Buffalo Hummus

I know y’all have been worried about me.

I mean, there are likely several reasons you could worry about me.

My fear of balloons is a a cause of concern for some. My ability to get sucked in to a book and polish it off in a single day could raise eyebrows. Or how about the fact that whether I’ve watched the movie or tune in to the last 5 minutes, I can still break out into a straight-up ugly cry at the end of Rudy?

We haven’t even breached the subject of my bizarre talent of coming up with odd commercials, slogans or just ridiculous rhymes. Just ask my Biffer (whose latest blog post talks about the day she could have felt old) about the compilation I made for her as she went off to college. It was an epic combination of our favorite hits from the 80’s and 90’s, along with some of my super special commercials and jingles – and it was on a mixed tape. Let that one marinate for a while. Do cars even come with tape decks anymore?

All of that aside, I know you’ve been worried because it’s been almost two months since I’ve posted a buffalo chicken flavored recipe.

Today, we’re rectifying that issue. I made this recipe a few weeks ago as a bit of an experiment, and the husband and I went crazy for it! We both love hummus, and obviously you know about the buffalo obsession – so this was the perfect combination. It makes a ton so it was perfect for us to snack on throughout the week – give it a try and let me know what you think!

Buffalo Hummus (6 servings / 3 WW pts. each + chips, celery, etc.)

Ingredients

1 16 oz. can Garbanzo beans/Chickpeas (reserve 1-2 Tbsp. liquid, drain the rest)

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1-2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

3 Tbsp. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1/4 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

I made hummus once before in college and for some reason forgot how easy it is. It makes good amount, doesn’t require much prep work and only leaves one dish to be cleaned. How awesome is that?

To begin, drain the chickpeas, reserving 1 or 2 tablespoons of the liquid. In a food processor (I use my precious mini one) add chickpeas and garlic. Pulse a few times to break everything up a little.

Next, add your oils, 1 Tbsp. chickpea liquid, hot sauce, lemon juice, paprika and garlic salt. Then chop on full speed, making sure everything is blending together. I rotated “chop” and “grind” a few times to switch up the direction of the blade to ensure the chickpeas were smoothing out a little.

Steps to Blend

Adjust seasoning to your taste buds. I played around with the paprika and garlic salt, and probably added another tablespoon of hot sauce to make sure we got the heat – so use the recipe above as a starting point and adjust. If it’s too thick, add a little more liquid/oil/hot sauce.

Scoop into a serving dish leaving a shallow well in center. Add blue cheese crumbles. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving with pita chips, pretzel crisps, veggies (I recommend celery), etc.

Buffalo Hummus

Try making some this weekend or at your next gathering and watch people who normally scoff at hummus devour it!

Buffalo Hummus Close Up

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Shrimp and Crab Dip

Do you ever come across a recipe and think “that looks so incredibly amazing I want to eat it all right now” and then you start reading the ingredients and kind of cringe at the mental calorie count?

For instance, when you see a recipe by a certain Southern baroness of butter, do you automatically cast it aside?

I often do – but recently, I found one I knew I could makeover into a tasty and lightened up dish!

Y’all may have caught on to the fact that I LOVE appetizers and finger foods. I’m talking I get excited when I throw a party and have leftovers because I can make meals of fingers foods the next day or two.

So last weekend during the golf tournament, it was time for a little shindig to kick off the festivities. I had come across this recipe and figured it was time to give it a try. I made a few adjustments – mainly reducing the fat content, but also adding a little flavor. I don’t like to toot my own horn or anything, but um, beep beep – cause this dip was delicious. I’m honestly wishing I had some in front of me right now.

The best part about dips is that they don’t require assembly after they cook, and this one is great for cookouts or fancier meals – so I’m sure it would go perfectly with whatever meal you have planned for Father’s Day! I served it with some blue corn tortilla chips and original flavor Pretzel Crisps, and it disappeared rather quickly.

Shrimp and Crab Dip (Serves 10 / 3 pts. per serving + chips/crackers/pretzels)

Original recipe “Shore is Good Seafood Dip” found here.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie margarine

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 small yellow onion, chopped

2 medium ribs celery, chopped

1 6 oz. can lump crab meat

1 6 oz. can shrimp, roughly chopped

1/2 can of condensed Cream of Shrimp soup (use bottom half and discard top half)

1 cup fat-free mayonnaise

6 oz. reduced-fat Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large skillet, melt margarine over medium heat. Sauté bell pepper, onion and celery 5-7 minutes until softened.

In a large bowl, mix together crab, shrimp, mayonnaise, Parmesan, pepper and Tabasco. Add sautéed vegetables and stir until ingredients are blended well.

Step by Step

Pour mixture into a medium-large baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Baked Dip

Serve with crackers, chips, pretzels, vegetables, etc.

Seriously give this one a try at your next party – even if you’re the only guest!

ShrimpandCrabDip

Have a great weekend y’all, and happy Father’s Day to my “Duddy” and all of the other Daddies and Daddies-to-be out there!

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries

Why is it that I can’t get enough of buffalo-chicken-flavored things?

Oh, right – because they’re awesome…

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries

I ordered something “buffalo-style” last week at lunch and my co-worker laughed and said “You seriously have an obsession with buffalo flavor don’t you?” Um, yes…have you read my blog?

Well, just when you thought I couldn’t possibly come up with another thing to layer with blue cheese, celery and hot sauce – I went and did it again.

With my Memphis Grizzlies in round 3 of the NBA Playoffs, it’s tough to want to make like, roasted fish with vegetables for dinner when a game is on – I need (faux) bar food!

So I’ve sliced up potatoes before to make my own cheese fries, but my Tuesday evening did not warrant that kind of effort after my workout. Then I remembered seeing a recipe on a blog I follow (“My Life as a Mrs.” check her out!) for buffalo cheese fries using frozen french fries, so I gave it a shot.

Excellent choice.

Y’all, these are so delicious – and I portioned it out to make sure it was enough food without being totally horrible for you! I’m sure they’d be a welcome addition to any party you are attending this holiday weekend!

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries (Serves 2 for a meal / 13 WW pts. per serving)

Slightly modified from original recipe found here.

Ingredients

10 oz. Alexia Waffle Cut Fries

1 cup shredded chicken breast (boneless and skinless)

1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce (+ about 2 Tbsp. for drizzling)

1/4 cup celery, chopped

1/3 cup reduced-fat blue cheese

1/3 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar

1 Tbsp. chopped green onion

2 Tbsp. fat-free Ranch (for dipping)

Heat your oven to 400. Layer fries on a baking sheet and bake according to directions.

Chop your veggies and mix your chicken with the hot sauce.

When fries are done baking, move them close together and top with chicken and celery. (I separated mine into 2 portions because the hubby was studying and wanted to eat later, so this portion is allll for me.) Then top with blue cheese crumbles and shredded cheddar.

Step by Step

Bake another 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

Sprinkle with additional hot sauce and add green onions and serve with ranch on the side for dipping.

Plated

I barely needed any ranch, as these were so full of flavor!

Bite - Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries

Try it out if you’re a buffalo chicken freak  fan like me, or if you just want to try a new (and healthy!) twist on a classic.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend everybody!

 

Faux Fried Pickles

Today is a very special post – because I am dedicating it to one of the most amazing women I know – my Biffer!

(For those of you who don’t know, that’s what my sister Lindley and I call each other.)

Why today? Because it’s her birthday!!!! Last night she kept texting me her age – I’m hoping it was because it was the last day she could say the younger year opposed to having to remind herself. Hey, senility is a serious problem for the elderly!

All kidding aside (for now), I truly value my relationship with my sister – I have always looked up to her. I still do today, and likely, I always will. Her relationship with the Lord is truly inspirational, and it shines through her in her daily life. Her marriage (to my rockin’ brother-in-law) of almost 13 years is a wonderful example for my husband and I. And she’s an amazing mother to my 4 adorably silly nephews. Yes, that’s 4 boys. And a husband. And a dog. And well, putting up with me sometimes. Let’s get this woman a cape already!

Biffers

Somebody as special as my Biffer deserves a treat, right? We love having Biffer nights out…and they usually involve some yummy food, beverages and a fun activity. I remember visiting her at IU – we had planned a Biffer craft night where we made lots of fun stuff and watched Moulin Rouge. But before such an intense evening, we needed some fuel. So we went to a local restaurant/bar simply because of an offering on their menu – fried dill pickles.

Now, some may turn up their nose at the sound of fried dill pickles. Especially if you are a semi-rational person freak and don’t like pickles. But they have been a favorite of ours since our childhood when we’d take road trips down to Gulfport, Mississippi to visit my grandparents and eat at the Catfish Shack (sounds pretty classy right?). We actually consider ourselves connoisseurs of the fried pickle – like if a place offers the fried pickle spears, psh, no thank you! It must be the chips!

Close Up Pickles

Whether it was me picking up a to-go order of fried pickles for her during her first pregnancy, or us shoving down an order before going to see Top Gun (she loves Tommy C.) at the Orpheum, fried dill pickles will always make me think of my Biffer.

So today, in honor of my Biffer turning 30 + some, I am sharing a recipe for Faux Fried Pickles – a healthier way to enjoy our obsession!

Faux Fried Pickles (Serves 2-4 / 8 WW points total)

Ingredients

Half a 16 oz. jar thick cut, oval dill pickle chips (I used about 24 slices)

1 egg, beaten

1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. Tabasco

1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. Cajun seasoning

1/3 cup fat-free Ranch dressing

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a medium baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Lay your pickles on some paper towels and blot to dry.

Dry

In a small bowl, whisk together egg, Worcestershire and Tabasco. In a medium dish, mix together breadcrumbs, flour and seasonings. Working in batches, add pickles to the egg mixture to coat. Let any excess drip off, and then add to the crumb mixture. Press pickles into the mixture to ensure a good coating, then add to greased baking sheet. Repeat until all pickles are good and coated. Bake 10-12 minutes, then flip and cook another 5-7 minutes until golden brown.

PickleCollage

Serve hot with some ranch dressing for dipping.

Plated

Hope y’all enjoy…

Faux Fried Pickles

And Happy Birthday Biffer!

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

I am so incredibly excited for this weekend! Not only is it a “we don’t have 15,000 things to get done” type weekend, but tomorrow is supposed to be gorgeous! As much as I do love winter and cold weather precipitation, it’s March people. I need some sunshine.

I’m ready for pretty pastel colors and beautiful flowers! I need to break out the grill and make cold, refreshing fruity beverages!

I need some patio weather…and a tan.

The husband and I absolutely love our backyard, although I confess I do not always have a sunny disposition when it comes to yard work. Okay, I hate it. There, I said it!

But – I do love to entertain, so that kind of makes up for it right? He gets the yard looking nice, I whip up lots of goodies and everybody enjoys themselves. It’s a win-win people (any comments affirming that statement would be appreciated so that I can print and laminate and post on the refrigerator).

So in the spirit of entertaining, I’m sharing a delicious new recipe with y’all I whipped up a few weeks ago and had to make again so that I could get pictures for sharing. I tried a version of these out at lunch with my co-workers a few weeks ago and though, I could easily make a healthier version of these!

With Dip

And voila, I did. It should come as no surprise to you that it’s a buffalo chicken recipe…I’m pretty transparent huh?

Baked Buffalo Chicken Egg rolls  (Makes 8 egg rolls / 3 WW points per egg roll)

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup cooked chicken breast, shredded

1-2 oz. fat free cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup celery, chopped fine

1/2 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

1/3 cup Frank’s red hot sauce (this is a good medium heat and good consistency)

8 egg roll wrappers

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray

1/2 cup fat free Ranch dressing

Heat your oven to 350 and coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

In a small bowl, mix together shredded chicken and cream cheese. Start with 1oz. cream cheese and see how it blends – shouldn’t be overly mushy, just enough to kind of hold the chicken together. Then add your hot sauce, celery and blue cheese crumbles and mix together until combined.

Cream CheeseHot Sauce

Blue Cheese

That was easy enough, right?

Now for the semi-tricky part – making the egg rolls look pretty decent. Make sure you have a clean, dry work surface and a small bowl of water and a pastry brush. Here are my step-by-step instructions…and some entertainment because I can’t be the only one who has it in my head while giving 5-step instructions. You know you love me.

Step 1: Take corner closet to you and fold up to filling. Brush top with a little water.

Step 2: Take side corners and fold inward on top of bottom fold.

Step 3: Firmly roll the wrapper up toward the top corner.

Step 4: Brush wrapper with water where the top corner is about to meet and press down.

Step 5: Place on baking sheet, spray with butter and repeat until done!

Eggroll Steps

It really is easier once you get the hang of it…and if they don’t turn out beautiful, at least they are still delicious right?

Once you have all of your egg rolls, um, rolled, bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven, flip, spray other sides with butter spray, and return to oven for another 6-7 minutes. Plate and serve with Ranch dressing.

Plated

These are super delicious and actually pretty filling – the husband and I had these for dinner one night and 4 seemed to be the perfect amount! I’m sure you could cut these in half and serve as appetizers…but let’s be honest, you need a whole one to yourself!

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend everybody!

Caribbean-Style Crab Cakes

Well, if you haven’t realized it already – tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! (And seriously, if you haven’t – it basically means you never leave your house, turn on your radio, tv or computer – so those of you who I am addressing aren’t even reading this)

Now, I have always enjoyed Valentine’s Day – yes, even when I was single. I loved getting together with my girlfriends and eating ice cream, drinking wine and hanging out. Yes, even when 3 of us went to dinner at a nice restaurant and the server kept asking us if anybody else was joining us…

Well, now that I’m a married woman – the day holds a little more significance. I know it’s a “Hallmark” holiday, but what’s wrong with a day dedicated to love?

I still don’t understand going to a favorite restaurant to be served from a limited menu at double the cost, but that could just be because I tend to be a homebody sometimes. As I’ve said before, nothing beats enjoying a nice fancy meal consumed in the comfort of clothing that involves an elastic waistband.

So if you’re thinking like me (terrifying, I know) and want a special meal in – look no further friends. I bring you a recipe for Caribbean-style crab cakes. You could half the recipe and pair a crab cake with a small steak, or just make the whole batch paired with some roasted parmesan asparagus.

I usually prepare this recipe as an appetizer that makes about 16 servings, but it is just as delicious made just for 2. Now a few of the variations here were to make this recipe Weight Watchers friendly – like Fiber One crumbs – so the mixture is a little more “wet” than most crab cakes.

Caribbean-Style Crab Cakes (Serves 2 for meal / 8 WW points per serving; Makes 16 mini cakes for appetizer / 1 WW point each)

Ingredients

8 oz. crab meat (I go for the “specialty” kind – smaller pieces make it easier)

1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup green onion, diced

1 Tbsp. Caribbean jerk seasoning

1 tsp. dried parsley

3/4 cup ground Fiber One bran cereal

1 Tbsp. honey

1/4 cup egg beaters

1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. margarine

Cayenne pepper for garnish

2 Tbsp. apricot jam

1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Begin by chopping the bell pepper and onion. Add to bowl with crab meat, Caribbean seasoning, parsley and cereal crumbs.

Dry Ingredients

Then add in mayonnaise, honey and egg. Mix together until all ingredients are incorporated. Form into 4 large patties – I had some leftover to prevent the patties from being too massive. (You can also form into 16 small patties for appetizers – start with a scoop the size of a ping-pong ball and work it into a patty.) Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Wet ingredients

Heat 1 Tbsp. margarine over medium in a large skillet. When margarine is hot, add crab cakes. Cook 5-7 minutes on medium-low and then flip, cooking an additional 5-7 minutes.

CakesCooked

While cakes are cooking, whisk together apricot and lime.

Apricot Lime

Add crab cakes to plate and sprinkle with a small amount of cayenne pepper.

Plated

Then top with a dollop of apricot-lime sauce…

Cake with Sauce

and devour with a glass of crisp white wine.

Close Up

Have a happy Valentine’s Day everybody!

A Week of Celebration

Do you know what tomorrow is? I mean, other than the day that adorable little Phil will tell us when Spring is set to arrive.

Tomorrow is my blog’s birthday! Or is it anniversary?

Let’s go with birthday since that’s the theme of the week. On Monday I said farewell to my 20’s – so today, as a way of celebrating this lovely occasion, my blog will say farewell to something too. Have you figured out the surprise? Check the top of your computer screen:

www.cookingonthebrightside.com

My blog has its’ own domain name now! Very nerdy of me to be excited about, I know, but hey – if you’ve been with me for a year, you expect it by now, right?

Have no fear – any older links will still take you to your favorite recipe. Now it’s just abbreviated, which means it’s easier to remember for when you’re passing it along to your friends. (Wink wink).

In addition to tomorrow being a very special day for my blog – Sunday is a very special day  for football lovers (like myself) and for food lovers (um, duh) and for those of us who just enjoy fun celebratory occasions in general.

So if you’re hosting a party for 50 on Sunday or just getting together with a small group and maybe tuning in to the Puppy Bowl – here’s a little recipe roundup for your menu planning!

Pre Game

AppCollage

Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Buffa-faux Chicken Tenders

Mexican Dip

Skinny Faux-Fried Mozzarella Sticks

The Main Event

Main Course Collage

Buffalo Chicken Soft Tacos

Buffalo Chicken Soup

BBQ Chicken Stromboli

Cheeseburger Soup

Pizza Soup

Spicy Pulled Beef

Turkey Beer Chili

Of course, you can always jazz your party up with a fun theme. I’m talking about New Orleans. So serve up some festively Cajun recipes and throw back a Louisiana-brewed beer  (might I recommend Abita? Light and Amber are delicious!) and you’ll feel like you’re celebrating in the Big Easy!

Lagniappe (translation: a little something extra)

CajunCollage

“Fried Shrimp” with Spicy Sauce (or make some po boys cut up into sliders!)

Cajun Shrimp Casserole

Creole Stew

I hope everybody has a wonderful weekend celebrating – as they say in N’awlins…

“Laissez les bons temps rouler!”