Friday, December 19, 2014

Fashion Friday: Cozy Christmas Style


This has pretty much been my "day off" uniform, you can never go wrong with a comfy pair of leggings, boots, and a scarf. This is also a stylish yet comfortable look to sport while traveling during the busy holiday season, I'm probably definitely going to repeat this look come Christmas day. Do you have a go-to style when it comes to traveling?

Outfit Details:
Top - Kohls (old)
Faux leather leggings - Kohls
Scarf/Bag - JCPenneys
Socks/Boots - Forever21

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Broccoli Cheese Bake

I'm bringing casseroles back like it's 1969!
...when one thinks of a casserole, one usually envisions a steaming pile of mystery meat ever so lovingly presented by an elderly woman but that's not always the case, casseroles can be cool! In fact, I think they're making a comeback!
I have been a casserole making fiend lately because with work at such odd hours all during the week, I am usually forced to dedicate one day to prepping all our meals, which, as you can imagine is a pretty daunting task in itself (I don't even wanna look at my kitchen right now). I try to keep most entrees simple in order to prevent said messiness and this recipe is one of those meals! Casseroles especially come in handy when you have a fridge full of leftovers (such as le shredded chicken, veggies, and rice). Another thing that makes this so gosh darn easy to prepare is the sauce, I got the idea from a recipe on foodnetwork - instead of making a roux, you simply heat chicken stock and flour together, stir it until it thickens, and use that for your sauce base! This is not only 1,000 easier but it also tastes significantly more delicious than a roux based cheese sauce, which prompts the question, why the heck didn't I think of this sooner?

Chicken Parmesan Broccoli Cheese Bake

serves 2-3

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
1 heaping cup medium broccoli florets
Cooking spray
2 cups frozen brown rice, thawed
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (about 4 cups)

For topping...
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 TBS melted butter

Directions:

1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the flour and broth into a large saucepan and whisk until the flour is dissolved. Place the saucepan over medium heat and whisk continuously until the mixture comes to a boil; continue to whisk until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the Cheddar and whisk until melted. Add the broccoli florets and stir to coat.

2.Spray a 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Toss the brown rice and chicken in a large bowl. Pour the broccoli-cheese sauce on top and mix well. Spread the mixture in the casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake until bubbling and hot, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and mix the melted butter, breadcrumbs, and cheese then sprinkle on top and bake until the breadcrumbs are nicely browned, about 2 to 5 minutes Serve hot.

Make-Ahead Tip: Freeze the baked casserole for up to 2 weeks. Cover in foil and reheat at 350 degrees F until hot, 35 to 45 minutes.

*Recipe adapted from Foodnetwork.com

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hearty Minestrone Soup

I like my soup how I like my men, easy and low maintenance.


This soup is awesome because almost all the flavor you need come from the ingredients, you just throw it all in a pot and let it simmer as opposed to those other needy soups that keep nagging for your attention, constantly complaining about how they need to be stirred and seasoned. One thing I noticed is how much this soup absorbs liquid over night (even though I covered it whilst cooking) so I added an extra cup of chicken broth to prevent said absorption. With that being said, I must say this soup is delicious and super satisfying (this coming from the woman who lived off this stuff for a week and didn't get sick of it).

Hearty Minestrone Soup

serves 3-4

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can white (cannellini or navy) beans, drained
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
2 bay leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
2 cups cooked ditalini pasta (I used mini penne because it was the high fiber kind)
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cups coarsely chopped cabbage

Directions:

1.In a large soup pot (or slow cooker), combine broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, cabbage, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Cover and simmer on low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

2.Thirty minutes before the soup is done cooking, add pasta and zucchini. Cover and cook 30 more minutes. Remove bay leaves and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle Parmesan (or sharp cheddar) cheese over top.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fashion Friday: It's all in the Details


Once in a while I always try to incorporate a different fashion piece into my wardrobe, it's easy to keep buying more and more of the same thing (in my case it's statement necklaces and lace dresses). When I saw this tunic at Apricot Lane I knew it was something I wouldn't typically wear (I usually have an aversion to long sleeves - I blame the hot flashes) but the little black lace detailing on the sleeve was so unique, I had to try it on. I ended up actually loving it, and the fabric was so light weight and comfy, I didn't even mind the sleeves.

Outfit Details
Grey tunic - c/o Apricot Lane Boutique
Earrings - Apricot Lane Boutique
Leggings - Target
Boots - JCPenneys
Hat - JCPenney

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Festive Desserts to try This Christmas


Here are some of my favorite recipes from last year, I must say I am especially partial to the Toffee Pecan Bars, Scottish Oat Squares, Cranberry Lemon Tart, and the Cherry Snowball Cookies but heck, they are all delicious!

From top left to right

Coconut cherry snowball cookies
Strawberry moscato cupcakes
Cranberry lemon tart
Scottish oat shortbread squares
Candy cane crisp cookies
Lemon & cream cheese chocolate dipped cookies
Snowball cookies
Toffee shortbread pecan bars

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