Buffalo Chicken Crack Dip

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Remember that buffalo chicken dip recipe that I promised you? Here it is. But I must warn you- be careful. This stuff is addicting- some even refer to it as crack dip.

  • 5 cooked chicken breasts (shred after cooling). Try this method for great chicken!
  • 2 8oz packages of cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons blue cheese or ranch dressing
  • 8-10 oz of Franks Hot sauce (they generally come in 12 oz bottles)
  • 2+ cups of shredded cheddar

Mix together and bake in a casserole dish for 30-45 min at 350 degrees. Serve with tortilla chips, carrots, celery, etc.

Ha, clearly I make no claims of being a healthy food blogger. I always joke that I’m 85% tofu and nutritional yeast and 15% buffalo wings and Bud Light. Gotta have balance in life, right?!

Thank you to Kelley for this recipe!

lentil chicken bacon soup

lentil soup Photo credit

I had cooked lentils left over from a failed Indian dish, rotisserie chicken from making Anne’s White Bean Chicken Chili Soup, and turkey bacon left over from breakfast sandwiches. Voila- a simple “cleaning out the fridge” soup was born!

In a pot, combine about a cup of cooked lentils {make your own or try Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils}, a handful of shredded rotisserie chicken pieces, and two pieces of prepared turkey bacon, ripped into pieces. Add half a bay leaf and enough chicken broth to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Remove the bay leaf before enjoying!

recipe inspiration, chicken edition

After purchasing a big package of chicken tenders from Trader Joe’s, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to finish all of it before it went bad. Inspiration struck: I placed the chicken tender in separate snack sized Ziploc bags and added a different seasoning or sauce to each bag :

  • 21 Seasoning Salute
  • Italian seasoning {basil + marjoram + oregano + rosemary + thyme} + garlic powder + salt + pepper + dried minced garlic
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Some random experimental combination of cumin + curry powder + things I can’t remember 🙂
Then I zipped up each bag and popped it in the freezer. When I was ready to use it, I just defrosted each piece overnight and prepared using this method {totally failproof}.

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Next time I plan to try one of the recipes below:

Coriander Cumin Chicken {via YumSugar}

Ginger Curry Chicken with Lentils & Leeks {via BHG}

Greek-Style Chicken Skillet {via BHG}

Zesty Ginger Tomato Chicken {via BHG}

Or one of my tried-and-true chicken recipes:

Sun-Dried Tomato & Feta Chicken

Mashed Potato Casserole with Chicken

Healthy Chicken Masala

Tuscan Zucchini Pasta Casserole

P.S. When I searched my blog for “chicken,” a reference to the chicken dance popped up. Haha!

P.P.S. Lesson learned: throwing chicken tenders with salad dressing and chopped zucchini into a Ziploc and freezing it makes a pretty disgusting mushy mess! So freeze chicken separately from vegetables

lunchbox meal: buffalo chicken casserole

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Craving an insanely quick lunch a la my “chicken parm” or healthy chicken masala? Well, here’s another lunchbox meal for you.

Saute a piece of chicken tender using this foolproof method. In the pan, add chopped red onion and buffalo sauce {like Frank’s Red Hot}. Chop chicken; toss with gluten-free noodles; top with grated mozzarella cheese. Voila! 

Even easier and just as delicious? Toss a can of {drained} tuna with buffalo sauce, cheese, and noodles. 

Craving more vegetables, like I admittedly was? Try this leek and dill tuna casserole or just pack some edamame on the side, like I did! And for fruit: Welch’s very addicting mixed fruit snacks. They have Vitamin C, so they count, right? No?

P.S. If you’re a vegetarian, try crumbling Morningstar Buffalo Chicken Bites and tossing them on top!

on the menu for the week

After five days of being waited on hand and foot- including having multiple lobster tails delivered by my favorite waiter, Bling Bling- cooking doesn’t feel very appealing. But since I’m cheap and have to go back to my frugal ways, it’s a necessity. And I did just say how it always makes me happy!

So below is what’s on my menu for the week!

Rainbow Veggie Chili

Chicken and Ricotta Meatballs in Broth {via Martha Stewart}

Cabbage and Cilantro Soup

Cauliflower Pizza Crust with Toppings

Baked Cauliflower Poppers

P.S. Just a few hours after I got out of the car, I started feeling really sick. At least my body had the good sense to wait until vacation was over! The cabbage cilantro soup is a good sick food- it’s light on the stomach and the hot sauce clears out the sinuses!

recipe variations

Rumor has it that variety is the spice of life…and it certainly is the spice of cooking! So what easier way to infuse variety (both literally and figuratively) into your cooking than to make slight alterations to your go to recipes?

Here are a few easy swaps that I often make:

Sun-Dried Tomato & Feta Chicken: Prepared as outlined but served on a “bed” of mashed potatoes!

Mashed Potato Vegetable Pie: Swapped out feta, added grilled chicken and Garlic & Herbs Alouette Spreadable Cheese; added yellow squash in addition to zucchini

Creative Salad Mixes: Swapped out feta and Trader Joe’s Balsamic Vinaigrette for Parmesan cheese and homemade Italian dressing

Spiced Tomato Chickpea Soup: Swapped out chickpeas for potatoes

Pizza Alternatives: Swapped out zucchini boats for green bell peppers or a gluten-free cauliflower crust {that I gotta try}

For more inspiration on versatile ingredients, check out my posts on quinoa bowls and tofu.

What are your recipe staples that you feel comfortable adjusting? 

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4 Continue reading

links from around the web

Reality Check: You’re Not Going to Make Money From Your Blog

How to Cook Moist and Tender Chicken Breasts Every Time

101 Reasons to Stay Single

10 Quick Ideas with Sweet Corn {Summer edition}

Please describe yourself in the most annoying way possible

This Day Last Year: I remember this ziti with roasted zucchini very well! It was the first time I had cooked with shallots. Adding a gluten-free version of this to my to cook list.

lunchbox meal: healthy chicken masala

Here is a slightly different {and gluten-free} version of this Indian-inspired lunchbox meal.

I made this super easy dish for lunch today by combining a seemingly random assortment of items.

1) Prepare mung beans {boil 1 1/2 cups of water, add 1/2 cup of beans, turn to low, simmer for 35-50 minutes or until the water is absorbed and beans are tender}

2) Prepare TJ’s Multigrain Pilaf according to package Unfortunately, rice pilaf is not gluten-free, so I’ve started using rice in this recipe instead. The rice gets a nice hint of flavor if you boil it in chicken broth and add a dash each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.

3) Pull several large pieces of chicken off a store-bought rotisserie chicken. At about $5-$7 each, these are a great deal and can last for several meals. Best of all, you can adapt them easily with different sauces!

4) Layer the mung beans, rice, and chicken with TJ’s Masala Simmer Sauce and enjoy!

This Day Last Year: Spicy Sweet Potato Fries and Life Updates {I mention reach out to a group-buying site, which actually wasn’t LivingSocial! I also mention reaching out to my network for help with job searching. For more on that, click here.}

Recipe: Prasoryzo (Rice with Leeks)

Back from an unintentional blogging hiatus with a new recipe!

So easy, a time-pressed recent college graduate can do it. In a skillet, saute onions and leeks with olive oil and a touch of butter. Pop Minute Rice (I used the chicken kind) into the microwave. When leeks and onions are tender, combine with heated rice. Add a dash of lemon juice, a generous sprinkling of dill, some salt and pepper, and a handful of sun-dried tomatoes.

This is fantastic as a side dish, but I bet it would be good with shredded chicken as a main entree. Serve it with other Greek-inspired dishes!


tuscan zucchini pasta casserole

Whenever I write up a recipe for my blog, I always have trouble coming up with a descriptive, mouth-watering title that isn’t too lengthy.

The alternative title for this casserole: Zucchini + Chicken + Sun Dried Tomatoes + Ricotta Pasta Casserole. Wow, that’s a mouthful.

The name I chose seemed fitting given that I pre-marinated the chicken in Tuscan Italian Dressing, which contains balsamic vinegar and sun dried tomatoes.

According to one site I found, “Tuscan cuisine is appreciated in the world for its fine natural and flavorful ingredients. It’s a typical expression of the Mediterranean diet, considered among others, the most wholesome and tasty, olive oil, pasta, fish and…meat.”

tuscan zucchini pasta casserole

1. One day ahead of time, marinate fresh or frozen chicken breast tenderloins (keep in fridge overnight) in Trader Joe’s Tuscan Italian Dressing and a dash of olive oil.

2. Thinly slice zucchini using a knife or mandoline. I used long thin strips. Place on tin foil on top of a baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and bake at 350 until soft (about 10 minutes). Halfway through, toss chopped onions on top.

3. Bake chicken pieces at 350 until cooked throughout (about 15 minutes). There should be no pink visible. When cooled, chop into small pieces.

3. Prepare noodles according to package. I used egg noodles, my favorite!

4. Layer cooked noodles, chopped chicken, zucchini slices, and onion in a casserole dish (any kind of deep baking dish will work though). Spread ricotta on top; sprinkle with chopped pieces of sun dried tomato. Lastly, scatter parmesan cheese over top and cover with tin foil (you can re-use the tin foil from the zucchini!). Bake at 350 until heated throughout- about 15 minutes.

It sounds labor intensive, but I promise it’s not. And it’s delicious when reheated, so make extra for dinner or leftovers. Also, letting it sit before baking actually allows all the flavors to mix and mingle, creating a more rich flavor.