Wednesday, November 20, 2013

MasterChef Cookbook: Smothered Chicken with Bacon Brussels Sprouts (Sponsored Post:

(This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.)

Oh, you guys.  You've been waiting for the second and third installments of our Big California Food Adventure (see the first one here!)  It's been over a month.  I know, and I'm sorry.  We've had BIG THINGS happening around our household recently, and as soon as I'm allowed, I'll share with you.

(Spoiler alert:  I'm not pregnant.)

This is my first sponsored post, and I'm pretty excited about it, actually.  I was sent a pre-paid debit card from, and I decided to use it to make a schmancy meal out of the MasterChef Cookbook I picked up in Pigeon Forge, TN, last time Dennis and I were there.

I picked out my card from, and they had a ton (thousands, apparently) of different patterns to choose from.  I went with the book nerdiest of all the ones I could find:  Nancy Drew.

Cool, right?  It's not a gift card, but it's a re-loadable debit card.  When I got it, it was super easy to set up, and Jen at added some cash to it so I could test it out.  It also came with really clear instructions for use, including how to set up direct deposit if you wanted to use this as your primary card.  

There is a monthly fee to use the card, but I really liked the fact that if you have a $0 balance on the card, they don't charge you the monthly fee.  The only trouble I ran into was the girl at Earth Fare thought it was a gift card and tried to run it as such, but when I explained it was a pre-paid card, it was cool.

(More details after the recipe.  If you're interested in signing up for one of these pre-paid debit cards, please use the links provided in this post, like right here:

On to delicious, delicious food. 

This recipe was ridiculous in its deliciousness.  Only recently, and thanks to my BFF Andrea, have I been willing to eat Brussels Sprouts, and if you're trying to talk someone into trying them, this would be a good way to ease them into the Land of the Sprouts.

Smothered Chicken with Bacon Brussels Sprouts
Serves "4" ; adapted from the MasterChef Cookbook 


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. rinsed and patted dry
4 Tbsp. olive oil 
1 onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth 
Rosemary needles from 2 sprigs, chopped
1/2 pound Brussels sprouts
4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 shallot, halved lengthwise and sliced
Mashed potatoes for "4" (I used instant.  You can also use rice.  Or make real mashed potatoes if you're ambitious.)

Combine the  flour, paprika, cayenne, garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a dish.  Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken through the flour mixture.  Shake off the excess.

Coat a skillet with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and warm over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken.  Brown 3 to 5 minutes each side, and then remove to a plate.

Add 1 Tbsp. oil and the onion to the drippings in the pan.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the onions begin to brown.  Pour the broth into the pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Return the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Prepare the Brussels sprouts by cutting off the brown ends and removing stray leaves.  Cut them in half lengthwise.

Coat another pan with the remaining oil and place over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the shallot is caramelized.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and shallot to a side bowl.

Now would be a good time to make your potatoes, or to start your rice.

To the drippings in the pan, add the sprouts and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Once they begin to brown, toss and cook for about 10 minutes until tender.  Season with salt and pepper again, if you'd like.

To serve, pile some potatoes (or rice!) on each plate and put a piece (or two!) of chicken on top.  Ladle the sauce onto the chicken and scatter the Brussels sprouts around the plate.  Sprinkle the bacon and shallot mixture on top.

Holy crap, you guys.

Holy crap.

This meal was made possible by the ingredients I bought using a pre-paid debit card.

Some more info:

This is a debit card, like the one from your bank, and you can use it everywhere Visa is accepted -- except it's way cooler and cuter than your crumby old bank card.

  • Free to order, activate and load
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  • No overdraft fees -- never goes negative!
  • Safer than cash - 24/7 support, Visa fraud protection and 100% FDIC insurance on funds
  • No debt, financially responsible, no interest/credit/APRs
  • No credit check and approval in seconds
  • 22,000 in-network ATMs
  • Thousands of cool, unique card designs to choose from, including brands like: Garfield, Popeye, Betty Paige, James Dean, Care Bears, Walking Dead, Star Trek, Autism Awareness, Breast Cancer Research, Shark Week, Where's Waldo, Doodle Jump, Three Stooges, Nancy Drew, etc.

This card is not a gift card, so you can’t give or receive the card as a gift - It's better than a gift card because you don't just use it once and toss it, but instead get to replace your boring bank-issued debit card and show it off over and over.

Free for 30 days - then $5.95 monthly fee, which we waive when you direct deposit over $800 in the previous 30 days.  This fee is the same as the Walmart prepaid card and way less than many of our competitors. It's also much less than overdrafting your bank account, paying for a checking account or using a credit card.

For more information, or to get your own card, visit

Disclosure: I received $25 on a pre-paid debit card from in exchange for writing a review, and I used it to buy ingredients. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.  The information above in pink was provided to me by the sponsor.

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