For some, cooking is a means to an end. For others, cooking is therapy. I fall into the latter category. But no matter which group you happen to land in, I firmly believe everyone should be able to take basic ingredients and make some simple meals to feed themselves and those they love. I’ve been toying with this idea of doing Saturday cooking workshops to help ladies take away the fear factor from cooking. I grew up learning to cook from my parents, and my dad especially believed the kitchen was the perfect place to experiment. He rarely measured, and a recipe was a launch pad, a starting point from which he could add a little bit of this and a pinch of that. From all those times in the kitchen, I learned that the worst that can happen when you have fun in the kitchen is the occasional last minute run to the pizza store. But most of the time you come out with something super delicious.
We’ll see if anything comes of the Saturday workshops, but in the meantime I thought I’d start sharing a recipe every week on the blog. I’ve shared a few recipes here and there, and you’ve given me good feedback. (Of course, my bestie was cursing my name last week when cooking her eggs low and slow was making her very hungry two-year-old have a meltdown. You’ll thank her one day, Charlie, when you know how to make the world’s best scrambled eggs.)
My goal is to give you recipes that are yummy, easy, and most of the time nutritious. We don’t follow any certain diets, but we do eat clean most of the time, so most of the recipes will be made with clean ingredients. We also use mainly organic, non-GMO ingredients, so you’ll see me reference those. Every once in a while, usually on the weekends, we splurge and have something not so clean, so I’ll share some of those too.
Make the recipes your own. If there’s a spice you don’t like, try similar spices you do and see what you think. Change up the type of meat. Use a different sauce. Like I shared earlier, don’t be afraid to try something new. Occasionally, dinner will be a disaster, and then you’ll slap together some PB&Js or pick up a pizza. But almost every time, you will smile at the end of the meal knowing you’ve created something special, something that feeds your family’s bellies and hearts.
After all that talk about clean eating, I wanted to give you a delicious and clean meal, but college football season starts Thursday, so I’m going with a favorite recipe of my man’s–Buffalo chicken dip. It’s all the flavor of Buffalo wings without the need for massive amounts of napkins.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
- 1 lb of boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 12 oz bottle Frank’s Red Hot sauce
- 8 oz container cream cheese
- 1 cup Mexican cheese blend
- 1 cup Ranch dressing or Blue Cheese dressing
- 1 bag tortilla chips or veggies for dipping
What to do:
- Boil chicken. My favorite way to do this is to put the chicken (mine is usually frozen because I buy my organic meat in bulk once a month and freeze it) in the Crockpot with a couple cups of water. Turn on high for 3 or so hours or low for 5-6 hours.
- Shred chicken. You can either use two forks, or you can put it in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. (The paddle attachment is the flat, white one.)
- Combine chicken with sauce. Make it as spicy or as mild as you like it. The more sauce, the spicier it will be. We use a LOT! (My Louisiana birth certificate coming through.)
- In the bottom of a square casserole dish, spread the block of cream cheese.
- Next, add your Buffalo chicken on top.
- Sprinkle the cup of Mexican cheese (or a little more if you love cheese like me) on top of the chicken.
- Finally, drizzle on some Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing. I find it works better if you don’t let the dressing go on in big blobs, but rather thin little ribbons. That way the cheese can still melt and bubble properly. Who doesn’t love bubbly cheese? (Except vegans.)
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until cheese is all yummy.
- Serve with chips or veggies. I usually slice up some organic apples (preferably Honeycrisp if available because they taste like fall) to serve with it. That makes me feel a little healthier. And you can find organic non-GMO corn tortilla chips on the natural aisle at the grocery store or at Costco.
Thursday night, we’ll spread out the quilts on the living room floor with dip and chips and lots of apples and toast, “Roll Tide,” to a new season of college football. Keep this recipe in mind for college football, Super Bowl weekend, or March Madness. I hope your man likes it as much as mine does.