Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crockpot BBQ Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

I love, love, love buffalo wings (hot, please!), but since I try to keep fried food to a minimum, I'm always looking for other ways to replicate the flavor. This recipe comes from the blog Forever Now and Then, and it completely hit the mark.

My chicken breasts were on the small side, so it looked pretty soupy during the cooking process. I was beginning to re-think the addition of chicken stock and wondering if I should drain the chicken before serving. But, after I shredded the chicken and kept it warm in the sauce for a little while longer, to make sure every bite of chicken was coated, it really came together.

I used a bottled sauce from a local BBQ joint, which happened to be a thin, heavy-on-the-vinegar variety. You could certainly use a sweeter, thicker sauce, which would cut the heat. However, I absolutely loved the spice and tang of this chicken. I'm not a huge fan of blue cheese, but I think a few crumbles in this sandwich would have put it over the edge.

4 frozen chicken breasts
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 cup hot sauce
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1 cup chicken broth

Place frozen chicken breasts in crock-pot. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the top. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. Shred chicken with two forks and stir. Cook on low until sauce thickens.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baked Club Sandwich

This is another recipe courtesy of Plain Chicken, which was adapted from Pillsbury, and I knew the minute I saw it that it would make perfect football food. It is truly a man-friendly dish, packed with deli meat, cheese, and bacon. It was very hearty.

I don't like to cook bacon, and I'm not a fan of the microwave slices, so I used a few tablespoons of the bagged real bacon pieces.

This recipe is so versatile because you can use any combination of meats and cheese to suit your taste. The original recipe called for ham, turkey, and roast beef, but I found a combo package with ham, turkey, and Canadian bacon (with exactly as many slices as I needed), so I went with that.

These can be a little dry on their own, so I served with ranch dressing for dipping...perfect complement!

Printable recipe

6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped (or bagged real bacon pieces)
1 11-ounce can refrigerated French loaf bread
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
15 slices deli meat (variety of turkey, ham, roast beef, Canadian bacon, or chicken)

Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Unroll dough. Sprinkle cheese over dough. Top with bacon and deli meat. Starting with long side, roll up dough; press edges to seal. Make 3 to 4 slits in top of loaf. Place on sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into 1-inch diagonal slices.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lazy Man's Chicken Parmesan

This recipe was floating all over Pinterest a couple of weeks ago. Even though I love the recipe I have for chicken parmesan, I couldn't help but try one that eliminated the coating/breading stage. It was originally called Easy Chicken Parmesan Bake, but when I showed it to a friend, he renamed it Lazy Man's Chicken Parmesan. Indeed...even a child could have put this together.

This is a fantastic way to get dinner on the table with little effort. Some of the croutons kept their shape, adding a nice chewy element, like a bite of garlic bread. Most of the croutons "melted" while cooking, giving the illusion of breading. In fact, if you closed your eyes, the taste is exactly the same. That, to me, is a fake-out success.

Printable recipe

4 chicken breasts
2 cups spaghetti sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 5-ounce package of garlic croutons

Drizzle olive oil in bottom of 9x13 pan and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Place chicken breasts in pan and coat with spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over chicken. Top with croutons and remaining cup of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Deviled Egg Dip?

I found this recipe over on the Tasty Kitchen site, and I was immediately intrigued. I wanted to take it to a gathering this past Saturday night, but I knew I needed to crowd-test it first. I took it over to my parents' house that morning, and we tried it with a) Ritz crackers, b) Wheat Thins, and c) Frito Scoops.

We really struggled because all of the chips/crackers overwhelmed the dip and, in my dad's opinion, made it too salty. The flavor itself was fantastic...a deviled egg fancied up with bacon and cheese. How could it not be good?

I went with the Fritos, but it still wasn't a huge success that night. But, one of the guests, before sampling, said, "Oh, I love egg salad." So....

On Sunday, I scooped some onto a hamburger bun and ate it like "deviled" egg salad sandwich. And it was perfect. The bread was the ideal vehicle, as it let the flavor shine.

Printable recipe

5 large eggs 
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons
 French's Mustard

1 tablespoon
 Frank's Red Hot Original Hot Sauce

1 tablespoon

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices

Put eggs in a sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. When the water starts to boil, turn off the heat and cover for 20 minutes. Allow eggs to cool enough to peel.

While the eggs are cooking, fry four slices of bacon until crisp. Drain and crumble bacon into small pieces.

In a large bowl, mix together mayo, mustard, hot sauce, vinegar, cheese, and crumbled bacon.

In a small bowl, use a fork to mash the eggs into small chunks. Add the eggs to the mayo and mustard mixture and stir together.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Corn Pudding with Pickled Jalapenos

I'm pretty much a sucker for anything that uses Jiffy; I just love its sweet flavor. This recipe comes from Jamie and Bobby Deen. They call it "bread," but it's really too loose to be called that, so I've taken the liberty of renaming it. I was expecting to cut it into squares, but it's more of a "scoop."

I'm a big fan of heat, so I doubled the amount of jalapenos. I also added a couple spoonfuls of the juice to spread the flavor throughout the dish. I love the nachos from a local fast-food Mexican restaurant, and it's because they add juice to the cheese sauce along with the peppers. Delish.

The kernel corn is a nice texture in such a creamy dish...and I also loved that I had every single ingredient already on hand. This is complete comfort food...with a kick! I kept finding reasons to go back in the kitchen for another bite after we cleaned our plates.

Also, in making this again, I think I would use a 9x13 pan to spread it out a little and get more surface area to crunch up.

(My apologies for the camera battery went dead, so this is a Blackberry shot.)

Printable recipe

1 15 1/2-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1 15-ounce can cream-style corn
1 8-ounce package corn muffin mix
1 cup sour cream
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeƱos

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the whole corn, creamed corn, muffin mix, sour cream, butter, and jalapenos. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Spicy Sausage and Black Bean Dip

It's the most wonderful time of the year...SEC football season! I had zero reason to celebrate on Saturday, with a horrible UGA loss, but that doesn't mean we still didn't eat well. I spend the weekend on the Gulf coast, along with Tropical Storm Lee, so we hunkered down and settled in for a great day of games.

I found this recipe at Plain Chicken, one of my favorite food bloggers (and fellow Birmingham gal!). I made some adjustments to the quantities, upping/rounding off the sausage and cream cheese to full packages to make it easier. I scooped individual servings into Frito Scoops and served on a platter. This isn't the prettiest dip (it looks kind of messy), so doing that at least helped with presentation.

While it may not be sure does taste good. It was creamy and cheesy with just the right amount of heat from the sausage and Rotel. And, it uses ingredients you probably already have on hand. I think you could use sour cream in place of the yogurt if you're so inclined.

It was definitely a great way to kick off the return of football Saturdays!

Printable recipe

1 pound hot sausage, cooked and crumbled
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
7 ounces plain Greek yogurt
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded 

1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained
1 can black beans, drained

Mix together all ingredients and pour in baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips.