Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Category Archives: Dips

Buffalo Chicken Profiteroles

Been a while since we dipped into the Buffalo Chicken bank – we’re long overdue!  I hope you don’t mind that the next few recipes will be allllllll buffchick allllllll the time.

What’s come out of our Buffalo Chicken Bag of tricks in the past? So many things…Buffalo Chicken Stuffed PeppersBuffalo Chicken TacosBuffalo Chicken Egg Rolls – Buffalo Chicken Salad...drool…type….The idea for this little number though is totes stolen from one of my favorite guys on the planet, Trader Joe.  I really can’t say enough about him and his amazing ability to  reinvent food and make it fun, frozen (sometimes) and affordable!

What’s this rant about? Well, Dave and I are kind of obsessed with TJ appetizers.  We’ve been known to even have “TJ Appetizer Dinners” which consists of heating up the oven to 425 (because somehow, it seems that nearly every TJ appetizer magically requires a preheated 425 degree oven) take out a cookie sheet (unless Joe has provided a handy dandy one that you just pop in the oven) and 20 minutes or less later, dinner is SERVED.

Last time I was there, I stumbled apon a new appy from Joe, Savory Profiteroles with Spinach Artichoke Cheese Dip a combination of my two favorite things – hot and cheesy spinach dip and cute little puffs of dough!  And instantly I thought “ohhhh I know what I’m making this weekend for a hot new appy!” (no pun intended).

Buffalo Chicken Profiteroles

Buffalo Chicken Dip Profiteroles
*Profiterole recipe adapted from Anne Burrell

INGREDIENTS
*yields 2 dozen profiteroles with a little bit of dip left over, depending on how much you stuff them

For Profiteroles

   1 cup water

    1 stick butter

    2 Pinches salt

    1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch powdered dip mix
(the Dip mix, not the dressing mix)

  4 eggs

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2) In a small saucepan combine the water, butter and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the flour and dip powder all at once and stir it vigorously with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture has formed a ball and has a slightly sweaty sheen to it and it has pulled away from the pan.

3) Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and let cool for 3 to 4 minutes. The mixture does not have to be cold, just cool enough not to cook the eggs when added. Using an electric mixer or lots of good old-fashioned elbow grease, beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Do not add the second egg until the first is fully incorporated.

4) Take 1 tablespoon of the dough and place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lined with parchment paper.  Make sure to leave about an inch in between each ball as they’ll expand as they cook.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through the cooking time to insure even cooking. When done, the puffs should be light, airy and dry inside. Cool on a rack before cutting.  While cooling, you can make your Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 tablespoon olive oil or non-stick cooking spray

2 stalks of celery, diced into small pieces

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 – 8oz block of cream cheese

1 cup of ranch dressing

3/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
(I used an Extra sharp, but mild or pepper jack would work too)

1 cup of cooked, shredded cheddar chicken

1) Heat olive oil (or non-stick spray) in a medium sauce pan over low heat.  Once heated, add the celery and garlic and saute for about two minutes.  Add the cream cheese, ranch dressing and hot sauce, stirring until the 3 ingredients have combined together.  After everything has combined, add the cheddar cheese and chicken, stirring until the cheese has melted.

2) Reduce heat to low and simmer mixture on stove top for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture starts to thicken.

3) In the mean time, your profiteroles should be cooled and ready to be cut.  Take each puff and dig out a small hole in the center of each one, almost as you would with a bread bowl, creating a space for the dip to ‘sit in’.  (slicing them in half won’t work as well).  Place each puff back onto you baking sheet.

4) Add about 2-3 tablespoons of Buffalo Chicken Dip to each puff and then put the top on each puff.

5) Place back in the oven for about 5 minutes, just enough time to reheat the profiteroles.  The dip will be hot so you dont have to worry about that.

Thanks for the inspiration TJ – keep up the good work!

Buffalo Chicken Profiteroles

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Mint Cookie Dough Ball

When I was young, there were many things that I wasn’t able to do because I was “too young” – and I swore, when I got older, G’damnit I was gonna DO IT! Stupid things like staying up late – eating McDonalds as many times a week as I wanted – and eating as much raw cookie dough as I could stand whenever making cookies.

For some reason, I have vivid memories of  making cookies with my mom when I was a wee young thing, and always wanting to stick my face in that buttery, sugary chocolate chipy goodness that was the cookie dough, right before it went into the oven.  Or when we did slice and bake, I always thought “One slice for me, one slice for the oven” – but nooooooo – “you’ll get a tummy ache” – “that’s not good for you” – “get your fingers out of there!” – augh, the trials and tribulations of my adolescence.

I found one of the most sinful and genius looking concoctions on Picky Palate’s blog for a Peppermint Crunch Cookie Dough Ball – um, WHAT? I suspect maybe she was denied many a raw cookie dough sample as a child too to come up with this amazingly genius idea for indulging in cookie dough without worrying about the raw eggs.   I modified hers a smidgen, to still be minty, but CHOCOLATEY instead and all I can say is, take that mom!

Mint Chocolate Cookie Dough Ball
*Adapted from Picky Palate

INGREDIENTS

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon mint extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup your favorite brownie mix
(I used Ghiradelli)

1 cup mini-chocolate chips

8-10 Andes Mints, chopped into small pieces

*Confectioners Sugar

Mint Cookie Dough Ball

1) In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined and fluffy.  Then add the mint extract.

2) In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the salt, flour and brownie mix.  Then add gradually to the butter and sugar mixture and mix on low speed until all the ingredients start to combine together.

3) When the dough starts to form, you can add the mini chips and Andes Mints and mix by hand with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

4) Transfer the dough onto a piece of wax paper and form into a ball with your hands.  The dough will be quite sticky, so I layed some confectioners sugar out (not a lot, just enough to lessen the stickiness – probably about 1 or 2 tablespoons) and rolled the dough in that, just to take the sticky edge off.

5) Roll the dough ball in fun Christmas sprinkles or leave as is!  Serve with Oreos, animal crackers, graham crackers…the options are endless.

I felt like a kid again last night, licking my fingers eating as much of this delicious dough as  I wanted without anyone telling me I couldn’t! Oh what fun!

But, after one too many dips and a lingering sugar hangover today, it didn’t take long for me to realize that most times in life, you should listen to your mom 🙂

*Many apologies for the meh photos – don’t let this stop you from trying this recipe! It’s delicious! Hairy and I were partying late last night while Dave was at his Hockey Game and my pictures suffered as a result…

Mint Cookie Dough Ball


pumpkin cheesecake dip

I’m not afraid to admit when perfectly laid out recipes go astray.

Last Thanksgiving, we had some friends over for a makeshift ‘Thanksgiving Dinner” and our friend Alissa brought this pumpkin dip with various treats to dip in it, and OMG – it was beyond good.  And the best part was that it was served in a hollowed out pumpkin! Major points for presentation!

So this past Sunday, Dave, Hairy and I had plans to meet up with my cousin Catherine and Buddy and my Aunt Jane at Buddy’s fab apt. in the north end (recess lighting and all).  Pizza from the ORIGINAL Pizzeria Regina, which is right around the corner from his apartment  (I swear I’d be well over 300 lbs if I lived there) was on the menu, so I decided I was going to make this pumpkin dip as a nice ‘lighter’ option for dessert.

Ooof.

I literally stood over the bowl with the electric mixer for a good 10 minutes, just waiting for all these little lumps of cream cheese to disintegrate.  But it didn’t happen.  And while it tasted pretty good, I am a firm believer that you taste with your eyes just as much as your mouth, and the sight of this mess of a dip even made me, someone who never passes on dessert, want to say “Ahhh ya know what? I am just SO full I think I’ll pass on dessert!”  I was so ashamed of it, I frustratedly tossed it in the dumpster outside of Buddy’s apartment as we were walking to our car – $1 leaf bowl from Target and all.

But I was determined to make this better somehow.  So I tried it again last night, using essentially the same recipe, but using a different process to combine them together, and BINGO!!!! We have a winner!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
*Adapted from Allrecipes & Very Best Baking

INGREDIENTS
*makes about 1.5 cups – perfect amount for a small pumpkin!

1 – 8oz block of cream cheese, softened (room temp is ideal)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1) In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and pumpkin puree with an electric mixer on low until both are fully combined and smooth.

2) Gradually add the powdered sugar to the pumpkin/cream cheese mixture (I did about 1/3 at a time) mixing well in between.

3) Add the pumpkin pie spice and mix well until all ingredients are combined and smooth.

4) Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour (up to overnight).  Serve with whatever you see fit to dip! Personally I think that chocolate goes really nice with this, so  I used chocolate animal crackers, graham crackers and bite sized oreos, but the options are endless!

So what was the difference between the two?

In version 1, the directions said to mix the softened cream cheese and the powdered sugar together until smooth – without sifting the sugar first, causing big sugary lumps of cream cheese to form before the pumpkin even went into the mixture.  After that, there was no going back, no matter how much you mixed.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

The second version though, I mixed the pumpkin and cream cheese together first, until smooth, and then gradually add the sifted confectioners sugar, which honestly makes perfect sense now that I look back, but at the time I just followed the instructions without giving it any thought.

Finally, after 2 tries, it was what I had always envisioned it being – a deliciously smooth combination of pumpkin and cream cheese that’s fun to eat and ridiculously easy to make. Feel free to tweak the measurements of pumpkin too, adding more or less depending on your pumpkin tastes.  And, putting it in a cute hollowed out little pumpkin = genius.  Perfect for a pre-dinner dessert for people to graze on, or a nice, lighter alternative for people after the big meal is over, as you can dip as much or as little as you like – it’s commitment free!

So go now and dip it.  Dip it good 🙂


Buffalo Chicken Dip

What is it about babies and buffalo chicken that go hand in hand?  Probably nothing, but it seems lately that they go together like peas and carrots.

Back in April, it was Becky’s Having a Baby Buffalo Chicken Eggrolls – in an effort to push baby Lane along, I brought these to a pre-baby ladies lunch at Becky’s house, hoping that a little spiciness would have Lane saying “Man it’s hot in here – I gotta get out!” – and while they didn’t send Becky into labor, they were still pretty tasty.

Buffalo Chicken DipAnd yesterday, Buffalo Chicken Dip was a celebratory snack for my other college gal pal Lauren and her husband Steve.  They welcomed their first baby girl, Dylan Olivia, into the world on August 30th.  Lauren was a trooper, practically going through full labor and THEN after all of that, having to get an emergency C-Section – oye.  So I imagined showing up to Lauren and Steve’s front door, and Lauren being sprawled out on the couch, buried under blankets with a cold-compress on her head, looking faint and exhausted.  Silly me – Lauren greeted us at the door, perfectly put together with the most stylish of ‘post-baby’ outfits, with Little Dyllie Doo-Doo in one arm, and the other arm open for a hug. Dylan is the cutest little nugget – and while I was a little disappointed at the super dark hair she was sporting the first few days, in person, the faintest hint of red hair (just like her mom’s)  is starting to show through – so I’m really hoping that next time we see her, she’s a full blown ginger!

Lauren looooves Buffalo Chicken Dip, so while I wasn’t there in the hospital to hold her hand or feed her ice chips, I was there yesterday with a massive bowl of Buffalo Chicken Dip with her name written all over it 🙂

Dyllie’ Doo-Doo’s Buffalo Chicken Dip

INGREDIENTS

2 – 8oz blocks of cream cheese
(I used 1/3 fat version)

1 – 16 oz. bottle of Ranch dressing
(or you could use Blue Cheese)

2-3 stalks of celery, chopped

5-6 cooked chicken tenders, chopped into small pieces

1 bottle of Frank’s Hot Sauce
(you can use more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)

1 – 8oz bag of cheddar cheese

crumbled blue cheese for garnish
(optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a saucepan, melt cream cheese and ranch dressing together over medium heat until most lumps have disappeared (it’s ok to still have some lumps).

3) Place the chopped celery, chopped chicken and hot sauce in a 9×13″ baking dish and mix together.  Pour the cream cheese and ranch dressing mixture in and mix until combined.

4) Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.

5) After 20 minutes, take the dip out of the oven and add the cheddar cheese.  You can either sprinkle it on the top, or mix it all together (I like to mix it).

6) Bake for another 10 minutes, uncovered, until bubbly on top.  Sprinkle with a little blue cheese and serve hot!

The finished product is can be served with tortilla chips, carrot and celery sticks, or just stick a spoon in there and go to town!  This is one of those dips that once you start, it’s really hard to stop, so brace yourselves.

Congrats to Lauren and Steve and welcome to the world Dylan! Sure hope you like Buffalo Chicken 🙂

Buffalo Chicken Dip


Skinny Kale & Feta Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

My gals pals and I had our Fantasy Football draft the other night.

Three years ago, we thought “heck, wouldn’t it be fun to make our own Fantasy Football team and pick all of our players based on 1) cuteness  2) level of hot body’ness?”  Well, let’s just say that this strategy didn’t get us too far in terms of winning anything.  But, it was a great excuse to sit by the T.V. every Sunday hooting and hollering alongside the men – although we were hooting and hollering at tight camera shots of bums and other body parts vs. touchdowns and field goals.

Last year, it got a little more competitive – my friend Erin took over the roll of commissioner.  By day, Erin is this cute little CPA who works for the IRS – on Sunday’s during football season though, she’s a crazed, football-jersey-wearing maniac that screams at the television and sits with her legs open staring intently at the television holding her breath to see what the next play brings (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating at the sitting w/ her legs wide open part – everything else is 100% true!).  With Erin as commissioner, we started to take things a little more seriously, and really started to care about more than how long Tom Brady’s hair had gotten or if the camera’s shot to our favorite celebs in the stands during games.  We actually like, paid attention – and made changes in our roster every week – and like, kind of knew what was going on!

Skinny Kale & Feta Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

And this year’s draft was a nail biter, probs the most stressful hour and a half that I’ve had in a while.  While we may be ladies Monday through Saturday, on Sundays, the claws will be out.  But we need sustenance to keep ourselves going during hours and hours of football watching.

Delicious food goes hand in hand with football season – chilli – wings – dips of all kinds – which is what we have today! I’m a huge Spinach dip lover, so this is a Skinny version of a great Sunday Funday snack, made with Kale and Feta Cheese (you could easily use spinach too, I just wanted to shake things up a bit) and homemade pita chips! I am OBSESSED with the Josephs© line of sandwich wraps.  They have pita bread, wraps and lavash that are all only 2 WW points each!  And, they made amazing home made pita chips!

Kale & Feta Dip with Homemade Pita Chips

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 1 cup of dip and 16 pita chips – serving size is 1/4 cup of dip and 4 pita chips

For Kale & Feta Dip:

4 cups chopped kale

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup fat-free cream cheese

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

1/4 cup fat-free feta cheese

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp. grated parmesean cheese

salt and pepper to taste

For Pita Chips:

Non-stick cooking spray

2 whole Josephs Pita Breads
(the large size, not the smaller sandwich size ones)

Salt and Pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a medium sauce pan, sautee minced garlic and chopped kale over medium heat until it shrinks to about 1/2 it’s original size.

3) Place cooked kale in a large mixing bowl and add cream cheese, sour cream, feta and lemon juice and mix until combined.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

4) Place in an oven-safe baking dish and sprinkle grated parmesean cheese on the top.  Cook for about 10 minues, or until bubbly.

5) Slice the pita breads into 8 triangles (16 total).  Spray with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake in oven about 5 minutes on each side, until chips reach desired level of crunchiness.

TOUCHDOWN! A delicious dip, that can be served hot or cold, that is only 3.5 WW points per serving.  So if you were so preoccupied with the action and ate the whole thing by mistake, it wouldn’t be so bad!

Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone 🙂

Skinny Kale & Feta Dip with Homemade Pita Chips


Goat Cheese Week

We’re baaaaack – boy what a week it’s been! I feel like I’ve been to China and back (or maybe just the west coast) but in the last week, Dave and I flew to San Fran, drove to Sacramento, then drove to Lake Tahoe, then drove back to San Fran and then flew home!  It was a whirlwind trip, but there were several things that made all the travel well worth it.

1)  The Riehls and Little Joey – great hosts – who knew you could sample beer and parent at the same time?

Goat Cheese Week

2) The Sierra Nevada Brewery – delicious food and even more delicious beer!

Goat Cheese Week

3) Lake Tahoe Wedding celebration for my step-sister Samantha and her husband Scott! Pictures could never do it justice – absolutely gorrrrrge!

Goat Cheese Week

Goat Cheese Week

4)  Golden Gate bridge = most awesome bridge ever (terrible shot of us – instead of asking one of the 92484905840594 people there to take a pic of us, we took our own!)

Goat Cheese Week

So we’re back to life, back to reality, back to cooking!

This week, I thought it might be fun to do a series of recipes with one common ingredient, and this week’s ingredient ladies and gents isssss……(drum roll) GOAT CHEESE! I used to think “If it comes from a goat, I’m not eatin’ it” but now, goat cheese is one of my favorite cheeses – like a tangier cream cheese.  And I’ve just come to realize how versatile an ingredient it really is.

We got home from CA, and after picking up Hairy and spending lots of time playing with him to make sure he didn’t forget us, there was little time to grocery shop.  So last night’s dinner was a ‘cabinet creation’.  After not watering our herbs for almost a week, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that not only were they alive and well, but growing like weeds! Especially the basil!  I had found this recipe from Prevention RD for Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese pasta and thought “Yum” – and luckily, we had all the makings of it in our seemingly bare cabinets!

Modified a smidgen, here’s part 1 of goat cheese week:  Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Basil Pasta, adapted from Prevention RD’s recipe.

Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Basil Pasta
*Adapted from Prevention RD

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small onion, chopped

1 – 7oz bottle of Roasted Red Peppers, rinsed and drained and then chopped into small pieces

1 cup of crushed tomatoes
(I used the basil flavored kind)

4 oz goat cheese

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1) In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion and sautee until fragrant (about 2 minutes) stirring constantly to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn (burnt garlic = yuck)

2) Add the chopped roasted red pepper and tomatoes and simmer over low heat for about five minutes.

3)  Add the goat cheese and stir until it’s completely melted into the sauce.

4)  Take the sauce mixture and transfer to the food processor.  Add the fresh basil, salt and pepper, and pulse until it becomes a sauce-like consistency.

5) Serve over cooked pasta!

Usually, cabinet creations aren’t my favorite, but this particular time, I think we have a winner!  This sauce was so easy to make and a complete departure from your run of the mill tomato sauce.  The goat cheese added a rich and creamy texture and the roasted red peppers a bit of sweetness.  So good.  And as I was stuffing my face, I started thinking of all the things you could do with it!  You could serve it as a hot dip, with sliced baguette and veggies, or even use it as the base for a pizza (although Dave thinks it would be too watery on a pizza – one more challenge I’ll be happy to take him up on) But all in all, a definite keeper!

Stay tuned for more delicious goat cheese installments this week!


Roasted Red Pepper and Cannelini Bean Dip

I will confess that this blog post is recycled – as I think I have made this about 394803594830 times since I found it a couple years ago from Cooking Light.  But, the reason I’m sharing is because this dip is because it’s all three of my favorite things in a recipe:

1) Delicious

2) Healthy

3) Ridiculously easy to make

And you can do a million things with it – I use it like a hummus almost and spread it on sandwiches, or you can use it as a dip for veggies and chips, or you could toss it with pasta as an alternative to tomato sauce.  It’s so fresh tasting, perfect for summer!

Roasted Red Pepper and Cannellini Bean Dip

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 – 7oz. bottle roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained

1 large garlic clove

salt and pepper to tatse

1) Place all ingredients into a food processor – season with salt and pepper.

2) Pulse a few times until you reach your desired consistency (I personally like it a little chunkier, but you can always add some olive oil and pulse longer if you like it more thin)

Roasted Red Pepper and Cannelini Bean Dip

3) Serve immediately or chill overnight.

THAT’S IT! I can’t tell you how many compliments I have gotten on this dip and people asking for the recipe, so here it is folks – make it – it will be the best use of 10 minutes you’ll ever spend in the kitchen.

And for all you WW’ers out there? It’s low in points! For the entire thing (almost 2 cups) only 9 points.

Happy pulsing and dipping!



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