Cheesy Green Chili Cornbread

Warning: This is not your ordinary cornbread recipe. Nope, not even close! Every summer I look for any & every excuse to make this yummy side dish. Packed with crispy bacon crumbles, spicy pepper jack cheese, and green chiles, this little number is a guaranteed crowd pleaser!

Ingredients:

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  • 1 box of cornbread mix (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • Two 4oz cans green chiles
  • 6 strips crispy bacon crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 can of corn drained

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  • Thoroughly grease a medium sized cast iron skillet¬†(an 8×8 baking pan works just as well).
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornbread mixture, milk, oil, and egg.
  • Continue to add in the crumbled bacon, one cup of shredded pepper jack cheese, and corn. Make sure to not over stir!
  • Once ingredients are evenly mixed together, carefully pour batter into the cast iron skillet.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Serve warm with honey and/or butter!

Enjoy as a great side dish at any BBQ or solo as breakfast with a hot cup of coffee!

 

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Protein Packed Detox Salad

After a tough workout, the last thing you want is to fudge it up by making an unhealthy food choice. After years of paying $12-$14 for the salad bar at Whole Foods, I have finally become a master in salad making. Or at least¬†I think so. And if you are anything like me, super indecisive, this process can be overwhelming and disappointing if you don’t have the right ingredients. Salads are not only a great way to get your daily fill of veggies but also very versatile. This simple salad recipe is my go to for any quick meal and can be switched up multiple ways depending on taste, preference, or simply based on the ingredients left in your fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 cucumber peeled & chopped
  • About a cup of cherry tomatoes sliced in halves
  • About a cup of chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 a cup of green onions chopped
  • 1/2 a cup of red onion chopped
  • A bundle of Kale roughly chopped
  • A bundle of Iceberg Lettuce roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of Feta cheese
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 1 1/2lbs of chicken ( I use the Perdue grilled chicken strips when I am pressed for time but I often will make balsamic chicken in the crockpot for added flavor)

*Optional Ingredients*

  • 1 cup of crumbled bacon
  • 1 cup of crispy chickpeas
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts, almonds, pistachios etc.
  • 1 cup of cranberries
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • chicken could be substituted¬†for tuna, steak, or tofu

Dressing:

  • About 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of minced or powdered garlic
  • A dash of salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • half of a lemon juiced

 

Like Elaine from Seinfeld, I am a fan of a big salad and I¬†will make extra’s to keep throughout the week! All of these ingredients, both the salad and dressing, are interchangeable. Paired with a cold and crisp ros√©, this basic salad recipe is a summertime must!

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Spanish Gazpacho

In the Fall of 2015, my boyfriend Alex and I explored the beautiful country of Spain. Madrid was the first city that we ate and explore our way through followed by day trips to Toledo and Segovia. There we visited ancient aqueducts, castles and my first stab (literally) at cochinillo. A famous Spanish delicacy, suckling pig. But, the one city in particular that stole my heart forever was, Seville. A city with vast amounts of picturesque rooftops, old churches,  and bountiful balconies. Many argue that Seville is the birthplace of the traditional dance, Flamenco. This city is roaring with life and culture.

One evening, Alex, I and our curious bellies ended up walking into a little bodega off of one of many side streets. A hole in the wall establishment, Alex was pleased to find a big sign in the window front that read “Gazpacho”. Uninterested, one cup of cold gazpacho was ordered and retrieved from a plastic cup. An honest dunk into a vat of savory vegetable soup. (Good thing no one one rating this service based on presentation.) To my surprise after a sip of this enchanting yet simple mash-up of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onion, and garlic, it was like tasting the city itself! I was hooked! We loved this particular gazpacho so much that we made a point of going back a few different occasions.

Since our adventure to Spain, we do our best to re-enact our dining experiences. From serving up hot garlicky gulags (baby eels) on crusty bread to owning our own jam√≥n ib√©rico leg that was quite the conversation piece anytime people came over. A traditional gazpacho recipe was a must! Chicago’s summer heat was a reminder to Spain’s intense sun. A craving for this delicacy was a perfect excuse to create our own version of this cold concoction. An easy and convenient fresh summer go-to!

*Warning, I tend to be a person who doesn’t believe in measuring ingredients while cooking. For the Type A’ers out there, my boyfriend can relate to your frustration.*

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. of ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber peeled and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper (we typically leave this out our you could substitute a jalapeno or any other pepper of choice)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves *depending on taste
  • Half of a white onion rough chop

Seasoning (to taste):

  • About a half cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • About 1/4 cup of balsamic oil
  • About 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • Good pinch of sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes or cayenne for added heat

Place chopped ingredients and seasoning into a food processor or blender. Blend until evenly smoothed out. Keep in mind, the longer this is able to sit and chill in the fridge, the better! For best results, make sure to prepare ahead of time or even, the night before. Serve with a piece of crunchy bread and enjoy!

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Honey, Fig & Pistachio Goat Cheese

If summer had a flavor, this would be it! Simple yet decadent is exactly what makes this go to appetizer a must at your next get together. ¬†Made up of only four ingredients, it makes it’s easy and convenient to prepare almost in no time…

Ingredients:

  • 1 log of goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of fig preserve
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Chopped pistachios

Instructions:

Place goat cheese on a serving plate. Microwave honey & fig preserve until melted. Stir while adding in chopped pistachios.  Drizzle onto of the cheese and spread evenly. Sprinkle with extra pistachios and serve with crostini’s. Yum!

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Yaaasss Way Rosé

Nothing screams summer more than a nice chilled bottled of ros√©. It’s a great wine to be paired with any summer fruit or veggie like tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant. ¬†A perfect guest for an any salty meat like prosciutto. Ros√© is known to be one of the oldest wines as well. But, what is it?

Ros√© is a unique process that incorporates some of the colors of the grape but not quite enough to justify as a “red wine”. All ros√©s are unique in hue and all depends on the way the ros√© is processed.¬†Like most wines, you can find a wide variety of decently priced ros√©s. You don’t have to spend a ton of money for a good bottle. Below is a list of just a few of my favorites…

La Vielle Ferme

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The first time I tried this particular wine was on vacation in Boulder, CO¬†while dining at a French restaurant, Brasserie Ten Ten. ¬†Boulder is a ¬†special place that I called home from 2007-2011 while attending the University of Colorado. Boulder’s Pearl Street is jam-packed with outstanding fine dining, live music, and shopping. It’s especially known for its decently priced happy hours typically lasting from 3-6:30p.

After an 8-mile hike at Gregory Canyon with my dad, it was time for a much-deserved glass of wine. A splash of La Vielle Ferme pricing at $6 for a glass and $24 for the bottle. Pleasantly surprised by its light crispness and beautiful pale pink hue, I made sure to make a mental note.

A few weeks later back in Chicago, I was delighted to find this wine at our local Binny’s on sale from $6.99 to $5.99 a bottle! What a steal! This is definitely one to stock up on.

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Mionetto Brut Rose

Just as yummy as the classic brut prosecco, this take on a bubbly rosé is one to not miss out on! A fair price point around $10-$13, it is a classic girly drink perfect for any celebration or a casual summer evening. Serve cold and make sure add a strawberry or raspberry for garnish!

 

Whispering Angel 

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A wine that tastes like it sounds. Ironically enough this wine was introduced¬†to me in a podcast Bitch Sesh: A Real Housewives Breakdown. If you¬†have never listened to this podcast before, I highly¬†recommend start even if you don’t watch any of the Real Housewives franchises.¬†Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider’s love for this wine¬†left me curious and salivating at the mouth every time it was mentioned. Definitely a splurge for a yogi at $18 a bottle on average but worth the money for a special weekend dinner.

 

 

Miraval Provence Rose 

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This is what we call “I just got paid” ros√©! On average $24, Miraval Provence is produced by a famously known couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Yep! That’s right. The now divorced Hollywood couple began¬†production on the 150 acres of vineyards at the Chateau Miraval, the South of France estate in 2008. Since the divorce, it has been unknown what will happen to Miraval especially since it’s strong boost in sales.

A little pricier than I would typically ever spend on a bottle of wine, the champagne bottle and fluorescent pink hue makes this wine elegant and inviting.

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