Easy Baked Chicken Wings


Boiled & Baked Chicken Wings

I came across a great recipe for lower-guilt chicken wings back some months ago, and have been making them this way ever since. The fact that these come out crispy, are baked instead of fried, and are super easy to throw together, makes me love ’em even more. I do switch up the sauce at times, using one of my favorites from a wing place back home in Rochester, New York (Country Sweet Chicken and Ribs), and also just regular barbecue sauce and honey. Whether you use the sauce in this recipe, or your favorite, I think you’ll love this cooking method and how great these wings turn out.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken wings (I used wings & drumettes)
  • 1 cup peach jam
  • 2-3 tbsp. chili paste
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° and line a baking sheet (with sides) with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Trim off any extra fat from the chicken wings.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, adding 1-2 tablespoons of salt to the water.
  4. Place the chicken wings in the boiling water, and boil for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove the wings from the water to a wire cooling rack placed over a baking pan. Let the wings dry for a few minutes before patting them dry with paper towels (the drier the chicken wings are before you begin to bake them, the crispier they will become).
  6. Place the chicken wings on the baking sheet in a single layer.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Flip the wings over, and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  8. In a large bowl, stir together the peach jam, chili paste and lime juice. Reserve half of the mixture in a separate bowl to be used as dipping sauce when you serve the wings.
  9. Place the hot chicken wings in the large bowl with the remaining sauce. Stir and toss to coat the wings completely with the sauce.
  10. Transfer the wings to a plate and serve with the reserved dipping sauce, blue cheese or ranch and some celery sticks, if desired.

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Buffalo Cheese Dip


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, and Happy 2015!! As I’ve mentioned in some previous posts, I receive a ton of recipes emailed to me on a regular basis from various online sources, and saw one I wanted to try, especially since the big “Game Day” is approaching and I know people are always looking for new dishes to serve up at Super Bowl parties. The great thing about this recipe (by Pillsbury) is there are only five ingredients; well, really four… one is an optional garnish. The one thing I did differently from the original is heating up the dip. I tried it both cold and hot, and in my personal opinion, it’s much better when warmed. You can also add some shredded chicken, if desired.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 4-5 oz. crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 cup Yoplait® Greek 100 plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup Buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions (optional)

Directions

  1. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and all but 2 tablespoons of the blue cheese with electric mixer on medium speed about 30 seconds or until combined.
  2. Add yogurt and wing sauce; beat 30 seconds longer.
  3. Transfer to serving bowl. Top with 2 tablespoons reserved blue cheese and green onions. Drizzle with additional wing sauce, if desired.
  4. For the heated version, follow steps 1 & 2, transfer to a greased casserole dish, and cook in a preheated 350° oven for approximately 35 minutes or until hot. Stir, then top with the reserved blue cheese and green onions.
  5. Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks, cauliflower, broccoli, tortilla chips, or chicken strips.

Yields 16 servings

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Classic Southern Deviled Eggs


Happy Spring! For some reason, I was having a craving for some deviled eggs over the past week, so decided to whip some up yesterday. I know there are many different ingredients you can add to the yolk mixture… horseradish, dill, onion, hot sauce, etc., but decided to go with a more traditional recipe. For this one, I used regular yellow mustard, but feel free to use spicy brown or Dijon, but either way, I think you’ll find these little gems are really delicious.

Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Smoked Spanish paprika, for garnish

Directions

  1. Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with enough water that there’s about 1 1/2 inches of water above the eggs. Heat on high until water begins to boil, then cover, remove from heat and leave covered for 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water continuously for 2 minutes.
  2. Crack egg shells and carefully peel under cool running water. Gently dry with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl, and placing the whites on a dish or serving platter.
  3. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise, relish, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix well.
  4. Fill eggs whites evenly with the yolk mixture using a fork, spoon or pastry bag.
  5. Sprinkle with paprika and serve, or store covered in refrigerator. 

Deviled Eggs

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Smoked Salmon Crostini


Smoked Salmon Crostini

Last month, I was invited to a pot luck party, and was trying to narrow down all of the yummylicious things I could bring that were easy to travel with, didn’t require reheating and would be a crowd pleaser. I decided on these little gems, and they were a hit… not a single one was left. Personally, I think dill adds a nice delicate flavor to the cream cheese mixture, and pairs incredibly well with salmon. The recipe I initially saw for these, called for using a loaf of sourdough bread, but I decided to use whole grain melba toast rounds which worked perfectly, and saved time from having to bake the bread. These tasty treats are incredibly easy to make and throw together in no time, and will be a huge hit with all who try them. If you want to cut down on carbs, or simply desire some variation, you can use cucumber slices instead of the rounds or crackers.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. smoked salmon
  • 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. Greek yogurt (or light mayo)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. dill leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dill sprigs for garnish
  • Melba toast rounds, or crackers of your choice

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine all of your spread ingredients: cream cheese, greek yogurt, minced garlic, freshly chopped dill, lemon juice and salt & pepper. Mash it all together with a fork, and mix until well blended.
  2. Spread the cream cheese mix over the top of each melba toast round or cracker.
  3. Top with a piece of salmon and garnish with dill sprigs.

photo-972 photo-971

 

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Baked BLT Dip


BLT Dip

I stumbled across a couple of recipes for this dip on Super Bowl weekend, and being a lover of the infamous BLT, I just had to try it. I took things from both recipes I found, and combined them to make a scrumptious appetizer. I substituted Greek yogurt for sour cream to make this a tad healthier, and if you want to further reduce calories and fat content, you can cut the mayo in half to just a half of a cup, which will produce a bit thicker of a dip (but still yummy).

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked, drained, crumbled & divided
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 Roma tomatoes (or 1 large regular), seeded, chopped & divided
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.
  2. Set aside ½ cup crumbled bacon.
  3. Mix mayonnaise, greek yogurt, and cream cheese in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Crumble bacon into mixture and stir.
  4. Add cheddar cheese, green onions, garlic powder, and one tomato, mix well.
  5. Spoon mixture into a shallow dish or pie pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling.
  6. Sprinkle chopped tomatoes, remaining crumbled bacon, lettuce and green onions over hot dip.
  7. Serve immediately with your favorite crackers or chips.

BLT Dip 3

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Cocktail Meatballs


Cocktail Meatbals

First, I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. I haven’t posted a recipe since November, and apologize for my absence, but am back with a very easy and delicious appetizer just in time for the Super Bowl tomorrow (go Broncos), which I found on the back of the Ocean Spray cranberry sauce can (also on the back of the Heinz chili sauce jar). I’ve actually made these cocktail meatballs three times over the past couple of months (today being the fourth), with all of them being just slightly different in taste (and heat) because of the chili sauce I used. I’m giving you the recipe for the mild one as it is “kid friendly”, but will also provide some modification ideas to spice it up. These can be made either on top of the stove or in a crock pot, the latter being a smarter choice if you’re having or bringing to a party. In the interest of time, I’m using frozen, pre-cooked meatballs, but feel free to make your own.

Meatballs CookingIngredients

  • 1 14-oz. can Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 12-oz. bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
  • 1 2-lb. bag frozen, pre-cooked, cocktail-size meatballs, homestyle (not Italian!)
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine sauces in a large saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth.
  3. Add meatballs. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until meatballs are heated through, stirring occasionally.

Slow cooker preparation: Place meatballs in a slow cooker. Combine sauces and pour over meatballs. Cover and cook 4 hours on HIGH.

The sweet chili sauce and the chili garlic sauce will add some heat!
The sweet chili sauce and the chili garlic sauce will add some heat!

Modifications to spice up the meatballs: If you desire a serious kick, skip the Heinz chili sauce, and use 6 oz. (3/4 cup) each of the sweet chili sauce and chili garlic sauce pictured above . For just a little spiciness (which I made today), use 11 oz. (a little less than 1 1/2 cups) of the Heinz and 2 tbsp. of the chili garlic sauce.

Cocktail Meatballs Plated

 

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Queso Blanco Dip


When I lived in Atlanta, I used to frequent a restaurant called La Fonda, that served a lick-the-bowl-clean queso dip which honestly, is one of the main reasons I would go there. I’ve yet to find a restaurant here in LA that comes remotely close, so I decided to try to duplicate it at home. Since it’s been about ten years since I’ve had that incredible dip, it’s hard for me to compare, but I can tell you this one is truly yummy!

Queso Dip

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. White American cheese, cubed or broken into pieces (can be found behind the deli counter at most grocery stores)
  • 2 tbsp. diced green chiles
  • 1 pickled jalapeño, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. pickled jalapeño juice
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Pinch of ground cumin, optional

Directions

  1. Toss all ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 4 minutes, stirring every minute. This will start out watery, but will form into a nice, runny dip. Be careful… the bowl will get hot.
  2. Serve immediately with chips.

Note: Microwave ovens vary, so this may take less or more than four minutes – mine took a little over three. 

Tip: The dip will thicken as it cools, so if you want to maintain the thinner consistency, keep it warm in a small crock pot on low.

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Sweet and Spicy Baked Chicken Wings


On a recent episode of The Chew, Daphne Oz and Mario Batali had a chicken wing cook-off, and after seeing Daphne’s ingredients (and that hers were baked), I had to try them right away. Needless to say, they did not disappoint. I love the fact that the marinade on these babies caramelize while baking, which makes them a bit crispy. Oh, and the dipping sauce… yummy!!! Since I’m a huge fan of anything sweet, the sauce was perfect for me, but if you’d like it with a little more twang, reduce the half cup of honey by a couple of tablespoons (1/2 cup = 8 tablespoons).

Sweet and Spicy Wings

Ingredients

For the Wings:

  • 2 dozen chicken drumettes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp. sambal chili paste
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger

Directions

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the drumettes in a bowl and toss the wings to coat.
  2. Place in the refrigerator and marinate a minimum of two hours and preferably over night.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove drumettes from the marinade and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the drumettes so they are not touching. Brush generously with the leftover marinade.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until deep golden brown, rotating the tray half way through and flipping the wings over.
  6. While chicken is baking, combine all of the dipping ingredients and whisk together.
  7. Serve the drumettes with the dipping sauce.
Shown with my guiltless blue cheese dressing.
Shown with my guiltless blue cheese dressing.

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Avocado Cilantro Hummus


What can I say about hummus… it’s yummy, healthy and now I know, super easy to make at home. There are so many variations to suit your taste buds, the possibilities are almost endless. Sweet potato, pumpkin, black bean, sun-dried tomato, roasted rep pepper… you get the idea. I think this recipe is great as is, but if you’re more of a lime person, feel free to substitute lime juice instead of lemon.

Avocado Cilantro Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted & roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Tahini
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2-3 tbsp. water
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
  • Ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine garbanzo beans, avocado, cilantro, garlic, Tahini, lemon juice, and salt. Process until smooth. 
  2. With machine running, add olive oil through feed tube in a slow steady stream, then add water, 1 tbsp. at a time until oil is incorporated and mixture is very creamy.
  3. Add cayenne, if using, and pepper to taste, and stir well.
  4. Serve with pita bread, chips and/or vegetables.

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Marinated Goat Cheese Appetizer


Hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July holiday! I went to an amazing party with out-of-this-world food, and zoned in on a goat cheese appetizer that was insanely delicious… which I made a significant dent in since I wholeheartedly love the combination of goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar!!! Fortunately, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely woman, Alicia, who brought the dish and quite ironically, after I attempted to recreate it last night, she contacted me on here. So I now have THE recipe for this incredible appetizer, which she kindly shared with me. She’s also a blogger, so check out her site by clicking on her name or going to my Blogs I Like page, and clicking on What Manhattan Beach Needs Is link.

Enjoy!

Shown here with roasted pecans.

Ingredients

  • 8-10 oz. goat cheese log
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. honey
  • 5 whole sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped finely
  • Roasted pine nuts

Directions

  1. Place goat cheese in a bowl, set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, add balsamic and honey, and warm in microwave just enough to stir.
  3. Add sun-dried tomatoes and basil to balsamic mixture.
  4. Pour over cheese and top with pine nuts.
  5. Marinate for about an hour. *
  6. Serve with crackers (I like Trader Joe’s sesame thins) or thinly sliced bread.

* If you marinate in the fridge, make sure to let stand at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes.

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