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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

{Mexican Lasagna}

Oh. My. Goodness!

I think it is time to move to the South!  I cannot deal with how cold it has gotten here in Minnesota!  Don’t get me wrong the snow is beautiful, and I love cozy sweaters and scarves… but my body just cannot handle the bitter cold!   Ok… I am done whining about the cold… for now!

Before we start talking about this dish I have to give my friend Shannon at work a shout out as this recipe was inspired by her!  She had brought in Mexican Lasagna for lunch a few weeks ago and ever since that lunch I knew I had to try my hand at Mexican Lasagna!    Anyways, this delicious Mexican Lasagna is sure to warm you up! This lasagna is spicy (sub in mild salsa  and leave out the jalapeno if you don't like heat) and is packed full of protein from the ground turkey and beans.  Whole wheat tortillas are subbed in for lasagna noodles and the entire dish is smothered in salsa!  This dish is comforting and just down right delicious!   Make it tonight... You won't be sorry you did! 

Mexican Lasagna 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 8 

6 Whole Wheat Tortillas
2 Cups Salsa of Choice 
1 1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt 
1 Cup Reduced Fat Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Cup Black Beans 
1 Lb Lean Ground Turkey 
2 Teaspoons Dried Cilantro 
2 Teaspoons Cumin 
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 Large Onion Chopped 
3/4 Cup Red Pepper Chopped 
1 Small Jalapeno Pepper - Chopped (Optional)

1- In a large skillet coated with cooking spray saute onions until translucent.  Add in jalapeno and red pepper, cook till tender.  
2- Add ground turkey to the skillet along with chili powder, cumin and cilantro.  Cook until turkey is no longer pink.  Set turkey aside ones cooked through. 
3- Spread 1/2 Cup Salsa in the bottom of 9x13 pan.  Place 2 whole wheat tortillas over salsa. 
4- Spread spread 1/3 of the Greek yogurt over the whole wheat tortillas top with 1/4 cup salsa followed by 1/3 of the turkey mixture and and 1/4 cup cheese. 
5- Repeat layering two more times. Top with Remaining 1/2 Cup Cheese. 
6- Bake in a 350 Degree Oven for 30 minutes! 


Check out these other delicious spins on the classic lasagna! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

{Crock Pot Beer Can Chicken}

You guys… guess what I did?  I roasted an entire chicken!  And you know what?  It was absolutely delicious and way easier than I thought it would ever be! 

I did a little (ok… a lot) of research before actually roasting the chicken because I wanted to make sure I was going about cooking the bird in the right way!  A few cooking methods roasted the chicken in the oven, others used a slow cookers, some even had veggies in it.  I opted for the easy way out… the slow cooker!  I figured if I used the slow cooker to “roast” the chicken there would or should be a low risk of failure!

I rubbed the bird down with a little olive oil, seasoned it up with my favorite herbs and then plopped it in the slow cooker with some beer.  Yes, I said beer (keeps the chicken nice and tender)!  End results… flavorful tender chicken that isn’t dried out!  Literally the chicken was so tender it fell off the bone… I actually struggled getting the entire bird out of the slow cooker in one piece!  I went ahead and removed the meat from the bone before serving and served up the meat with some simple steamed veggies!  Easy, quick, healthy and oh so good!

Crock Pot Beer Can Chicken
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 6 
1 Whole Roasting Chicken (2-3 Pounds)
1 Can Favorite Beer (I just used a light beer, but I bet a seasonal pumpkin beer would be delicious)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
¼ Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Rosemary
2 Teaspoons Basil,
2 Teaspoons Garlic
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder

1- Remove chicken from package.  Rinse off and pat dry.  Remove any excess fat that you do not want on the chicken.
2- Rub chicken with olive oil.  Combine seasonings in a small bowl and rub over chicken.  Make sure you get every inch of the bird.  Run out of seasoning?  Just add another teaspoon of rosemary, basil and garlic.
 Place chicken in a slow cooker that has been coated with cooking spray.  Carefully pour can of beer around chicken.  Be careful not to rinse the seasoning away.
3- Cook bird on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4.

** To serve – remove meat from bones if desired and serve with simple steamed veggies or a simple salad. 

Worried you won’t be able to eat up a whole chicken?  Check out these delicious chicken recipes to use up all the meat!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

{Crock Pot Lentil Soup}

Before jumping into this post I want to say Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served or who are currently serving in the military!   Thank you for all you have done!  

 While it was beautiful to wake up to a fresh dusting of snow I can safely say that I was not prepared physically or mentally for it!  

I will admit I am not adjusting well to the days growing shorter and colder.  As I begin to face the reality that Winter is finally coming I find myself reaching for a second cup of hot coffee, a warm wooly sweater and hot soup for comfort!  This soup was exactly what I needed at the end of a long cold day!  Throw all the ingredients into the crock pot the night before, turn the crock pot on in the morning and voila dinner is served!  Perfect ending to a blustery cold day! 

Crock Pot Lentil Soup
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 6-8 

1 - 15 Ounce Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes - Undrained 
6 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth 
1 Cup Onion - Roughly Chopped 
1 1/2 Cups Mushrooms Chopped 
3 Chicken Sausage Links - Chopped 
2/3 Cup Green Lentils 
2 Teaspoons Dried Basil 
2 Teaspoons All Purpose Seasoning (Like Mrs. Dash or Trader Joe's)

1- Place all ingredients into crock pot.  Stir until combined. 
2- Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on High for 3-4. 

I served this soup with a huge scoop of brown rice.  Crusty bread and crackers would be delicious too! 


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

{Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps}

I have a love for spicy food... there is no denying that!  In fact I am known for by my friends for my extra spicy salsa that leaves everyone searching for water... or milk to cool their mouth down!  There have also been times where Miranda and Derek have told me to lay of the spice when I have been cooking!  Usually I don't listen! 

My dad thinks I get my love for spice from my mom (apparently she could eat salsa by the jar when she was pregnant with me) but I think its a mix of both of them (my dad loves spicy food too)!  These buffalo chicken lettuce wraps pack the heat and cater to my love for spicy food!  

The spicy buffalo sauce gets a cool kick from the creamy blue cheese yogurt dressing and the lettuce wrap gives the whole dish a nice crunch!  These lettuce wraps are perfect for a quick weeknight meal or make a great game day snack!  Whip them up at your own risk... they are spicy! 

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4-6 

2-3 Chicken Breast 
1/2  a Large Onion - Chopped 
1/2 Cup Red Pepper - Chopped 
1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Favorite Buffalo Wing Sauce 
1 Tablespoon Bolt House Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing 
6-8 Iceberg lettuce leaves for serving 
**Additional Buffalo Sauce and Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing for dipping and drizzling

1- Toss cubed chicken with 2 tablespoons buffalo sauce and set aside for 30 minutes to marinade. 
2- While chicken is marinading sauté the peppers and onions in a large skillet coated with cooking spray.  
3- Once chicken has set for 30 minute add into hot skillet with the peppers and onions.  Sautee until chicken is cooked through. 
4 - Combine blue cheese yogurt dressing and remaining buffalo sauce in a small bowl.  Pour over chicken in the skillet and stir until chicken is evenly coated.  Cook for 2 minutes and then serve. 

**Serve with iceberg lettuce leaves, additional buffalo sauce and blue cheese yogurt dressing for dipping and drizzling! 


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

{Banana Pumpkin Muffins}

Oh. My. Goodness!

Halloween is this Friday and November is right around the corner.  Seriously where has the time gone?  I feel like Christmas will be here before we know it!  Now,  don’t get me wrong I love that time is flying (because I want my wedding to be here) but at the same time I don’t want to just wish time away!  I guess I cannot have it both ways can I?

I whipped these Banana Pumpkin Muffins up the other night to get me in the Fall spirit!  Hard to remember we are nearing the end of October when we are experiencing abnormally warm weather for Minnesota (60-70 degrees)!  Seriously, it is so crazy!  Ok, anyways, I these muffins are a spin on classic banana bread (good old comfort food) with a seasonal twist!  They are just delicious!  

I highly recommend that you make these muffins as soon as possible.  Then grab a cup of tea, a cozy blanket and your favorite Halloween movie (Hocus Pocus, anyone?) and enjoy!  

Banana Pumpkin Muffins 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Makes 12 Muffins 

Dry Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar 
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour 
1 1/2 Cup Oats (Quick Cooking) 
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder and Baking Soda 
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon and Pumpkin Pie Spice 

Wet Ingredients:
1 Egg 
2 Ripe Bananas Mashed
1/2 Cup Almond Milk or Milk of Choice 
1/2 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Pumpkin 
1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla 

1- Preheat oven to 350 and grease muffin pan. 
2- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, excluding the pecans.  Mix until well combined and set aside. 
3- In a separate smaller bowl combine all wet ingredients.  Mix until ingredients are well combined.
4- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until smooth and well combined.  Stir in pecans.  
5- Grab greased muffin pan and fill 12 muffin cups.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 min or until golden brown.  Allow muffins to cook in muffin pan until cool. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

{Crock Pot Salsa Chicken}

This salsa chicken is one of the most popular recipes on the blog!  

And you know what... I just made them a whole lot easier!  I turned this shining star of a recipe into one that can be made in your crock pot!  How about that!  My crock pot becomes my best friend around this time of year!  Something about chilly weather and shorter days that just make gravitate towards easy meal prep!  There is nothing better then coming home after a long day and not having to think about what I have to cook.  I encourage you to make these tacos tonight... I bet you have the majority of the ingredients in your house right now! 

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4 

1 - oz can Green Chilies 
2 Cups of your Favorite Salsa 
2 Chicken Breasts 
3/4 Cup Water 
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder, Garlic Powder and Cumin 
1 - 15 Oz Can Black Beans Drained 

For serving: 
Corn/Whole Wheat Tortillas 
Corn Chips - if you prefer over Tortillas
Your fave taco toppings; lettuce, onions, tomatoes, greek yogurt... etc.

1- Combine green chilies through spices in a slow cooker.  Mix well and ensure the chicken is fully covered in liquid.  Cook on low for 8 hours. 
2- Once chicken is fully cooked through shred into bite size pieces.  Stir in can of black beans and serve! 

I love serving this slower cooker salsa chicken over rice or scooping it up with corn chips!  This salsa chicken also makes an excellent taco salad filler! 

Check out these other great chicken crock pot recipes from around the web! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

{Race Recap - TC 10 Mile 2014}

This recap is a little late (about a week late) but still… better late than never! 

2 Sundays ago (October 5th)  I ran my 2nd Twin Cities 10 mile race (my 4th 10 mile race total)!  And I still feel that to this day the TC 10 mile is one of my favorite races.  I love the TC 10 mile course, the spectators and just the overall joy I get while running that race (well any race for that matter)!    I couldn’t have asked for better weather either!  The sun was shining, there was the perfect amount of chill in the air and zero wind!  Perfect running weather! 

I will admit that before this last race I was feeling a little blah about running.  I was running more out of routine then for the enjoyment of running!  I found myself even dreading going for a run – something that very rarely happens to me!  Anyways, long story short I approached this years TC 10 Mile with an open mind.  I hadn’t trained my hardest and was determined to listen to my body during the run and to simply run for enjoyment.  I didn’t look at my overall time once during the entire run, I watched my mile pace and tuned into how my body felt.  That scenario must have paid off because I shaved 8 seconds off my mile time and came in a minute faster than I had the previous year in the exact same race!  I was calm during the entire race and took the whole experience in!   This year’s TC 10 miler helped rejuvenate my love for running, funny how the adrenaline of a crowed and flying across a finish line can remind you of why you love something!  Crazy how that works!

I also have to give huge props to my cheering section!  I don’t think I could or would be as successful in running without my cheering section!  My mom, sister and Derek all braved the chill with me Sunday morning just to cheer me on!  Thanks guys, I love you!

2014 TC 10 Mile Stats: 
Overall Time (Chip) - 1:15:35
Mile Time - 7:40 Min/Mile 
Place - 73 out of 1017 (Female Age 22-29)