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Chicken Enchilada Casserole is bursting with spicy, savory flavors, and oozing with melty cheese!


I started Bridesmaid Bootcamp today!

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While my thighs and buns have been running mile after mile and climbing flight after flight on the treadmill and step mill this winter, my arms, shoulders and chest have been living in the lap of unused luxury, buried comfortably in fluffy sweaters where no one can see them.

Well I’ve got T-minus 40 days to get those puppies in shape before they’re bared for the whole world to see in my one-shoulder, nearly strapless, majestic purple bridesmaid’s gown for my friend Laura’s wedding in May! (Yes, we’re in our upper 20s, why do you ask? ;) )

Clearly nobody’s going to be looking at me on my girl’s big day, but I still want to feel my best in my dress. I’m going to do just that by setting achievable yet ambitious goals to get in the best shape I can be by then. They are:

Goal 1: Be physically active for more than 30 minutes (not counting morning Mom walks) 4-5 days a week. Totally do-able.

Goal 2: Indulge in one sweet treat a day. Mehhhh…yes, I can do it (already had today’s though, rats!)

Goal 3: Attend a weight lifting class two times a week. We might have a problem here.

Yeah. I attended my first Body Pump class this afternoon. I walked in feeling excited, motivated and ready to dominate the hour long class that uses barbells to work your entire body. I walked out feeling like Bambi circa day 1.

Bambi (source)

Seriously! After 60 minutes of intense lifting, my legs had completely passed the Jell-o stage. It was as if they were independent from the rest of my body, and moved forward out of the classroom by sheer mental willpower alone. I must have looked ridiculous, as I legit could not control my limbs!

My arms were no better. I had to prop my elbow up on the armrest in the car to drive home. I could barely turn the knob on the door to get in the house. You get the picture!

I know I’m going to absolutely hate my life the next couple of days as the soreness sets in, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?!

Ok, ok. Truth be told, I’m excited. You can’t really be a well rounded runner/athlete without incorporating cardio AND weight/resistance training into your fitness regimen, and Bridesmaid Bootcamp is the perfect excuse to start moving towards a more harmonious me. Whee!

Who else is working out with a wedding goal in mind? Whether it be your own or a friend/family member’s? What are you doing to get in shape?

In more exciting news, I made another casserole for dinner. I know, shocking. Right? ;)

I love them, especially for Monday night dinners, because I like to get the week started right with a good workout on Monday afternoons after work, and casseroles are easy to make ahead then pop in the oven when I get home! Tonight’s gem: Chicken Enchilada Casserole.


This casserole combines elements of Mara’s Tamale Pie and Jenna’s Mom’s Enchiladas, with my unshakable love for a layered dish, into one delectable dinner.


Chicken Enchilada Casserole


Chicken Enchilada Casserole is bursting with spicy, savory flavors, and oozing with melty cheese!


Serves 6

  • 2 cups + 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 chicken bullion cube
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1-16oz can refried beans
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 small red onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 chicken tenders, cooked & shredded
  • 1/2 small can diced green chilies
  • 1-10oz can red enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided


  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring water and bullion cube to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in yellow cornmeal. Spray an 8×8 oven-safe dish with non-stick spray, then press cornmeal evenly into the bottom. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Saute onions and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, until onions begin to soften, ~5 minutes. Stir often to prevent garlic from burning. Remove skillet from heat and add in cooked chicken, green chilies, 1/2 of the enchilada sauce and 3/4 cups cheddar cheese. Stir to mix.
  3. Spread refried beans on top of cornmeal in an even layer (may need to heat beans in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften.) Top with chicken mixture, remaining enchilada sauce, and remaining cheese.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Finish with a blast from the broiler if needed. Serve with salsa and avocado!

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.


This is totally one of those dishes where separately all the elements are “just ok” (I was actually preparing myself for a dinner fail when I tasted all the layers by themselves) but when put together, they’re JUST right!


My favorite thing about enchiladas besides – well, everything – is the corn tortilla. The yelllow corn crust in this casserole is sturdy, yet creamy, and sooo yummy!


I also made fresh salsa to tie all the flavors together. Normally I use fresh tomatoes but this time I used a can of petite diced tomatoes. Not only was it so much easier, but it tasted just like restaurant-style salsa!


I love it when a meal works out. :)

In other news, tonight I am going to spend some QT with my Kindle. It’s been aaaages since I’ve read, and it’s high time I get back to it.

This afternoon I asked for book suggestions on Facebook and Twitter and the true story Unbroken was a popular suggestion, so I purchased it right away and had it wirelessly delivered to my Kindle.

I do love me a good non-fiction lost-at-sea/WWII book. I’m excited to dig in! :D

Have a great night everyone!


Do you read a lot? Kindle/Nook or paperback?

Do you lift weights? Why or why not?