Buffalo Chicken Dip

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

No, I’m not talking about winter, or Christmas, or even Thanksgiving. I’m talking about football season! It turns Sundays into a day to knosh on snacks, drink beer, and stay in my comfy clothes on the couch. Now, the down side of football season is when your team is terrible. That’s right…I’m a Giants fan and this season is downright painful. On the plus side, I’m actually not doing terrible with my Fantasy team this year! Admittedly, I’ve gotten some helpful tips from my brother as I learned to navigate through swapping out players on their Bye weeks, using the waivers, and structuring my team to get the maximum amount of points. It’s turning out much better than my March Madness brackets usually do.

Buffalo Chicken Dip is probably one of the most crowd pleasing dips you can make. This recipe is so savory, so cheesy, and just enough heat. I swear every time I make these the bowl is practically licked clean. As you read the recipe, don’t be turned off by the fact that it uses canned chicken. I typically never buy this stuff but it does give a particular flavor that you won’t quite get from chicken breast. That isn’t to say you can’t cook up a chicken breast, shred it up and use that instead. You totally can, and I’ve done that before too. But when I compared the canned chicken to chicken breast recipes I felt that the latter was just missing “something”. So whip up this super easy dip for football Sunday, go Giants!

-2 12.5oz cans chicken breast, drained
-8 oz softened cream cheese
-1/2 cup ranch dressing
-1/3 cup Texas Pete hot sauce
-1 8oz bag shredded mozzarella cheese
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese 
1. Heat your oven to 375 degrees. 
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, canned chicken breast, ranch dressing, hot cause, mozzarella cheese, and garlic powder. Smooth into your baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. To finish it off I like to throw it under the broiler for about 5 minutes to make the top brown and bubbly.
3. To serve, garnish with the crumbled blue cheese.

Sesame Spinach Spread

Less than 2 weeks left of 2016.

Everyone’s scrambling to make their list of resolutions for 2017 so I wanted to share a secret for the fastest way to make your New Year’s Resolution List. Ready? OK.

Step 1: Find your list of “New Year’s Resolutions for 2016”.

Step 2: Cross off “2016” and write “2017”.

Step 3: Admire your list of resolutions for 2017!

Enjoy this spread as you admire your list.

-1 cup sour cream
-1 cup chopped scallions
-1 teaspoon garlic salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
-1 package (10oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
-1 can (8oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped

1. Mix together the sour cream, scallions, garlic salt, pepper, spinach, and water chestnuts. Stir in half the toasted sesame seeds. Garnish the top of the spread with the remaining toasted seeds.

Source: Keebler Toasteds Crackers

Fajita Pasta

Remember in my last post how I talked about how I like quick and easy dinners that don’t require hours of dicing, 10 different kitchen gadgets, and a lost appetite before the meal is even served?

Good. You’ll want to try Fajita pasta.

There is so much warm flavor in this and it’s so versatile, easily make this vegetarian by removing the chicken, or you can really go for it and add shrimp as the original recipe called for. I opted to omit the shrimp for several reasons:
          a. No one else eats shrimp in the house.
          b. I wanted to keep this cheap and when it comes down to buying more k-cups or shrimp I made the rational adult decision and chose caffeine.
          c. The deveining process can be a bit of an appetite-killer.

-1/2 box penne pasta
-2-3 chicken breasts, butterflied or use thin cut
-seasoning for chicken: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
-1 red pepper, diced
-3-4 tablespoons dice red onion (reserve some for garnishing)
-1 can corn, drained (15.25oz can)
-1 can black beans, drained (10.5oz can)
-2 1/2 tablespoons fajita seasoning (I like Ortega)
-2 cans enchilada sauce (10oz each)
-2oz cream cheese
-1 tablespoon EVOO

1. Cook the pasta. I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but you never know.

2. Heat the oven to 350, season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cook chicken for 26-27 minutes. Remove from oven and shred or dice.

3. In a pan over medium heat, heat the EVOO and add the red pepper, corn, a few tablespoons of red onion (however much you desire, just reserve some for garnishing), and the fajita seasoning. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If it’s sticking, add a little water to the pan and stir.

4. Add the cream cheese to the pan and stir to melt, pour in all enchilada sauce and stir til everything is incorporated. With the drained pasta in a large pot, pour in your sauce, plus the drained black beans and the chicken. Stir and service immediately, garnishing with diced red onions.


Honey Lime Chicken

I’m always searching for dinners that are quick and easy but aren’t lacking in the flavor department. Don’t let having a food blog fool you, I’m not embarking on hours long prep work every night and getting my Martha Stewart tablescapes on. Most of the time, I want dinner on the table as fast as possible requiring minimal time spent slicing and dicing.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and it’s become a family favorite. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s flavorful. And as a bonus, cleanup is a breeze.

-5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
-3 tablespoons honey
-1 tablespoon soy sauce
-1/2 tsp salt
-bone-in chicken thighs (maximum of 4, more than that double the sauce recipe)
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-chopped scallions
-1 lime for garnishing

1. In a small bowl combine 4 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons of honey, and all of the soy sauce.

2. Remove skin from the chicken thighs then salt the chicken. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat then add the chicken top side down (basically the side that used to have the skin on it). Cook for about 5 minutes, you want it to get nice and brown.

3. Flip the chicken over and pour in the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover it and cook for 16-18 minutes until fully cooked. During this cooking process, drizzle the chicken with the remaining tablespoon of lime juice and honey. For the last 2 minutes of the cook time raise the heat to medium-high again to thicken the glaze.

4. To serve, drizzle chicken with glaze from the pan, chopped scallions, and a lime wedge.

Source: Julia’s Album

Sweet and Spicy Oven Kabobs

Kabobs aren’t just for the grill anymore.

Dress a basic chicken kabob up however you want. Add onions, peppers, zucchini…whatever. It’s your kabob.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes and there you have it! Oh, and make sure you’ve soaked your skewers for several hours, it should be a no brainer that you don’t want to stick dried out wood in a blazing oven.

You might want to serve these Sweet & Spicy Kabobs with a side of Kleenex, there’s much more of a kick than I thought.

-Chicken breasts cut into kabob chunks
-1/4 cup water
-4 tablespoons honey BBQ sauce
-3 tablespoons hot sauce (cut back to 2 if you don’t like things too spicy)
-1/2 cup brown sugar

1. Place chicken chunks on skewers. Heat oven to 375.

2. In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine the water, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and hot sauce. Simmer 5-6 minutes until the sugar is melted and sauce is heated. Spoon over kabobs, reserved a bit for dipping. Season with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder.

3. Bake kabobs for 25 minutes. Spoon remaining sauce over top.

Sauce Source: Budget Savvy Diva


Blue Cheese Crusted Pork Chops

I’ll admit it, my blog photos can leave a lot to be desired. I like to think on a 1-10 rating scale my pics hover somewhere between a 5.5 and 6.5.

But my less then perfect score isn’t going to stop me from calling out some of the worst offenders of food blog pics.

Hands in pics

Whhhhhyyyyy?! I don’t care how well-manicured your nails are, I don’t want to see your weirdo hand and fingers. I get it, you can eat the food with your hand, you don’t need to show me how you pick up a chip.

 omg, ew gross.

Step-by-step photos of simple tasks

Complex methods or hard to explain procedures? Sure, go ahead and post pics on how to lattice a pie crust or make pull-apart bread. But don’t waste my time showing me what it looks like when butter melts in the pan, or what diced peppers look like.

10,001 Pics of the same damn thing

You’re a genius with the camera. The food is just begging to be photographed. But after the second photo we all get what your roasted chicken looks like…really, we do.

Now onto the recipe and a photo that violates none of these grievances above.

Blue Cheese Crusted Pork Chops

-2 boneless pork chops
-1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
-1/2 cup panko 
-2 tablespoons chopped scallions
-olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine the blue cheese, panko, salt & pepper, and scallions. Add a little olive oil just to keep the mixture binded together.
2. Place the pork chops under the broiler for about 6-7 minutes per side depending on thickness. Remove and top with blue cheese mixture, and broil an additional 4-5 minutes until the cheese is browned and melty. Let stand 3 minutes before serving.

Source: Kylee Cooks

Sweet BBQ and Honey Pork Chops

I think packages of pork chops should just be sold with a big fat question mark over them, since I generally have no idea what the hell to make with them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a pork chop recipe and I swear licking my kitchen floor would have had a more pleasurable flavor than what was being served on my plate. In any case I think I’ve found a recipe that is actually worth repeating; a sweet BBQ sauce with honey and brown sugar! I really recommend getting a decent BBQ sauce, thanks to living in the South for 6 years I think most grocery store brands are absolute trash. I had a delicious sauce on hand I purchased from a BBQ place in Florida called Bono’s. I also highly suggest Sticky Finger’s or Bessinger’s. Seriously, don’t buy the grocery store crap!


Source: Taste of Home Magazine, October 2013

Sante Fe Chicken Chowder

Nothing quite like a nice, long, relaxing vacation that can really make you detest the rest of the world when you return. My husband and I have just returned from an amazing Carnival Cruise (which I’ll be posting about later). I loved countless things about the trip, but one thing that was fantastic was the feeling of being cut off from everyone. I used my free time to do something I embarrassingly haven’t done in a LONG time: read a book. But, like I said I’ll be doing a vacation post later this week with all the details!

In the little hiatus I’d taken from cooking these past couple months, I had bookmarked a ton of recipes I wanted to try. I’m not sure what prompted the hiatus, or why I was more than happy to eat chips and buffalo ranch dip for dinner most nights instead of cooking a meal suitable for a human, but whatever it was I feel as though I’m emerging from this ‘funk’. This meal below was originally cooked as a crock pot meal, so if you like to use your crock pot you can follow the original recipe here. I had a craving for this meal about 45 minutes before I wanted to eat, and waiting until the next day to use the crock pot was completely out of the question. This was so good I could have eaten this all week. I cut the portion down to 2 servings, and added in the corn starch to thicken the broth a bit as it was a little watery for my taste at first. Don’t skimp out on the sour cream, this was my little addition and it blended so well with the spice of the chowder.

Penne in Vodka Sauce

If you know me, you know I have a husband who used to not like pasta. Yes, there was once someone out there who said they did not like pasta. And I married him anyway. Its been over a year now since the pasta break through, and here I am able to cook a 100% pasta dish for dinner. I’m still waiting for the vegetable break through, although that one I’m not too sure will ever happen.

This is a family recipe of my husband’s and I’m so glad it was given to me to share. I think having the fresh basil and Romano cheese in the sauce makes this so mouth watering you’re definitely going to want seconds or thirds.

Easy Enchilada Chicken

I absolutely love enchilada sauce so I had an idea to make a deconstructed enchilada of sorts. This is incredibly quick and easy to throw together, but isn’t lacking in flavor. This was so good I made it twice within one week. Do yourself a favor and keep a couple cans of enchilada sauce stocked in your pantry so you and whip this up whenever you want.

-2 boneless chicken breasts, butterflied
-2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-salt and pepper
-1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
-1 14oz can Old El Paso enchilada sauce
-1 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken breasts on baking sheet. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with panko bread crumbs, the drizzle with the EVOO. Bake 25-30 minutes.

2. Heat the enchilada sauce and stir in the hot sauce. Simmer.

3. Remove chicken from oven and top with the Cheddar cheese. Broil 5-6 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly. Cover with enchilada sauce.