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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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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Healthy Chicken Wings


Growing up in Upstate New York, Buffalo wings were practically a staple in everyone’s diet. I recall ordering them numerous times, okay, a LOT, while in college, and having them delivered to my dorm. Needless to say, I was amongst the many who gained “the freshman 15”, which then carried over into my sophomore year, as those wings were nowhere close to being in the healthy category. I do still love having wings from time to time, but now choose to have them baked and not fried, thus allowing my conscience to remain at ease. I’m happy to report that this recipe will do the same and is guilt-free.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. chicken drummettes (or wings)
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 2 tsp. red pepper sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce
  • Celery sticks, if desired

Directions

  • Remove skin and fat from chicken.
  • Mix honey, ketchup, pepper sauce and Worchestershire sauce in heavy-duty resealable plastic food-storage bag.
  • Add chicken, turn to coat with honey mixture.
  • Seal bag and refrigerate at least 15 minutes, but no longer than 24 hours, turning occasionally.
  • Make Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce, if desired.
  • Heat over to 350.
  • Line jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.
  • Place chicken in pan.
  • Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until crisp, and juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.
  • Serve with blue cheese dip and celery sticks.

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Brie en Croute


Ahhhh… brie. I wasn’t always a fan, but now, I sing a different tune and can make a meal out of it (and have). This past Thanksgiving, I hosted dinner at my house, and wanted to have some appetizers for my guests to snack on before the big “event” (aka dinner), and decided to make a brie wrapped in a puff pastry as one of the hors d’oeuvres. It’s quite simple to make and there are so many different variations you can try. For this recipe, I just used cherry Craisins and honey because I was low on time. However, the original recipe I found, called for cherries, rosemary, pecans and honey. I think cranberries would be also be great, as would orange marmalade, but feel free to experiment. Also, if you want to cut down on calories and fat, Président makes a light Brie which is 50% less fat and about 30% less calories than regular Brie.

Ingredients

    • 1 egg
    • 1 tbsp. water
    • 1/3 cup Craisins
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1/2 of a 17.3-ounce packagePepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed
    • 1 (12-ounce) Brie cheese round

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.  Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork or whisk.  Stir the craisins and honey in a small bowl.
  2. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 14-inch square.  Cut off the corners to make a circle.
  3. Spoon the mixture in the center of the circle.  Top with the brie.
  4. Brush the edge of the circle with the egg mixture.  Fold the pastry up over the cheese to cover.  Trim the excess pastry and press to seal.  Brush the seam with the egg mixture.
  5. Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet.
  6. Decorate the top with the pastry scraps, if desired.
  7. Brush with the egg mixture.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
  9. Let stand for 45 minutes – 1 hour.  (Very important to let it stand, otherwise all of the cheese will ooze out)

Serve with the crackers.

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Spinach & Artichoke Dip (similar to Houston’s)


If you have ever been to Houston’s restaurant, then I’m sure you’ll agree with me that their signature spinach and artichoke dip is beyond delicious! I’ve been making a similar dish for years, and it’s always what I bring to parties or a dinner at someone’s house. Needless to say, it’s devoured in record time and I’m always asked for the recipe. Truth to be told, I actually have two, and have served them both. At some point, I will have to make the two at the same time and have my friends vote on which one they think is the winner, although I think this one will come out on top. I must warn you that this is not a low-calorie appetizer, but it is sure to please!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp minced fresh garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 2 tbsp minced onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup fresh-grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 (10 oz.) boxes frozen chopped spinach – thawed, squeezed dry
  • 12 oz. jar artichoke hearts in water (not oil) – drained, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. In a 2 qt. saucepan over medium heat, saute garlic and onion in butter until golden, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Slowly whisk in cream & broth, and continue cooking until boiling.
  4. Once boiling, stir in Romano, lemon juice, hot sauce, and salt; stir until cheese has melted.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir sour cream into pan, then fold in dry spinach and artichoke hearts.
  7. Fold the mixture into a microwave-safe serving dish, and sprinkle cheddar evenly over top.
  8. At this point, the dip can be refrigerated until ready to serve, if desired.
  9. Microwave dip on 50% power just until cheese has melted.

Serve hot with tortilla chips for dipping, and sour cream and salsa.

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