Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Good Eats

We are big fans of little plates - tapas - appetizers and that's what we decided to do for our stay at home New Year's Eve.  While you’d think that would be a lot easier than making a full blown meal, it’s not really if you make everything from scratch, which is how I roll.

As my Pinterest food board is the one with the most pins (no surprise there!) I went looking and actually ended up making four items that I'd pinned.  With three of them I didn’t really make any major changes to the recipe, so I’ll share the links for those later in this post.  The fourth one, Buffalo Chicken Bites, I made several changes to, based on what I had on hand and what sounded better to me. Biz, when I made this appetizer I thought of you because I know you love all things Buffaloed and all things Balls!

Buffalo Chicken Bites                     
(based on a recipe from

18 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast
½ cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
4 oz. light cream cheese
1 ¾ cups reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup chopped green onion (the green part)
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
½ cup dried seasoned bread crumbs

Put chicken breast in a medium saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over high heat then turn down to simmer for about 20 minutes until cooked.  Remove from broth and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper then spray it with Olive Oil cooking spray
When chicken breasts are cool, either finely shred and dice a bit or put into a food processor and pulse a few times to shred the chicken.

In a large bowl, put the shredded chicken, hot sauce, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and green onion.  Mix until well combined (I used my hands).

Make an assembly line:  the bowl of chicken mixture, a clean plate or baking sheet, a shallow dish with the flour, a dish with the beaten eggs, a shallow dish with the panko and dried bread crumbs combined and the baking sheet.

Roll a heaping tablespoon or so into a 1-inch ball.  Place on plate and repeat with remaining mixture.
Dip each chicken ball into the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumb mixture.  Place on the prepared baking sheet.  Place them close together.  Spray with olive oil cooking spray.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden.  Serve warm with blue cheese or ranch dressing. Makes 36 bites.

My family had shared appetizers on Christmas Eve so I made Southwest Egg Rolls, which are a knock-off recipe of the Chili's version. The recipe made more than I thought they'd eat, so I froze half a dozen of them prior to cooking.  Mr. Helen requested that I cook a couple of them for New Year's as he loved them.  I'm pretty sure these must be a lot less fat and calories as they are baked and not fried.  The only thing I changed was using my own recipe for a creamy guacamole as a dipping sauce rather than the one in the recipe.
My favorite appetizer was this Bacon, Cheddar, Ranch Pull Apart Bread. Maybe it was my favorite because I've been a bit bread starved with the Paleo style of eating... or maybe because it was superbly yummy! The only adjustment I made here was to use the small size Boule(and therefore adjusting the ratios of the other ingredients) since it was just for Mr. Helen and me. This was also the least work to make yet with fabulous results.  I suspect I'll be making/taking this to potlucks and events quite often.

Finally, I wanted to make us a little dessert and these individual Deep Dish Cookie Pies seemed like they would fit the bill.  The only change I made was to use dark chocolate chips in place of the milk chocolate chips as I'm a dark chocolate fan.  These are a dessert that I would serve to company, they are that good. 

I had mine with a dollop of ice cream, Mr. Helen had whipped cream.

The bonus with this dessert is that I had so much leftover cookie dough, I put it out on a cookie sheet just like I was going to make cookies and then froze the dough balls.  Once frozen, I scooped them up into a freezer bag.  Now Mr. Helen can bake a couple of cookies anytime he wants to!

As you can see, we really enjoyed our year-end indulgences.  All of these recipes will stay in the rotation and reappear on special occasions... after all not all eating has to be "diety" right?


  1. Yum! The cookie bites look better-than restaurant worthy! I'd like to try the Buffalo Balls - please make them for me when I come visit. :)

  2. Pinterest ... I have heard about that - of course...
    Maybe I should check it out!
    Food looks great - as usual!

  3. All your eats look wonderful, but I am all over the buffalo chicken bites! :D

    I have a sweet potato hash for breakfast that I think could also qualify as Paleo - diced apple, sweet potato, ham with eggs? I'll post the recipe tomorrow - its delish! :D

  4. Oh Yum... good thing I just had my breaky or those pictures would make me hungry :)

  5. Thanks for sharing the recipes. I'm going to try the buffalo bites for sure, and perhaps all of them. WW's online has the ability to put in a recipe and out come the points! I may try that as your recipes look so delicious!

  6. Oh those look so good!!

    I have not succumbed to pinterest yet. Mainly because I don't fully understand it. LOL

  7. Oh Helen it all looks amazing! I am going to bookmark those recipes for special occasions. Thanks so much for sharing - you know how much I love recipes!

    Happy New Year!

  8. What?! nothing! All things balls. come on. lolololol. I love balls. had to, sorry helen.
    looks good. lol.

  9. Man those buffalo things look good! My sister does a buffalo chicken dip that is to die for. I ate more than my share on New Years Eve!

    Guess I will have to pin that recipe ;)

  10. All those recipes look sooo good! Especially the buffalo chicken bites. I might try those in the future.

    Thanks very much for visiting my site and your comment :) I totally agree with you - no point in focusing on a number - it's all about how we feel, both inside and out!

  11. When are you taking that flight to Holland and come cook for me? It all looks so delicious Helen.

    And I couldn't agree more with the last sentence!

  12. These look amazing Helen. I'm scared to get hooked on Pinterest 'cause I know I could waste ALOT of time there. Have a wonderful Thursday.

  13. The chicken bites look great!! I am so glad that you enjoyed them! They are one of my favorite "football foods". All of the recipes look so good, especially those Southwest Egg Rolls!