Monday, January 31, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This past Sunday, we had a work meeting at which everyone brought a munchies dish. A munchies dish is something that you take some of, then go back and visit it so often and or such a long period of time that you never actually need lunch or dinner that day. Like the ever-popular meatballs & wienies, Buffalo Chicken Dip is one that, once you've tried it, is a must-have munchies dish.

I totally thought I'd made this up, by the way. I thought I was some culinary genius who had revolutionized the way we would all eat wings! I was wrong. Turns out the recipe originated in the Frank's Red Hot kitchens. I guess I can concede to Frank's.


2 cups cooked shredded chicken (I used canned; you can't tell)

1/2 c. wing sauce (I prefer Hooter's)

1 c. ranch dressing, or bleu cheese if you prefer

2 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened

8 oz. cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together softened cream cheese and dressing. It works really well with a hand mixer, but if your cream cheese is soft enough, you can definitely get away with using a firm spoon. Spread evenly in 13x9 glass dish. Meanwhile put chicken in small skillet with wing sauce and let simmer on low so it can soak up the flavor. Once it's all simmery and yummy-smelling, spread over cream cheese mixture. Bake for about 15 minutes, then sprinkle cheese over the top and bake until cheese is melted. I prefer to enjoy it with Fritos Scoops, but it's also good with Tostitos Scoops or celery!

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chicken & Mushroom Farfalle

Tonight was one of those nights where I completely forgot to lay something out to thaw. I went in to work for a couple hours and didn't even consider the fact that I had to cook dinner a few hours after getting home. Therefore, I was left with choosing from either leftovers or items from my fridge. Chicken Mushroom Farfalle was born.
I happened to have some of those pre-cooked Tyson Chicken Breast Strips in my fridge (had a coupon!). I also had a half box of Barilla Plus Farfalle and thought there HAD to be some way to combine the two. Just my luck, I had some portabello mushrooms in the fridge!
My first cooking rule of thumb is that I am in LOOOOVE with Litehouse freeze-dried herbs. This means I always have a supply of pseudo-fresh basil, red onion and chives on and at all times. Keeping this in mind, I took the mushrooms, some minced garlic (which I also keep on hand) and my basil and tried to figure out how to turn it into a sauce. I also feel like it's important to keep chicken broth/stock on hand just in case! Thank goodness for this philosophy.

1/2 bag Tyson Grilled & Ready Oven Roasted Chicken Breast
8 oz. Barilla Plus Farfalle (or any bow-tie pasta)
1/2 c. chicken broth (I use low-sodium)
1/4 c. white cooking wine
1 TB olive oil
3 Portabello mushroom caps, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 TB minced onion
2 TB fresh basil (or freeze-dried!)
1 TB parsley
4 TB low-fat cream cheese

Get water boiling in pot large enough to accommodate your farfalle. Most recipes recommend 6 cups but I never measure; it's one of those things where most people know how much water to use. Not going to walk you through boiling water. I do suggest blopping a sploosh of olive oil in the water and maybe a dash of salt. The olive oil helps the pasta from sticking together and salt helps keep a steady boil. Throw your farfalle in the water and give it a stir.
Heat up a skillet on medium-high and sploosh your olive oil in there. Let it get warm, then add your mushrooms. Let them get tender, then add the minced onion and garlic. Cook for around a minute, just so it all gets warm and the flavors meld. Now, when I say minced onion, I mean the dried kind from the spice aisle. If you're using fresh onion that you've minced, you're less lazy than me. You'll need to put your onion in when you first add your shrooms so they can get tender as well.
One your shroom mixture is cooked, add the chicken broth and wine. Lower your head to medium-low. Your liquid will make this beautiful sizzly sound when you pour it in; if it's a gentle sizzle, you're at the right temp. If it sounds like a Fry Daddy, turn your heat down a smidge. Add your chicken and spices at this time, too. By the way, let's not forget about that farfalle. Give it a stir. It takes about 12 minutes to cook, but if you never stir it it will stick, even with the olive oil. Give it some love.
You back? Good.
Your sauce should smell really good about now, and your chicken should be warm. At this point, your farfalle should be about done, so stir in the cream cheese. Let it melt in the pan and give your sauce a pretty mushroom color. Once it's melted, turn off your burner. Just like on the Hamburger Helper box, "sauce will thicken as it stands". Take this time to drain your farfalle, set the table, maybe make a nice green salad. Serve the sauce over the pasta. Ok, take a quick taste. It's so good, isn't it? It's almost decadent. And, bonus! It's low in cals. 208 per serving, in fact. This recipe makes 4ish servings, so use your judgement on what a serving size is.
My 7 year old daughter asked for seconds on this and she will not touch a mushroom. I was pleased. Let me know how it turns out for you! Pin It