Days like this…

As I sit here listening to “Days Like This” by Van Morrison on Pandora… I can’t help but think that’s the perfect summary for this blondshell’s “case of the Monday’s.” It’s always hard going back to reality after a PERFECT weekend with best friends and blondeshells frolicking through beer carnivals and tearing down the brunch scene like bosses. To combat the Monday madness (yeah my March Madness bracket is done) my main man Johnny Cash is serenading me while I sip on some Menage a Trois White Wine and make a non “basic” meal. Without further ado… Parmesan, Garlic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze and Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken. The best part, you can bake the brussel sprouts and chicken at the same exact time!!! #winning

Prep time: 15 minutes     Cook Time: 40-50 Minutes     Servings: 4-5

Parmesan, Garlic Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. bag brussel sprouts
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup The Fresh Market Original Balsamic Glaze

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine olive oil and minced garlic to small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes while prepping brussel sprouts.
  3. Rinse brussel sprouts and dry thoroughly.
  4. Cut off stems and halve brussel sprouts. Remove outer leaves (they just fell off when I removed the stem and halved).
  5. Grease a baking pan.
  6. Place halved brussel sprouts (round part down) on the greased baking pan. Using a brush, brush the olive oil and minced garlic mixture over the sprouts. Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese over sprouts.
  7. Bake sprouts at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes.
  8. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over brussel sprouts prior to serving.

Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

What you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Grease a baking dish and place chicken breasts in dish.
  3. Add oil to sauce pan and bring to a light simmer. Add minced garlic to heated oil to soften the garlic (about 1-2 minutes).
  4. Reduce heat and add brown sugar.
  5. Spread oil, garlic, and brown sugar mix over chicken breasts.
  6. Bake chicken at 400 degrees F for 40-50 minutes (make sure it’s cooked through completely).

That’s it!!!!! Days like this… will get better… Blonde appetit!!

naked sprouts
naked sprouts
prior to baking
prior to baking
prior to roasting
prior to roasting

nom nom
nom nom
those brussel sprouts doh
those brussel sprouts doh

March Madness… yup! About sums up my bracket.

When all else fails (especially during March Madness), turn to comfort food that’s easy to make. Case-in-point… Buffalo Chicken Pizza. This recipe is a mix of a few different gems I’ve found via Pinterest, lurking and otherwise being bored at the “office job.” Without anymore BS, bull hockey or malarkey… I bring to you…. March Madness Buffalo Chicken Pizza!!!

March Madness Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Serves 3-6 (depending on how hungry you are)      Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 30 minutes

What you’ll need:

  • Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or pasta sauce (I used Market Pantry… shocker I know)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • No stinking clue how much Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce I used (eyeballed it)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 2 servings of “Easy peasy no lemon in this recipe squeezy” buffalo chicken
  • 1-8oz block of monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Place Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough on lightly oiled cookie sheet. Be sure to “mind the gaps” in the pizza dough, as in don’t let there be any gaps.
  2. Put Pillsbury Pizza Dough in oven for 5-6 minutes at 425 degrees F to brown the top of the pizza dough/crust.
  3. Meanwhile, heat butter, tomato sauce and Worcestershire on low-medium heat.
  4. When pizza dough is browned, remove from oven and spoon the pizza sauce mixture over the dough evenly (should be an even layer; no one likes soaked pizza crust).
  5. Sprinkle half of shredded Monterey Jack cheese over dough.
  6. Using your hands (yeah it’s messy) sprinkle Easy peasy no lemon in this recipe squeezy buffalo chicken over dough, half cheese and sauce mixture. (Squeeze out excess hot sauce, ain’t nobody got time for soggy pizza).
  7. Sprinkle remaining hand shredded Monterey Jack cheese over chicken.
  8. Sprinkle scallions over cheese
  9. Bake in oven at 425 degrees F for 9 minutes.
  10. Remove with oven mitts (obvs).
  11. Enjoy

Blonde Appetit!!

(FYI, ranch drizzle over the pizza is amaze-balls!!!!!)

nom nom nom.... buffalo chicken pizza of the homemade variety
nom nom nom…. buffalo chicken pizza of the homemade variety

 

Great White Turkey Chili

After a small hiatus from all things cooking, kitchen and being domestic, there isn’t anything that can bring me back to the kitchen like the lure of the Johnny Cash Pandora Station and some good, homemade, comfort chili. Whenever I’m feeling down, confused, anxious, frustrated, or in a funk… preparing a good, healthy meal always brings back the bubbles to the bubbly blonde (ok and maybe an actual glass of bubbly too). The following recipe has been modified from Skinny Taste’s Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili and the best part is, you only use ONE pot/pan!! Ain’t no blondeshell got time to do a ton of dishes.

Great White Turkey Chili

Servings: 4     Prep Time: 15 minutes     Cook Time: 45 minutes     Total Time: 60 minutes

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 lb Jennie-O Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 large white onion chopped
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • One 15.8 oz can Bush’s Reduced Sodium Great Northern Beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • One 4 oz. can diced green chiles
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    *optional toppings: cheese, sour cream, scallions*

What to do:

  1. Heat vegetable oil in large sauce pan (use a sauce pan large enough to make entire recipe). Brown Jennie-O Lean Ground Turkey over medium-high heat with chopped white onion, breaking up ground turkey (about 8 minutes). Add minced garlic.
  2. Mix in chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Allow 2 minutes to cook in with the ground turkey, or until fragrant.
  3. Stir in green chiles, Great Northern Beans, pumpkin and water. Bring to a boil, then add tomato paste and gently stir in.
  4. Reduce heat to low-medium to simmer. Add 2 bay leaves to top of chili mixture. Let simmer on low-medium heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. DIG IN!!!

Blonde appetit!!

Ingredients for Great White Turkey Chili
Ingredients for Great White Turkey Chili
Great White Turkey Chili (don't eat the bay leaves!!)
Great White Turkey Chili (don’t eat the bay leaves!!)
Johnny Cash on Pandora and Great White Turkey Chili on the stove makes for one happy blondeshell!
Johnny Cash on Pandora and Great White Turkey Chili on the stove makes for one happy blondeshell!
Great White Turkey Chili nutrition info
Great White Turkey Chili nutrition info

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.