I mix together the salsa, spices, spinach and cheese.  Mix in the chicken and stir until all ingredients are combined.  For the spice, I use Oregano and Garlic Powder, as well as a little Cumin so that it has that “Taco” taste to it.  I like using medium salsa over mild as it adds a little kick to it.

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Once you have your mix, lay out your tortillas and place a few dollups of the mixture in the centre of the wrap.  About a third to half cup of the mixture depending on how large your wraps are.  This mixture usually lets me make 7 to 8 chimichangas.  Fold in two of the edges and then roll up the wrap.  Place seam side down on a parchment paper lined pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Brush each chimichanga with a little bit of melted butter, and then toss in the oven at 425 F Degrees for 25 minutes or until golden.

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Oven Baked Chicken Chimichangas


  • 10 oz. chicken, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 jar of salsa or picante sauce
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 8 tortilla wraps

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F Degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick spray.  Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine salsa, spinach,oregano, garlic cumin and cheese.  Add chicken and mix well to incorporate.
  3. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the chicken salsa mixture to the centre of each wrap.  Fold in two edges and then roll up the wraps.  Place on the baking sheet stem side down.
  4. Brush each chimichanga with melted butter.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Serve with guacamole, hot sauce, sour cream or more salsa.

I find that if I put too much cheese in these it has a tendency of seeping out of the wraps while cooking and this can make the bottoms a little soggy.  Letting these sit for a few minutes after taking them out of the over, while difficult because they smell so darn good, is a good idea – these are extremely hot inside and I’ve burned my tongue on more than one occasion, so be careful!!  These are a little over 300 calories each depending on what you serve them with.  They’re pretty filling, so I like to have 2 as a meal.  This recipe is a must try – yummy! Happy Baking!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

photo 1I’ve been trying to explore more daytime meal options that involve real, healthy food, and are relatively forgiving when it come to calories.  One thing I have always loved is hummus. I’m not really sure why, but I could pretty well eat it on everything and with anything. I’ll be honest…there has been more than one occasion that I’ve eating it straight from the plastic super market container that it came in…with a spoon.  Which I have to say I’m a little ashamed of.  Not because I ate an entire container of hummus in one sitting, but because I bought a prepacked version of hummus from a grocery store when it’s so easy to make yourself.  What was I thinking? I can surly go buy a small container at the store (usually around $4.00) OR I can make my own, get triple the amount for not much more money, AND it’s preservative free. 100% natural ingredients and made in a preservative free food establishment named “Kelsey’s Kitchen”.

My boyfriend and I have recently discovered how much money we have been wasting on food.  We make too much, don’t save the left overs, don’t freeze anything, constantly pick up groceries throughout the week with little to no budget, and we never make a list.  In the next few days him and I are going to plan out all our meals, set a budget, and try to figure out how to eat real, unprocessed foods on a skinny budget… I’ll let you know how it goes.  I can imagine it might be difficult to eat organic or free run with little money to spend, but we are going to do it dammit! Organic MUST go on sale every now and then, right?  I think proper food storage is super important if you want to stretch your budget out… thankfully I have been reading the 100 Days of Real Food blog and have picked up some pretty good tips for freezing and how long things can last in the fridge. I really don’t think we need to spend $200 a week on groceries for 2 people.

So. Back to the hummus. I thought to myself, you know, I’m sure it’s not that hard to make hummus.  So I took a little trip to the grocery store, picked up some chickpeas, tahini, garlic, red peppers and lemons, and put my new food processor to use.  I made two different types of hummus.  The first, from 100 Days of real food, can be found here.  It’s good, but I found the tahini extremely over powering.  I couldn’t taste the chickpeas.  And while I know grocery store bough preservative packed hummus is not very great for you, it still tastes good right? I want my hummus to taste as good as the stuff I’m used to buying.  So this one is out on my favourites list.  However, the roasted red pepper hummus recipe I found, from a a nice little site called inspired taste, is fantastic.  You can find the recipe here.  They seem to know their stuff. Their instructions are incredibly detailed, which I love, and they have great pictures to go along with each step.  I’m going to be honest… I didn’t actually follow their directions.  I sort of jumped the gun on this one and just threw everything into my food processor without really reading much into how to make their recipe.  My hummus turned out great, and I am so not complaining about it, but you know… maybe check their process out before skipping all the steps like I did.

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One thing I was excited about is for the first time ever, I was able to successfully locate tahini. I have searched high and low, all over the Asian cuisine and international sections of the grocery store, looking for this paste like substance that has been required for so many recipes! I never thought to look in the peanut butter section…. so just an FYI it is usually in the peanut butter section.  I searched it out in the organic section first and found it there.  It has the consistency of natural peanut butter.  Picture above is the 100 Days of Real Food Hummus.  I topped it with paprika.  I may re-make it but add a few more spices and reduce the amount of tahini used in the recipe.

The Inspired Taste site describes a method to creamier hummus, where you “de-skin” (ew) the chickpeas.  This process took about 10 minutes per can.  I only did this on the traditional 100 Days recipe and didn’t notice much of a difference between the consistency of the traditional and roasted red pepper hummus.

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I was very excited that I was making this recipe 100% from home… meaning that I had to roast my own red peppers.  I’ve never done this before but the process is easy enough.  Simply line a baking sheet with foil and place cored and sliced red peppers on the sheet, skin side up.  I cut mine into fours.  Set your oven to broil, and place oven rack approximately 5 inches from the broiler.  Broil for about 10 minutes or until the skins are charred.  Place the charred peppers into a resealable bag or bowl coverd in plastic wrap for 10 – 15 minutes.  This will help the peppers steam and will make removing the skin much easier.  Remove the skin from the peppers and discard.

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I think from now on I will always make my own roasted red peppers.  It takes no time and is made right at home so I know that there are no additives sneaking their way into my food.  Roasted red peppers are great in stuffed chicken, sauces, and even soups.  So never buy it in a jar again.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

hummus can be refrigerated in an air tight container for up to one week.  you may also freeze it.


  • 2 whole red bell peppers
  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) tahini (*I used only 1/8 of a cup)
  • Half of a large garlic clove, minced (*I used a whole garlic glove)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preparation Instructions:

1. Prepare peppers for roasting.  Core and remove seeds.  Cut into fours and lay skin side up on a foil lined baking sheet.  Broil for approximately 10 minutes or until skins have charred.  Place peppers in a resealable bag or plastic wrap covered bowl for 10 – 15 minutes in order to allow for easy skin removal.  Remove charred skins and discard.

2. Add all ingredients into food processor other than the peppers a blend until smooth.  Again see here for details on a different process.

3. Add red peppers (coarsely chopped) into the processor and blend until no chunks are left.  If hummus is thick, slowly ass 1 – 3 tbsp of water and blend until desired consistency is reached.  You may save a few of the roasted peppers for garnishing.

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Pictured above is today’s lunch! A whole wheat pita (only 5 ingredients!) stuffed with sliced cucumbers, and a side of sliced carrots and green peppers with my homemade roasted red pepper hummus. Yummy!  For those of you who are wondering where the protein is, here is my response: click.

On another note…fall is only a few days away… time to pull out the pumpkin flavoured recipes? I think so.

Healthy Banana Pancakes

photo 1People – Love your food.  Too often are we apologizing for loving to eat.  Lately I’ve realized how sick I am of feeling guilty for loving food.  It drives me bonkers! I love food.  I am a foodie. And proud of it! Here’s a fun quote I found in a book I started reading about eating real food:

We forget that, historically, people have eaten for a great many reasons other than biological necessity. Food is also about pleasure, about community, about family and spirituality, about our relationship to the natural world, and about expressing our identity.” – Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

A great read – I recommend it.  Now on to the newest real food recipe I discovered over the weekend. Despite my ever changing food routine, one thing has remained consistent through everything: Breakfast has always been my favourite meal of the day. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because some of my favourite food memories have been of Sunday morning brunch.  My dad would cook up a whole slew of bacon, accompanied with Cavendish potatoes, fried in oil, paprika, parsley and garlic.  Those were my favourite.  Still are actually, although I always use fresh potatoes in replacement of the frozen bagged potatoes.  Still, there was something about those tiny cube shaped potatoes that still make my mouth water.  I would drown them in Ketchup and could probably eat them by the truckload.  Often my weekend breakfasts include fried potatoes and turkey bacon, with a side of toast and fruit.  I’ve never been an egg person.  During the week I go more towards fruit and toast, oatmeal, sometimes cottage cheese, and every now and then a protein shake.  Although lately with my recent move towards real food and no processed foods, I tend to skip the protein powder.

Over this past weekend I tried a new weekend breakfast that totally blew my mind.  I made pancakes.  I was never a huge pancake lover as a kid.  I didn’t really get what the fuss was about.  Although toss me a waffle and my heart would melt.  One thing I forgot to mention – I LOVE peanut butter and bananas.  Separately they are amazing, but together? Wow.  So I usually jump at any change to add either peanut butter, banana, or both to my breakfast.  So when a friend gave me a simple, real ingredient pancake recipe I just had to make it my own – by adding bananas.  This recipe is simple.  It’s another blender recipe. For simplicity’s sake: Add all the ingredients into a blender.  Blend. Pan fry. Eat. Done. THAT simple.  Well, you’d think so wouldn’t you.  The pan fry part was the challenge for me.  The batter is very thin, so creating pancake like shapes is difficult.  The pancakes can get too big and it’s tough to flip them.  But no matter.  They turned out fantastically (the second time).

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I made sure to use 100% Pure Maple Syrup – no added sugars or unnecessary preservatives.  You can really notice the difference in taste when using the real stuff in comparison to what you get with the processed stuff.  These pancakes are quite good, and will run you about 570 calories for the entire meal, including the Maple Syrup.  A little high, but I usually have brunch relatively late so I just sorta watch my calorie intake for the rest of the day.

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So if I’m having nothing else except these pancakes, I will make 2 large pancakes for myself, otherwise I’ll offer one up to my boyfriend – it feels like a lot of food.  I’ve actually yet to finish my entire plate.

Healthy Banana Pancakes

makes 2 large pancakes 


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 medium banana
  • olive oil or butter for cooking
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, diced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries or blackberries
  • 100% Pure Maple Syrup

Cooking Instructions

  1. Combine rolled oats, milk, egg whites, honey, baking powder and banana in a blender.  Blend on high until combines, scapping down sides if necessary.
  2. In a skillet on medium heat, heat oil or butter.  Once the oil is hot, take 1 cup serving of the pancake batter and add it to the center of the pan.  Adding it to the center will stop the very thin batter from pooling to one side.
  3. In the mean time, add diced strawberries and blackberries into a skillet and top with maple syrup.  Cook on medium until berries are tender and have created a juice.  I usually leave them in there until the pancakes are done, but will switch them to low after about 5 minutes.
  4. Once the pancake has become somewhat solid on the top, you can flip it.  Be very careful, and try to use a large spatula.  Once the pancake is flipped, continue to cook until cooked through the middle and brown on both sides.  It’s best to cook one pancake at a time, so once the pancake is done, I usually sit it in the oven on low heat until the second one has cooked.
  5. Once pancakes are done, add the berry mixture on top and drizzle with maple syrup.

The first time I made these pancakes I made the mistake of putting the entire batter in the pan… it was impossible to flip and ended up being a big mushy mess.  Speaking of mush.  Last week I mentioned homemade veggie burgers….ya they did not turn out. They were 100% mush. I’m trying a different approach when I re-attempt them this weekend so I will keep you posted.  Happy Baking!

Kelsey Bakes takes a Pledge to Eat Real Food

photo 1 (3)I am in love with this new blog that I found – 100 Days of Real Food.  And when I say I’m in love, I really mean it, I’m totally in love with everything about this blog.  Before I get started, please note that I currently have a batch of Skinny Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Brownies cooling on my counter.  In saying that, I will point out that these are Skinny….with natural ingredients (for the most part), but we’ll cover that in tomorrow’s post.  So what’s eating real food you might ask? This means cutting out highly processed or refined foods.  Okay, so I don’t think I’ll be able to cut out EVERYTHING. It’s been a struggle to eliminate Splenda from my morning coffee and tea, but I’ve done it.  The hardest part is cutting out my diet coke…I only have one a day…but after this case is gone (only a few left, promise!) I will also be eliminating all artificial sweeteners and sugars.  I will avoid anything from a jar, can, or box, and if I have to go that route, I will try to stick with the organic option.  It’s a work in progress, I know.  But I am slowly getting there.  Today I spent some time at the grocery store and I’m REALLY happy with what I found in the organic section.  This post will have two recipes – and each recipe has 100% real food (I think? Still new to this..) – nothing highly process or refined.  They all taste amazing, and I really need to share.  The recipes I’m sharing today include: Chicken Marsala with Fettuccine Alfredo and Penne with a Spicy Red Sauce and a side of Meatballs. So. Flipping. Good.photo 1 (3)

I’ll start with tonight’s dinner and work my way back.  So tonight we had homemade meatballs served with whole wheat organic penne and topped with a spicy red pasta sauce.  I so wanted to make my own sauce, but the recipe I had would have taken a bit too long, and since I started cooking around six, I wanted to eat before my bedtime.  So I searched the organic section for an organic pasta sauce.  The sauce I found has no added sugar and all natural ingredients.  You can find more info about the sauce here. What I like about this sauce is how little ingredients there are: tomatoes, onions, EVOO, salt, basil and pepper.  I think the rule of thumb is usually five ingredient or less is best, but I’m okay with the sixth ingredient being pepper, no harm in that right?  I first sauteed some red pepper flakes on medium heat in oil, then added about a cup of coarsely chopped spinach.  Once the spinach was wilted and well coated with the oil, I added the jar of organic pasta sauce to the skillet. I let the sauce simmer while I cooked the meatballs.  Once the meatballs we done I added 4 cups of whole wheat organic penne noodles and mixed until the noodles were well coated with the sauce.

I was a little skeptical before making the meatballs, mainly because I had never heard of adding carrots to a meatball. That’s strange to me.  But this journey is all about trying new things for me, so I photo 2 (3)decided to take a chance and make them and I am so glad that I did.  No part of me was disappointed. You can find the full recipe here. The recipe yielded twelve 2 oz meatballs, and I imagine substituting the beef for turkey would also be an option.  I have never made meatballs before, and I’m happy that these were so easy to create.  One thing i had a hard time finding was whole wheat bread crumbs.  I definitely had no time to make my own, and I could seem to find them anywhere in the grocery store.  I did some googling and found that rice bread crumbs work just fine, and they are dairy and gluten free which is always a plus.  They did not compromise the taste of the ball.  One thing I did find is that because I don’t own a food processor (surprising, I know), I had a hard time getting the carrots small enough.  I grated them, and then chopped them into finer pieces, but I sure did miss a few, and that resulted in a slight crunch when biting into my meat balls of awesomeness.  This didn’t bother me in the slightest but next time I think I’ll pick up a food processor to do the job.  I finished off the dish by covering the meatballs with the sauce, and then topping everything off with some shaved fresh Parmesan.  I’ve developed a serious appreciation for grating Parmesan… there’s something satisfying about doing it yourself.  It takes FOREVER though, which is why I really need one of those little grater things, you know, where you put the cheese in a little container of sorts and then just turn a handle and it does the grating for you? Ya I REALLY need one of those. Like badly.

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Whole Wheat Penne and Meatballs

Makes 12 meatballs (2 oz. each), approximately 100 calories per meatball (if using extra lean ground beef)


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ⅓ cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup carrot bits (you can grind them in a food processor, grate then dice them, or mince them)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl (I used my hands for this part)
  3. Generously grease a baking sheet with olive oil.  And I mean generously, these things will stick if you don’t)
  4. Roll the beef mixture into 2 oz. meatballs. Place them in rows onto the greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 9 – 11 minutes or until brown all the way through.
  6. Serve meatballs on top of cooked noodles and warm pasta sauce. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese if desired.

Pretty simple. And all real food.  Which is exciting.  An not bad calorically either, as long as you’re using extra lean ground beef (95% lean meat) your calories stay relatively low.  Onward to my next pasta dish, which I made last Friday night.  It was really REALLY good.  I am a sucker for Chicken Marsala, photo 2 (5)but I’ve found that every time I order it in a restaurant, it’s heavily breaded, or there’s too much sauce and mushrooms, or it just doesn’t taste right.  So a few months back I decided to make my own and it turned out fantastic.  I adapted the recipe from Allrecipes.com.  The only big change I had to make, was choosing all organic veggies, and using whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour.  Another change I made was the cook time.  I like my chicken tender. Melt in your mouth tender.  So I cooked in on low for much longer than the recommended 10 minutes, more like 20 minutes, and the result is fantastic.  This chicken tastes like it’s been slow cooked, that’s how tender it is.  The increased cook time gives the sauce a chance to seep into the meat, making this Chicken Marsala much better than anything I’ve ever ordered at a restaurant.  I served it with Fettuccine Alfredo, a recipe I got from 100 Days of Real Food.  You can find it here.

Chicken Marsala with Fettuccine Alfredo


Serves 4, approximately 286 calories per serving.

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine

Cooking Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, garlic salt, pepper, and oregano.
  2. Dredge chicken in the mixture to lightly coat.*
  3. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the chicken in the skillet for 2 minutes, or until lightly browned on one side. Turn chicken over, and add mushrooms. Cook about 2 minutes, until other side of chicken is lightly browned. Stir mushrooms so that they cook evenly.
  4. Pour Marsala wine over the chicken. Cover skillet, and reduce heat to low; simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how you like your chicken, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

*Note: I always tenderize my chicken when making this recipe.  I find it cooks much better.  Place chicken breast in zip-lock bags and tenderize with a meat tenderizer until approximately 1/2 an inch thick.

For the Alfredo Sauce, you will need only three ingredients: butter, heavy whipping cream, and Parmesan cheese (finely grated).  Melt 2 tbsp. butter andphoto 1 (2) 2/3 cup of the heavy cream in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Once the cream and butter start to chicken (after a few minutes) add 4 cups of cooked Fettuccine noodles to the sauce.  Turn heat to medium low and add an additional 1/3 cup of the heavy cream and 2/3 cup of Parmesan.  Serve immediately.  Garnish with Parmesan cheese and sautéed vegetables if desired.  I sautéed mushrooms, onions, and spinach to top off the meal, with my Marsala Chicken on the side of course.  The Alfredo sauce and cup of cooked noodles will run you about 442 calories.

So, fantastic recipes and ALL REAL FOOD. Very exciting.  You want to know what else is exciting?  My peanut butter and chocolate swirl SKINNY brownies, that I will be posting about tomorrow.  They are amazing and I cannot wait to share the recipe.  Get this – incredibly simple. Took 10 minutes to prep and 25 to bake.  Perfect if you’re short on time and are they ever fudgy.  Happy Baking!