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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Party Dip (Wowie!)

This is a hearty dip with all the flavors of buffalo chicken wings without all the grease. It’s got a lot of strong flavors so people either LOOOOOVE it or hate it. This is a great recipe for a houseful of guests, but it makes a lot, so cut it in half for smaller gatherings. Not your average dip! From Tiffany Johnson.

3 cups of shredded cooked chicken (about 3 chicken breasts)
1-2 packages (8oz) of light or fat-free cream cheese
1 bottle (about 16oz) of chunky bleu cheese dressing
1 bottle (16oz) of Anchor Bar chicken wing sauce
1 (12 oz) package of Mexican 4-cheese blend

Sautee chicken in a pan over medium heat with the wing sauce until all the absorbed, stirring occasionally. In a 9x13 pan layer the cream cheese, the chicken and sauce mixture, then the bleu cheese dressing, then the shredded cheese. Bake at 375 degrees or until bubbly. Serve with hearty tortilla chips or crackers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sweet Potato Medallions with Pecans and Goat Cheese

Roasting the sweet potatoes turns them Marshmallow-y sweet and delicious with no added sugar.  I'd eat this any day over candied yams!

1 1/2 pounds sweet potato, scrubbed, unpeeled, in 3/4- to 1-inch coins
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup toasted and cooled pecan halves
2 tiny or 1 small shallot
2 stalks celery
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon dried cranberries or cherries (optional)
2 ounces firmish goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet generously with olive oil, about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Lay sweet potatoes in one layer on the oiled sheet. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast, without disturbing, for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully flip each piece: the undersides should be blistery, dark and a bit puffy and should release from the pan with no effort. If they’re not, let it cook longer. Sprinkle them with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper and return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until the undersides match the tops.

Meanwhile, prepare your salad. Chop your pecans well, mince your shallot, chop your celery and parsley, mince cranberries if using them. Crumble your goat cheese. In a small dish, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon dijon. Pour half of the dressing over salad.

When the sweet potatoes are done, lay on a serving platter. Scoop a spoonful of the salsa over each round. Pour remaining salad dressing over top, to taste. Eat immediately.  slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lemon Fresh Cranberry Scones

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (2-3 lemons)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar plus 3 tablespoons additional if using fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped coarse
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

Accompaniment: creme fraiche or whipped cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

With a vegetable peeler remove the zest from lemons and chop fine, reserving lemons for another use.

Using a pastry cutter, blend flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl toss together fresh cranberries and 3 tablespoons sugar and stir into flour mixture. If using dried fruit, add to flour mixture.

In another small bowl lightly beat egg and yolk and stir in cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

On a well-floured surface with floured hands pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter) and with a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden.

Note:  These are quite easy to make in advance.  Roll them out and cut them before flash-freezing them separately on a tray, and sealing them in a freezer bag until you’re ready to bake them. You can bake them right from the freezer, just add 3 to 5 extra minutes baking time. Scones are always best when they’re baked.  Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.