chicken and mushroom gravy: crockpot edition

Time to dust off the crockpot, y’all. It’s the most wonderful time of year!

…crockpot season, that is! While this beloved appliance of mine makes celebrity appearances during the summer {for dishes such as this and this}, it truly shines during the cooler months. There’s something so special about a slow cooked meal, and walking into your home at the end of a dreary day, greeted by aromas wafting from the kitchen. It is instantly soothing, like a hug or a pat on the back with someone saying – “don’t worry, dinner is on me tonight”.

Except we prepared ahead! This dish couldn’t be easier. For awhile now, I’ve been craving a mushroom gravy. I didn’t know with what, though; I spent a few nights last week brainstorming dinner ideas, and when I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew it would be perfect. I tweaked it a bit to fit the current state of our refrigerator, and voila! A perfect chicken dinner, prepared in no time.

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I spent the day at work {and the hubs too, I’m sure!} dreaming about this dish. Like I mentioned, I love the anticipation of the end of the day, knowing that dinner is doing work on itself. And y’all, it was amazing. From the moment I walked in until we sat down for our meal, there was nothing but smiles. The chicken is perfectly tender; the gravy is rich and flavorful. And piled high on top of your favorite starch, it’s a match made in chicken heaven.

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Enjoy!

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Chicken & Mushroom Gravy: crockpot edition {recipe adapted from food.com}

Wonderfully comforting and delicious, this dish is the ideal fall meal. With minimal prep time, it can be thrown together minutes before walking out the door for work; you and your family will be rewarded with the glorious aroma of roasted chicken and gravy after a long day! 

Ingredients:

3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken breast

8 ounces plain Greek yogurt

4 cups low-sodium chicken stock, divided

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. rosemary

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper, to taste

1 large onion, thinly sliced

8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms {I used shiitake}

2 Tbsp. cornstarch + 1/2 cup boiling water, combined {to be used at the final 15 minutes of the dish}

1 Tbsp. butter

To Prepare:

After removing the skin, generously season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place into the crockpot, and top with the sliced mushrooms and onions.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, 2 cups of the chicken stock, and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken and vegetables.

Cook on low for 6-7 hours, or until chicken is done and falling off the bone. At 15-20 minutes before serving, uncover the crockpot and shred the chicken and stirring well with the gravy mixture. Remove any bones you see! Pour in the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock, and add in the slurry {cornstarch and hot water}, making sure to combine thoroughly. Lastly, stir in the butter.

Serve over rice, egg noodles, or my favorite – – – smashed cauliflower.

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Enjoy!

Vegas.com – A Challenge!

Awhile back, y’all might remember that my friends over at vegas.com provided me with an opportunity…a “challenge” if you will. I was asked to pick a dish from one of the famous Las Vegas hotels, and put my own unique twist on it. In typical Alicia fashion, I dove in head first, excited to stretch my culinary legs and see what I could come up with!

for those of you who might want to peak back, here’s my dish!

So I couldn’t be more excited to announce today that I was offered the opportunity to do it again! This time, we had a different list of restaurants to choose from. Immediately, a ‘roast chicken’ dish caught my eye. Something so simple, but offers endless possibilities. My brain started working and, after a few days of rolling ideas around, I finally got the light bulb – shepherd’s pie!

Now, before I go any further; this was no ordinary roast chicken dish. We’re talking gorgeous sauces, fine mushrooms, season vegetables. The whole nine yards. I mean, it’s Vegas after all! So I thought it would be a lot of fun to make the ingredients from the Vegas dish mimic the appearance of an actual shepherd’s pie. Fun, right?

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Perfectly seasoned ground chicken replaces the traditional beef.

Diced asparagus looks a lot like peas!

Mushrooms and onions add an earthy note to the dish, which pairs oh-so-nicely with the white wine that we’re incorporating into the base of the dish.

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And of course, no shepherd’s pie is complete without a generous spread of mashed potatoes..but I went rogue and used my smashed cauliflower! Delicious.

This is one dish you’ll want to recreate over and over, I promise. After the first bite, the hubs proclaimed it “one of the best casseroles he’s ever had.” The proof is in the pudding…er, casserole.

Here we go!

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Vegas-Style Shepherd’s Pie

Never one to turn down a challenge, I decided on making some fun modifications to one of Vegas’ most famous restaurants; I took their classic roast chicken recipe and made it my own! 

Ingredients:

smashed cauliflower {here’s my go-to recipe…so quick and simple!}

1 lb. ground chicken {I used extra lean, because it was what I had on hand}

1 large onion, finely diced

1 box of baby portabello mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 lb. asparagus, washed and sliced into medallions

1/4 cup white wine {you can use chicken stock, for an alcohol-free version}

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper, to taste

olive oil for coating the pan

1/2 – 1 cup of cheese {your preference; this will be used for the topping}

To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a glass 8″ x 8″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside for later.

Add a drizzle of olive oil into the bottom of a large nonstick saute pan. Bring up to medium heat; once the olive oil is sizzling, and in the ground chicken. Use a wooden spoon to break into pieces, and cook until done. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Without cleaning the pan, add in the diced onion. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add in the garlic powder. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and beginning to soften slightly, about 7-10 minutes. Add in the white wine and bring the heat up to high {this will help cook off the alcohol, as well as reduce the liquid}. Add in the asparagus, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Lastly, add in the mushrooms and cook only until they begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes.

Prepare the casserole: place the cooked chicken into the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Next, top with the onion/asparagus/mushroom mixture. Evenly dollop the smashed cauliflower on top, making sure to seal in the edges. Lastly, top with the desired amount and type of cheese.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly and the top is beginning to brown slightly. For additional crunch, turn the broiler on and let it go an additional 1-2 minutes.

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Enjoy!

garlic parmesan wings

I’ve been so, so excited to share this recipe with y’all.

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One look and you’re in love, am I right? At least, that was how the hubs and I felt after devouring this meal for dinner.

These are a fun twist on my wings I made awhile back – they’re certainly a staple in our household; a quick and easy dinner to throw together during the week, full of flavor, and significantly healthier that traditional wings that are deep fried {so gloriously wonderful, but so naughty at the same time}. But for this particular recipe, we’re combining the Italian staples of Parmesan cheese and garlic but jazzing it up with loads of dried herbs, and two types of tangy mustard {!}. Is your mouth watering yet?

This batch of wings pack a flavor punch like no other. I am such a huge fan of explosive flavors, and these do not disappoint. As mentioned, we get that distinctive garlicky flavor from {almost} too much garlic, nutty undertones from Parmesan cheese, and more herbal notes than your taste buds will know what to do with. Both mustard types that I used – a classic, spicy Dijon and a sweet Honey Champagne – pair perfectly together, but you can easily sub in whatever your preference is. Baked until crispy and falling of the bone, the only thing that can take these one more notch above perfection is some dipping sauce on the side.

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Baked Garlic Parmesan Wings {adapted from Steamy Kitchen}

Ingredients:

2-1/2 lbs. chicken wings {I like to use the large ones}

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried rosemary

2 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for baking

1/4 cup mustard {I used a combination of Dijon and Champagne mustard}

salt & pepper, to taste

non-stick cooking spray

serving accompaniments: hot sauce, homemade blue cheese dressing, celery, carrots – whatever you like! 

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the herbs and grated cheese. Mix in the mustard, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the wings in the sauce, making sure to ensure a generous coating. Line up the wings on the prepared baking sheet, and drizzle any remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with additional grated cheese.

Bake 45-60 minutes, or until juices run clear and internal temperature has reached 165 degrees. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

greek-inspired roast chicken

Oh, the whole roasting chicken. Super simple and basic, but bursting with possibilities.

Not to mention flavor – I was feeling inspired, and also craving one, several weeks back. It was particularly gloomy Sunday, and I keep reminiscing how my mom used to make the best whole roasted chickens when we were growing up. Deciding to act on those memories, I began drawing up ideas for how to make it my own. The hubs LOVES oregano, so I thought was would be a way to incorporate that? I settled on the notion of “going Greek!”

Hands down, this is the best roast chicken that I have yet to make. It requires minimal prep work and comes together in just a few minutes. We’re filling it with briny capers, fresh vegetables, and of course – lots of oregano! A generous pour of good white wine in the bottom of the roasting pan creates a culinary perfume that envelopes the bird while it cooks, resulting in a bright, fresh flavor. Served alongside my smashed cauliflower, it was the perfect meal.

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Without trying to state the obvious, you’ll most likely end up with leftovers, as this recipe will easily feed a small army. Once the chicken is broken down, it freezes beautifully and can be used in a plethora of dishes. Chicken and Dumplings, Chicken Noodle Casserole, and Chicken Pot Pie come to mind – but don’t be surprised if you see me making chicken salad of out it and stuffing it into a pita.

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Greek-Inspired Roast Chicken {recipe adapted from Lemon & Olives}

The perfect Sunday dinner for a chilly winter evening, this flavorful roast will leave you feeling supremely satisfied. Plus – it comes together in no time! 

Ingredients:

whole roasting chicken {mine was just over 6 lbs.}

1 lemon, cut into large wedges

2 onions, cut into wedges

1.5 cups baby carrots, left whole

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

1 heaping tbsp. capers, drained

1 tbsp. dried oregano {plus more for seasoning the chicken}

3/4 cup good white wine {I used a Pinot Grigo}

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock

olive oil, for drizzling

salt and pepper, to taste

To Prepare:

Remove the chicken from its wrapping and rinse well, making sure to get the inner cavity. Dry thoroughly, and rub with olive oil. Liberally season the inside and outside with salt, pepper, and oregano. To the inner cavity add in half the amount of onions, half the baby carrots, half the lemon, one garlic clove, and the capers. Set aside.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In the bottom of a large roasting pan, add  in the white white and chicken stock, mixing to incorporate. Place the remaining vegetables plus the 1 tbsp. oregano into the liquid mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you have a V-shaped roasting rack, set the chicken atop it {if not, do what I did – lay a cooling rack atop the roasting pan and carefully place the chicken on top of it}. Roast the chicken according to the package directions. Baste occassionally, using the drippings from the bottom of the pan.

Once cooked through, remove from the oven and set aside. Cover with foil and let it sit 15 minutes, so the juices can redistribute. Carve the chicken and serve with pan drippings and vegetables. Enjoy!

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superbowl snacks!

Are you ready for some football??

I must say, I am super excited! It took me quite some time to develop my love for the sport, but ever since college {go hokies!} I’ve been rather fanatical. On any given Sunday during the season, you’ll find the hubs and I curled up on the couch flipping between the games. I absolutely love it. And let’s not forget – the football food! Snacks galore, y’all.

As always, I try to balance the unhealthy with the healthy. So that means enjoying dips with crunchy vegetables instead of chips; spritzers and wine instead of the {oh-so} delicious dark beers that we love in our house; lightened up sweet versions. So with all that being said, I thought it would be fun to do a recipe round-up of what to prepare for the game!

Appetizers & Snacks:

Entrees:

Drinks:

Desserts:

 

Happy SuperBowl Sunday, y’all!!

chicken parmesan meatballs

I absolutely adore a good Chicken Parmesan. I have such fond memories of enjoying them throughout my childhood when out to special dinners with my family; my mom would often make it at home; I’ve even come up with my own twist on it!

But sometimes, there are those days after work…those days where you’d rather slide onto the couch in your most comfortable pair of yoga pants than stand in the kitchen, dredging chicken breasts, frying them, then finishing them off in the oven. THEN preparing the pasta. THEN melting the {oh so glorious} mozzarella under the broiler. All that…before dinner is ready. It’s ok! We all have those days. These meatballs are going to make you feel better.

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With these beauties, you get all of that wonderful flavor of the Chicken Parmesan, but made easy because we’re doing them meatball style! They pack a flavor punch bigger than their size lets on, that’s for sure. They’re loaded up with herbs, tomato paste, bread crumbs….everything that makes the classic dish, but it’s all done in one bowl! Tell me it doesn’t get any better than that, I dare ya. BUT WAIT.

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…did I neglect to mention that these are significantly more healthy than the original dish? I’m all about a big ol’ plate of pasta and chicken, smothered in cheese and sauce, but it doesn’t always feel so great after the fact. We’re baking these in the oven, which provides that wonderful crunch on the outside without the use of frying. They can be sprinkled with cheese at the end, fear not!

Not only are these easy to whip up on a moment’s notice, but they are great to make ahead and freeze for future use! Simply prepare them, roll them out, and transfer to the freezer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, they can be stored in a zip top bag and finished off in no time. You’ll be so thankful you did.

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Chicken Parmesan Meatballs {recipe adapted from Bake Your Day}

All the flavors of our favorite Italian classic, packed in to one easy-to-eat dish! You won’t be able to get enough.

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground chicken

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 heaping tbsp. tomato paste

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. dried thyme

salt and pepper, to taste

your favorite Marinara Sauce for serving

To Prepare:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and top it with a cooling rack. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.

Mix all of the above ingredients {less Marinara Sauce} in a large bowl until well combined. The mixture will be fairly moist, but should hold together when formed into a ball.

Scoop the mixture out and roll into balls {I opted to make 9 large ones} and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. For my large meatballs, this took about 30ish minutes.

Serve with your favorite pasta and sauce, and top it all off with cheese. Enjoy!

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ramen bowls with chicken & vegetables

Broth-based soups are the perfect canvas for taking on any flavor you want to impart.

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Whether we’re talking a seafood or meat based, a vegetable base, or a combination of sorts, there is really no limit to the imagination what you can do with a good box of stock {or homemade, if you have that!}. It makes for an easy dish, and warms you to the core.

But sometimes, you want a soup that comes together quickly, no? Sure, using the crockpot is great, or letting it slowly simmer on the stovetop for an hour or so, but sometimes that just won’t do. Tempting as it is, you might want to call in take-out…I won’t judge! But next time you’re thinking of doing so, consider making this soup! It’s bursting with flavor, texture, and color. It comes together in just a quick bit, and most of the ingredients you probably have on hand. If not, go crazy and throw in a few substitutions! – short on arugula?…throw in some kale or spinach. – don’t have any chicken?…frozen shrimp would be great!

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This soup is adaptable to any palette, and soooooo.much.better than any take-out can deliver. It can be easily doubled or tripled for leftovers the next day, too!

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Ramen Bowls with Chicken &Vegetables {recipe adapted from How Sweet Eats, original recipe from Easy Gourmet}

Quick to put together and full of flavor, this ramen bowl will warm you through and through. I especially like it drizzled with some sriracha sauce for a bit of extra flavor – and even more drizzled if I’m feeling a bit under the weather. 

Ingredients:

4 large eggs

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 cup sweet corn

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

8 ounces arugula

1 quart low-sodium chicken stock

6 ounces ramen noodes {I get them at a local Asian market; if that’s not available, a pack from the grocery store will work just fine!}

6 ounces cooked chicken

4 green onions, thinly sliced

optional: toasted sesame oil for drizzling, nori/seaweed pieces from serving

To Prepare:

Begin by soft boiling the eggs so that they can cool. Heat about three inches of water in a small saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Once boiling, reduce the heat until it’s barely a simmer, add the eggs gently and cook for 6 minutes. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place in an ice bath. Let cool completely before peeling.

Prepare the ramen noodles by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Once there, drop in the noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the butter and add the corn, stirring to coat. Add in the onion. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Once warmed through and the onions are slightly translucent, transfer to a bowl.

Heat the chicken stock just until it’s boiling, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Begin preparing the ramen bowls. In separate sections {it makes for a pretty presentation!} add in the noodles, corn, arugula and chicken.

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Ladle broth over the top, and finish with sliced green onions. The eggs can be halved and served right in the soup, or on the side. Enjoy!

beer can chicken

I’ve found that, in my years of cooking, the simplest dishes are oftentimes the most show stopping.

Take for instance, a roasting chicken. Such a simple and humble dish, but when served with the right accompaniments, it becomes transformed into a meal more that ideal for serving to guests. The aromatics will transport imbibers to previous memories, perhaps of their childhood, or other fun times associated with said dish.

I’ve taken a summertime twist on this classic roasting chicken – because, let’s be real, who wants to turn on the oven for anything in the middle of the summer? Take a look at this beauty:

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What we’re marveling at is a classic “beer can chicken”….or “beer butt bird”, depending on your preference. I cannot claim credit for this exquisite dish, however much I’d love to. It’s a dish that screams summer to me, so much so that I make it a handful of times each season. The beer does an amazing job of keeping the chicken moist and tender – so much so, you’ll hardly find yourself needing a fork, for both shredding and eating. A few ears of fresh corn and a big salad make this the super dish of summer.

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Beer Can Chicken {recipe adapted from All Recipes}

This is one dish where you simply can’t go wrong. A few minutes of prep work – rinsing and drying the bird, and giving it a spice rub massage – is all that’s needed. I’ve outlined a simple spice rub below that the hubs and I have enjoyed as of late, but feel free to get creative with your own! And don’t be intimidated by the size of the bird; in fact, I may even go a bit bigger the next time, as the leftovers here are glorious! Shredded up for chicken salad, or tossed in creamy alfredo, you cannot and will not be disappointed. 

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken {I used a 5 lb. bone-in, skin-on bird}, with innards removed

1/2 can beer, preferably one more mild in flavor {a pilsner worked great}

cooking spray or olive oil

spice mixture of your choice*

special tools: large roasting dish with handles, heavy duty aluminum foil 

To Prepare:

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat; between 400 and 425 degrees is ideal. Line your baking dish with aluminum foil, making sure to cover all surfaces {this aids in clean-up later on!}. Spray the bottom with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Place the half-full can of beer in the center.

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*Prepare your spice mixture, or feel free to use a pre-packaged one. I mix a combination of salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and chili powder in a bowl to rub the bird down with.

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Rinse chicken under cold, running water. Pat dry very thoroughly; any residual moisture will prevent the skin from crisping up. Place on a plate and rub down with spice mixture, making sure to get into all the crevices and inner cavity. I also like to rub it on the breast meat, underneath the skin, for additional flavor.

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Fit whole chicken over the can of beer with the legs on the bottom of the pan; make sure it stands upright on its own. Sprinkle any remaining spice mixture into the cavity {this may cause the beer to foam slightly}.

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Place the baking dish with standing chicken onto the preheated grill, making sure it’s not directly over any burners {in this case, indirect heat is best for cooking}. Close the lid and cook until the chicken is no longer pink and the bone and juices run clear, about 75 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone, should read 180 degrees.

Remove the pan from the grill and cover entirely with foil. Let it rest for 10 minutes, allowing the juices to redistribute.

Using tongs, carefully lift the bird off the beer can {discard this}. Break down the bird and serve with your choice of sides!

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Let’s discuss: Have you every tried making beer can chicken? If you cook this regularly, or any other sort of roasted bird, what is your favorite thing to do with the leftovers!

lightened up buffalo chicken dip

Please & Thank You.

Peas & Carrots.

Romeo & Juliet.

…the list goes on and on, and on and on. I could sit here for hours on end, thinking of the perfect marriage between different fun phrases, historical couples, and other random trivia notes, but there’s always one pair that jumps to my mind when I sit and think on “what does pair so well together??”

The answer, my dears, is plain and simple – buffalo chicken and blue cheese.

I could tell you that there was a time, back when I was just a young thing, and I could not even tolerate the mere thought of blue cheese. My dad {sidenote: can categorize basically his entire life using his salad dressing preference} is a huge, huge fan of the stuff, and I have vivid memories of him adding it on to just about every salad at dinnertime. I couldn’t even do it.

As I got older, my tolerance for creamier things began to develop, and I even allowed myself to like love Ranch dressing, especially when paired “late night” style with some delivery pizza. Wings and veggies got the same treatment. I would always reach for the Ranch.

But then, one day, it all changed.

I think that I had gotten so used to the flavor of this classic American dressing that I no longer even liked it. Clearly, my tastes had changed, yet again, and in doing so I thought to myself “what the heck – let’s try this blue cheese again.” And then I fell in love. Blue Cheese on everything! – from pizza crusts to salads, wings to French fries, crumbled on top of pizzas, you name it, I’m game. And then when I saw this recipe I’m sharing with you today, I knew that this was a long-term love affair.

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The best part about this dish is that it’s been slightly lightened up! As we all know, traditional blue cheese dressing is made with gobs of sour cream and mayonnaise. Once you fold in the crumbled cheese, you’re basically looking at a calorie bomb. Same with casseroles and dips made with this beloved culinary treasure. But that’s why were here, right! I distinctly remember stumbling upon this recipe last year, right before the Super Bowl, and it was if Heaven shone a golden light down onto my screen. You can have your blue cheese, and eat it, and enjoy it, too!

We’re replacing the typical mayo/cream cheese/sour cream base of this baked and bubbly dip with one of my favorite ingredients – Greek yogurt! I vary slightly from Cassie’s original recipe, because I opt for 0% plain Greek yogurt, and a blended cream cheese-yogurt mix, but feel free to use whatever you like!

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This is a fantastic dip to take for tailgating, to casual dinner parties…or if you’re really craving it, whip it up for dinner one night! Served alongside some crostini and a big, colorful salad, you’ll be fully satisfied, and not left with a guilty conscience heavy tummy!

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Lightened Up Buffalo Chicken Dip {recipe adapted, slightly, from Back to her Roots}

serves 12, at 1/2 cup per serving

Ingredients:

4 ounces softened Greek Yogurt-Cream Cheese blend*

1/2 cup crumbed Blue Cheese

1 cup plain, 0% Greek yogurt

2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken breast

1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce {you can add more if you prefer a bit more heat! – this yields a more mellow flavor}

2 T. fresh, chopped parsley

1/2 tsp. dried dill

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper, to taste

2 green onions, sliced thin

*this is sold at my local Kroger…it’s a cream cheese and yogurt blend, and I think tastier than regular or low-fat cream cheese. If you can’t find it, no worries! Either regular or low-fat cream cheese will work just fine.

Optional Toppings:

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup panko

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese, crumbled blue cheese, Greek yogurt, shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, parsley, dill, garlic powder, salt and pepper until well combined.

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Pour mixture into an ungreased one quart casserole dish. If desired, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and panko.

Bake in preheated oven until golden and bubbly, at least 30 minutes. I like to, at the very last second, turn the broiler on for 1-2 minutes to get that topping nice and crispy.

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Serve with desired scoopables {pita chips, tortilla chips, etc.} and hearty sliced veggies. Enjoy!

 

let’s talk…fritattas!

A little bit of this…a pinch of that…fold in the contents of that tupperware…

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We’ve all been there, and I wholeheartedly believe it’s not a bad place to be! We’re talking “leftovers night” today, dears! Sometimes, and I would be the first to say I have them more often than I care to admit, you get home from work and all you want to do is throw yourself on the couch, switch on the TV,and veg out. But there’s that nagging feeling called dinner, and it’s pulling you towards the kitchen gut first. Rather than turn to the phone and order {yet again!} your take-out of choice, let’s peruse the fridge, shall we?

…and so begins the story of how this meal came about. The hubs and I had entertained a few nights prior, and after a long day of work, were staring into the fridge. I was {gasp!!} not really in the mood to whip up a full meal, but rather quickly throw together what we had left over – some roasted chicken, leftover roasted veggies, and some greek-yogurt based spinach and artichoke dip. A half-used box of egg whites {remaining from cocktails at said gathering} stared back at me, standing tall and proud next to a few lonely farm eggs. And that…that!…is when the light bulb went off.

FRITATTAS!

How much simpler can it get? A quick toss of ingredients into my trusty sautese pan, whisking up some eggs, letting it set on the stove, and finishing off in the oven. Dinner’s done, just like that!

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And the beauty of this dish, dears, is that you can seriously use whatever you have on hand. Leftover steak? Toss it in with a little crumbled cheese and herbs, and you’ve got a fun twist on a Philly sandwich. Basket brimming with veggies? Make it a meatless dinner! The only thing to remember is season well – from there, you really can’t go wrong.

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Classic Fritatta

{serves 4 for dinner, 6 for a brunch-style dining experience}

remember that this is just a basis to follow…feel free to swap out ingredients as needed. Whatever you have on hand, and whatever flavor combinations you like, will certainly work perfectly!

Ingredients:

2 large farm fresh eggs

6-8 egg whites

salt and pepper, to taste

extra virgin olive oil {to coat the pan}

assorted herbs – I love to use fresh parsley, rosemary, and basil….but honestly, whatever you have on hand and what flavor combination{s} you like will work fabulously

assortment of meats, cheeses, and vegetables {for this particular recipe, I used leftover shredded chicken, sauteed spinach and artichoke with Greek yogurt, and leftover roasted asparagus/brussel sprouts/cauliflower}

 

To Make:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and place rack in the center of the oven.

Generously coat a large non-stick skillet with extra virgin olive oil and place over a burner on medium heat. Gradually bring up to temperature {you’ll notice the oil start to ripple and spatter  – that’s how you know it’s ready}.

Begin by adding in your vegetables and saute for several minutes, until they begin to soften slightly but still retain a bit of snap. Fold in your choice of herbs and/or sauce {in my case, the spinach/artichoke dip I had kicking around the refrigerator}. Bring to temperature, then add in any meats. Cook until heated through. Reduce the heat to medium low.

In an appropriately sized bowl, whisk together your eggs and egg whites. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then gently pour over the sauteed vegetable/meat mixture in your skillet. Allow to sit for one to two minutes, then gingerly use your spatula to “pull” the egg mixture towards the center of the pan – I do this at four or five different edges around the pan. Just make sure to keep your ingredients evenly distributed throughout the fritatta! Cook for another few minutes, until you start seeing the edges of the egg mixture pull away from the sides of the skillet.

Transfer to your preheated oven. Cook for 15  minutes, or until the top of the fritatta just begins to look set. Remove from the oven and cut into wedges. Serve warm, with crusty French bread drizzled with olive oil.

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Leftovers will keep several days in the refrigerator, and it reheats best when done in slow increments.