Spring Breakers… fruit salad style

Winter... SoFla style
Winter… SoFla style

Ya know… us “Floridians,” in particular those of us from the southern-most part of the “Sunshine State” are lucky. Beyond lucky. The “coldest day ever” (which just happens to be tomorrow) will reach a whopping 39 degrees F tomorrow morning. Believe me when I say, you will never see more “Ugg” boots out and about in your entire life until tomorrow at about 9:00am. That being said… I couldn’t help but appreciate the unbelievably glorious weather we’ve experienced up until this Abominable Snowman Snap. The picture above has absolutely zero filters and was taken at the beginning of a run that’ll “supposedly” get me back into a marathon training state-of-mind. Well…. it worked. Without further ado…

FTL Winter Sunset Fruit Parfait

Serves: 4-6       Prep Time: 15 minutes       Total Time: 1 hour

What you’ll need:

  • 1 container Lite Cool Whip
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs or 2 cups granola or your choosing
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 cups mangoes or cantaloupe (I personally despise cantaloupe and would sacrifice an arm and a leg for mangoes)
  • 3 bananas, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mashed blueberries mixed with 2 cups Cool Whip topping

What to do:

  1. Line bottom of one large, round, glass serving dish with 1 and 1/2 cups of Cool Whip
  2. Add two cups of ground graham cracker crumbs  or granola over cool whip.
  3. Then, add 1 cup of blueberries, spread evenly, over graham crackers or granola.
  4. Place 2 cups of mangoes or cantaloupe on top of blueberries.
  5. Top with thinly, sliced bananas.
  6. Muddle/mash blueberries. Then, gently spoon in blueberries into remaining Cool Whip.
  7. Finally, top bananas with blueberry and Cool Whip mixture. Refrigerate, covered for 30-45 minutes before serving.

Blonde appetit!!!

easy peasy NO lemon in this recipe squeezy

Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Really… we’ve all heard it before… “It’s so easy, anyone can do it.” “Set it and forget it.” “BAM!” But really doh…. this is quite possibly the easiest recipe on the face of the planet and my bestest blondeshell in the entire universe shared the recipe by the grace of the good lawdz above. It’s incredibly healthy, full of “gains” (protein) and packed with flavor. Are you calling BS yet?! Don’t!!!! You won’t win this bull “malarkey” card game (remember the card game you used to play as a youngin’?). Ready for the recipe? Are you suuuuuuuuure?? Well fine… here you have it fellow blondeshells…

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken

Servings: 4     Prep time: 5 minutes     Cook time: 4-8 hours (depending on crockpot usage)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 quart Crock Pot
  • 3 chicken breasts (24 oz. chicken total)
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce
  • 1 packet Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad & Seasoning Mix
  • 1/2 cup Swanson’s 100% Fat Free, 33% Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth

What to do:

  1. Add Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce, Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad & Seasoning Mix, and Chicken Broth to crock pot. Whisk together until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
  2. Add chicken. Make sure that all chicken is covered with hot sauce, ranch and chicken broth mixture.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours or cook on high for 4 hours.

And… of course… BLONDE APPETIT!

**Optional toppings/additions: shredded mozzarella cheese, Jasmine rice (cooked before serving buffalo chicken/not cooked in Crock Pot)**

Mini Crock's are the best. Who needs a 5-quart Crock Pot... no one is trying to cook for 19 Kids and Counting. Lawdz!
Mini Crock’s are the best. Who needs a 5-quart Crock Pot… no one is trying to cook for 19 Kids and Counting. Lawdz!
Cook it realllllllll good! It's like slaving away in the kitchen all day, but.... not?
Cook it realllllllll good! It’s like slaving away in the kitchen all day, but…. not?
Finished product (with cheese obvs).
Finished product (with cheese obvs).
In honor of National Drink Wine Day 2015... Barefoot Pinot Griogio enjoyed thoroughly by your's truly.
In honor of National Drink Wine Day 2015… Barefoot Pinot Grigio enjoyed thoroughly by your’s truly.
Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Nutrition Facts
Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Nutrition Facts

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen… ice(cream) chili?

Last night, with the temperatures dipping to an icy 55 degrees (again, apologies to those dealing with polar blasts and snow up north) it was the PERFECT night to make Fire and Ice Ohio Chili. I’ve modified the recipe found in Food & Wine magazine just a bit. This is now the third time I’ve made this recipe and it NEVER ceases to be anything less than incredible, dynamic, tasty, and just downright heavenly. We had Gumdale Shiraz Reserve with the chili even though Food & Wine recommends a “peppery, berry-rich Zinfandel” (this girl has never met a bottle of wine she hasn’t liked… just sayin’). Remember, the best part about this recipe is licking the spoon after putting the chocolate gelato into the chili!! You read that correctly… CHOCOLATE GELATO!!!! By lick the spoon, I mean eat it right out of the pint container it comes in after adding it to the rest of the ingredients (sorry, not sorry). Without further ado… Fire and Ice Ohio Chili fellow blondeshells (and others).

Fire and Ice Ohio Chili

Servings: 4       Active Time: 30 minutes       Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 lb Jennie-O Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups water
  • One 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • One 14.5-ounce can Del Monte Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano
  • 3/4 cup Talenti Double Dark Chocolate Gelato
  • Cooked Jovial Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti 
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese for topping

What to do:

  1. In a large saucepan (preferably one that has raised sides), heat the vegetable oil. Add the Jennie-O Lean Ground Turkey and cook over moderately high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until browned (about 8 minutes). Add the chopped onion and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper as desired. Stir occasionally to mix and soften the chopped onion in with the ground turkey.
  2. Add the chile powder, cumin, cinnamon, coriander and cloves to the ground turkey and onion mixture. Stir occasionally until fragrant, which takes about 2 minutes. (Prepare yourself, this is where it starts to smell unrealistically AMAZING!)
  3. Stir in the water, tomato paste and Del Monte Diced Tomatoes into the ground turkey, onion and spice mixture and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to medium and spoon in that glorious Talenti Double Dark Chocolate Gelato (don’t forget to lick the spoon). Using the wooden spoon, stir the gelato into the mixture until melted. Once melted, simmer the chili over moderately low heat for about 1 hour and 15 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. (I stirred about once every 10-15 minutes in between murking someone in Mario Kart races.)
  4. When the chili has about 20 minutes left to simmer, start boiling the water for the Jovial Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti in a large. Once the water boiling (add salt to speed up the process), break spaghetti in half and add to water. Leave pot uncovered while cooking spaghetti and cook to desired firmness.
  5. Drain the water from the spaghetti. Once water is drained, place one serving of spaghetti into a bowl and add the finished heavenly goodness more commonly known as Fire and Ice Ohio Chili over the spaghetti. Add cheese to top of chili if desired and enjoy (**note** I do not trust people who willingly choose to not eat cheese).

**The chili can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.**

Blonde appetit!!

Ingredients used and obvs with Gumdale Shiraz Reserve wine consumed before, during, and after cooking.
Ingredients used and obvs with Gumdale Shiraz Reserve wine consumed before, during, and after cooking.
Tomato Paste
Tomato Paste
Del Monte Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano
Del Monte Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano
Talenti Double Dark Chocolate Gelato (guilty as charged of eating some of the gelato prior to making chili... oopsies)
Talenti Double Dark Chocolate Gelato (guilty as charged of eating some of the gelato prior to making chili… oopsies)
Heaven is a place on Earth... the finished product.
Heaven is a place on Earth… the finished product.
Nutrition Facts (including the gluten free spaghetti and optional cheese topping)
Nutrition Facts (including the gluten free spaghetti and optional cheese topping)

wakey, wakey… guac, eggs, and bakey

Rise and grind fellow blondeshells! It’s HUMP DAYYYYYYYYYY (insert the greatest Geico commercial of all time here)!!!! Here’s a quick peek into something that I cannot live without… breakfast. Without breakfast, hanger (click here for definition) easily takes over no later than 9:30am. Lawdz forbid any friends, family members, loved ones or colleagues are in within a 10 yard radius when hanger takes over. It’s like the Hulk appears out of nowhere. To avoid the hanger and Hulk-like demeanor, here is a quick, 5-minute breakfast that’s only 255 calories! This morning, I had Bigelow Green Tea in an Ello mug with my breakfast. I used Trulia for sweetener instead of sugar. This girl needed a little bit of caffeine to get going this morning… must be the rainy weather that’s bringing “cold front” coming through. Sorry to those reading this up north, but South Floridians will break out the boots anytime it drops below 70 degrees.

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup Egg whites
  • 2 slices Smithfield Naturally Cherrywood Smoked Thick Cut Bacon
  • 2 tablespoons Wholly Guacamole
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • dash of smoked paprika
  • Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
  • Joie Piggy Bacon Tray (trust me, you’ll want to order this immediately)

What to do:

  1. Put the pieces of Smithfield Naturally Cherrywood Smoked Thick Cut Bacon into the Joie Piggy Bacon Tray. Try not to overlap them as they will stick together once the pieces of bacon are cooked.
  2. Lightly spray small pan with nonstick olive oil cooking spray. Pour egg whites into pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Put Joie Piggy Bacon Tray with bacon into microwave and cook for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
  4. While bacon is cooking in the microwave, add the garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and dash of smoked paprika to cooking egg whites in pan.
  5. Use a spatula to mix in the spices and finish cooking the eggs to the consistency of your liking.
  6. Using caution, remove Joie Piggy Bacon Tray from microwave. Remove bacon from tray with a fork and place on a plate. Using a paper towel, grab the Joie Piggy Bacon Tray and dump bacon grease into a grease pot (or a plastic cup with a paper towel lining the bottom of it). DO NOT DUMP HOT BACON GREASE DOWN THE SINK OR DISPOSAL!!!!
  7. Plate cooked eggs on plate and add two tablespoons of guacamole.
  8. Nom nom nom on your quickly made breakfast and go dominate your day!

Blonde appetit!!

It took all of my superhuman strength not to devour this before taking a picture of this treat of a meal.
It took all of my superhuman strength not to devour this before taking a picture of this treat of a meal.

Let me see you casseROLE

Monday night from here on out has now been deemed “UnWINEd and Try A New Recipe Monday” (emphasis on the wine). Last night I made what I’d like to call Lean Green Turkey & Bean Enchilada Casserole. I modified a recipe found on Recipe Girl (Beef and Bean Enchilada Casserole). This casserole can be prepped up to 24 hours in advance of the cooking time, but even with this being the first time I’ve made this, the prep and cook time didn’t really take more than an hour and 10 minutes. To be honest, this turned out to be wayyyyy more scrumptious than I originally thought it would be and was hella easy to make. I had the leftovers today for lunch at the office and they were even more delicious than the casserole fresh out of the oven. It’s fairly inexpensive to make as there are ALWAYS coupons and savings tricks to use (stay tuned for another post on that). Anyhoo… here’s the recipe:

Lean Green Turkey & Bean Enchilada Casserole

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep time: 25 minutes          Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yummy Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Jennie-O Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 cup chopped white onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles
  • 8 ounces light sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 to 10 6-inch flour tortillas (or whole wheat if you’re a health nut)
  • 1 10-ounce can Market Pantry Green Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 cups shredded reduced fat Colby & Monterey Jack cheese
  • Guacamole (optional topping)
  • Olive Oil Non-Stick Spray
  • 1 9×13-inch pan
  • Tin foil

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using Olive Oil Non-Stick Spray, spray the 9×13-inch pan on all inner sides.

2. In a large skillet, brown the Jennie-O Lean Ground Turkey and chopped onion over medium-high heat until the turkey is browned and the onions are tender (about 7-9 minutes). Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and chiles; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the sour cream flour and garlic powder together.

4. Cut the tortillas in half. Place half of the tortillas in the bottom of the sprayed 9×13 pan. Make sure that the entire bottom of the pan is covered by tortillas, overlap if necessary. Add half of the turkey mixture to the top of the tortillas; spoon the entire sour cream mixture over the turkey mixture. Then, scatter half of the rinsed and drained pinto beans over the sour cream and drizzle half of the Green Enchilada Sauce over the first layer.

5. Using the remaining tortillas, cover the first layer of the Enchilada Casserole. Put remaining turkey mixture and beans over the last layer of tortillas and drizzle with remaining Green Enchilada Sauce.

6. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 37-40 minutes. Using caution, peel back the tin foil and sprinkle entire casserole with the shredded reduced fat Colby & Monterey Jack cheese and cook, uncovered, for an additional 4-5 minutes. Top with guacamole (if desired) then, enjoy and scarf down immediately!

**Side note** If you are prepping the casserole a day before baking, complete steps 1-5 above, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Be sure to remove the plastic wrap and replace with tin foil prior to baking (obvi).

I apologize for the incomplete casserole picture... I couldn't wait to eat.
I apologize for the incomplete casserole picture… I couldn’t wait to eat. I (maybe) promise future pictures of whole completed recipes.