Saturday, June 4, 2011

Show us your life: Appetizers

It's been a busy week with a wedding, a prom, a graduation, and wedding planning! Needless to say, grocery shopping didn't happen until Thursday and cooking has fallen to the wayside. So I'm SO excited to link up with Kelly for Show us your life: Appetizers.

I love everything about appetizers. I love just nibbling a bit here and there, especially if there's cheese involved. Every time I go to a party, I almost always bring an app. It saddens me if there is any left over and wasted at a party, so when there are going to be lots of apps, I save a fourth or a half for home. I always say that I will freeze half of that for later, but they never last that long.

My all time favorite, and fan favorite, is Buffalo Chicken Dip. It is so easy and to die for. I can't even remember where I got the original recipe, but I have changed it so many times that what I'm making now is entirely mine, and entirely delicious. The best part is that this is naturally gluten free! Always check your labels, though.

Buffalo Chicken Dip


3 chicken breasts
Frank's Red Hot sauce
1 stick of butter
8 oz. cream cheese (1/3 reduced fat or regular)
2 cups monterey jack or mozzerella cheese
9 inch baking dish or pie dish

1. Boil the chicken breasts about 20 minutes, until fully cooked.

2. Melt butter in the microwave and set aside. Take cream cheese out of the fridge to soften. Preheat oven to 350* when chicken is done.

3. Shred the chicken in a food processor or with a fork, which was how we used to do it before the discovery of the Magic Bullet!

4. Pour melted butter over the shredded chicken and mix with as much Frank's Red Hot Sauce as your heart desires.

5. Spread all of the cream cheese on the bottom of the dish.

6. Pour chicken mixture over the cream cheese.

7. Top with 2 cups of cheese.

8. Bake uncovered at 350* for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

9. Devour it. Serve with tortilla chips and share with others.

If you want to make half and save half, like we usually do, use half of the cream cheese and half of the mixture, we keep the amount of cheese the same. You can make this lighter by using reduced fat cream cheese, I just would not recommend using the fat-free. I've found that you lose a lot of the flavor because the cream cheese isn't mixed with anything so you will taste it. Also, reduced fat cheese for the top can be used. I'm sure you can eliminate the butter or cut it in half but we love the buttah!

And because I couldn't just pick one, my other favorite is Spinach Artichoke Dip. This is my second most-requested dip and is usually the one that the girls stick to once the boys have inhaled the buf chic dip. Maybe it's healthier ;) This recipe has also been changed and tried so many times that the recipe is now my original. This recipe can be gluten free, if you use regular spinach instead of the creamed. Unless you can find creamed spinach somewhere that is gluten free, in which case BRING ME SOME! No seriously, CONTACT ME! If it's creamy, cheesy, or buttery, I'm all over it. That doesn't sound good, but it's the truth. I always use low-fat in dips unless you can taste the difference.

Spinach Artichoke Dip


2 packages of frozen, creamed spinach (regular spinach for gluten free)
1 package frozen artichoke hearts, or canned
1/2 cup mayo (light)
1/2 cup sour cream (fat free)
1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus some to sprinkle on top
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
9 inch baking dish or pie dish

Preheat oven to 350*

1. Defrost the spinach and artichokes in the microwave.

2. Chop the artichoke hearts into bite-sized pieces.

3. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Pour desired amount or all of dip into dish and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.

5. Bake uncovered at 350* for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

6. Serve with tortilla chips or bread. If you want to be super fancy, you can even serve it in a sourdough bread bowl.

Besides being an absolute treat to the taste buds, both of these dips can be made in any type of oven safe baking dish, depending on how much of the dip you use. They can be made in advance and covered in the fridge for a couple of days. And they freeze well, if you have better self-control than I do.

(I'm not sure where the pics are that I have taken of these recipes in the past, so I used Google images and came up with one from and

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