Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Tag Archives: Football Appetizers

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


Maple Chicken Wings

With a fresh new year, I’ve been thinking of some fresh new ideas for bloggage.  And here it is my friends….

Dave's Dish of the Week

Dave insisted that his head be super imposed on the body of the Swedish Chef from the muppets – and let’s just say the resemblance is frightening

Dave – my husband, my partner in crime, my doggy-daddy, the ‘other half of the newlywed whole’ fueling this blog – really hasn’t gotten much air time since we started just about a year ago.  Sure he’s there in the kitchen for better or worse recipes, often times taking the reigns himself and coming up with some really great meals, but to be honest with you, I like to enjoy the full benefits of being cooked for, which includes throwing my feet up with a glass of wine and control of the remote while Dave slaves away in the kitchen.

Diva alert.

So once a week, coming to a kitchen near you, is Dave’s Dish!  (let’s hope he doesn’t make quite as much clamor and is easier to understand than the real Swedish chef :))

First up is these AMAZINGLY delicious Maple Chicken wings that we made for that um…big sports game on Sunday night (too soo…still too soon).  For those of you that will be continuing to watch football in the next couple weeks, these are a perfect finger food for watching.  Took a little bit of patience, but as with most recipes that take a bit of doing, it was well worth the wait.

Maple Chicken Wings
*Adapted from Southern Food

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 3 – 4 dozen chicken wings

    4 pounds chicken wings
(preferably the type that are ready to cook so you can avoid the clipping/prepping/etc.)

    1 cup maple syrup, dark or grade B
(we used pure Vermont Maple Syrup)

    1/2 cup packed brown sugar

    2 cloves garlic, finely minced

    3 green onions, chopped

    1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

    1/3 cup teriyaki sauce

    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  2 pinches of cayenne pepper, optional

   *Cilantro, sesame seeds, or chopped green onions, for garnish
(we used green onions & sesame seeds)

1) Line a large baking pan bottom and sides with heavy duty foil.

2) Wash the chicken wings and pat dry. In a large mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, teriyaki, and peppers.

Maple Chicken Wings

Maple Chicken Wings

3) Add the chicken wings to the bowl with the marinade.  Coat wings evenly with the marinade and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap, letting the wings marinade in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to overnight (the longer the better).

4) After your wings have marinaded, arrange the chicken wing pieces in the prepared baking pan and pour the sauce over them.

5) Bake the wings for 1 hour at 350 degrees, turning 3 to 4 times during that hour. After an hour, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes longer, turning the wings every 10 minutes to brown evenly.

Maple Chicken Wings

6) Remove the wings to a serving dish and garnish with chopped cilantro, sesame seeds, or chopped green onion.

Maple Chicken Wings

“Bork…bork…bork!”


Pumpkin Arancini Balls
You know that saying “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”?  Well, same goes for cooking I think -sometimes really good stuff can come from a recipe that you really didn’t plan.

Last year, I had pumpkin risotto for the first time, and man was it good! Lord Hobo is a bar in Cambridge, MA that you’d probably walk right by and not give a second thought.  But their craft beer selection is beyond amazing, and their dishes are just as unique.

So I decided to make this Pumpkin Risotto, in the spirit of fall.  Risotto takes a bit of time – all the stirring and adding of the chicken stock – it’s a dish that really needs to be baby sat.  So when it’s ready, you can’t WAIT to dig in!  Dave and I paired it with Maple Garlic Marinated Pork Tips, which were out of this world.  But the risotto just didn’t taste quite as good as I remembered.  I strongly believe that thing always taste just a little bit better when you don’t have to make them yourself, but this wasn’t quite the level of delish that I experienced at Lord Hobo.

There was a lot left over, and I toiled back and forth as to whether or not I wanted to photograph and blog about it.  Because I wasn’t fully supportive of it. But I didn’t want to waste it either, because it did take so much effort to make.  Then the invisible lightbulb turned on and shined bright – ARANCINI BALLS!

I think the first Arancini Ball I ever ate was a frozen one from Trader Joe’s – and even that was so tasty that I wondered how I had never known about this genius concoction of cheese and risotto, rolled into a ball, and fried.  I’ve never made them myself, and have heard from others that they’re a lot of work, but the work was well worth it.

Pumpkin Arancini Balls
*Adapted from Epicurious & Food Network

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 16-20 arancini balls

For Pumpkin Risotto

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup Arborio rice

1/3 cup grated parmesean cheese

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For Arancini Balls

1 cup + 1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

2 eggs, at room temperature, beaten

2-3 mozzarella string cheese sticks, cut into 1/2″ pieces

Vegetable oil, for frying

To prepare the risotto:

1) Bring stock and 2 cups water to a simmer in a small saucepan and keep at a bare simmer.

2) Cook onion in oil in a 2- to 2 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

3) Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add 1 cup simmering stock and cook at a strong simmer, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed. Continue simmering, adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, about 18 minutes total. (There may be broth left over.)

4) Remove from heat and stir in pumpkin, cheese, and butter, stirring until butter is melted. Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside and be sure to let cool before preparing the arancini balls.

To prepare Arancini Balls:

1) Put 1 cup bread crumbs in a shallow dish and set aside.

2) In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups of pumpkin risotto, bread crumbs, parmesan, and eggs.

3) With damp hands, using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture, form the mixture into 1 3/4-inch diameter balls.

4) Make a hole in the center of each ball and insert a piece of the mozzarella in the center, covering the hole to enclose the cheese.

5) Roll the balls in the breading to coat.

6) In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in enough oil to fill the pan about 1/3 of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350 degrees F. (about 5 minutes).

7) In batches, fry the risotto balls, turning occasionally, until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes.

8) Drain on paper towels and serve.

Pumpkin Arancini Balls

I know you’re thinking ‘WOW – that’s a LOT of steps and a lot of time!’ But I swear, they’re worth every bite, especially served hot, when the cheese is still all gooey and stretchy.  The perfect combination of saltiness and sweetness from the pumpkin.  And you could probably experiment with the cheese as well – I just happened to have mozzarella (I am 30 going on 5 and still LOVE string cheese!) but I bet goat cheese or feta would be equally as good.  And if you didn’t want a big ball of cheese right in the center, you could use a shredded version to make the cheese distribution more uniform throughout.

These would be the perfect appetizer for Thanksgiving dinner or any Fall gathering you’re heading to – and everyone will say “AUGH, these are amazing! It must have taken you hours!” – and you lie and tell them “Nahhh – it was easy” 🙂


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



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