Mini Buffalo Chicken Meatballs: A perfect gameday treat

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With the busy holiday season over it is time to get back to regular blogging.  The one upside of the holiday season was that it gave me an opportunity to cook a lot and spend good quality time with my wife.  Also, Christmas brought me some new cookbooks that give me the opportunity to try some new recipes and share them with all of you.

In honor of my love of football and sports in general, I give you a true gameday treat.  These meatballs include all of the delicious flavors of chicken wings without needing a fryer or have any of the usual mess.  If you are planning on hosting a game day party in the near future, whether it be the college national championship game or the superbowl, these mini meatballs are low maintenance and can be prepped in advance so you can enjoy the sports excitement as well.

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A few cut ups of the recipe that I need to mention: first of all, I used chicken breast meat.  After cooking, I was a little disappointed with the color and crispiness of the final product as you will see below.  The first thing you might do to fix this is (like the recipe recommends) use ground thigh meat.  Also, I am going to try when eating the leftovers, crisping the meatballs in a frying pan to get a little crunch on the outside.

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Mini Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce of your choice ( I used Frank’s)
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 stalk of minced celery
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with the vegetable oil using your hands and set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter in the hot sauce until everything is well incorporated and allow to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the hot sauce mixture, chicken, celery, salt, breadcrumbs, and egg and mix until well incorporated
  4. Roll the mixture into small 3/4 inch meatballs and arrange in the pan in a grid pattern, making sure that the meatballs are touching each other.
  5. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165 degrees. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before enjoying.

This recipe comes courtesy of my wife’s Christmas present for me, “The Meatball Shop Cookbook” by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa: Quick, easy, and versatile

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I truly believe that in cooking sometimes the last thing you want to do is make a whole bunch of different things.  However, if you can create one thing that can serve multiple purposes then you have a real  advantage in making life easy.  This salsa is the perfect example.  This week we had two different Mexican inspired dishes on our menu.  You will see one tomorrow and the other in the next week.  This chunky, fresh salsa found its way into both meals.  And actually if we decided to, dipping was not required.  This is my very favorite dipping salsa.  I exclude the tomatoes because I don’t like them but you can add them if you want.  The beans, and actually the cumin in the dish make it a very refreshing change from your typical everyday salsa.

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The two versatile ways that I used it this week were actually to enhance starches.  For the meal you will see tomorrow, I added it to the quinoa that went into our vegetarian fajita burritos.  It gave a nice body and richness to the main ingredient. The other time I used it as a non-dip, I added some spoonfuls to a brown rice that was a side dish for a Mexican spiced chicken.  The absolute best part of this salsa is that there is no cooking involved, just add all the ingredients into a bowl, mix, and refrigerate for a few hours to merry the flavors.  Its quick and easy and can be used as a great party appetizer or incorporated into other dishes.

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Corn and Black Bean Salsa

  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 6 Tbs olive oil
  • the juice of two limes
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup green onion , minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
  1. Mix everything except the tomatoes in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. When ready to serve, mix in the tomatoes

JUST THAT EASY!

Garlic Parmesan Pull Apart Bread: You won’t be able to wait until dinner is ready

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So if I have one true weakness that could stop me from saving the world, it would be garlic bread.  Really any bread would do it but I have a special place in my heart for buttery white bread with garlic, herbs, and often Parmesan cheese.  I think that it is genetic because my mother is afflicted with the same issue.  Both of us would often be willing to pass on dessert entirely if it meant another piece or two of the bread that came with dinner.

Yesterday, Sunday, turned into quite the adventure as I made three different things (all of which you will see over the next three days) as well as purchasing and decorating our Christmas tree, and doing some cleaning.  I made a lasagna so I could not resist the opportunity to make a bread to go along with it.  I didn’t really feel like trying to make a yeast dough and go through all of the extra steps involved in making it, because I wanted to make a mash up of two pull apart/ monkey bread recipes that I found while perusing Foodgawker, so I decided to use frozen white rolls from the store to make things easier.

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Using those rolls was the first part of my cut up, The recipe that I used for the seasoning and flavoring used refrigerated biscuits, and that just didn’t sound good to me.  So I used a second recipe to get the method for using frozen dinner rolls as the medium.  The seasoning couldn’t have been easier and simpler.  Garlic, butter, Italian seasoning, and plenty of Parmesan cheese is the holy quartet when it comes to bread.  Also, doing a pull apart bread makes it easy to share with your special someone and keeps it easy.

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Maybe the most amazing part is seeing the half filled bundt pan you put into the oven magically come out filled to the brim with a perfectly baked pull apart bread just waiting to be devoured.  If you just want to try and make the bread and don’t have plans for a meal to serve it with, this recipe could be a great entertaining appetizer.  Just serve with a warm marinara sauce and dip to enjoy all by itself.

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Garlic Parmesan Pull Apart Bread

  • 24 frozen dinner rolls, thawed
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.  While preheating melt the butter in the bundt pan in the oven
  2. Break each roll into two pieces and place in a bowl.  Add the Parmesan, seasoning, and garlic and stir.  When the butter is melted, carefully remove the pan from the oven.  Rotate the pan around, coating the interior in butter, then pour the remaining butter over the rolls and stir again.
  3. Place about half of the roll pieces into the bundt pan and sprinkle some of the cheese mixture in the bottom of the bowl over the rolls in the pan.  Repeat with the rest of the rolls going into the pan and then sprinkling the rest of the cheese mixture.
  4. Bake in the bundt pan for 30 minutes.  Remove and let cool slightly in the pan.  Turn out onto a serving plate and enjoy.