Kickin' Buffalo Chicken Dip

Another potluck, another recipe! This one is geared toward the men in my life, who just cannot seem to get enough of buffalo flavored anything! I swear, if you added buffalo sauce to even cupcakes, men would love it!

This buffalo chicken dip comes from my friend Eric, and boy is it delicious. I mean, I know all of the not so good for you ingredients that go into it, and I swear, it does not deter me from not delving into the creamy goodness. My justification is that I eat it on celery and carrots instead of tortilla chips. Whatever works!

So, I won't lie, this one does take a little bit of time, but it is totally worth it. Really though, most of it is hands off until the very end, when you add in all of the good stuff, you know, bleu cheese dressing and cream cheese. Yum! The recipe is perfect for a potluck, a picnic, and football games, and travels well in a mini crock pot. This recipe here is a real winner!

Buffalo Bleu Cheese Chicken Dip
adapted from Eric's recipe

4-5 boneless chicken breasts
2-3 bottles of beer
½ stick of butter
2, 8oz pkgs cream cheese ( I used 1 cream cheese package and 1 Neufchatel cheese)
1 cup franks wing sauce (or just a whole cup of one or the other)
1 cup of blue cheese dressing
3 handfuls of cheese-Used Cabot Cheddar- my absolute favorite!

Place chicken and 1 bottle of beer in sauce pan on stove
Simmer with a lid over medium-low heat for 2-2.5 hrs. Add more beer over this time as liquid is absorbed or evaporates- I used 2 beers. Between 2 – 2.5 hours, take the lid off and start breaking the chicken up with a fork. Pull the chicken until it reaches a “shredded” consistency. There should still be some beer left in the pan as you are doing this. By the end of shredding, all the beer will probably have absorbed into the shredded chicken. If not, cook until liquid is evaporated.

Add Butter and let melt
Add wing sauce and bring back up to a simmer
Add cream cheese one at a time and stir until it is melted
Add blue cheese/ranch dressing
Add cheese and stir until melted

Transfer to a mini crock pot to keep warm for serving


Candy Cane Cupcakes

Tis the season for potlucks, and potlucks, and a few other potlucks. I have tried so hard to be creative about what to bring, but crock pot recipes are boring and typically full of meat, and quite frankly, I have no other kitchen gear that would help keep food warm on even the smallest trek to a home.

In the past two weeks I have had two potlucks. For the first one, I made a tomato, mushroom, and mozzarella quiche. Totally easy, versatile, and I was able to use my new Le Creuset 12 inch cast iron pan. The pan is amazing, as was the quiche. Le Creuset, as I have said here before, is hands down my favorite kitchen cooking brand. The products are amazing.

Today though, I am here to tell you about Candy Cane Cupcakes. Who has time for cupcakes when there are so many cookies to bake, you might ask. I promise though, you should make the time for these babies. Easy to make chocolate and vanilla cake, with a lovely peppermint butter cream frosting. Simple, not overly minty, and delicious.

The cake portion of the cupcake recipes come from my favorite baking book, "Organic and Chic." I posted about it here before. The vanilla cake is simply to die for. The frosting came from Peanut Butter and Julie's Blog. Together, the two foods move mountains, and help to clear out nostrils in this cold New England weather.

So instead of making your 12th batch of cookies tonight, reach for this recipe. You won't be let down.


C is for Cookie

I love baking cookies. They are my most favorite dessert, and I get really excited for cookie making at the holidays. I personally love to give the gift of sweet treats to friends, as they are nostalgic, delicious, and most importantly, easy to ship!

Every Christmas season, my mom, sister and I used to pick a day and bake all day long. There were rarely any new recipes to add to our standards, but I never cared, because the ones we made were always my favorites- Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Blossom, Sugar, Pizzelles, Sour Cream cookies (Dad's cookies!). When I moved out of my parents, I also started the tradition.

This year my baking day fell a little early in December, but thankfully, cookies are easy to freeze. I made chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter blossoms, bourbon balls, sugar cookies, lemon poppyseed biscotti, irish coffee cookies, and this recipe. I look forward to this day all year long, especially this year, because Jack bought me Gourmet's Cookie book. Talk about some very different cookies, the book is totally jam packed with them. I love following the trends of all of the years, and it is interesting to see how cooks improvised during war years when many ingredients were rationed. Jack had the opportunity to choose a few for me to bake, and I am going to share one with you.

Before I indulge you with a chocolaty mint cookie bar, I do want to say this, and hopefully you are reading Mom, there were several times throughout the day where I really said, "I miss you mom," as I was slaving over the stove by myself, as opposed to the three of us. So maybe next year, I will make it home!

Now on to the cookie! This was the 2006 cookie of the year for Gourmet. The book details cookies from 1941, until the magazine's downfall in 2009. So, the Chocolate Peppermint Bar Cookies are definitely one of the newest recipes, and certainly my easiest undergoing of the day. The cookies were easy to whip up, required 2 bowls and a baking dish, and took only 20 minutes to bake. Much simpler than cookie sheet after cookie sheet being put in the oven every 10 minutes. The result was a chewy, chocolaty, minty brownie textured cookie bar. Immediately, Jack's reaction was this: "this one is a keeper!" There are very few recipes he says that for, but this one is definitely worth it!

For copyright purposes, I will not print the recipe here, but the easiest way to replicate the recipe without getting the book is to create a basic chocolate cookie bar recipe and add 1/2 c of semi sweet chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup peppermint candy pieces (or crushed candy canes)

Should you need help though or would like any of the other recipes, please let me know!