Friday, February 28, 2014

Classic Gluten Free Pizza and Salad

As I walked out of Pure Barre yesterday afternoon, I glanced at my phone and saw several text messages from Parrish and I just had to laugh.

The first text: “Be forewarned….I’m dying for pizza.”

Second text: “I’m not going to fight you.”

And the last text: “Just saying.”

The funniest part? Thursday night’s meal was his request! He was the one who wanted Kale and Quinoa Cakes!

So we compromised. I called him and struck a deal. We could skip the Kale & Quinoa, and we could share one Udi’s gluten free pizza:

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but we had to have a big salad on the side:

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Meaning…I wasn’t going to let that kale go to waste!

Of course he agreed – it’s all about compromise right?! Winking smile

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In the salad: the last bit of romaine, chopped kale massaged with Tessemae’s Lemonette, half an avocado chopped, thinly sliced shallot, chopped red pepper, and a sprinkling of Cabot Cheese Monterey Jack and salt and pepper

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I LOVED this salad! I massaged the kale with the vinaigrette for about 3-4 minutes and then let it sit for another 5 minutes to get rid of that bitter bite.

I think Parrish was surprised by how much he liked the salad – and even with just three slices of that DELICIOUS pizza (seriously, my fave – I could eat an entire pizza) we were both satisfied.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gluten Free Bread Forks

Happy Thursday friends!

This week is flying by – which makes me excited, because I have a super fun All Girl’s Slumber Party this weekend with my sisters and my nieces! Complete with matching pjs, pizza, and a Frozen sing-a-long. I can’t wait!

Luckily I have a full week of work and workouts to keep me busy.

I’m still loving Pure Barre, and last night’s session was awesome! I’m always amazed by how challenging each class is, and the amount of calories you can burn without losing your breath!

When I got home last night I was starving! Luckily the meal we had planned was fast and actually pretty easy too!

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Fitness Magazine’s Kale and Mushroom Ragout with Poached Eggs

Delicious and super easy!

I followed the recipe to a tee – making sure that the Marsala wine I chose was gluten free.

The best part of the recipe? You don’t use a fork to eat it – you use bread!!

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Gluten free bread of course! Winking smile

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I used Udi’s White Sandwich Bread because it’s what I had in my freezer. I would have loved to have used a multigrain bread but I’m trying to use up what I have on hand first.

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The perfect bite!

Parrish and I were impressed by the recipe – it was super tasty. BUT the next time we make it, we’re going to make some adjustments.

I’m going to nix the eggs, and instead cook the kale and mushroom according to instructions and serve it over roasted spaghetti squash. The mushroom mixture was incredibly flavorful and I think it would be delicious served over noodles.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Week of Gluten Free Meals

As I said yesterday, my meal plan may be a bit late this week, but for me, better late than never!

I know from my own experience that not having a plan does NOT work for me. I end up standing in the kitchen staring at the fridge feeling…frustrated and uninspired. I can’t come up with yummy supper ideas after a day of work and nine times out of ten, what I come up with in the final hour isn’t all that healthy.

Giant plate of french fries? Sure. Big bowl of popcorn? Why not. Ummmmmm no. That doesn’t work for me. In the moment it seems like the right idea but it doesn’t leave me feeling great and it definitely doesn’t feed my body.

So this week in the Gluten Hates Me House we’re enjoying:

Monday: Gluten Free Taco Cups

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Tuesday: On Your Own – Parrish and I enjoyed leftovers from Monday on our own schedule since I didn’t get home from Pure Barre until late.

Wednesday: Kale and Mushroom Ragout with Poached Eggs from Fitness Magazine

I am so excited about this recipe! Basically you sauté yummy mushrooms and kale with onion, garlic, and fresh thyme. Then you make wells in the sautéed mix and poach eggs in the pan. To eat, you simply dip crusty bread into the egg and then pull it through the mushroom mix. YUM!

Thursday: Gluten Free Kale and Quinoa Cakes

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Tried and true recipe, and a direct request from Parrish this week.

Friday: Big Salad

Week to week, you’ll always see at least one big salad. I find that option to be the easiest way to make sure all the fresh veggies from our week of meals get used up!

I am addicted to Tessemae’s dressing right now. I have four different flavors in the fridge, so it makes having multiple salads interesting, since I’m enjoying a salad every day this week for lunch.

What about you?
What’s on the menu this week?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Strawberry Cheesecake Crepes

Happy Tuesday friends!

Did you have a good start to your week? I hope so – I had a very busy one! I’m taking some time this morning to catch my breath and….write my meal plan for the week!

Yep. I was too busy on Sunday to make my plan and prep for the week but it’s never too late!

So what was I doing on Sunday?

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Road trip with MOH Alex to Wilmington for the day!

Alex had a baby shower to attend, so I tagged along to see my mother-in-law and father-in-law. As soon as we got in to town, we drove straight to Our Crepes and More.

Priorities people. Priorities.

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I ordered a savory crepe with sautéed spinach, brie, and bacon. Simply amazing.

And you know I followed it up with a dessert crepe!

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Oh the Mont Blanc. Cheescake filling with Strawberries, Dark Chocolate Chips, and Whipped Crème. Heaven.

If you’re ever in Wilmington, NC you must go to Our Crepes & More! It’s definitely worth driving two hours for.

After the crepes, Alex headed to her baby shower, and I got to hang out with my family! On the schedule: visiting my MIL’s horse, Novio!

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Isn’t he handsome? Seriously one of the sweetest horses I’ve ever met! And such a soft nose.

I had such a fun day hanging out and chatting with my family – I wish they lived closer! But two hours isn’t too far away.

Plus I get to eat crepes when I go visit! Winking smile

Alright, time to meal plan! I will definitely share the meal plan with you guys -  I had tons of emails last week asking me to continue sharing those plans so I definitely will!

Friday, February 21, 2014

What Makes a Week AWESOME

Happy Friday friends!

I have to say that I am ending this week on such a HIGH note! I’m not sure if it was the positively gorgeous weather we’ve enjoyed the past few days here in Durham:

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We even left the doors open at work!

Or maybe I’m so HAPPY because I’ve done Pure Barre every day this week!

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Post Pure Barre Smoothie for the win!

Or maybe following my meal plan perfectly and feeding myself yummy nutritious foods all week – easily – has me jumping for joy. Especially after being sick FOR SO LONG, this week’s meals were on point!

Sunday: Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Monday: Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs

Tuesday: Big Salad

Wednesday: Big Salad

Thursday:

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Cheesy Quinoa Cakes! I loved this recipe SO MUCH! I will definitely be making these again. I substituted Gluten Free All Purpose Flour for the 3 tbsp. flour and Cabot Monterey Jack Cheese for the fontina. I also used a Tri-Blend Quinoa.

But you know, in addition to having great suppers, I also enjoyed having good options for breakfast, lunch, and snacks this week.

I tried a new-to-me juice that was on sale at Whole Foods:

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and loved it! Suja Elements Mango Fuego – tasty! And actually not too spicy. I could have had a bit more heat and been happy.

Breakfast highlights, definitely THIS EGG for sure, but never underestimate the power of Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats with shredded Cabot Monterey Jack!

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Creamy. Chewy. Delicious.

And I loved having prepped meatballs, celery, and salad waiting for me in the fridge. I don’t always have time to Meal Prep on Sundays, but boy oh boy, do I have a great week when I do!

What about you?

Did you have an AWESOME week or are you ready for the weekend?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Because A Poached Egg Is SO EASY To Make

It was SO HARD not to make Paleo Spaghetti Squash Carbonara two nights in a row!

Seriously, I got home from work last night and started to prep supper and I thought….I could totally eat that two nights in a row.

Luckily, I already had the Spaghetti Squash and the Meatballs prepped for supper, so I was able to stick to the meal plan. And I was glad I did!

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Super simple but totally delicious.

I reheated the pre-cooked Spaghetti Squash in my cast iron skillet with one tbsp. of olive oil, minced garlic, and shallot. While this was heating, I reheated my meatballs in two cups of marinara sauce.

The meatballs were super easy to make on Sunday. I followed THIS RECIPE from PaleOMG to the tee, except that I subbed ground chicken for ground turkey. Even though the meatballs were “southwestern” they were perfectly delicious in the marinara sauce.

BUT when I woke up this morning, I was still thinking about those poached eggs! So before I even had my morning cup of coffee, I started a pot of water to simmer.

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Craving satisfied.

I toasted a slice of Udi’s gluten free Millet Bread and topped it with thick slices of Cabot Cheese. Perfectly cooked poached egg came next and a bit scallions on top.

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Perfection.

The only thing that was missing: bacon of course! But I didn’t have time to cook up a few slices. Next time!

I also had a small breakfast parfait on the side:

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1/2 of an Udi’s Ver Vanilla Muffin, 1/2 cup Cabot Vanilla Greek Yogurt, and sliced strawberries.

So good!!

Hope you have a great Tuesday!

Monday, February 17, 2014

One Meal You MUST Make – and Meal Planning

Man oh man, did this head cold hold on by the fingernails!

I mean I rested; I stayed hydrated; I drank warm water with lemon and honey; I did every little trick in the book and it has taken me over a week to feel better. I finally went back to work on Friday, and I exercised for the first time in 6 days this past Saturday at Pure Barre.

And boy, did I get my butt handed to me! It’s amazing how quickly you can fall out of shape. Consistency my friends – consistency is key. I woke up SO SORE on Sunday morning, and I instantly regretted signing up for a 12:45 class that day. But working out a sore body makes it feel better…right?

After Pure Barre I did the grocery shopping for the week. I had spent the morning making the meal plan.

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How do I meal plan?

I check my work schedule. On days when I have to work late, I choose recipes that are easier to prepare. I know from experience that when I get home late, I do not feel like spending time in the kitchen. 

I check my workout schedule. If I have a busy training schedule, then I can plan calories accordingly. I also have a late Pure Barre class twice a week, so Parrish and I eat on our own. 

I check the weather. Rainy days call for warm comfort foods. Sunny days call for salads. Nothing sounds worse to me after a day of chilly temps and snow flakes than a salad!

I check the sales. Eating healthy is not cheap, but by looking at the sales I try to keep it manageable. The majority of my grocery bill is fresh veggies and meat, so by planning my meals with what’s on sale, I save a bit at the register.

I check Pinterest. I like to try at least one new recipe a week. Keeping it fresh helps eating at home not seem so…dull. And lets be honest, it also makes eating gluten free seem more exciting!

I plan to succeed. Making a meal plan helps me keep my health, my sanity, and my weight in check. And…it helps my marriage! Trust me, it’s not fun for Parrish when I’m hungry and have no idea what I’m going to eat. It’s not fun for anyone!

This week’s Menu:

Sunday: Paleo Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Monday: Spaghetti Squash Marinara with Meatballs

Tuesday: on your own

Wednesday: Big Salad

Thursday: Cheesy Quinoa Cakes

Friday: Throw It Together

The best part about this week’s menu was my ability to do much of my prep on Sunday. I baked the Spaghetti Squash for both nights:

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I baked the meatballs for Monday’s meal:

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and doubled the batch so I could pack some up for lunches later this week.

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I also chopped and cleaned lettuce for salads and pre-cooked my quinoa for Thursday. It was nice to have a few good hours in the kitchen to prepare for this week and I was able to prep Sunday’s supper at the same time.

And what an AMAZING supper it was!

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Spaghetti Squash Carbonara – Gluten Free and Paleo and ABSOLUTELY DIVINE!

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Smoky bacon paired with sweet spaghetti squash, crunchy garlic and shallots, a beyond delicious creamy sauce. I honestly can’t say enough about this dish!

Parrish loved it too – of course. What’s not to love? Head over to Popular Paleo here for the recipe and then let me know how much you love it!

What about you?

Do you meal plan or play it by ear?

If you meal plan, what are your tips for making it work?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Adventures in Getting Stuck in the Snow

For the past few days, the news and weather here in NC has abuzz about us getting more snow.

After last week’s little flurry, I’m sad to say that we didn’t actually take the forecast too seriously. Our local weather was predicting anywhere from 1 to 3 inches starting around lunch time. Since I’ve been sick all week, I was already home and made the choice to make a quick trip to the grocery store for some fresh produce.

When snow is in the forecast, some folks go buy milk and bread….

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Which, I don’t totally understand by the way, but anyways…..

I actually like to get some fresh fruit and veggies when it snows, like…

CLEMENTINES! My favorite.

AND it’s a good thing I ran out to the grocery store, because that 1-3 inches forecast…

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turned out to be a bit wrong. Just a bit.

Here in the Triangle of NC, we found ourselves in a bit of an…Atlanta situation. The snow started just after lunch, so folks left work right around the same time. Luckily, schools were closed, so there were no school buses caught in the mess, but commuters found themselves caught.

My co-worker Katie lives about 35-40 minutes away from work, so when she called to say that she had left work an hour ago and had only made it less than a mile, we decided she should aim for my house instead of trying to head home.

What should have taken 10-12 minutes, took her nearly FIVE hours! I don’t understand why folks were abandoning their cars….which clogged roads quite a bit. I mean friends, folks were just leaving their cars in the middle of the road! Below is what Katie encountered and kept traffic at a stand still for over an hour. Yep, the car on the right is just abandoned in the middle of the road!

Pull onto the sidewalk people! Oh Southerners.

So five hours later, Katie made it to the Ravelli House, and Parrish and I were more than happy to have her. She really lucked out, because Steak Fajitas were on the menu!

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So Darn Good!

Steak marinated in Mojo Criollo topped with Cabot Seriously Sharp, Caramelized Onions and Red Pepper, Avocado, and a dollop of Greek Yogurt. Parrish and I enjoyed ours served in a gluten free Rudi’s tortilla wrap. Katie turned her fajitas in to a salad so she could follow her Whole 30 Eating Plan.

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We ate the above deliciousness, while watching the Syracuse – Pitt game. Wow. What an ending.

As we went to bed last night, it was still sleeting. Covering our 5-6 inches of snow with a 1/4 inch sheet of ice. We knew the forecast was calling for more snow today, so we made a plan to try to help Katie get home during a small window of time in the morning.

Oh yeah, the other thing about Southerners and Snow is that most of us don’t have the right equipment to scrape our cars, since we rarely have to.

But don’t worry! In a pinch, your dust pan works great!

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Luckily, Parrish and I live fairly close to a main highway, and Katie lives right off it as well. So once we checked the roads and saw that I-40 was fairly clear, I scraped her car and Parrish gathered cardboard in case Katie’s car got stuck. 30 minutes later she on her way and I’m happy to say, made it home safely!

And just in time too, our forecast for today is another 1-3 inches…which I’m hoping is actually accurate. I don’t think I could handle a solid foot of snow.

So Parrish and I are both working from home today. I’m hoping I have all the ingredients to bake some gluten free cookies. My appetite is FINALLY back and all I can think about are cookies!

What about you?

Are you experiencing wacky winter weather where you are?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

But Why Is It Called a Cold

Well, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you probably already knew why I’ve been missing from the blog for a few days.

Yep.

I’m sick.

No amount of willing it away worked. Sunday’s tickle in my throat turned in to a full blown head cold by Monday, and in true Marlow fashion, it transformed in to a sinus/ear infection by Tuesday morning.

I don’t know why I’ve always been so prone to colds turning in to infections…luck maybe?! Gypsy Curse?

Whatever the case, 9 times out of 10 my colds turn in to infections. I guess I’m lucky that I don’t actually get sick all that often.

My recipe for kicking a cold:

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My cozy pillow fort on the couch to hopefully spare Parrish my germs…although I’m fairly certain I caught this from him! I do my best to drink lots of water, even though it isn’t appealing AT ALL. I also drank lots of warm cups filled with lemon and honey. Ibuprofen is my best friend and actual tissues instead of toilet paper. And yes, Sherlock.

Several friends told me to watch Sherlock, feeling certain I would love it. And they were right! Love Love Love.

But I have to admit that it hasn’t been easy to give my body the rest it needs. I have felt like garbage, so it hasn’t actually been possible to get up and get moving. But after nearly 2 months of working out and training 6 days a week, it has been really hard mentally to give myself this break.

Today is the first day that I have felt like I’m actually improving, but I still have to take it easy. I would love to just throw on some workout clothes, lace up my sneakers, and head to the gym but I need to fully recover first. And….it wouldn’t be very nice to spread my germs!

So another day of rest it is, and with the promise of snow and ice, it shouldn’t be hard to hunker down and rest….and watch another episode of Sherlock!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pure Barre Durham and My Favorite Smoothie

WOW! I have had an AMAZING morning!
I woke up feeling refreshed after a solid 9 hours of sleep – yes NINE hours – and quickly rushed around to make it to the first opening class of the new Pure Barre Durham!
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Pure Barre Durham is located just off of Ninth Street in Durham, in the same area as the new Harris Teeter. So yes, it is literally one block away from my work – amazing! Myself and a couple of other ladies I work with decided to try the Opening Special at our location: $99 for 5 Weeks Unlimited.
So how was my first class?
First, everyone that works at the PB Durham is SO NICE! It was my first time trying Pure Barre and two of the instructors gave me some helpful tips before class started. If you’ve tried PB then you know all about “tucking” but I had no idea, so it really helped to have this shown to me before the class started.
Since it was the first class ever, the class was understandably full, but it wasn’t overcrowded. Honestly it was AWESOME to see so many women of so many different ages in the class! It was definitely diverse and NOT intimidating at all. I felt truly welcomed and excited to try my first class.
The class itself was amazing! AND tough….in a good way! My quads were burning. My glutes were burning. My abs were burning. And by the end, I couldn’t believe how many muscles (biceps, triceps, and more) that I had worked to exhaustion in just 55 minutes.
And with just 2 pound weights! And that tiny red ball….squeezed between my thighs!



I am fully aware that I will not be able to walk tomorrow. But I will hobble to my second class, it was that good!
I left feeling refreshed and relaxed – ready to take on my day!
And drain this smoothie:
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My current favorite mix: frozen strawberries and bananas with 2 scoops Biochem Vanilla Whey Protein, 1/2 cup Love Grown Super Chia Oats, and Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk.
Love.
Hope you guys have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Gluten Hates Me on the Big Screen

Happy Wednesday Friends! Fingers crossed it turns out to be a happy Wednesday…I woke up this morning with more signs that I might be catching Parrish’s head cold. I am determined not to catch it!!

So instead of detailing my runny nose and sneezes for you guys, I thought I would tell you about my super fun day yesterday!

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Yesterday I had an amazing opportunity at my local NBC Station on a morning talk show called My Carolina Today.

My appearance was for my full-time job at One World Market. If you’re new to the blog, then you may not know that I actually manage a non-profit, Fair Trade store. Our sole mission is to alleviate poverty in developing countries, which we do by selling handmade, Fair Trade items. And one of those items….is CHOCOLATE!

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Yep. Yummy Yummy Yummy Chocolate. So yesterday I went on My Carolina Today to share the Good News about Fair Trade chocolate and invite viewers to a Chocolate Tasting we’re hosting this weekend. It was such a blessing to share with viewers that they have a great, local source for delicious chocolate in over 30 different flavors – none of which are produced using child slave labor.

If you’re scratching your head and thinking “Child Slave Labor and Chocolate…huh?” Then just google Child Slave Labor in the Chocolate Industry friend, and you will be disgusted by what millions of Americans blindly support every day. Ugh.

But back to the fun!

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If you want to see the segment, you can watch the video here: http://www.wncn.com/story/24631175/fair-trade-chocolate-tasting

And yes, my full name is April Marlow Ravelli. Here on this little blog, I go by my middle name: Marlow. But at my work, I go by April. Only friends who know what I ate for breakfast get to call me Marlow!

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Things I’ve learned from watching this video: 1. I am a complete and total goober. 2. I make crazy faces when I’m talking. 3. I love being on camera!

It was so much fun, and I’m so grateful that My Carolina Today helped spread the word about Fair Trade chocolate.

PLUS after chatting with the producer before the show, she found out about this little blog here and invited me to do some gluten free cooking segments for the show! I’m so excited!!!

But now I have to decide which recipes to share!?! Tough choice. Any ideas?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

EASY Buffalo Chicken Nachos

While I am a HUGE fan of College Football, I don’t really follow any NFL teams. So yeah, I’m more of a Puppy Bowl person than a Super Bowl person. But do you know what I LOVE about Super Bowl Sunday?

The food!

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This past Sunday I made Parrish and I a BIG batch of Buffalo Chicken Nachos. So good and so easy!

I made a big batch of Buffalo Chicken in the crockpot. 3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts in a crockpot with 1 cup of Moore’s Buffalo Sauce for 4 hours and you’re good to go!

Start with your favorite tortilla chips (be sure they’re gluten free!!) and then layer the cheese and chicken!

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I used a mixture of Cabot Seriously Sharp and Monterey Jack. (It was on sale last week at Harris Teeter!!) Seriously Sharp is my fave.

Pop the nachos in the oven until the cheese is warm and bubbly. Top with a drizzle of buffalo sauce and chopped scallions and you’re done!

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So easy. So good!

Plus you could prep your Buffalo Chicken a day before to save yourself time. And yes, yes you can eat these delicious nachos any day of the year. Delicious-ness is not just for the Super Bowl!