Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This is a killer dip that I made on New Year's Day for our Winter Classic/Football party. I have suggested lower fat ingredients, but you're of course welcome to grease it up. I mean, who doesn't want a heart attack on Super Bowl Sunday? Oh, and I can't take credit for the oily mess I've pictured below - I didn't take a picture of my results and I wanted to post this before Game Day. Mine looks much better. Trust me on this.

Behold! The greatest party dip you'll ever have. Impress your friends!

Required software:
3-4 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
2 (8 ounce) packages fat-free cream cheese, softened (buy the tubs – remove foil and microwave for about 15 seconds to soften)
1 cup Blue Cheese dressing 3/4 cup pepper sauce, such as Franks® Red Hot® (You could use Ranch, but I'd think you were stupid for doing so)
1 1/2 cups shredded light Sharp Cheddar cheese (or your cheese of choice)

Things for dippin:
Chicken in a Biskit Crackers
Corn chips – go with blue corn or organic – YUM!

1) Boil chicken breasts for about 15 minutes. Remove from water and pat dry. Shred breasts with two forks – pull in opposite directions. It’ll fall apart. For the love of all things holy, DO NOT USE CANNED CHUNK CHICKEN I WILL SUE YOU. Your patience will be rewarded.
2) Mix 3/4 of chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through.
3) Stir in cream cheese and blue cheese dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Add remaining chicken if you think the dip is too runny. Personal preference, I like it with more chicken.
4) Mix in 3/4 of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low setting until hot and bubbly and blood-slowing. Serve with dippin’ goodness!

Chipotle Chili and Green Onion Corncakes

The Super Bowl is right around the corner, and everyone is scrambling for that showstopping dish-to-pass. And trying not to break the calorie bank. I figured there is no better way to start off a foodblog than with a good-for-you and zesty chili with all the fixins! And yes - this one has beans. I prefer kidney - you can go with any mixture you like. Black beans also go exceptionally well.

This recipe will serve about four standard servings, but if you're having a party, you could probably stretch it to at least 8-10. Feeling frisky? Why not double it - you'll be glad you have the leftovers by mid-week! Look at how tasty... Yum!

You'll Need:


1 lb extra-lean ground beef or turkey
1 can (the large 20oz size) of diced tomatoes - I prefer not chili ready, as I like to season myself
1 medium white onion, diced - Reserve some for fixins!
2 cloves garlic, diced
1-2 chipotles in adobo, chopped - Check in the imported foods aisle!
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 shimmy of Worcestershire sauce
1 shake of Tabasco - or whatever hot sauce you have on hand
Cumin, to taste
Mexican Chili Powder, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste

Corn Cakes:

1-2 green onions (scallions), chopped
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg - per the box
2 tbs shortening - per the box. I used Smart Balance!
3/4 cup skim milk - per the box

Make magic!

1. Prepare the mixture for Jiffy pancakes/Johnny Cakes as directed on the box. Add in chopped green onions. Set aside.
2. Coat the bottom of a large dutch oven in oil/fat of your choice. Over medium heat, sweat the diced onions and garlic.
3. When the onions are just translucent, add in your protein of choice. Break it down and begin to brown it up. Add your basic chili seasonings - I suggest two parts chili powder to one part cumin. A good place to start is 3 tbs chili powder to 1.5 tbs cumin. Remember: It's easier to add than take away. Start low if you think that's too much for you - you can always add later!
4. When the meat is brown, add in the chopped red, green and chipotle peppers. Chipotles in adobo have a strong flavor - go with one if you don't like zest, two if you do! Reserve the adobo sauce for later. Let this hang out for a few minutes.
5. Add just over 1/2 of your can of diced tomatoes and stir. See if it's the consistency you like. If you want more sauce, add another 1/4 of the remainder (I usually end up using about 3/4 of the can, but it really depends on how things soak up!).
6. Add a few shakes of the worcestershire and tabasco to taste!
7. Cover and simmer on low. Let it hang out and make sweet, flavorful love. You've been working 15 minutes now, so check back in another 10 and give it a taste. Too earthy? Add some chili powder or cayenne pepper. Not enough aroma/background flavor? Add some cumin.
8. Add in some of the adobo sauce for extra zazz!


- If your chili is a bit runny, you added too much tomato. Mix 1 tbs corn starch with 1 tbs of water, and add to the chili. It'll thicken up.
- If your chili is too spicy, you overestimated your heat tolerance. Add more tomatoes. If your chili is already too runny, see Troubleshooting #1.

Meanwhile, as the chili bubbles...

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with cooking spray. Once the spray breaks up and looks heated through, add a silver-dollar sized dollop of your corn cake batter. You can probably fit 4-5 in each batch, depending on how big you dollop and the size of your skillet. Heads up! Batter spreads. Start sparse - they'll look small but end up about bowl size.
2. Keep the cakes in a tin foil tent while you finish the batch and the chili comes together.


- If you burn the corncakes, turn the heat down, Wes!

Suggested Fixins:

- Light sharp cheddar or monterrey jack cheese
- Light sour cream
- Diced onions

I like topping my bowl of chili with cheese, sour cream and a corn cake. If you don't eat four bowls of it (how could you not though? It's delicious!), it's really quite guilt-free and a real crowd pleaser. Enjoy!