Buffalo Chicken Meatball Sliders

I saw this recipe for Buffalo Chicken Meatballs on an episode of Martha Stewart.  The meatballs themselves looked good, but I thought it would be a great idea to make these mini sliders.  These little guys are incredibly tasty and pack all the taste of buffalo wings with no mess.  Or, if you feel like skipping out on the bun, they still make a fantastic appetizer just as meatballs.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs {print recipe}

1/4 cup butter, melted 
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Frank’s RedHot hot sauce
1 pound ground chicken
1 egg
1/2 cup celery, finely minced
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup saltine crackers, finely crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Blue Cheese Dip {recipe follows} and Celery sticks, for serving
In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave and then whisk in the hot sauce.  Set aside to cool.  In a separate bowl, combine the chicken, eggs, celery, breadcrumbs, and salt.  {I use a mini food processor to crush my crackers and to finely mince the celery.}  Add in the butter mixture.  Using your hands, mix until well combined. Roll chicken mixture into firm, 1-inch round balls and place on a non-stick baking sheet {use a cookie scoop for a consistent size}.  Meatballs can be spread apart or if you are making a double batch they can be arranged in rows so that they are touching on all sides. Transfer to oven and bake at 450 degrees until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Take out of oven and let stand 5 minutes before removing from baking sheet. For sliders, place a meatball between the buns and top the meatball with blue cheese dip.  Or if you are serving just the meatballs, arrange on a serving platter and drizzle with hot sauce; serve with dip and celery sticks.  Yields 24 meatballs.
Blue Cheese Dip
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.
´╗┐Buffalo Chicken Meatball recipe is from here on Martha Stewart’s website, and the blue cheese recipe is adapted from here.

Cheese Ball

This is my go to cheese dip.  It’s good for any party.  I’m on spring break this week and made this the other day for a “stay-cation” get together.  Basically, a bunch of us teachers {which in my case couldn’t afford to go on a real vacation} got together to celebrate and have some fun.  It was a great time with some great friends!  This cheese ball was gone by the end of it, so I’m assuming it was a hit!

Cheese Ball
12-ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup onion, finely minced
1 5-ounce jar kraft old english cheese {optional}*
3/4 cup quality deli ham, finely chopped {about 1/4 pound}
8-ounces sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Beat together the cream cheese and old english cheese until creamy.  Finely mince the onion and the ham and combine with the cheeses {I used a mini food processor to make this really quick and easy}.  Reserve 1 cup of the shredded cheese and add the rest to the mixture.  Beat until ingredients are well incorporated.  Refrigerate for a couple hours until hardened, roll into a ball {I froze mine for a few minutes so it was easier to roll}, and coat with remaining shredded cheese.  Serve with your favorite crackers.

*The old english cheese is optional and just makes this cheeseball a little more tangy and creamy.  Sometimes when I don’t have it on hand I skip it and the cheese dip is still good.

Mexican Bean Dip

I have come to the realization that I really need to work on balance in my life.  I haven’t posted a recipe for nearly a week now.  I try to post almost daily, and now a stretch with nothing…  I am currently working on my master’s degree and have had various assignments the last few weeks, so cooking has taken a back seat.  I seem to focus on one thing and ignore the rest… definitely something I need to work on.  However, this next week I should be back to my regular posting.

As you also may have noticed, my last few posts have been Mexican food.  It is not timed for or themed around any Mexican holidays, but just because I felt like cooking Mexican dishes for an entire week.  One of my co-workers made this bean dip for a party several years ago.  My husband loved it and I have been making it ever since.  This has been a big hit at nearly every get together I have had.  Jeremy requests this often and I’m glad to comply since it is so quick and easy to put together.

Mexican Bean Dip {print recipe}
1 16-ounce can fat free refried beans
1 16-ounce container low-fat sour cream
1 1-ounce packet taco seasoning mix* {about 3 tablespoons}
1 1/2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded {about half a head}
6-ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded {about 1 1/2 cups}
1/2 cup red peppers, minced{about a half a pepper}
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup onion, minced
Any other toppings you may like {black olives, etc.}

*My favorite taco mix to use is Old El Paso’s Hot & Spicy.  It gives it just a little bit of a kick.  Or if you prefer you can make your own taco seasoning.  I haven’t tried it yet with my own seasoning, but if you are trying to be healthier and cut back on packaged foods and/or sodium I think it would be worth a try!

Spread the refried beans on the bottom of a serving dish.  Mix together the taco seasoning and sour cream and spread over the refried beans.  Add the lettuce and then the cheese.  Top with desired toppings – peppers, onions, olives, etc.  Chill for about a half hour and serve.  {The lettuce does have a tendency to get soggy after several hours so you will want to assemble this shortly prior to serving.  You could easily spread the bean and sour cream layers in advance, cut the lettuce and toppings, and set them aside to chill until ready to serve.}

Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos

This is the first time I made this recipe, but I will definitely be making these again soon!  Not only were they simple to make, they were tasty too!  They reheat nicely for leftovers and also freeze well for a super quick meal later on.  My husband hates leftovers!  {I’m not a fan either and usually wait a couple days before having to use them up.}  However, the very next day my husband was asking where these were so he could warm them up for a snack.  I ´╗┐had already taken them to work and eaten them for lunch!  These would also be perfect for Mexican themed entertaining.  I guarantee it would be a hit with everyone, and you could make the filling in advance and then just roll them up and bake them prior to serving. 
Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos {print recipe}

4-ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/4 cup salsa
Juice of half a lime
3/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, grated
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
4 tablespoons scallions, chopped
3 cups cooked and shredded chicken {about 2 large breasts}
8-ounces queso fresco, crumbled
16 {6-inch} flour or corn tortillas
Cooking spray

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and sour cream with the salsa, lime juice, cumin, chile powder, cayenne, garlic, cilantro, scallions, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt.  Fold in the chicken and queso.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Warm the tortillas in the microwave for about 20 to 30 seconds until they are softened and easy to work with without cracking.  Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly.  Place seam side-down on a lightly sprayed baking sheet evenly apart.  Spray the taquitos lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt.  In a preheated 425 degree oven, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown.  Serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole.  Yields 16 to 18 taquitos.

*To freeze, prepare the taquitos, but before baking, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the taquitos are completely cold.  Wrap each taquito in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and freeze.  To bake, unwrap the taquitos and cook  in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes {no need to thaw first}.

Recipe is adapted from Pink Parsley, originally from Our Best Bites.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Everytime I make this dip I get compliments!  My husband and I love all things spicy and this dip is perfect for us.  Which is funny, because when I first met him I didn’t like anything with a kick.  Now I add it in most of my recipes.  I tone it down a notch when I post recipes on here.  In fact, when it calls for buffalo sauce, I actually use extra hot.  This dip is certainly a party pleaser or even great for a weekend snack!

Buffalo Chicken Dip (print recipe)
2 chicken breasts
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup Frank’s red hot buffalo sauce
1 (8 oz.) package light cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup ranch or blue cheese dressing, light*

Cut up the chicken into very small pieces.  Drizzle oil in a heated pan and add the onions, saute for about 5 minutes until soft and transparent.  Add the chicken and cook through.  Toss the onions and chicken in the buffalo sauce, set aside.  Layer the ingredients in a baking dish.  First spread the cream cheese on the bottom on the baking dish, add the chicken layer, then sprinkle evenly with cheddar cheese, and finally top with the dressing.  Place in a 350 degree oven until the dip is heated through and bubbling, about 20 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips, sliced baguettes, or celery sticks.

*I used a combination of 2/3 cup ranch and 1/3 cup blue cheese dressing because I had both on hand, and it made for a good combination.  The first time I made it with just blue cheese, but my husband does not care for blue cheese so I changed it up a little.  Everyone enjoyed it!

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