So, along with most of the folks we saw at Jack in the Box yesterday, Mr. L and I took Jack up on his offer of trying his new grilled sandwiches for free. Mr. L and I bought our required large drinks and then got one of each sandwich.
Out of the two sandwiches, Mr. L and I preferred the Deli Trio Sandwich (627 calories-Top photo) over the Turkey, Bacon and Cheddar Sandwich (647 calories-Bottom photo). Both sandwiches had good grilled bread (much better than most sandwich type stuff at fast food joints). Both sandwiches were FULL of sodium, 2461 mg for the Deli Trio and 2128 for the Turkey/Bacon. Both sandwiches normally sell for $3.99 each.
The Deli Trio wasn't half bad. The sandwich is made up of "Genoa salami, sliced ham, roasted turkey, Provolone cheese and pickle filet's with a creamy Italian dressing on grilled artisan bread". The dressing wasn't overpowering. I thought the pickle completely made the sandwich. It looked much better than the Turkey/Bacon version. Mr. L thought it had more of a complete flavor.
The Turkey-Bacon sandwich, made up of "Roasted turkey, bacon and Cheddar cheese with a Sun-dried Tomato sauce on grilled artisan bread" had a dressing that just overpowered everything. And it was a tangy sweet dressing (I kept thinking Miracle Whip which I can't stand). Mr. L's comments were "just a grilled sandwich with mystery sauce" and "didn't present itself well, the stack slab of meat makes it look processed".
Did either of these sandwiches look anything like what you see on TV or in the ads? No. Would we order either of them again? Maybe the Deli Trio, definitely not the Turkey/Bacon version. And the maybe is because we don't go to Jack in the Box for burgers or sandwiches. We go for the tacos, so 99% of the time, that's what we'll order there.
I have to laugh at this photo. Mr. L says it looks like it's about to eat you. No, we were about to eat it.
A tourtiere is a type of meat pie popular in Quebec. This was another Canadian recipe that I looked for when I bought the A Taste of Canada cookbook and I wasn't disappointed. The Tourtiere Turnovers recipe was pretty straightforward and simple to make though it was a bit labor intensive. We ate these while watching Bode Miller get his gold. Yes, we ate them as dinner though they were meant as appetizers.
The taste was pretty good, but I honesty felt they were pretty plain. The recipe suggested serving these appetizers with a green tomato relish or fruity chili sauce. All that I had on hand was something called "Bronco Bob's Tangy Apricot Chipotle Sauce". Completely made the dish. It was a great dipping sauce for the meat turnovers and I'm excited to have a half a bottle left to put it on something else!
I did have problems with the puff pastry but it was user error. I need to use it more to get a better feel on how to work with the stuff. Rolling it out into an even triangle? Yeah right. Cut in even squares? Er, not so much. I had some wonderful looking puff triangles and some not so great looking...footballs. Or maybe they were in the shapes of the the Empire State Building. Okay, more like lumps. But at least with the chili sauce they tasted good no matter how they looked.TOURTIERE TURNOVERS
1 potato, peeled and quartered
1 lb lean ground pork
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, with leaves, cut in 3
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried savory
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
2 pkg (14 oz) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
In a medium saucepan, cook the potato in boiling salted water until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, mash and set aside.
Bring 1/2 cup of the potato water to a boil. Add the pork, onion, celery, garlic, savory, thyme, cinnamon and cloves, breaking the pork up with a spoon. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pork is no longer pink and the liquid has reduced by half, about 45 minutes.
Remove and discard the celery pieces. Stir in the potato, parsley, salt and pepper to taste and more of the other seasoning if desired. Let cool in the refrigerator.
Working with a quarter of the pastry (half of one package) at a time, roll out each quarter into a 12 x 9 inch rectangle. Cut each rectangle into 12 even squares. Brush each with egg. (Reserve any remaining egg in the refrigerator.) Place a heaping teaspoon of the pork mixture in the center of each square, making sure none gets on the edges. (Mounding it into a bit of a ball with your fingers helps.) Fold the pastry over to enclose the filling and form a triangle. Seal the edges by pressing all around with the floured tines of a fork. (Turnovers can be prepared ahead to this point and refrigerated, covered, overnight. Or, freeze for up to 2 months sealed in freezer bags. Thaw in the refrigerator before baking.)
When ready to serve, arrange the turnovers on a baking sheet; brush with the reserved egg. Bake in the center of a 400 degree F oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 48 turnovers.
Note: I made a full batch of the filling but only used one package of the puff pastry. I'm thinking of using the second half of the filling as some kind of layered dish with phyllo dough.
Note: After 45 minutes there was actually even more liquid in the bottom of the pot than the 1/2 cup of potato liquid that I originally added. I ended up taking a spoon and removing most of it.
Note: The leaves of the celery broke up and I had to fish them out by hand. Not a fun thing to do.
Note: I got tired of making little triangles so at one point I just made two really big puff pastry triangles and filled them with the meat mixture. I think that worked just as well as making little appetizers.
FREE JACK - I've been printing out menus for the week for Mr. L and I. We're so busy that it's much easier to know what to throw in my bag for breakfast or how much time I have once I get home from work to throw together a meal. If you look at this weeks list, down for Tuesday dinner, is Jack in the Box Grilled Sandwich. I realize it's not exactly on a healthy diet, but today, Jack is giving out free Grilled Sandwiches to anyone who buys a large drink. There’s the Grilled Turkey, Bacon & Cheddar with roasted turkey, cheddar cheese and bacon, and the Grilled Deli Trio, with salami, sliced ham, roasted turkey, provolone cheese and pickles. Both served on grilled artisan bread. How do I know this? Jack called me. No seriously, I got a phone call from Jack letting me know about his free deal. Yeah, it's a recorded message, but still. Jacks on my phone. For more information go here.
FREE PANCAKES - How about some free pancakes today too? IHOP is celebrating IHOP Pancake Day by giving away one free short stack (three) of their famous buttermilk pancakes. They ask that you consider making a donation to the Children's Miracle Network in order to get those free pancakes. Offer available from 7 AM to 10 PM today. For more information go here.
OLYMPIC COKE APP - My favorite iPhone Olympic App (which I'll keep around for various reasons) is the Coca-Cola NBC Cheer App. Advertised as giving you "sounds of the game" there are cheer buttons with the "USA USA" cheer, crowd roar, cowbell, applause and even an alpenhorn. Want to record your own cheer? It can do that too. Want to hear game sounds? Listen to some ice skating, bobsleds going down the course, curling and yes, even that robotic voice saying "ready" for speed skating (heck I got the app for that sound bite alone!). You can also get cool Coke sounds like ice in a glass, the pouring of a coke and fizzy cola sounds. The last part of the app will give you little moments in this years Olympics (my current one has a moment from Day 11 but I won't spoil it for you if you aren't caught up). There are a few other sounds available on this free app.
OLYMPICS - Almost burnt out on the Olympics? If they went more than a week I think I'd be done. I am a day behind in watching the coverage (grateful to DVR's). And as you can see, we've been drinking our Canadian beer. Couldn't find any Molson at our local store so Labatt's Blue had to do. Time to settle in and watch some more hockey.
In my search for Canadian recipes I came across many for Butter Tarts. Described sometimes as a "little pecan pie" I passed on these recipes because they either included raisins (which neither Mr. L nor I are fond of) or required pastry dough (something I'm not quite up to tackling). When I saw this version of a Canadian butter tart in the A Taste of Canada cookbook, I thought it was a great updated version that I could try. It uses frozen phyllo pastry instead of the usual short crust pastry and has plenty of pecans instead of raisins.
These Butter Tarts in Phyllo lived up to my expectations. Easy to make, not too overpowering flavor wise (I was concerned they would be too sweet) and not bad even when they were cold and the dough had gotten soggy. These make a great presentation and I think this may be dessert next time I have a dinner party. I'd definitely make these again.
Now as far as the phyllo dough goes, I was excited to use it as it's been on my "Food Resolutions" list for several years. Not so excited when I opened the package. It looked like someone had already taken a little knife and made little cuts in all the phyllo sheets (you could tell even before I unrolled the sheets). Seriously are all frozen phyllo packages like that? It didn't really make a difference in taste and esthetically I was able to finagle the sheets to look somewhat okay in the finished product, but it was a bit daunting to start out with already messed up dough.
And just a reminder, one should not watch the Olympic coverage when one is baking. Because instead of paying attention to the instructions of the recipe, I think maybe I was cheering on Vonn. Or screaming at Scott to pass others to take the Snowboard Cross Gold. Or wondering if there are any athletes at the Olympics that had normal lives and didn't have horrible hardships and sob stories. Or maybe it was even when I was commenting that it was so not fair that Shaun White has such better hair than most women. The instructions said "cut into 12 squares" I read 15. Sigh. A little reconstruction made the tarts look okay, but they didn't have the high phyllo sides they should have.BUTTER TARTS IN PHYLLO DOUGH
6 sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Place the phyllo pastry between two sheets of waxed paper and cover with a damp tea towel. Place 1 sheet on a work surface, keeping the remaining sheets covered. Brush the phyllo with some of the melted butter; top with a second sheet. Continue stacking the sheets of phyllo, brushing each with melted butter, until you have a stack of 6. Brush the top sheet well with butter. Cut into 12 even squares. Press the squares evenly into 12 muffin cups.
Filling: In a bowl, beat the egg well with a whisk, then whisk in the sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla and lemon juice. Stir in the nuts. Spoon filling evenly into the prepared phyllo cups, being careful not to let the filling come up above the pastry. (They will appear about half full.) Bake in the bottom third of a 375 degree oven until the pastry is golden about 15 minutes. Place the pan on a rack to cool completely. Makes 12 tarts.
Note: I didn't spray the muffin tin before putting in the dough. I had a bit of a problem with several of them kind of sticking but that may have been from me trying to piece together some of the phyllo shells and some of the filling leaking out.
This cookbook has a copyright of 2008. I got this cookbook off of Amazon.com. I have never cooked from this book before.
I searched high and low through the Amazon cookbook section to find a cookbook that had "Canadian" recipes. Though there were a few (basically nothing compared to say the Italian section) this is the one that struck me as needing to be in my cookbook collection. It was more recent than some, and the author, Rose Murray, had several well reviewed cookbooks already out.
Not really knowing much about Canadian food, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I have to admit, most of the recipes didn't scream "Canada" to me...Chinese Style Roast Duck; Pad Thai; Fresh Peach, Gorgonzola and Prosciutto Salad. Lots of use of fresh and or local ingredients (most of which can be found here where I live). The important thing was that most of the recipes sounded good!
A Taste of Canada starts out with an introduction on how Canadian cuisine comes from various ethnic cultures, which explains why some recipes sound Chinese, Japanese, Thai. Standard chapters such as Breads and Brunches and Mains (which is broken up to Poultry, Lamb, etc). Recipes have both metric and "American" measurements. Not all the recipes have photos, but those that do are full page.
Here and there you will find menus for special occasions like a picnic in Stanley Park or a Canadian Birthday party. Interspersed are pages that talk of ingredients (jerusalem artichokes, fiddleheads, rhubarb) types of foods (Tourtiere which is a Quebec meat pie) or areas of Canada.
There were some recipes in the book for foods that I had heard about when trying to look up Canadian foods. Butter Tarts. The meat pies called Tourtiere. Nanaimo Bars. They didn't seem to be "straight up" versions of these items, more an updated take. The Tourtiere here is made with frozen puff pastry, the Butter Tarts with phyllo dough. There were many recipes along with those mentioned that sounded good. Wild Mushroom and Back Bacon Risotto. Spicy Dark and Delicious Beef Chili. Two Cheese Veal Loaf. Pear and Blackberry Hazelnut Crunch. I might not be able to make all the dishes during the Olympics, but I'll definitely try out a few.
I don't know about the rest of you but I'm definitely in Olympic mode. It's SOOOO hard to not listen to the radio, look at newspapers, or be on the internet because someone at some time will ruin it for me and tell me a result I didn't want to know ahead of catching it on the prime time showcase. Alas, I already know the result of todays woman's downhill even though I tried to keep that news for when I sit my butt in front of the TV tonight. Nobody better spoil the mens skating or I'll really be mad!
HOCKEY - Did any of you catch the USA or Canada hockey games? If you aren't following Jeff Cables blog you should, he has some shots of some of the Sharks playing in the Olympics and some insight as to what it's like to be at some of the hockey games.
THE FOOD - As usual, I'm interested in what the athletes are eating and what the masses are having to keep themselves occupied while they are waiting for events. I've come across a few stories that I'll share with you here: (as a note, some of these sites may be broadcasting current event results so enter at your own risk!)
* Wild Boar Bacon? White Chocolate Parfaits? German Sausages? I dare you to watch this reporters video about eating at the various pavilions at the Olympics and not get hungry. Paul Watson Video here.
*Want to know what's currently happening in the Vancouver food scene and how it's effected by the Olympics? Check out the Vancouver Food and Wine blog here.
*Cheese as a healing aid to skiers? Who knew!? Check out the article on how an American Skier is trying to heal by using cheese here. And I'll give you a hint...it ain't American cheese!
KID GAMES - Bored and need to play some online hockey while you're waiting for that batch of poutine to be made? Check out the Olympics site for some games featuring the Olympic mascots Sumi, Miga, and Quatchi. They have several games which your kids should enjoy (and hey, maybe you will too). Check them out here.
Two years ago, at the start of the Summer Olympics in China, Mr. L and I started a tradition. Planning some meals around the food of the host country. It was easy with China. Not only were there a ton of Chinese restaurants around that we could chose from, I have quite a few Chinese Cookbooks that I was able to explore new recipes with. And heck even general cookbooks have recipes in the index under “Chinese food”.
But Canadian food? As far as I know there are no restaurants locally that serve Canadian food. I even tried to call the Consulate General of Canada to see if there were places they could recommend. Alas the phone number for the San Jose office was disconnected. And even though I have a vast cookbook collection, none are specific to Canada. Not to mention trying to check indexes for Canadian food in any of the cookbooks I do have. There are no listings under Canadian Food.
It’s been many years since I’ve made a trip to The Great White North. But I actually do have some fond memories of food and drink from that country. From Vancouver, to Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto and Quebec, I’ve spent many a hockey road trip (following the Sharks of course) eating at various places. And I’ve had the privilege of staying with a friend who has a vacation home in Vancouver (hello MATT) and enjoying many of the wonderful restaurants they have in that city.
Herein are some of my most memorable food and drink moments from Canada:
TIMBITS – What can I say. If you say “Canadian Food” my first thought goes to Tim Horton and Timbits. I’m not sure why but they really do curl my toes. On any trip to Canada, it was a must to stop and get Timbits. It was not out of character for friends coming back from Canada to bring us little goodie boxes of those famous donut holes. It was not uncommon for a bus full of Sharks Booster Club members (The Hammerheads) to ask the bus driver to stop at a Tim Hortons when traveling between hockey towns. I periodically still crave a Tim Hortons donut. As for the coffee, which I understand is awesome (I wasn’t a big coffee drinker back then), they do sell it on Amazon.com. Alas, it’s a bit expensive.
SPEAKING OF COFFEE - One freezing cold morning in Edmonton, my mom and I tried to find a cup of coffee. There wasn't a Starbucks on every corner. There wasn't a coffee shop anywhere near the hotel. Mom and I walked around for about an hour before we were finally able to find a place open on a Sunday morning where we could put our freezing butts down and get a cup of coffee. All was forgiven though, because if I remember correctly, while walking around like a frozen popsicle, we did find a little used bookstore that was open and that had books on hockey. Seriously folks, back in the early 90's finding anything to do with hockey was rare on the west coast of the USA!
WAYNE GRETZKY'S RESTAURANT – At Wayne's restaurant they served burgers that had “99” branded into the buns. I smuggled a menu out in my purse. The woman's room said “Queens”. We all bowed to The Great Ones restaurant. Back then he WAS hockey and that’s why we were in Canada.
COLD BEER – Here in the states I’m used to being able to buy beer just about anywhere. Drug Stores. Mini-Marts at gas stations. Grocery stores. 7-11’s. Delis. Heck, even the little Indian grocery store on the corner where I live sells beer. But back in the early 90’s, on my first trip to Canada and Vancouver, beer was only sold in “Cold Beer Stores”. The group of Americans I was with did not know this information. The fact that it was New Years Eve (we were there to see the Sharks play the Canucks and does any even remember Otevrel? ) meant a few cold beers before we left for the hockey game from our hotel was in order. So my girlfriend and I went in search. And found no beer. We stopped a passerby and asked where to find beer? He looked at us like we were from Mars. It took stopping several strangers and an admission that we were “crazy American hockey fans in need of beer NOW” to find out that we could only buy beer in designated stores. And then it wasn’t really cold. There were these little machines that you would put a can of beer in, it started whirling away and a minute or two later, presto, cold beer.
Then there was the Molson incident, in I believe, Calgary. See, I don’t drink beer, and beer seems to be almost a religion in Canada. Me? Tequila. But Canada isn’t exactly a tequila Mecca. So when my girlfriend and I found a bar in Calgary after the hockey game. I ordered a shot of tequila. We were sitting at the bar, trying to fit in and not look like tourists since the place was a local “after the game” type of bar. And figuring I might be there a bit and wanting to blend in (like ordering a shot of tequila didn’t label me an outsider right away) I ordered a beer chaser. The bartender wanted to know what kind of beer. Molson. I said Molson. It was the only Canadian beer I could think of. The big burly bartender put both hands on the edge of the counter, leaned into me across the bar, looked me direct in the eye and said “honey, we have ten different kinds of Molson here in Canada, which one to do want?” Gulp. Talk about being intimidated! But the bartender turned out to be a really nice guy, we spent quite a few hours hanging out at that bar, being sent strange Canadian drinks (I think they tried to make something teal for us), trying to figure out how to steal the “OV” beer sign (you had to be a Sharks fan back in the early 90’s to understand that) and fending off the old former St. Louis player that kept showing us his knuckles. But I learned that night to be a bit more specific anytime I ordered a Molson in Canada!
SPEAKING OF TEQUILA – As I said, I drink tequila…Canadians, not so much. Here in the states, at any given hockey arena, you can find tequila sold at the stands that sell hard liquor. In Canada, not so much. Up in Edmonton for a hockey game, I tried to find tequila. A shot, mixed in a drink, didn’t matter. Looked for it and couldn’t find it. Found a lot of beer though. But I don’t like beer. So I didn’t drink. Lets just say, it was cold outside, there was ice on the ground, there was a bus, there was a dip in the sidewalk, there was a fall, and there was Mrs. L in a Canadian emergency room with torn tendons in her ankle. I’ve always blamed Edmonton Arenas lack of tequila for my pain. I probably wouldn’t have hurt myself if I wasn't sober.
ICING – Not just a hockey term. If you went into a local Denny's here and asked for icing on your French toast, what do you think you would get. Stares? People thinking you wanted cake frosting on your toast? Well, my first morning ever in Vancouver, I ordered French Toast with Powdered Sugar at the White Spot. The waitress looked at me like I was from Mars. We spent a couple of minutes doing a reenactment of “Who’s on First” before we realized that Powdered Sugar in Canada is actually called Icing. And I also found out that Californians’ have an accent that Canadians can notice. Who knew???
JELLO, MAC AND CHEESE and BREAKFAST CEREAL - Every time I went to Canada, I would come back with a suitcase full of Jello, Kraft Mac and Cheese and various breakfast cereals. Mind you I didn’t actually come back with the food, just the boxes they were packaged in. Because in Canada they actually put hockey players on boxes of food. Even Shark players every now and then. Anytime a hockey road trip took us anywhere near a grocery store, you would usually find a group of us scouring the shelves for any product that featured a hockey player. Yes, I still have them, boxed with all my other hockey memorabilia. Somewhere along with the Jaromir Jagr bubblegum and Jagr peanut butter.
I’ve had some great food in Canada. There was this pasta place in Vancouver that we stood outside an hour in the cold to get in to. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Then there was my first taste of Miss Vickie's Jalapeno potato chips. Smarties. Vietnamese food in Montreal. I wish I had taken photos and had a blog back then to remember all the good things I ate over the years. But alas, one thing I never tried, but wish I could now is Poutine, a dish of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. One of my recent food magazines came out with a recipe which I thought about making for this years Olympics. My heart said no. It said my first taste of Poutine has to be while I’m standing somewhere on Canadian soil. Someday I’ll follow the Sharks up North again and finally get a taste.
But back to finding Canadian recipes to cook in the next few weeks. I figured two weeks of eating Canadian Bacon and Pineapple pizzas might not cut it. My friend MATT gave me some ideas and I scoured the internet to find possibilities. Beaver Tails sounded interesting (Beaver Tails as a snack food is something like a Funnel Cake). But I’ve still got that fear of baking with yeast thing going on. Moose stew? Hard to find moose in these parts. Haven’t seen any fiddlehead ferns sold around these parts either. Back Bacon? Heck I eat Canadian Bacon all the time. Flipper Pie? Okay, I admit, that one, consisting of seal flippers, ain’t gonna be something I try at home…er or ever. Butter Tarts? Toutins? Not having any idea what might really be considered “Canadian” I did what any self respecting cookbook collector would do. I bought a Canadian Cookbook. In fact, I bought two books that I hope will help me have a better understanding of food in Canada. A Taste of Canada which I’m sure I’ll find some great recipes to try and So You Want to Be Canadian. Which also has some recipes (like the aforementioned Moose stew and a recipe for Beaver Tail that actually requires a Beaver Tail).
So while I sit on my couch in front of the TV the next couple of weeks, watching triple axles, grown men screaming “sweeeep” at each other , folks running around with guns in the snow, and probably way to many “heartfelt in depth stories about the trials and tribulations it took some athlete to get to the podium” I’m hoping to have a bit of Canadian cuisine to feast on along the way. And please, if you do have a recipe for some wonderful Canadian dish, please pass it along. And if you have any food memories of eating in Canada, I'd love to hear them too.
If you're like me, the Olympics pretty much take over everything once they start. I find myself checking online for scores that I might have missed, photos of Olympians and information about the winners and losers.
If you like photography and want to follow one of the photographers assigned to do photography during the Vancouver Olympics, check out Jeff Cables blog.
Jeff got his credentials through USA Hockey so you know you will be seeing all things hockey. But I have a feeling he'll be taking photos of anything interesting that comes his way. He's already met up with Shawn Johnson and if you look, he has photos of curling on his blog!
I'm looking forward to getting kind of an inside view of someone taking photos of the Olympics. I hope you'll join me in following Jeff at this years Olympics in Vancouver.
When I saw this recipe on Noble Pigs blog last year before the Super Bowl, I knew that at some point I would have to try to make it. For some reason the recipe stayed in my mind over the past year, periodically popping up at various times with "I should make that Buffalo Wing dip from Noble Pig". It wasn't until last weekend, when I realized that I had some chicken breasts defrosting in the fridge and that the Super Bowl was coming up that I pulled out the recipe to give it a try.
Holy. Crap. Best Stuff Ever. Addicting. And before you say "Well, we don't eat dips in our house" forget the whole dip thing. Put this over rice. Make a sandwich out of it. Put some in a warm tortilla, add some sour cream and sliced avocado and maybe even some jalapenos. Killer stuff. Did I mention addicting? And yes, it makes a great dip, whether you use bread, crackers or veggies.
Now, before you think it's a lot of hot sauce, the cream cheese really kills a lot of the heat. It's spicy but it wasn't that "oh lord my mouth is on fire" kinda heat (might also have something to do with the wing sauce I used). I used ranch dressing so don't be put off of the recipe if you aren't a bleu cheese fan.
This stuff is seriously good. Who cares if it's not low calorie. Who cares if I can sit there and take spoonfuls of this dip and eat it all by itself. Make this. Trust the Noble Pig. Good stuff. And there are a ton of variations out there (one from The Bitten Word here), that call for slightly different ingredients or make smaller batches. But you won't want to make smaller batches. Make the big batch, take half to your Super Bowl party and then use half for meals for yourself. Trust us.BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP
24 ounces cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, shredded
6 ounces bottled Franks Red Hot Sauce
6 ounces prepared Buffalo Wing Sauce
1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 8-oz packages Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
12 ounces ranch dressing
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
If poaching your own chicken breasts - Place chicken breasts in a saute pan large enough to hold them in one layer. Add 1-2 cups water or chicken broth to pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 9-14 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from broth. Cool slightly and shred well. You do not want large chunks. (The alternative is to use cooked chicken from either cans or a rotisserie chicken).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix shredded chicken with hot sauce and buffalo wing sauce and set aside. (Noble Pig says you can do this a day ahead of time. I'm thinking this would make the sauce really sink into the chicken for even more flavor).
Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add celery and saute just until tender. Take pan off heat. Add chicken mixture and combine. (I just added the sauteed celery to the bowl I had the chicken mixture in).
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. When cream cheese is creamy, add ranch dressing and stir to combine. Add chicken-celery mixture and mix thoroughly.
Place mixture in a large casserole dish (12 x 9). Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Add cheddar cheese and stir to combine. Bake for another 20 minutes or until heated through.
Note: Check out Noble Pigs recipe for her version. I made some changes in mine.
Note: I had about 18 ounces of cooked chicken after poaching. Her recipe asks for 4 chicken breasts or about 25 ounces of canned chicken so I think my version had less chicken than hers. I poached them in plain water.
Note: Original version asked for 12 ounces of Franks Red Hot sauce. Nobles version used 6 ounces of the Franks Hot Sauce and 6 ounces of Franks Wing Sauce. The only size of Franks Hot Sauce I found was the 5 ounce. And there was no Franks Wing Sauce. So I used 5-ounces of the Hot Sauce and 7-ounces of the most interesting Buffalo Wing Sauce the store had (Louisiana Gem Sauce).
Note: Nobles version used neufchatel cream cheese. I normally use nothing but Philly Cream cheese (full fat) when I make stuff so that's what I used in this.
Note: To make this true "Buffalo Wing" most recipes ask for bleu cheese dressing. When I order wings I always ask for Ranch instead of the usually served bleu (sorry, but I really don't like bleu cheese). I ended up using Hidden Valley bottled Buttermilk Ranch dressing. It was a big bottle so I just kinda eyeballed 12-ounces worth. I'm sure if you are a bleu cheese fan Noble Pigs recommendation of using a good quality bottled bleu would work just fine.
Note: Though this is probably best right out of the oven we've been "reheating" for various dishes and it comes out fine. It might separate a bit more than the first bake but I didn't see a big taste difference.
Did I mention how much I loved this? I think Mr. L and I went through an entire loaf of good crusty French bread when I made this "dip" for dinner. That was it. Dip and the bread. We had to stop ourselves from downing the whole thing. My mom loved her's over rice. My assistant got out tortilla chips to eat hers. The tortilla wraps? Yummy. I'm thinking this could be stuffed in pasta shells. And yes, I found myself just taking a spoonful and eating the dip all by itself.
Please note: I am not responsible for any weight gain or hip widening that might result in your hoarding the entire batch to eat yourself.