An update for you today: One of the most popular recipes on my site, Buffalo Chicken Salad Dip, has a facelift and recipe adjustment!...
...because one dish to wash is about all I can manage, frankly.
Look at all the vegetables we're eating on this Monday with our butter and cheese! Balance, you know.
Now that it's December, I'm all about snacky foods, parties, and salads in between to keep things under control. I love all things Buffalo and, while maybe not the fanciest type of food, everyone else usually does too. There are plenty of fancier foods that we make this time of year too, but why not also keep some comforting, cozy, DELICIOUS foods in our arsenal?
Plus also football all the time that never ends, you know.
The method here is so simple. In an ovenproof skillet (I have this little Le Creuset number that I got on clearance), you'll sear some chicken, then shred it, throw it back in the skillet with a ton of stuff to make it buffalo-ish. The whole mess bakes with blue cheese and grated mozzarella, and then we use our "veggies" (pita and bread and crackers, please) for dunking and happiness. Now, I intentionally didn't make this super duper creamy with cream cheese or other things like that. This is mainly hot sauce, chicken and cheese with ranch dressing flavors added for HELL YES WE DID THAT. There are buffalo chicken dips that use ranch as the base, and I wanted a grown up essence of that. If my dad is reading this (he is v good at being healthy), the idea of grown up ranch dressing is probably making him so sad and disappointed in me. Sorry, Daddy....
We made it to May! And now it's only a few more days until Cinco de Mayo and right after that it's Memorial Day and then vacations and 4th of July and two of my besties are having babies and HOW IS IT TIME TO START PLANNING THANKSGIVING.
But really. Does one ever mature enough to accept that they are old enough to experience the passing of time at a faster rate or is it just....too fast all the time until I die?
Let's not think too hard about that. Tacos! Light, healthy, vegetarian tacos, to be exact. I'm a huge fan of Buffalo-flavored anything, and have been seeing cauliflower based dishes all over the internet. I love cauliflower in general, and the idea of it as a meat substitute appealed to me so much - the texture and chew from it plus extra vitamins and low fat/calories YES PLEASE.
So we are having Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos. I didn't do any kind of breading or frying for the sake of our bellies and the smell of our houses. Instead, the cauliflower gets roasted until blackened at the edges, then a super quick buffalo sauce goes all over everything. You can dress your tacos up however you'd like, but I'm a huge fan of lettuce (cabbage can get kind of crunchy and overpower the soft cauliflower), queso fresco, green onion, and lime. I ditched the blue cheese and celery for this version because I think it's kind of obvious BUT those flavors go great with buffalo, so have at it if you have those ingredients on hand!
aka IT'S SUPER BOWL WEEK.
It is no secret in this world that I don't care a lick about sports. I'll get excited by proxy when a home team does something good, and I care-ish about the schools I went to, but only as far as it relates to me brightening somewhat when someone informs me that they've won something. Brightening somewhat, that's as far as I'll take it.
The food, however, is an aspect of sports that I'm alllll about. And excuse to eat nachos or selections I'd rarely otherwise choose, basically. Why is it that watching really fit people do really fabulous things makes us want to eat the most garbagy garbage there is? Life is full of conundrums like that recently it seems.
Wings aren't garbage, for sure, and we healthy-ed these up even more by baking them and skipping a butter-heavy sauce, not that there's anything wrong with that at all. I'll be the first to say I love fried foods, but wings kind of don't matter to me. If the flavor is great and the dippers are yummy I honestly don't prefer a fried wing over baked or grilled, except for the crispy skin. Soggy chicken wing skin is just the most sad thing, so much so that I'll pull it off and not even eat it. So I wanted to bake wings, but I wanted them to be crispy. So I read up, used this recipe for inspiration, ADDED to the cooking time, and boom.
Twice-baked dry rubbed wings. The blue cheese ranch is just a bonus, but a bonus that you've more than earned.
....with butter-braised chicken + blue cheese croutons. BLUE CHEESE CROUTONS!
As with any cool new thing that I put on this blog, this was one of Jay's ideas. We're all about buffalo anything, but the fried + butter aspect of it....sometimes leaves something to be desired in the pants-fitting department.
So we made soup! Chicken roasted in butter, croutons, a regular onion + celery + carrot base, and some extra raw veggies on top for that blue + buffalo + celery combo we all know and love.
I used chicken thighs in this, which I think work really well in soups. Boneless + skinless dark meat chicken only has 5 more calories per serving than white meat (I read once, it might be a lie), and to me 5 extra calories is well worth it for how much extra flavor you get out of it, RIGHT?
2019 note: this has been one of the most popular recipes on this site for more than 5 years and was recently updated with new tips, tricks, and photographs. Enjoy!
Jay and his peeps had their fantasy football draft on Sunday. Have any of you people done that yet?
It usually involves men "escaping" their wives (in jest, they're not actually horrible husbands), drinking too much, smoking, lying about smoking, and coming home too late on a Sunday night, which works fine for me because I get to watch 8 hours of Breaking Amish (anyone else?) on my own without huffy sighs of how dumb it is.
....and thus begins a new round of football food to celebrate fall.
I recognize that salad dip isn't really a thing, but I want you to know that there are multiple things that can be done with this here little creation....