The leaves are falling, the squirrels are storing nuts for winter and all across America, or at least in our house, there’s one more exciting event occurring every (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights . . . ) weekend.
And with football season brings tailgating and hours of sitting, standing and jumping with glee whenever your team gets a touchdown. And also lots of good snacking of all sorts of sweet and savory treats. It’s easy to over-indulge, and easy to eat poorly.
But, I try to make our family favorites healthier and real-foodified. And this is my new favorite thing, the pure joy that is Buffalo Chicken Dip, which, apparently, I’m the last person in this country to find out about. My sister introduced it to me a month ago in Seattle and I fell in love! My husband makes the best chicken wings I’ve ever had, he grills them, sauced and seasoned with a light Cajun dry rub, so the sauce gets nice and caramelized, but sometimes we just don’t have time to prepare them in advance. Or it’s raining. Or he actually wants to watch the game. When that time comes around next weekend time, I’ll be whipping up a batch of this dip!
Made with real food ingredients like cream cheese (just made a batch of yogurt? Try yogurt cream cheese!), shredded cheese (you could even add raw cheese if you prefer, though it does get baked first) and roasted shredded chicken; this is tons better for you than any of those pre-made dips at the store full of preservatives and guar gums or those made up with canned or dried soup mixes full of MSG.
You’ll want to indulge in some real food snacking.
And, if you make that chicken yourself earlier in the week (as I tend to do), you can even whip up a batch of chicken stock while you’re at it! Makes football snacking (sort of) health food, don’t you think?
Buffalo Chicken Dip
serves six to eight hungry adults as a a hearty appetizer (i.e. they’ll think it’s really good and eat half a plateful!)
- Meat from 1 roasted chicken, shredded
- 1 8 oz block cream cheese (or 1 packed cup of yogurt cheese), softened to room temperature
- 2 large handfuls of shredded cheese, roughly 2 cups (my sister recommends the Mexican blend of pre-shredded, all-natural cheese, but plain cheddar or a mix of cheddar and Monterey Jack are also great substitutes)
- 1/2 cup or so of homemade ranch or bleu cheese dressing
- Your favorite hot sauce, to taste (I start with about 1/4 cup and add from there. My favorite is Crystal, followed by the Louisiana Hot Sauce variety. Try to make sure you get either a Cajun or a “Buffalo” hot sauce)
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, leaving about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese out for spreading on top. Taste for seasoning and add a bit more dressing or hot sauce, depending on what you prefer. Then pour into a glass baking dish, pressing down to fill, and sprinkle the top with the remainder of the cheese. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or so until the dip is hot and bubbly and the top is browned. Enjoy with fresh veggies or your favorite tortilla or corn chips.
Thanks, Andrea, for the fantastic recipe! It’s already a family favorite!
Interested in some of my other favorite “tailgate” recipes? Try
This post is written in conjunction with Whole Foods for the Holidays: A Progressive Food Carnival appetizer edition. Please go and visit the other contributors!