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    Entries in football (5)

    Tuesday
    Nov052013

    Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites

    Forgive me for my belated post.  I’ve been dealing with computer issues (don’t put a quarter in me about Best Buy at the moment).  To make up for my absence, I bring you bacon wrapped chicken bites.  Not only are they amazingly delicious, but they’re perfect for everything from dinner to game day finger food for the guys. 

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • Diced chicken breasts
    • Bacon
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
    • ½ - 1 teaspoon salt (depending on how salty your bacon is)
    • ½ teaspoon pepper 

    The first thing you need to do is par-cook the bacon.  If you skip this step you’ll either have dry chicken or soggy bacon, neither of which is allowed in my house.  The easiest way to cook bacon, is in the oven.  Just line a sheet pan with foil and lay the strips bacon on it. 

    Slide the pan into a cold oven and turn it to 325°.  I think it took about 15 minutes for my bacon to get to this stage.  You want it to be basically cooked, but still quite limp.

    Remove the slices to a plate lined with paper towels and set them aside. 

    Up next is the chicken.  I find the easiest way to dice chicken is with a pair of kitchen shears.  KitchenAid makes some pretty decent ones that are affordable.  For me, affordable is a good thing in the shears department, because I’m pretty tough on them.  I throw them in the dishwasher frequently, cut open packages and all kinds of food stuff, and I’d rather just replace them once every year or so than have to worry about sharpening them. 

    Cut your chicken into something resembling one inch cubes. 

    Now for the seasoning.  In a small dish, combine the brown sugar (I used coconut sugar, but regular brown sugar will work just fine.) salt, and pepper. 

    Stir them together and add the lime juice. 

    Stir that all together.  Now it’s time to make a little assembly line.  Cut your bacon strips in half and line a sheet pan with parchment.  Now is also a good time to preheat your oven to 375°.  Wrap each piece of chicken with a half slice of bacon. 

    Dip it into the brown sugar mixture, coating the whole thing.  Allow the excess to drip off. 

    Place it, seam side down, on your pan. 

    Repeat until you run out of chicken.  I was able to get 17 pieces from 2 chicken breasts and 1 package of bacon, and still had some leftover sugar mixture. 

    Bake at 375° for about 20 minutes.  While mine was in the oven, I got distracted by a little squirrel out the back window. 

    I know exactly what you’re thinking right now.  And yes, I am a bit like this. 

    So, after 20 minutes, you should have bacon wrapped chicken perfection. 

    We had ours for dinner, with macaroni and cheese (Trader Joes has some in their freezer section that’s surprisingly awesome) and zucchini.  You could also serve them with toothpicks as part of your football snackies. 

    What’s your favorite thing to do with bacon?

     

    Friday
    Jan182013

    Blazin' Buffalo Balls

    Don’t worry, I’m not talking about Rocky Mountain Oysters, or anything quite that frightening.  Think Buffalo chicken wings in the form of little meatballs on toothpicks, dipped in spicy ranch dressing…  I know!  And yes, they really are as fabulous as they sound.  

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    For the ranch:

    • ⅓ cup mayo
    • ⅓ cup greek yogurt (or light sour cream)
    • ⅓ cup buffalo wing sauce
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
    • ½ teaspoon onion powder
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon dried chives
    • 1 teaspoon sugar

    For the meatballs:

    • 1.5 lbs. ground chicken breast
    • 1 egg
    • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 stalk celery (about ⅓ cup diced)
    • ⅓ cup minced onion
    • 2 Tablespoons buffalo wing sauce

    You will also need:

    • 17 snack crackers (about ⅔ cup crumbs)
    • ¼ cup vegetable oil
    • ¼ cup buffalo wing sauce
    • Canola oil spray

    Start with the dressing.  It needs plenty of time to sit and let all the flavors mingle.  You can even make it a day ahead if you want.  Put the mayo, yogurt, and wing sauce into a bowl. (I’m using store bought wing sauce this time because, like the rest of the country, I’m sick.  If you’re feeling up to it, homemade is always best.  You can use the recipe I used for my chicken wings.) 

    Stir them together.  I like to use a small whisk to make sure it’s nice and smooth. 

    Add all the herbs and spices.  I’m using dried herbs this time because… see excuse above.  If you have access to fresh parsley and chives, use them. 

    Whisk again until everything is combined.  Then cover it and put it in the fridge for at least a couple hours. 

    Now for the meatball mixture.  Dice the celery very finely. 

    The easiest way to get small pieces of onion is to cut the peeled onion in half leaving the root end intact.  Then just cut thin slices around the onion and remove thin slices from the end. 

    Next up are the crackers.  Drop them into your blender.

    And a few seconds later you have crumbs. 

    Now drop everything into the bowl of your mixer. 

    Of course you can do this without a stand mixer.  It’ll just take a bit more work to go to this.

    Ok, so it doesn’t look very pretty, but that’s ok.  It will.  For now, scoop out little roundish blobs.  Shoot for about 1 tablespoon.  Place them onto a parchment lined sheet pan.  Place them in the freezer for a couple hours or overnight.  You want them to be completely solid. 

    When your balls are solid and you’re ready cook them, preheat your oven to 400°.  Then mix together ¼ cup wing sauce and ¼ cup vegetable oil.  They’ll want to be completely separate at first.

    But just whisk for a bit and they’ll come together. 

    Line a sheet pan with foil and lube it liberally with canola oil spray. 

    Take your balls out of the freezer and drop them into ziploc bag.

    Pour over the oil and wing sauce mixture. 

    Inflate the bag and seal it up tight.  Then shake your balls around until everything is evenly coated.  When it is, go ahead and add the flour. 

    Repeat with the inflating and shaking.  Move your coated balls to the prepared pan, shaking off any excess flour. 

    Now, grab the can of lube again and spray it all over your balls.  Then pop them into the oven for 20 minutes. 

    Flip them all over and put them back into the oven for an additional 15 minutes.  Then just pile your balls on a plate and serve them with toothpicks and lots of sauce for dipping.

    Yet another perfect game day snack.  Or anytime really.  I mean, how often do you get to serve something to your guests and ask, “Would you like to taste one of my balls?”

    What do you like to eat with toothpicks?