Dinner and a Movie™: Executive Decision and Chicken & FauxJacks

Dave and I, after much painful trial and error, have declared Sundays “socializing-free zones,” which means that except for major occasions – like a friend’s recent wedding – we don’t make plans with other humans on Sundays. It’s our day to sleep late, do laundry, cook for the week, taunt the cat about being a skinny-ass Zombie beast, read books, take a nap, sit in the yard and think about nothing… or scrap all of that and just lie in bed with the A/C cranked while watching an entire season of a TV show on DVD.

Once the chores are done, we reward ourselves with Dinner & A Movie™. Our dining room table faces the TV, so we dim the lights and sit side-by-side, just like the Alamo Drafthouse, only Paleo-Zone-friendly and free.

This week, we had Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes & Chicken (a.k.a., FauxJacks & Chicken) and watched the Steven Seagal/Kurt Russell/Halle Berry film Executive Decision. I give the dinner 4 stars; my compliments to the cook (me!). The movie gets 2 stars for the actual movie, but 4 stars for including Oliver Platt in the cast. I love Oliver Platt!

A few things you should know before reading further:

1. I’ve never really been a pancake or waffle person. I like sweets, but I’d usually rather tuck into something salty and greasy. But then a friend took us to Roscoe’s in L.A., and I had fried chicken and waffles. Oh, my. A drizzle of maple syrup made the juxtaposition of the crispy, salty chicken and sweet, crisp waffle magical. Saturday morning, a local TV show had J from Lucky J’s Chicken and Waffles as a guest, and dang! if I wasn’t craving chicken and waffles all day.

2. I love to measure and weigh my food. It makes me feel comfortable, and I like the precision of it… like being an alchemist. Feel free to be loosey-goosey with the recipe below, if you’re that kind of cook.

3. Paleo-Steve published his Paleo Pumpkin Recipe this weekend. It sounded delicious, but was a little too high in fat and calories for my daily allowance, so I used his recipe as a start and modified it to work for me. You can see his original here – along with a bunch of other tasty recipes. He’s a great cook!

Our Menu
Maple Almond Pumpkin FauxJacks
Grilled Chicken Thighs & Chicken Sausage
Garlic Sauteed Broccoli (gotta have veggies!)
Apple or Pear
Special treat: 100% Pure Maple Syrup

The Movie: Executive Decision
“Fasten your seat belts. Five miles above the earth, an elite team of six men must make an air to air transfer, in order to save 400 lives on board a 747… and 40 million below.”

Why this movie is AWESOME:

  • Steven Seagal’s character is named Lieutenant Colonel Austin Travis.
  • Every character actor whose face you recognize and whose name you don’t know is in this movie.
  • It won a Blockbuster Award (somewhat respectable) and was nominated for a Razzie award, which is “…intended to counterpoint the Academy Awards by dishonoring (or honoring) the worst acting, screenwriting, songwriting, directing, and films that the film industry had to offer.”
  • Halle Berry initally refused the part of “flight attendant” in this movie, but said yes when she was offered $1 million for the job. This was her first $1 million payment for a film. (This fact is most amusing when you actually sit through her performance.)
  • It includes the line, “I think we’re looking up the ass-end of a dead dog, but it’s worth a try.”


Maple Almond Pumpkin FauxJacks
Makes 5-6 FauxJacks (about 3-4 inches across)

1 egg
2 egg whites
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 oz. maple almond butter (or plain)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp nutmeg
oil for cooking

1. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a wire wisk. It took a few minutes to make everything nice and smooth. I got a little sweaty, even. It’s a nice way to work those CrossFit-built guns. Make sure you switch hands from time to time! Set the bowl aside for a few minutes so the flavors can meld.

2. Heat a non-stick skillet until it’s good and hot. Add oil and swivel to coat the pan. Drop the batter in 1/4 cup servings into the pan. When bubbles begin to appear and the edges are set, flip and cook the other side. They cook pretty fast. I used 1/2 teaspoon of oil to cook each batch, and I made our FauxJacks in two batches.

3. Here’s my recommendation for how to use maple syrup to marry the sweet / savory / chewy / tender characteristics… Drizzle the FauxJack with a little syrup; I ended up using 2 teaspoons. Cut a bite-sized piece of chicken. Cut a bite-sized piece of FauxJack. Spear them both with your fork and… chomp! Yummy!

I suppose you could also have these with the usual breakfast trappings, if you must.

Here’s the batter being dropped into the pan.
Holding together and browning nicely!
Mmmmm… FauxJacks.
Here’s our finished tray, ready to dig in.
Nutrition info for FauxJacks, per serving, not including cooking oil:
calories: 342
protein: 4g
fat: 28g
carb: 14g

I’m excited to once again join the food punk rockers on Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.

Tags: , ,

41 Responses to “Dinner and a Movie™: Executive Decision and Chicken & FauxJacks”

  1. Amber says:

    Hooray for pumpkin pancakes, and we love Oliver Platt, he's the reason we own The Three Musketeers!!!

  2. Mrs. Julie says:

    Is maple syrup considered paleo?

  3. Melicious says:

    Hey, Mrs. Julie. I didn't know the answer to your question, so I went digging. TECHNICALLY, the answer is no because it's basically just fancy sugar.

    It's on the list of "foods to avoid" at Paleo Diet ( and forbidden foods (so foreboding!) at this link –

    But… I had 2 teaspoons, which is such a tiny amount, I deem it "OK."

  4. Andi says:

    OK my husband might have a tree nut allergy – do you think substituting pepitas or sunflower seeds would work?

    I'm just getting into the seed thing so I don't know if the flavors would meld.

  5. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Andi -> I can't think why Sunbutter or ground pepitas wouldn't work. Also… YUMMMY! I bet Sunbutter would be really good. Now I want to try it. If you make a variation, post and let us know… and if I try making 'em with Sunbutter, I'll blog about it.

  6. Trixie says:

    Is the nutritional info for the whole recipe??

  7. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    The nutrition info is for one serving of just the pancakes, which for me was half the recipe.

  8. Trixie says:

    Thank ya!!! These look awesome:)

  9. Lauren says:

    I've been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now (found through whole9) and you are awesome and hilarious.

    I also have a wicked sugar addiction so finding whole30 approved recipes that ease the pain makes my day.

    I believe I'll try the faux jacks for breakfast this weekend :)

  10. neale says:

    Instead of maple couldnt you use honey and still be considered Paleo?

  11. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hey, Neale.

    Honey is paleo my many peoples' definition, but I strive REALLY hard to not eat any forms of sugar… which is why whether it's honey or maple syrup or dumb while sugar, I consider it a treat. Sugar is sugar is sugar.


  12. Patty Pittman says:

    Love this recipe. I have been using one simular but never thought of maple flavored almond butter. I must try it. And switching out almond butter for sunflower seed butter sounds interesting. Time for grocery run, I am hungry.


  13. Shaloma says:

    My favorite thing on pancakes is applesauce! It's so much more healthy than sugars.

  14. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    That's a great idea, Shaloma! I bet unsweetened apple sauce and a sprinkle of coconut flakes would be the bomb!

  15. Camilla says:

    These are awesome. I just tried the recipe (albeit with regular almond butter) and they came out just right! If I can make these without a proper kitchen, anyone can!

  16. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Hey, Camilla! Glad you enjoyed them! There was a stretch when I had pancakes one Friday per month for dinner as a treat… yay, breakfast for dinner!

  17. spence says:

    Made these this morning. YUM!!! Our kitchen is in the middle of a remodel so finding anything,spices included, is a chore. All we found for seasoning was some curry powder so we used that and man it was good. Also used kefired coconut milk instead of syrup.

    Thanks for all the great recipes. We'll be trying them all as soon as we have a working kitchen again.

  18. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Spence –> You totally get bonus points for cooking when you're kitchen is being remodeled — great job! Send photos when it's done… that's so exiting!

  19. Dee says:

    I have made the pancakes twice already using plain almond butter. The batter smells great and the finished product has a nice flavor and is satisfying. Thank you!

  20. Cate says:

    I made these for the second time this morning. So tasty! The most exciting part, though (besides the obvious nom-nom-nomness), was that even though I was very excited about treating myself to a little maple syrup after six-ish weeks without any sugar type thang, i barely even used any. Don’t get me wrong, i love me some maple syrup, but just a wee bit was all I needed. It was a good start to a sunday morning.

    • Mel says:

      Cate… right ON! Congrats on slaying the sugar demon. That is really great news! So glad you like the pancakes; thanks so much for letting me know!

      • Cate says:

        Okay, I feel like I’m in confession now. So, after my really fantastic accomplishment yesterday morning, I went about my day la-di-da-di-da, until I stumbled upon my favorite coffee shop and some friends. Their zucchini bread used to be one of my weaknesses. For some unknown reason, I decided I should buy a piece. I thought I’d just have one bite and then pass it onto one of the guys that will eat anything anyone puts in front of their faces. Of course this didn’t work….I ate it all. And today (shockingly!) my stomach is so bloated I look like I’m with child. I’m fairly certain the sugar/grain combo not just the sugar is responsible for that. It was vegan, though, so at least I can rule out dairy as one of the culprits (although I’m sure some other weird oil has to be factored back in).

        This just became a VERY long story. However, I saw your comment this morning and the guilt washed over me in a style reminiscent of a victorian novel (or by someone with a catholic mother – either will do).

        • Mel says:

          Maybe instead of being too hard on yourself, you can just look at it as a really valuable learning experience. As long as it doesn’t send you into a sugar spiral, the damage isn’t so bad… the gluten made you a bloated and now you probably won’t do that again for a long time.

          No guilt!

          Now tell me: was the zucchini bread at least really tasty so it’s *almost* worth it?!

          • Cate says:

            I know! I’ve got to show a little forgiveness, especially since in the past, when I didn’t and I was too hard on myself, inevitably I’d stumble again.

            Okay, no guilt!

            And to answer your question, it was delicious. I savored each bite (which was quite the change from the way I normally scarfed it down). However, the bloating I feel today definitely takes it out of the “happy little treat” category it used to be in. As you said, it’s good to know this is how I react to gluten.


  21. Just made these for the second time, and they are amazing! I even blogged about it…

  22. Stacey says:

    Just ate a turkey bacon, enlightened pancake “sandwich”…was the first time i tried the pancake recipe too. Yummm! I no longer need to crave pancakes or sandwiches. Thank you Mel for the amazing recipes that I am just now discovering. Looking forward to more good food to put in my belly.

  23. Lindy says:

    Hey Melissa- you mentioned you use oil to cook the pancakes….I’m assuming coconut oil? I’ve used coconut oil to cook pancakes in the past, and when I bite into the pancake it just tastes…oily. Am I using too much? I was trying to scoop out enough coconut oil to light cover my griddle last night, and the same thing happened again. The pancakes were almsot soggy. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe though…maybe that’ll be the winner. :)


    • Mel says:

      If you don’t like coconut oil, you can use organic, clarified butter instead — or lard/tallow. You want to cook with a saturated fat so I wouldn’t recommend olive or nut for cooking.

  24. Kerry Anne says:

    Hi Melissa, Made these for breakfast this morning and loved it! Also just got finished reading your cookbook cover to back and now I am headed to Whole Foods to cook up lots of your amazing looking recipes! Thanks for being you!

  25. phyllis says:

    (hanging my head in shame and embarrassment)
    Want to make these. how do you measure 3 oz. of almond butter? 1/4 cup or tablespoons, or what? SORRY for such a stupid question.
    I am thrilled to find your site, especially from a fellow Texan (Houston here)! I am a celiac who still cannot recover and am now really trying to go paleo. I just know it will help!!!
    Thank you in advance!!!

  26. Ami says:

    Thanks a million times for the this blog! I’ve hit a plateau for over a year. I’m just trying to get my groove back. This might have done it! Most importantly, thanks for including the nutrtional information in your recipes. While I eat paleo pretty strictly, I am still clearly exceeding my calorie budget for the day and gaining weight. So now I will still need to watch what I eat and how much (something that I find gets “poo-poo’d” in most Paleo diet discussions).

  27. Mack says:

    Hm, can this be made without the nut butter? I try to avoid nuts as a rule. I wonder if just using ghee would work? Or not at all?

    • Mel says:

      I don’t think this recipe will work without the nutbutter because it won’t have any substance to hold the pancakes together.

      Rather than try to adapt this one further, you might be happier with a coconut flour pancake recipe. Here’s one to get you started, but if you just search coconut flour pancakes, you’ll find lots of options.

      • Justin says:

        I just tried it with Pumpkin Seed Butter because it was all I had, yet it was quite delicious. It tasted like the pumpkin seeds and not pumpkin (of course), and when you cook them quick on medium heat in coconut oil they turn out great!
        Just thought I’d let you know it works well with a seed butter, at least if made from pumpkins. Maybe sesame seed butter is more common to find, but I haven’t tried it with that though.

  28. […] Joulwan aka The Spice Queen, had a recipe for Maple Almond Pumpkin FauxJacks that almost fit the bill but not quite, so I modified a little bit and came up with […]

  29. Rori says:

    OK! 2 for 2. Had snow day today and tried you faux jacks. Pumpkin is my favorite. I plan on making a bunch of these to have throughout the week.

  30. Bethany says:

    Are these pancakes whole30 approved? I am trying to make a meal plan before I start

Post a comment

Like what you've read? Got something to say? Lay it on me!

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.