Buffalo Chicken Wontons for my Ravens

It’s a big game day for the Baltimore Ravens. If we win we go on to one more playoff game before we are in the Super Bowl. I wore my jersey all day, even at the dog park and grocery store.

The best football snack out there is buffalo chicken dip. Period. It’s my signature party dish (those cake balls might get a few requests too). Memorial day parties, birthday parties, New Years Eve parties you name it they love it. Ladies you will win your mans heart with this dip. Why haven’t I blogged about it earlier you ask? Because it’s ugly! This pinkish creamy chicken dip does not photograph well at all, so we are going to go a different route …

We will fill wontons with the dip and fry them up! Of course feel free to skip the wontons though and just make the dip to serve with celery or chips.

3 small chicken breasts – poached (Don’t over cook them, you will taste it in your dip, yuck)
1 package of cream cheese (soft enough to combine with other ingredients)
1/2 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing (your choice)
1/2 cup Franks Red Hot (or more if you like it really hot)
1 cup shredded cheese
1 package wonton wrappers

Cut your poached chicken in halves and shred them with your food processor (use the shedding attachment). Some recipes call for using canned chuck chicken, but that makes me want to throw up. I find that a food processor gets the chicken to a nice creamy dip with out losing the fresh chicken flavor.

Pour the processed chicken in with the cream cheese, hot sauce, dressing, and cheddar. Mix until they are incorporated.

Place a dollop of the dip, about a quarter size, in the center of your wonton wrapper. Pull one corner over to the other forming a triangle. Connect the bottom corners in the center and then the top so you have wonton envelops. (Dampen your fingers with water when closing the wontons so they will stick.) Trick: If they are kept in the freezer for about 5 minutes before you fry them they will hold up better.

Fry them in about an inch of canola oil until they are golden brown. Serve with hot sauce and ranch or blue cheese.


Brie, Apple, and Prosciutto Grilled Cheese

So this probably has to be the best sandwich I’ve ever had. No really, it was perfect. My mouth is watering and I can’t wait to make it again.

I really wanted breakfast for dinner last night. I was craving that sweet and savory combination of pancakes, runny eggs and bacon. But my practical and frugal instincts kept flashing images of all the brie cheese we have left over from our New Years party.

Then it came to me… a sweet and savory grilled cheese. YUM. The sweetness of the bread and tart apples balance the creamy brie and salty prosciutto perfectly. I took a bite and literally said “Oh wow, this is really good.” It was extremely hard to focus on taking photos, I kept thinking  that the cheese wouldn’t be as melted and gooey if I didn’t eat it immediately. 

Need

Pepperidge Farm cinnamon raisin swirl bread
Brie cheese
Butter
Green apple
Fresh prosciutto
Gruyere (optional)

Instructions
Place one tablespoon of butter on your frying pan or skillet and lightly butter the outsides of the bread. On medium heat place your bread on the pan, butter side down. The sequence of ingredients that comes next is very important. First is the gruyere layer. Just two thinly sliced small pieces is fine. I used the gruyere to give it more of a sharp cheesy flavor. Brie can be bland at times depending on where you buy it.

Next is one slice of prosciutto. On top of the prosciutto is the apple. Very important: The apple slices must be paper thin. It will be difficult to eat and too tart if not. I used a mandolin and it worked well.

The last layer is the brie, about three strips without the rind (because the cheeses are closest to the grill you get the right gooey consistency with out burning the bread). By the time you are done layering and your bread top goes on butter side up, you should be ready to flip. Check the color and crisp of the bread. It should be golden brown and just slightly crunchy. 


With all this good food lately it’s a good thing I have been running but I miss my yoga. If anyone knows of a good studio in the Northern VA area that isn’t Bikram. Please, please let me know.

Yes! Cake Pops

I think these cake balls might just be my best accomplishment yet! I wish I could show you what they looked like the first time I tried back in July but I wouldn’t dare. Oh boy what a mess. Picture this: large, brown, icicled, chocolate balls with frosting spikes. Sounds delicious no? Actually they tasted amazing, they just looked awful. If you have attempted these trendy balls of goodness and failed I bet you did the same thing I did. Melting regular chocolate chips or frosting will not work for the outer shell. 

You must buy “candy melts.” You can get them at Michaels or other specialty stores for candy making. I actually found them (after I went to Michaels of course) at my local grocery store. I also picked up some lolly pop sticks at Michaels as well. I like them better on sticks, easier to eat and way more fun.

I followed Ree’s instructions over at The Pioneer Woman. Her photos were extremely helpful. She of course adapter her recipe from bakerella’s signature cake pops.

My separate advice: After you freeze the cake balls (small cake balls the size of a walnut) stick in your lolly pop stick next and then swirl and coat them in the melted chocolate. I found that they were more evenly coated that way.  

I went with a coconut cake mixed with a cream cheese frosting. The candy shell is dark chocolate and white. The crumbs on the outside are some cookies and toffee.

Fancy Schmancy Jello Shots

We had a little party on New Years Eve. I made some treats that I will be sharing with you this week but these were by far the coolest.

Jello shots are always fun at a party, but those flimsy Dixie cups can be such an eye sore. Try this instead!

(One orange makes 4 shots so buy accordingly) We made about 50 shots with two boxes of jello. Cut the orange in half and scoop out the insides. Then make your jello and vodka mix. 1 packet of jello, any flavor, gets 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vodka. (Follow the instructions on the jello box. They call for two cups of water and use your liquor of choice instead for one cup) Fill your orange halves with the mixture and then place them in the fridge until they are very firm. When they are ready carefully cut the halves into quarters and voila!

We used cherry because we already had it in the pantry but think of all the delicious and pretty combination’s you can come up with. Imagine lime peels with lemon and tequila jello! Or lemon peels with pink lemonade and vodka jello!

Check out more interesting jello shot recipes here (these kids really put some effort in this).

Bananas Foster: A Love Story

I have a million memories of  making bananas foster but my favorite was when Heather and I braved the first storm of “Snowmageddon” last year (close to 3 feet of snow total) and walked to 7/11 for a midnight snack. At first we grabbed Doritos, and Snickers bars but then we saw that they had bananas and those little packages of Sarah Lee pound cakes. We had butter, brown sugar and rum. Jackpot.

The streets were deserted and completed white, it hardly looked like a main turnpike. The sky was pitch black. We looked like Eskimos with 7/11 bags and I think we even sang Christmas songs. It was wonderful.

Bananas Foster
Recipe from Paula Deen (It’s got a stick of butter in it! Of course I used her recipe) 

1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 bananas peeled and halved, cut lengthwise
1/4 cup dark rum
1 slice of pound cake 

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add brown sugar and stir together. Slice and add the bananas, cook until caramelized over medium-high heat. Pour in the rum and carefully light the pan on fire with a match or lighter (a long candle lighter is best). Flambe. The flame will shoot high out of the pan, don’t panic it will die out within 25 seconds. Serve immediately over a slice of pound cake with scoops of vanilla ice cream.