Love buffalo chicken? These Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets are big on flavor but are healthier than most buffalo chicken dishes out there. With a little prep ahead, you can have this dinner on the table in about 30 minutes.
Cooking chicken wings in the air fryer creates a wonderfully crispy wing. Cook and then toss in your favorite BBQ sauce for a great snack, game day appetizer, or fun dinner.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Bar-B-Que Beast. I received product samples in exchange for this post. All opinions are mine alone.
Salty bacon, zesty ranch and crunchy pecans make this Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheeseball a hit.
Where has November gone? I always feel like the last two months of the year pass more quickly than others, and of course, are always packed with fall and winter activities, shopping, entertaining and family… but this month has been way crazier than previous years.
We took a long weekend and went to visit some family. It was a quick trip, but between traveling with little kids and having that travel take more than half a day each way, it was a bit exhausting. The few days were a whirlwind of visits and activities. While it was a great weekend, I totally came home feeling like I needed a day to recover from my vacation.
After that quick trip, I was finally starting to feel settled again when my husband took off for a work trip. With our new school/childcare schedule, that meant really short workdays for me – always fun when you’re doing two jobs at once and training someone new coming in. The kids were really good though, and I kept the cooking to a minimum. Sandwiches for lunch, leftovers for dinner. And maybe a little take out. I actually do get into a good routine when my hubby is gone, and amazingly, I’m usually able to keep the house cleaner when he’s away (think that is saying something? 😉 ).
And this week is a full house. My mom is here all week, helping with childcare while schools are on short days or closed. But we’ve had family trickling in throughout the week for Thanksgiving. By tomorrow, I’ll have 4 kids under the age of 6 and 14 adults in the house for the big day. What are your plans?
This Bacon Ranch Cheddar Cheeseball isn’t on the menu for Turkey Day, but may be making another appearance during the holiday season (perhaps at our holiday party?). The cheddar and ranch flavors were light but enjoyable. I loved the crunch from the pecans and the saltiness from the bacon. I used the homemade ranch seasoning that I shared earlier this week in this recipe, but you can totally use a store bought packet if you prefer. My husband – the ranch lover of the family – LOVED this recipe, so I know that I’ll be making it again soon. (I do think it would be a great addition to a game day spread, don’t you?)
Bacon Ranch Cheddar Cheeseball
Salty bacon, zesty ranch and crunchy pecans make this Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheeseball a hit.
- 16 oz. cream cheese softened
- 1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 c. cooked and chopped bacon (about half a 12-oz. package, cooked)
- 2 Tbs. ranch seasoning mix
- 1/4 c. chopped scallions
- 3/4 c. finely chopped pecans
Combine cream cheese, cheddar, bacon, ranch seasoning and scallions in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl, if you prefer to use a handheld mixer). Beat on medium speed until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a ball.
Spread chopped pecans in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Remove cheeseball from plastic wrap and roll in pecans until covered. Transfer to a serving dish. Add extra pecans to the dish, if desired.
Refrigerate, covered, for at least an hour before serving.
The original recipe called for 1 c. of chopped pecans, but I had quite a bit leftover, as you can see from the photos (and why it looks a bit more like a dome than a ball!). Therefore, I adjusted the portion called for slightly, so that there isn't as much leftover.
This recipe was adapted from Chef-in-Training.
Everyone knows I’m not a football fan. Actually, that’s an understatement. To me, football is a bunch of fat guys jumping on each other. I just don’t understand the obsession with football. My college didn’t even have a football team, not even a terrible one. I remember one of my first trips home with my husband, 5 years ago. We went to his buddy’s house to watch an Alabama game. Intimidated with all these new people, I whispered to the hubby, “did so-and-so play for Alabama?” Confused by my question, because the guy was not exactly built like a football player, I was told no. I should have just left it at that, but I whispered (a little louder than I realized), “If he didn’t play, then why does he have all these professional photos of Alabama football players on his wall?” I could have understood it if the photos were of him, but some random dude he didn’t know? Just didn’t make sense to me. Needless to say, the hubby looked at me and rolled his eyes while the rest of the room overheard me and wondered what type of lunatic my now-husband had brought home.
You’d think that after being with my husband for 5 years, that I would have gained some appreciation for football. Nope. While the hubby watches football, I curl up with a mystery novel. Despite my opinion of football, I somehow got talked into watching a game at a friend’s house. In fact, not only did I have to
pretend to watch the game, but I got volunteered to bring something. No idea how that happened…. and really, I think the only reason I survived the game was because I brought some crafts, and received constant compliments on how wonderful these pretzels were.
This was my first time making soft pretzels (or pretzel bites) and although a bit of work, they weren’t very hard. We all found them super tasty. I thought they tasted like real New York pretzels, bought just off the street. I served the pretzel bites with cheese dip from Two Peas and Their Pod, but I did not repost the recipe here because I wasn’t happy with the way it came out (although the dish was gone by the end of the night).
Note: I did make these in advance and reheated a couple times throughout the night. The flavor and texture was fine through each reheat.
Make ahead / freezing instructions available on Annie’s Eats, although she uses a slightly different recipe than the one below.
Homemade Soft Pretzels or Pretzel Bites
Makes 8 large pretzels or 8+ dozen pretzel bites
~ 1 1/2 c. warm water
~ 2 Tbs. light brown sugar
~ 1 pkg. active dry yeast
~ 3 oz. unsalted butter, melted
~ 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt plus more (or coarse sea salt) for sprinkling
~ 4 1/2-5 c. all-purpose flour
~ vegetable oil or spray
~ 3 quarts water
~ 3/4 c. baking soda
~ 1 egg, beaten, with 1 Tbs. cold water
Make the Pretzel Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine water, sugar, yeast, and melted butter until just combined. Turn off and let stand for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, turn mixer to low and add kosher salt and flour. When just combined, increase speed to medium until dough begins to pull away from sides, 3-4 minutes. If dough is too wet, add flour 1 Tbs. at a time.
Turn dough onto a flat surface and with your hands, knead into a ball.
Oil or spray mixing bowl and return dough to bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise. Dough should double in size, about 1 hour.
Cook the Pretzels: When dough has doubled in size, prep everything for cooking.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
- Set a small roasting pan or large skillet with at least 3-inch high sides on the stove over high heat. Fill with the 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add baking soda.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
As water is coming to a boil, remove dough from bowl and place on counter or a large cutting board. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope, 22-inches long.
- If making pretzel bites, cut dough into 1-inch pieces (I used a plastic bowl / dough scraper to protect the counters).
- If making full pretzels, lay dough on counter. Take the right side and cross it over to the left. Then take the left side and cross it to the right. Press down slightly where dough overlaps.
In batches, put pretzel bites or pretzels into boiling baking soda-water for 30 seconds. Do not let the pretzels touch during boiling. With a slotted spoon, remove, letting excess water drip off before placing on baking sheet.
Brush tops of pretzels with egg wash. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly, about 5 minutes, on baking sheet or baking rack before serving.
Variations: According to Two Peas and Their Pod, you can make these into cinnamon and sugar pretzels by sprinkling with cinnamon and sugar instead of salt. The frosting would be 3 Tbs. cream cheese, powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract and a little bit of milk, whisked together. I have yet to try this, but plan on it!
Did you ever have a meal at a friend’s house, and instantly, the meal became one of your favorites? It’s that dish you immediately try to work into your weekly menu, and immediately start nagging your friend for the recipe… For me, this Chicken Cobb Pizza went straight into the favorites list, from the moment I tried it at K’s house. I’ve made it a couple of times since then, and have begged K to make it when we get together (including for “lunch” at 9am, 10 miles into our Sunday morning walks).
This pizza is pretty healthy in general (the original Pampered Chef recipe, using 1-10 oz. can chicken, says that two squares of this pizza is only 300 calories), but can be made even better for you with reduced-fat versions of the ingredients and even more veggies.
Thanks to K for sharing this great recipe!
Chicken Cobb Pizza
Adapted from Pampered Chef’s Clubhouse Chicken Squares
- 2-8 oz. pkg. crescent rolls
- 1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
- 2 Tbs. mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. fresh dill, chopped (or 1 tsp. Pampered Chef All-Purpose Dill Mix or dried dill)
- 1 1/2 c. cooked chicken, chopped/diced
- 1/2 small cucumber, seeded and chopped/diced
- 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 slices bacon or turkey bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled
Make the Crust: Preheat oven to 375F.
Unroll one of package of crescent rolls on a baking sheet, with the longest sides of the dough running the length of the pan. With your fingers, seal in the perforations. Press the sides to form a crust.Repeat on a second baking sheet with the second roll of crescent rolls.
Make the “Sauce”: In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, mayo, garlic and dill. If the cream cheese isn’t soft enough to mix thoroughly, throw in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.
Assemble the Pizza: When the crust is cooled, spread the dill mixture on top of each crust. Layer chicken, bacon, veggies, and cheese.
Note for preparing in advance: The “sauce” can be made in advance. If it sits overnight, it will be come very garlicky. Also, if put together far in advance, the shredded cheese tends to dry out. Sprinkle cheese on pizza as close to serving as possible.