Spicy Adobo Turkey Chili

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I am a MASSIVE Green Bay Packer fan.  Like beyond a fan.  A part “owner”, seeing as the Packers are the only NFL team that are publicly owned.  Football season has turned into quite the tradition in our family – we manage up to 5 fantasy football teams, I cheer for Michigan on Saturdays and Green Bay on Sundays, I spend the week discussing lineups with my dad, and I plan football watching menus all season long!  A huge staple on any game day buffet table is a good, tasty, tons-o-toppings chili.

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Normally, I’d wait to spread the joy until next season.  BUT, seeing as we just got a snowstorm last night, it seems mighty appropriate!  What do they say about March?  In like a lion and out like a lamb?  Yeah.  That’s definitely happening.

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Bacon Bourbon Jam and Baked Brie

The only picture I could capture before people started digging in!

The only picture I could capture before people started digging in!

Back in college, I had three main food groups – Eggo (waffles), Choco(late) , and Baco(n).  Let’s be clear…I was NOT a good cook in college.  My life’s motto was, “How is Maddy going to use her toaster oven today?”, which resulted in a lot of quesadillas, broiled hot dogs, dino nuggets, and Eggo waffles.  It was by FAR my favorite kitchen appliance.

Now, I occasionally eat weird foodie whole grain waffles with fruit, antioxidant-filled dark chocolate, and last, but most certainly not least, a lot of bacon.  Good ol’, thick cut, salty, fatty bacon.  Balance, right?  Or something like that…

So, when I was brainstorming potential burger toppings, I wanted to try and make homemade bacon jam.  I’ve seen it on charcuterie boards in restaurants and thought it couldn’t be THAT hard, so I went at it!  The process took a while, but it was incredibly rewarding.  What resulted was this delicious, savory jam that I couldn’t wait to try on everything.  We ate it on burgers that night which was DELISH – and I had some leftover and my mind started turning for the perfect appetizer combination that would wow a crowd.  Bacon and Brie!  Classic combination!

I used a variation of this recipe to create the jam.  Check it out below and let me know what you all think!

Bacon Bourbon Jam and Baked Brie
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 appetizer servings
This bacon jam and baked brie will definitely impress a crowd! The jam will keep for some time in your fridge, so you can make ahead of time and quickly assemble this appetizer.
For the Bacon Jam:
  • 1 lb thick cut bacon
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dry thyme
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. bourbon
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • ⅓ cup of water
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium wheel of brie
  • 1 sleeve of savory crackers (I chose cracked pepper flavor)
  1. Using a cast iron pan, cook the bacon strips until crispy, then set aside. You may need to do this in 2-3 sets because you don't want to overcrowd the pan.
  2. Drain excess bacon grease into a bowl.
  3. Chop your bacon into small pieces.
  4. Put two tsp. of bacon grease back into pan and add butter. Saute onions over medium heat until translucent - about 7 minutes.
  5. Add salt, thyme, brown sugar, sherry vinegar, bourbon, pepper, and cayenne pepper to pan and stir until combined.
  6. Add water and bacon. Stir consistently until mixture results in a "jammy" texture and a red/brown color - about 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
  8. To heat the brie: Wrap in aluminum foil and bake for about 8-10 minutes (around 375 degrees). Preheat jam before serving. You'll have plenty of extra jam with this recipe.
  9. Serve with crackers and enjoy!



Greek Shrimp Zoodles and Leftover Breakfast!

Dinner Style!

Nothing makes me happier than using up a bunch of ingredients in the fridge before they’re dunzo.  I feel like I’m helping the environment and that I am a successful produce buyer.  Which doesn’t happen often.  One BIG thing I’m working on is to choose the healthy snack – fruits, veggies, hummus, etc. – over the easy snack.  Like cheese sticks, and yogurt, and taco bell.  Oops.

This meal is a double whammy of veggies – twice!  For dinner and brunch!  SO MANY VEGGIES!  And shrimp which are phenom for you and feta which is a relatively healthy cheese.  It’s why the Mediterranean diet is so good for you!  Oh and yolky, eggy goodness for brunch.

Breakfast Style!

Breakfast Style!

I got back from a fabulous wedding in San Diego last weekend and was amazed by all the delicious food down there!  I had about 6 servings of fish tacos, oysters, lobster tacos (what!?), and cevicé – and every. single. time it was SO good.  All the food was so light and fresh, it made me crave warmer months when we can cook outside and eat all the fruits and veggies in the world.  That aren’t a potato.

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I came back needing some serious vacay rejuvination.  One of those vacations that you need a vacation after.  Not because of stress, but because TOO much fun was had!  We stayed up late dancing, singing karaoke, eating snacky foods, and I firmly believe that flying across the country seriously dehydrates you.  So I hopped to the gym twice (!) this week already, have drank a TON of water, and ate these delicious dishes to get myself back on track.

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I’ve been perusing the Inspiralized blog recipe index to come up with new ideas for veggies to try in the spiralizer!  I’m thinking something *crazy* like celeriac or kohlrabi.  I don’t know what either of those look like, so wish me luck.  Anyhooligans.  If I haven’t convinced you to get a spiralizer yet, hopefully this is the tipping point.  Your belly and brain will thank you for all the extra nutrients!

Greek Shrimp Zoodles and Leftover Breakfast!
Recipe type: Main Dish and Breakfast
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
Try these zoodles with fantastic flavors and delicious shrimp - and then use your leftover veggies and cheese for a nutritious breakfast or lunch the next day!
For the Dinner:
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 30 shrimp, shelled deveined
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 5 zucchini, spiralized
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp. feta cheese
For the Breakfast:
  • Any leftover cherry tomatoes and zucchini
  • 4 egg
  • 4 tbsp. feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For the Dinner:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cherry tomatoes in 1 tbsp. olive oil, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Bake tomatoes until they are blistered - about 20 minutes.
  3. Toss shrimp in cornstarch, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and oregano. They should be lightly covered.
  4. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  5. Add shrimp to sauté pan and cook about 3 minutes on each side.
  6. Add white wine and half the lemon juice to the pan and scrape up any bits browned to the pan. Let simmer until reduced by about half.
  7. Add zucchini noodles and sprinkle with remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sauté until soft - "al dente". They'll have a little crunch to them. Add remaining lemon juice.
  8. Mix in half the feta cheese so it can melt.
  9. Add tomatoes and combine.
  10. After plating, sprinkle with remaining feta cheese
For the breakfast:
  1. Add olive oil to a large sauté pan. Cook any leftover zucchini and cherry tomatoes until warmed and tender.
  2. Crack and egg over the noodles like they're in a "basket".
  3. Cover the pan so they can cook through.
  4. Add feta cheese, salt, and pepper at the end.
  5. Enjoy meal #2!
Don't add anything to the zucchini noodles for leftovers or they might get mushy in the fridge.

If you don't have a spiralizer, this would be delicious with some whole wheat noodles as well! Add the tomatoes and feta into an egg white omelette the next morning for a double meal.


Treat Yo’ Self: The Breakfast Sandwich

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I had to redeem myself this morning after a complete *kitchen FAIL* last night.  I was prepared to make a zucc-noodle+cherry tomatoes+feta+WINE dish for you all, which I whipped up recently and L-O-V-E-D.  But.  Alas.  I had no lemons to add some zest.  I accidentally used smoked paprika instead of regular to recreate my Cajun Seared Salmon.  I put too much oil in the pan and – I kid you not – when I dropped the salmon in, I sprayed hot-paprika-oil all over my beautiful white Michigan shirt and my NECK.  Causing me to burn not only my neck, but the SALMON because I couldn’t flip it in time with the pure CHAOS in the kitchen.  Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night finishing the bottle of wine and licking my wounds.

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AnyHOO.  I woke up this morning and needed a rejuvenation.  A confidence boost.  I went with what I know – the best BFast Sammies in the land.  And darn-it-all, these ARE the best BFast Sammies ever!!!  I do declare.

There’s something magical about oozy yolk and crispy bacon and creamy avocado all combined into one delicious bite.  There’s also something magical about eating a breakfast that is not certified dairy-free, butter-free, cheesy-free, grease-free.  OH and the SPINACH.  I’m not one to just *throw in some spinach!* because I think breakfast should be largely vegetable-free.  But the additional flavor is BOMB DIGGITY and I implore you not to skimp on the spin’ spin’ because it MAKES or BREAKS this sammie.

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So, HUZZAH.  Valentine’s Day is on a lazy, brunchy, Sunday morning this year.  Perfect excuse to whip these up, turn on some superhero movie and just laze away the day.  PS – a mimosa on the side would be perfect.  But, I made these on a weekday morning and let’s be honest, that’s not entirely appropriate to *kick off my Thursday!* with a little mimosa.  So I shall live vicariously through you all when you add some bubbly to your Sunday morning!

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The Breakfast Sandwich
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 sandwiches
This classic breakfast sandwich is a real crowd pleaser and perfect for breakfast in bed!
  • 2 english muffins, toasted
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese - cheddar is best
  • 4 slices bacon
  • ½ avocado, sliced thin
  1. Cook your bacon until crispy. If you've got a large crowd, I find it easiest to make the bacon in the oven (375 degrees, about 20 minutes). Set on paper towel to absorb excess grease.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add spinach and toss to coat with the olive oil. Sauté until wilted and season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan.
  3. In the same pan, fry the eggs over-easy, adding cheese at the end. Cover pan to better melt the cheese.
  4. Toast the english muffins and add the butter immediately after for supreme melting.
  5. Assemble sandwiches - 2 slices of bacon, spinach, ¼ avocado, egg and cheese. Enjoy!


Edamame “Hummus” + Vail Adventures

Superbowl Spread! Healthy Style

Superbowl Spread! Healthy Style

A few weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to fly out to Colorado, drive up through the beautiful mountains, and spend the weekend with 15 friends from high school and college.  My good friend, Hannah, whom I’ve known for over TEN years (OMG!) had all of us to her family’s BEAUTIFUL house overlooking BeaverCreek/Avon.  The view was insane, the food we made was delicious, and the company was even better.

Snowboarding Crew! At the top of the mountain by Two Elks

Snowboarding Crew! At the top of the mountain by Two Elks

I gladly took on the task of planning three giant meals for the crew – I settled on this pulled pork recipe which I’ve made a few times and it’s a real crowd pleaser, Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken for a taco night, and this delicious spaghetti recipe (minus the green pepper).  All three dinners turned out really well and were so easy for such a large group of people!

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Homemade Crunchwrap Supremes

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I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme is my ultimate weakness.  Whether going through the drive-thru at 2AM with our Uber driver (he always gets free tacos) or stopping by when you just can’t cook that night – it’s the ultimate go-to fast food!  And sewwwww not good for you.

Recently, the best thing I’ve discovered is that I can make these at home and they’re 10x better and 10x healthier and 10x more customizable.  AND they’re not that hard!  Once you buy the ingredients, you’ll have them stored for last-minute usage and those weeknights where you need to find the closest bottle of Cabernet and some melty cheese A*S*A*P* are SAVED.

Speaking of Cabernet and melty cheese….SCANDAL COMES BACK NEXT WEEK!  And the Superbowl is on Sunday!! Two “holidays” in one week!  EEK!  And V-Day is next Sunday!! So exciting.  I’ll be posting my Superbowl app that has edamame and dates and olives and…ugh.  Just wait, it’s gonna be completely amazing.

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Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl

Feel the Tropical Breeze!

Feel the Tropical Breeze!

This week I was feeling tired of my classic winter breakfast of peanut butter toast or oatmeal topped with cold milk – the way my dad used to make it when I was a kid, the ONLY way.  I had to introduce some fruit into my life and decided to go summer-style with a smoothie bowl.  Topped with peanut butter and chocolate OBVIIIOUSLY.

I know half the country is stuck in their house – a perfect reason to bring out the frozen fruit in the back of your freezer you’ve been *meaning* to bake into a pie all year.  I used strawberries and bananas, but any fruit combinations will do.  Add in a handful of spinach if you’re feeling healthy-ambitious.  I’m thinking a blueberry mango bowl is in my very very near future….

The protein powder and Greek yogurt will keep you feeling full and the frozen fruit factor makes this heavier than a quick drink.  If you haven’t any protein powder, add extra Greek yogurt for your protein boost.  And cacao nibs are optional – but maybe sprinkle some chocolate chips on there 😉  I gotta say, the melty peanut butter makes all the difference though!

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend – rain, snow, or sun!

Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl
Recipe type: Breakfast, Smoothie
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
Whip up this smoothie bowl for a light lunch or a filling breakfast. It'll make you dream of summer weather!
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 handful strawberry slices, frozen
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup cashew milk (Or your milk of choice)
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. cacao nibs
  1. Combine banana, strawberries, protein powder, milk, and Greek yogurt in a blender. Blend until smooth and well-mixed.
  2. Put peanut butter in microwave for 15 seconds, or until melty. Be sure not to overcook or it'll turn into a weird texture
  3. Pour into a bowl. Top with peanut butter and cacao nibs.


Cajun Seared Salmon with Asian Spiralized Salad



Lately I’ve been strugglin’ with getting into a serious routine.  Which is a *Grade A Problem* because soon I’ll be back in medical school, doing rotations, and my life schedule is largely determined by -NOT- me.  AKA…I show up no matter what day and what time if the doctors need me to help out.  Don’t get me wrong!  I’m super excited – I miss medicine.  Which is good or else I totally picked the wrong profession.

BUT I feel like I need to train myself back into being super efficient.  Which means waking up early to go to the gym before the day starts, Sunday food prep days, assembly line laundry sessions, you catch my drift?  Any tricks of the trade would be greatly appreciated!  Since I can’t live off of Easy Mac, I’ve got to gather an arsenal of quick, easy, healthy meals I can make after a 12 hour shift.  And what’s quicker and easier and healthier than salmon and a bomb-diggity-not-boring salad?  NOTHING!

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Gino “Pup-date”: 5 months


If you’ve been following me on social media at ALL, you’ve probably noticed that we got a little Golden Retriever monster, Gino!  I know this is a cooking blog, but I like to fill everyone in on my life once in a while.  A lot of my readers are family and friends from all over the country (Hi, everyone!) and this is a great way to keep in touch with all of them.

Additionally, a lot of twenty-somethings (aka, all of my friends) decide to get a dog.  It’s a great way to see if you’re responsible enough to call yourself an adult – trust me.  It’s been a challenge, but I want to share some things that our dogs love so it saves you all some research down the road!

And for all my followers with older furry friends, we’ve got a 7-year-old Goldendoodle,  Callie!  She’s loving her new friend, but takes advantage of her size by jumping on the bed and escaping Gino’s teeth every once in a while.  Here are some doggy-duds we’ve been digging.  Click the links to find them online!

  • Himalayan Dog Chew:  I was a big fan of these because they’re completely digestible, last forever, and are stain-free (yay clean carpets!).  When I’m bustling around the house (one room apartment), I like to give Gino one of these to keep him busy forever.  We take them away when they get really small, but they’ve lasted about 3 weeks a piece!
  • Crazy Dog Training Treats:  When you’re shelling out training treats like candy, you don’t want to spend big bucks on them.  For under 3 dollars, these are a steal.  The dogs love them, and so far, they’ve worked!  Gino can officially “sit” at command.  The chicken flavor is their favorite!


  • KONG Air Dog Squeakair Tennis Balls: Squeaking + Puppy = happy dog.  I want Gino to become a big fan of fetching the tennis ball because it’s a GREAT way to tire out a dog!  He’s been romping around the house after these squeaky balls.  They’re a little more pricy than plain ol’ tennis balls, but they are durable against his sharp teeth and have the extra sound effects!
  • KONG Tugger Knots Moose Toy: Two rope pulls, squeaky on the inside, and has tough chewing surfaces.  The two dogs love to tug this back and forth and Gino loves to chew on the tough ropes when he’s teething.  It’s become one of his favorite toys!


  • Petsafe Easy Walk Dog Harness: I CANNOT tell you how great this harness has been.  When you’ve got one 60-lb dog and another one rapidly growing, it’s crucial to be able to control them on a walk.  Callie’s pulling immediately stopped with this front-attaching harness.  Gino is almost big enough to both need one and be able to fit in one!  Callie wears a large (I’d recommend that size for all big dogs).  A MUST-HAVE for anyone walking their giant pooches!
  • Folding Metal Dog Crate: We bit the bullet and got this durable, big dog crate.  It’ll be big enough for Gino until he’s full grown and it’s got a side door so it can hide and not take up too much space.  With a comfy dog bed inside and a big sheet covering the top and sides, it’s his little cave!  You’d be crazy to get a puppy without a crate, and this has become a crucial purchase!


  • Dog Waste Bags with Dispenser and Leash Clip:  When your dog does his business 5 times a day, these waste bags are a fantastic way to keep the neighbors happy.  The leash clip is great for long walks, and they sell them in giant packs on Amazon so you never run out!
  • Elevated Dog Feeder:  Both Callie and Gino have their own dog feeder so they don’t get greedy and steal each other’s food.  The elevated feeders are nice because they eliminate the mess you’ll get when bowls are knocked over.  And when he gets big, it’ll be easier for him to eat out of!

Some other tricks –

  • Buy your dog beds at Homegoods!  They have a great deal on little toys and dog beds.  DON’T fall for the crazy prices at PetCo!
  • Speaking of PetCo and PetSmart – check out their website before you go shopping.  We’ve found coupons that you can print out and save some bucks.
  • If you’ve got a CostCo membership, Kirkland has great dog food!  We’ve been getting Callie’s food there for eternity, and now Gino uses the puppy food.  You’ll save some dollars from the normal pet store.

If you’re thinking about a puppy or are tackling one already, try out some of these great finds!  They’ve been lifesavers over the past month.  Stay tuned for more Gino pup-dates and great pictures!

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Healthy Zucchini Noodle Ramen

Delicious nutritious soup - a remake of an old classic!

Delicious nutritious soup – a remake of an old classic!

I’ve had this a draft of this recipe written since September – but for various reasons I haven’t posted it yet.  The only pictures I had were in a purple bowl and I’ve decided purple is an unappetizing color.  I thought people would find the egg + soup combination strange.  Using the college, orange-wrapped noodles seemed like cheating.  But, *ALAS*!  I have found just the tweak this recipe needed!

I finally bought a spiralizer and have completely fell in love.  I started with the classic spiralized veggie – ZUCCHINI!  The “zoodles” ended up great – they didn’t get mushy in the soup and added a *crunch* component to the soothing broth that turned out really well.  I couldn’t be happier!  And now I can’t stop spiralizing.  I couldn’t fall asleep last night because I was trying to come up with something to spiralize for breakfast — Update: I still haven’t thought of anything.

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