Recipe Round Up: “The Big Game”

This Sunday is kind of a big deal.

I mean there’s Groundhog Day. Obviously we’re all pumped for that – who doesn’t love chubby little Phil?

There’s also the Super Bowl – which I am always pumped for, since it combines one of my passions with my profession (that would be football and marketing).

Both are probably marked on your calendar for grocery shopping and wardrobe planning, but do you know what else happens Sunday? This little blog celebrates 2 years!

Obviously a day this epic deserves a recipe round-up – so if you’re looking for some snacks to whip up for “The Big Game” – you have come to the right place. Should I even mention the fact that this might be the best blog to come to for all things buffalo, which is like, a staple for Super Bowl Sunday? That and the game is being played in close proximity to the origin of “Buffalo Wings“. Boom. Droppin’ knowledge.

I’ll stop now.

The Game Plan

The Warm-Up

Warm Up - Super Bowl Recipes

Buffalo Hummus

Buffalo Egg Rolls

Buffalo Chicken Potato Sins

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries

Faux Fried Pickles

The Big Game

Big Game

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Game Time Chili

New York (close enough) State of Mind

I had to put this in there because I’m a sucker for a theme. When I think New York – a few staples come to mind. Italian delights – mozzarella sticks and pizza. And of course salmon, bagels and cream cheese, which comes to you in flat bread form below! Maybe I’ll drum up my own creation with some pastrami this weekend!

New York State of Mind

Faux Fried Mozzarella Sticks

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Pizza Soup

Smoked Salmon Flatbread

And let’s be honest, I could LIVE off snack foods along – so don’t be ashamed if you just make a bunch of appetizers and call it your meal. That may be exactly what happened in my household last year…and I certainly did not hear any complaints!

Hope you find something you enjoy! Have a great weekend and enjoy the festivities!

 

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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!

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!”

Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins

I have a serious issue.

I mean beyond my fear of balloons (also known as “globophobia” – which means I am not alone!). And okay, I’m also overlooking the rage incited within me when somebody confuses the words “flavor” and “scent.” Yeah, let that one marinate for a minute..it’s maddening!

The issue I’m talking about is my love for all things buffalo-flavored.

You’d think I would have fun out of buffalo inspired recipes by now. You, my dear friend, would be wrong.

I also have an obsession with potato skins. I love potatoes in pretty much every form – but roasted until crispy and topped with cheese and bacon? Right, no words needed.

Clearly, not exactly the healthiest of choices – but in my defense, I usually order this “appetizer” as a main meal. I’ll be debating my selection and the husband will look up from his menu and be like “You’re ordering potato skins aren’t you?” Yes, over that delicious famous local burger or yummy spicy hot wings. Over hot wings people – that speaks volumes, does it not?

Well, I have finally found a way to combine my two loves – and the best part is that this recipe is healthy for either a main meal or a snack! It’s the perfect thing to enjoy while watching college football this weekend – or to snack on next week when you’re burnt out on turkey!

Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins (2 WW pts. per skin with 1/2 Tbsp. Ranch dressing)

6 small russet potatoes

8 oz. raw chicken breast

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce

6 Tbsp. reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

1/2 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella

1 Tbsp. Hidden Valley Ranch Mix

6 Tbsp. fat-free Ranch dressing

Salt and pepper

Olive oil spray

Preheat your oven to 450.

Slice all of your potatoes in half. This will give you 12 halves. See? Math is fun!

Now scoop out the insides of your potatoes, leaving about 1/4 inch border to hold your filling and well, allow you to taste the potato. I used a melon baller to scoop since the potatoes are still raw.

Spray both sides of your potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. I sprinkled a little Ranch seasoning on the inside to give it a little extra boost of flavor – yum! Place skins on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until the potato flesh is tender and the skins are slightly crispy.

While the potatoes are cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil and add your chicken. When chicken is cooked (8-10 minutes is good) let chicken cool slightly and shred with 2 forks. Add about 2-3 Tbsp. hot sauce and mix well.

When your potato skins are cooked, remove from the oven and begin to assemble!

Add your shredded chicken and celery. Then add about 1/2 Tbsp. each of blue cheese crumbles and shredded mozzarella.

Return to oven for 5-7 minutes until cheese has melted.

Remove and drizzle remaining 2-3 Tbsp. hot sauce on potato skins. I also sprinkled with some dried chives due to lack of green onion, but that’s up to you!

Serve with some fat-free Ranch dressing for dipping and devour!

Try them while you’re rooting on your team this weekend…you won’t regret it!

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

My goodness, what a week it has been! First week back at work from vacation is usually rough…but things got very interesting!

So, I have 3 amazing and adorable nephews from my wonderful Biffer and bro-in-law. Well, my sister was scheduled to be induced for baby #4 on Thursday, which was frustrating because she has ALWAYS wanted the movie moment of going into labor! She has tried everything – even got a ticket on her way to get spicy food for baby #3!

Monday she came over to drop off some garage sale stuff and was then en route to get the spiciest dish at her favorite Chinese restaurant. I offered to take her to Wal-Mart if she wanted to test the “stress induces labor” theory. She declined, because she can’t stand the place.

However, I totally think it worked cause guess what happened Tuesday morning? She went into labor! And Tuesday afternoon, my precious baby nephew #4 was born!

Proud Aunt moment:

Now, I won’t take full credit – as the spicy food probably had something to do with as well. So, I thought I’d share one of my new favorite spicy recipes with y’all on this Friday – and since it’s buffalo flavored, it obviously means good weekend food! It is also great for leftover lunches or dinners – serve with some bread or a crisp salad!

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna (Makes 8 servings / 7 WW pts. each)

1 pound chicken breast, raw

3 cups spaghetti sauce (Ragu light)

1 1/2 cups Frank’s Red Hot sauce (this is spicy – so use less if you are hesitant about spice!)

1 1/4 cups water

1/2 cup chopped celery

15 oz. reduced-fat ricotta cheese

1/2 cup egg beaters

1 Tbsp. ranch seasoning

1/2 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

10-12 pieces whole wheat lasagna

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Cook chicken (either boil or bake) and shred.

In a small bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, egg beaters and ranch seasoning.

In a medium bowl, mix together spaghetti sauce, hot sauce, water, celery and chicken.

Pour a small amount of the sauce in the baking dish. Layer with 3 1/2 pieces of lasagna. Spread with 1/3 ricotta cheese and another layer of sauce. Repeat noodle, cheese, sauce until left with sauce on top.

Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles on top.

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes…

Slice into 8 pieces…

And devour!

Happy Friday everybody, hope you have a great weekend!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

So it’s been a whole like, 5 blog posts since I did something buffalo-flavored so I just have to go ahead and rectify that issue.

When I started doing the weight watchers thing, I loved the frozen meals that already had the points included. I had a few favorites that I’d load up on during sales at the grocery stores! After a while though, I got bored. I’d walk to the freezer at work and look at my lunch for the day and think “Yuck.”

The problem is that when I cook recipes, I usually cook for two so it’s rare to have too many leftovers for lunch. So I decided to just make lunch dishes while making dinner!

I found that bringing a nice cold pasta salad for work is always refreshing (like the one I showed you last week) – and a homemade dish never makes me think “Yuck” as lunch time approaches! You should definitely give this one a try!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad (Serves 4 / 7 WW pts. per serving)

5 oz. penne pasta (enriched or whole wheat)

1 c. cooked chicken breast, shredded

1/2 c. carrot, chopped

1/2 c. celery, chopped

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 c. Frank’s red hot sauce + 1 Tbsp. if desired

1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. onion powder

1/8 tsp. celery salt

1/2 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

In a medium pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.

Cook chicken by boiling or baking and shred with two forks. 

Add chicken to drained pasta.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, hot sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder and celery salt.

Add chopped carrots and celery to chicken and pasta. Then add your blue cheese crumbles.

Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss until combined. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Serve cold…and enjoy a delicious lunch that beats anything you stick in the microwave…

Buffalo Chicken Soft Tacos

When I am asked to come up with my favorite foods, I am incredibly consistent and not picky with whatever form it comes in – like Tuna (a delicious fresh tuna steak, raw or canned) Artichokes (seriously, anything with them probably makes me happy) and anything buffalo/hot wing flavored.

Luckily, the husband shares my love for buffalo flavored anything. We love us some hot wings. We love buffalo shrimp, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo chicken soup, buffalo chicken meatballs – clearly it’s a problem, but one of those good ones to have, right? I also feel like Bubba from Forrest Gump right now…

So I recently threw together some buffalo chicken soft tacos – and I figured we’d just go ahead and make this another edition of “Faux Bar Food Friday” – because we all know that an ice cold beer goes great with any and all buffalo chicken type items. And beer goes great with Friday. And long weekends.

See, that worked out so well!

This is one of those easy to throw together meals – especially because you can do a lot of the prep before you sit down to eat! I promise, once you smell the chicken cooking, you’ll want to devour it immediately! (And of course, it’s WW friendly – only 10 points…for dinner!)

Buffalo Chicken Soft Tacos (serves 2)

8 oz. raw boneless, skinless chicken breast

4 medium whole wheat tortillas

1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth

1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1/4 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

1/2 cup raw celery, chopped

1/2 cup raw carrot, peeled and julienne

1/2 cup lettuce, chopped

1/4 cup green onion, chopped

Extra hot sauce for topping

Add chicken broth to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add chicken breasts and cook 20-25 minutes until cooked through.

In the meantime, cut up your celery, carrots and green onion and refrigerate until ready to use.

Once chicken is cooked through, remove from pot – reserving 1/4 cup broth. Let chicken cool a little and then begin shredding with two forks.

Once all of your chicken is shredded, place back in the pot with chicken broth and hot sauce.

Cook over low heat until liquid is mostly absorbed.

While that’s happening, dampen two paper towels – place one on a microwaveable plate and add your 4 tortillas, and top with the 2nd towel. Microwave for 20-25 seconds. This makes the tortillas a little more pliable and less likely to tear when you fold them!

Grab your veggies from the fridge along with your blue cheese and get ready to assemble!

I spread about 1 tsp. ranch in the center of the tortillas and top with chicken, celery, carrots, lettuce, green onion and blue cheese.

I threw a few more dashes of hot sauce on top (because I’m just freaky like that) – but you can just go ahead and devour…

Have a very happy and safe Memorial Day weekend everybody!