Buffalo chicken has to be one of my favorite foods ever.... and of course it's one of my boyfriend's favorites! I love it in pretty much any incarnation, whether it be the classic buffalo chicken wings, or a twist on the classic, such as a topping on a pizza, inside egg rolls, in potato skins, etc. If it has buffalo chicken in the title, it can pretty much be guaranteed that I'll try it. When this recipe popped up on Smells Like Home a month ago, I immediately put it at the top of my "make after this detox" list. Ron was all for it because even though it's a healthy salad, buffalo chicken makes everything exciting!
The buffalo chicken in this recipe is baked, which cuts the guilt down even further. It's breaded in a toasted panko breadcrumb coating, and baked on a wire rack, which ensures that the chicken will stay crispy, rather than soggy. The creamy avocado ranch dressing is a perfect accompaniment to the salad, although if you wanted, you could certainly serve it with a regular ranch or blue cheese dressing. I will most definitely be making this regularly. Ron has already requested a repeat of this meal, and I will be fulfilling that request soon.
Buffalo Chicken Salad Serves 2-4 (Depending on how hungry you are!)
1 recipe buffalo chicken (recipe follows)
Avocado ranch dressing (recipe follows)
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Blue, feta or cheddar cheese
Scallions or red onions (optional)
1. Assemble individual salads. Place buffalo chicken on top. Drizzle dressing over salad.
Buffalo Chicken Ingredients:
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
3 large egg whites
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp Dijon or whole grain mustard
1 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 lb chicken tenderloins ( or boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 3/4-inch strips
1 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot Original)
3 Tbsp salted butter
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, and place a wire rack on the sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add canola oil and breadcrumbs. Toss together and stir until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a shallow dish or pie plate when toasted.
3. In a second dish or pie plate, stir together the flour, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper, if using. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water, mustard and thyme.
4. To prepare chicken, dredge each piece in the flour mixture, then the egg whites, then the breadcrumbs. Place on the prepared wire rack on the baking sheet. When all the chicken is coated, spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray. (I highly recommend getting an oil mister- that way you can use your own oil, without all the other ingredients that the cooking spray usually contains.)
5. Place the chicken in the oven and make for 10-12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, and the coating is golden brown.
6. While the chicken cooks, place the butter and the wing sauce in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments until the butter is melted. Whisk together to combine.
7. When chicken is cooked, dredge each piece carefully in the buffalo sauce to coat.
Avocado Ranch Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 avocado, removed from skin and diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Up to 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 small bunch of chives, or 1 scallion, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Place avocado, mayonnaise, sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, 1/4 cup buttermilk, chives (or scallions), parsley, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, in a blender. Blend for about 10 seconds. Scrape down side, add more buttermilk if desired to change consistency, and blend until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Weekend breakfasts are wonderful! I love taking my time in the kitchen cooking up some bacon and fried eggs, an omelet or the occasional batch of pancakes, but I am always on the hunt for good weekday breakfast recipes. Because I have to be at work at the bright and early hour of 7 AM, I don't have time or energy in the morning for a long leisurely breakfast, and even cooking something quick like eggs turns me off because of the dishes it dirties cooking them. These banana-apple buckwheat muffins are a perfect solution. They can be made a couple of days in advance, they are healthier than regular muffins as they are pretty low in sugar (and the sugar comes from natural sources- honey, banana and apple), and to top it off, they are very tasty! This is my first time cooking with buckwheat flour, but it definitely won't be my last. It's a great source of protein and is naturally gluten-free!
Banana-Apple Buckwheat Muffins Makes 4 Muffins Ingredients:
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp coarse salt
2 large eggs
1/2 mashed banana
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup sweet apple finely diced (honeycrisp or pink lady would work well)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a muffin tin, place 4 baking cups.
2. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt to a bowl and whisk together. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, banana, and honey. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together. Add the apples and walnuts, and fold in.
3. Split the batter between the 4 baking cups. Fill the empty cups with water. (This will help the muffins to bake evenly.)
4. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the muffin tin and let cool on a rack.
Spring really seems to have arrived here in Connecticut! I actually have been able to go outside without a winter coat, and have had to turn on the air conditioner while driving around in my car. I am extremely excited about this development! We have a couple of 40-something degree days this week, but the rest of the 10-day forecast is in the 50's, with a couple of days reaching 60!! I know it's mundane to talk about the weather, but hey, if I'm excited about it, I assume others are too! Now, this dinner is not spring-like at all, but it is still worth sharing! This is from week 3 of the Whole Living Action Plan (I have one left to share after this before I get back to our regularly scheduled programming).
I love squash! Acorn, butternut, spaghetti, delicata... They are all good to me. This stuffed squash is a really good, hearty way to make squash a main dish. It would be wonderful to have in the fall (or winter, spring or even summer if you want to turn on your oven), and I think it would make a fabulous vegetarian/vegan main dish for Thanksgiving!!
Stuffed Acorn Squash Serves 2 Ingredients:
1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
3 Tbsp plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/3 cooked white beans
1/3 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup kale, chopped
2 Tbsp toasted* hazelnuts, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 tsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet, cut side down, and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, flip squash over, and set aside.
2. While the squash is roasting, heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes, until tender. Add the sage, thyme, beans, quinoa and kale to the onion, and cook about 2 minutes, until the kale is wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Stuff each half of the acorn squash with half of the quinoa-bean mixture. Roast about 15-20 minutes, until golden.
4. To serve, top each acorn squash half with 1 Tbsp hazelnuts, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon.