Saturday, July 27, 2013

Barbecue Chicken Dip for Guy's Poker Night

Pin It

 So summer comes along and everything slows down.  No Book Club, no Bunco, no tutoring.  Then Mr. Preppy announces that he is going to Poker Night.  Hang on a second!  We girls take the summer off, and the guys are still getting together.  What's wrong with this picture?  Not to mention we get home from Bunco at, like, 10pm. And a good hour later the husbands roll in.  We are not doing something right.  So this month the girls are getting together for a swim and dinner while the men play poker.  It goes something like this.  Both groups start at 7.  The guys all leave around 6:50.  The women roll in around 7:20.  The guys quit playing at 11.  Like they have to announce, no more cards.  We sometimes go a whole evening and never play a single round of Bunco.  If we do play, we never roll after 10.  Ha!  We need to let our hair down!

Every guy brings a dip. I really pondered for something different.  On Pinterest, my favorite place ever, I found a BBQ Chicken Dip make much like the Buffalo Dip.  So I headed over to the pinner's blog and saw how she made it.  I decided to take the idea and run, but with my own changes which I already incorporate into the original.

First change was thighs instead of breasts.  I love the dark meat, it is nearly impossible to overcook and dry out and has so much more flavor.  If you don't own a great knife or poultry shears, you have never really cleaned chicken thighs.  Next, since it's July, I hated to turn the oven on more than necessary.  So I cooked the chopped thigh stovetop in a high sided pan (not sloped like an omelet) in both butter and olive oil.  I added most of the sauce directly on the chicken after it was cooked.  She reminded me in her blog how much I love Bone Suckin' Sauce, and I bought the hot one for this.  Delicious!

The original recipe calls for Ranch Dressing.  Ew.  I have never been a fan of this stuff.  So I opt to add a half an envelope of dry Ranch seasoning to some sour cream and the cream cheese.  Way better.
I also layer my dip instead of mixing all together.  And then I decided to toss a little bacon and blue cheese on top.  Why not?

Barbecue Chicken Dip

2# boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
salt and pepper
1 jar Bone Suckin' Barbecue Sauce (I used hot)
8 oz shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, blend, whatever)
2 blocks cream cheese, softened
8 oz sour cream
1/2 packet of dry Ranch dressing (the whole packet is an ounce)
2 oz blue cheese crumbles
2 oz bacon pieces (small bag) I used just half

In a saucepan, saute onions in 1T olive oil.  When softened, add the brown sugar and  stir until melted and carmelized.  Remove onions from pan and set aside.  In the same pan add the other Tablespoon olive oil and the butter.  Melt and sute chicken thighs over medium heat until cooked through.  Remove from heat.  Add the onions and at least half of the jar of sauce.  In another bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, the sour cream and the Ranch dressing until well combined.

In an 8X8 baking dish begin layering.  The chicken and onion BBQ sauce mixture goes on the bottom.  Carefully cover with the cream cheese mixture, and top with shredded cheese.  Drizzle the last bit of BBQ sauce over the top and dress with blue cheese crumbles and bacon.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  The top should be melted and sauce should be bubbling up the sides.  Serve with Fritos Scoops and cold beer!

Stop back and see the terrific BLT Salad I made for girls night!  What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

National Hot Dog Day

Pin It
The All American Dog
Today is National Hot Dog Day, so I decided to throw out a rerun!  It is a newer blog, but so timely.  And I can't lie, I have been hankering those spiral cut dogs!  So get in there and celebrate! Don't forget the mustard...

So I pondered this blog for awhile.  I mean really, hot dogs?  But in my little memory bank, hotdogs are as much a part of summer as swimming pools and fire flies.  We ate hotdogs at the lake.  I remember them grilled and my favorite way, boiled.  My Grandma had a red and white enameled saucepan, and I loved a boiled hotdog in that pan.

 Lunch was the only way my mom and her sisters could get all of us kids out of the lake for an hour or so. Lunch would usually lead to card games, a book in a hammock, a hike to the spring.  But never, ever, television.  I don't think it even worked.  So I had seen a few hot dog pics on Pinterest, and I was kind of in the mood.  As an adult, this forbidden food has been reserved for ball games.  However, in Memphis, we always pass over the ball park dog for BBQ Nachos.  Fodder for another blog, I promise.

So after much debate, we decided to make them 4 ways. Spiral and grilled,  stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon, in a blanket and boiled with spagetti hair.  First spiral and grilled.

It took a little practice, but this is pretty cool.
There is a Chow video on You Tube found here.  Let me just say he makes it look easier than it is, but with a little practice, we got there.  We loved these spiral cut dogs.  Lots of char all over them and they stretch to fill the bun.  However, because they are not a solid chunk of meat (?!), if you put too many condiments, you can't really find the dog.  I will be cutting spiral dogs any time the opportunity arises for grilled hot dogs.  This is cool and delicious.

Delicious char everywhere!

Tastiest with little adornment.

The hot dogs of my childhood, but only if Pasquale was out of town!

Next was the cheese and bacon dogs.  When I was little and my dad was out of town, this is what we got for dinner.  My dad would not have hot dogs for dinner.  Period.  My mom would slice a long slit in the dog, fold over some American cheese and stick it in the dog and then wrap it in bacon, secured with a toothpick.  We didn't even bother with a bun, we loved these! Now I buy this thicker sliced bacon, and I admit it would be better made with a thinner sliced bacon, as it would have cooked crispier.  But we dove in.  A note here.  I preheated the oven to 400F with the cookie sheet in the oven.  This is an important step.  Then put the hot dogs and bacon onto the hot sheet.  Much more efficient cooking!

Yes, everything is better with bacon.

Not a fan of rolls in a tube.

Next was the Pigs In A Blanket.  I rolled them in the crescent rolls, and baked them.  They were okay.  I mean we ate them...but they were not our favorite.  I think if we doctored up the blanket with some spices, seeds, might be better.

Not our favorite.

And lastly, was the shaggy haired hot dog.  We found this on Pinterest.  The original source is not obtainable, so you'll have to find them on my board called Play With Your Food.  Basically they are hot dogs with raw spagetti stuck in the ends.  After they are boiled you have these shaggy haired dogs.  The only pasta I buy is Bucatini and Orzo.  So Bucatini it was.  A little too thick, and they broke off pretty easily.  Next time we'll use angel hair and cut the dogs in 3 pieces and poke the pasta in both ends.  Hilarious.  I really did this in my kitchen.  My family wanted to send me to therapy!  So, what are you waiting for.  Life's too short.  Have a hot dog!

Epic fail.  We will buy real spagetti and try again!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Soft Sugar Cookies

Pin It

It's a defiant challenge.  I tell my son I will send him a care package and maybe make cookies, what would he like?  He always says I can't make his favorite cookies.  Whaddya mean, can't?  Here's the thing.  I like my sugar cookies to snap. He likes them soft.  I thought he was referring to those Lofthouse cookies in the plastic shell at the grocery.  You know, colored sprinkles depending on the holiday.  They look enticing, yet, they are bland and rather gross.  So I hit up Pinterest and found this recipe for Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies.  Then he texted my daughter and said, No!  Not the right cookies.  How could I forget?  Nic's Grocery Store Sugar Cookies.  Oh well, he got the cookies you see here.  I'm sure he got over it.  

Soft Sugar Cookies

3 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and mix well. Taste.  It should be heavenly.  Now add the eggs one at a time and mix just to blend.  Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix thoroughly.  Cover the dough and chill.  The recipe says an hour.  I chilled for 3 days.  It happens.  It rolls out best if it is really cold as this dough is kind of a sticky mess.

Roll into balls and flatten, they will not flatten on their own.  I bake on a Silpat or you could use parchment.  Bake at 350˚F.  You want them to no longer be moist on top, but not browned.  About 6-8 minutes in my convection oven.  Cool completely.


About 3 cups confectioner's sugar
4 T butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
a few teaspoons milk to thin to the right consistency

Beat the butter into the powdered sugar.  Add the vanilla (real vanilla is brown so beware, you will not have white frosting!)  Add the milk until it is the right consistency to spread.  Top with sprinkles.  

These are tasty, but a little dry for me.  I packed them up and sent them to the Windy City.  Hope he loved them.  What are you waiting for?  Get in there and bake!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy Birthday America!

Pin It

I love this holiday.  My memories are of summer days at the lake with my cousins, grandparents  aunts and uncles.  There would be long days of swimming and skiing, canoes and sailboats, followed with card games and hammocks and a cookout.  Times have changed, and no family lives nearby.  So I decided to make some 4th cookies for a few friends.  I know everyone would love cookies, but I have a pocketful of friends that are there no matter what.  And they don't even know they yanked me out of my pity party. 

It was a great way to use up some frozen dough and make a few for our own celebration. I filled a jar for our own celebration, and

I bought these cute little star bowls at Crate and Barrel and thought they would make a cute vessel for the cookies.  but some got a little cellophane bag with cookies, it's a happy treat.  Plus, the bowls will be perfect at Christmas too!  So have a happy 4th!  Here's my favorite shot of my kids, many years ago...