Football season is upon us. I know because my husband disappears every Sunday afternoon and Monday night, giving me some much-needed alone time. Ahhh, I love the autumn.
Kidding aside, these buffalo chicken strips are a great recipe find from Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day, and they go perfectly with football games. You can even grill them at your next tailgate party. I like them because they’re a lot less trouble than wings but deliver the same taste, and they give me an excuse to make blue cheese dip. I would probably dip grasshoppers in blue cheese dip and eat them. (Well, only if they’re deep-fried.)
Buffalo Chicken Strips
Serves 4 to 6
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce (Tabasco or Texas Pete)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1½ pounds)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Chunky Blue Chese Dip (recipe follows or you could substitute leftover Blue Cheese Dressing)
- 2 celery stalks, halved and cut into 3-inch sticks
Preheat a grill or the broiler. Whisk the butter, oil, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and paprika together in a small bowl. Cut the chicken breasts diagonally into ½-inch-wide strips and season with salt and pepper. Place the strips in a shallow dish or bowl, pour half the sauce over them, and toss to coat evenly.
Brush the grill or a baking pan lightly with oil. Place the chicken strips on the grill or in the pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until cooked through. Serve with the Chunky Blue Cheese Dip, the remaining wing sauce and the celery sticks.
Chunky Blue Cheese Dip
- ¼ cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Stir the buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper together. Stir in the blue cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and stir in the chives. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week.
- Blue Cheese Dressing (simplycooking.wordpress.com)
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If it is possible to be in love with a salad dressing, then I am head over heels for blue cheese dressing. It is my decadent treat at home-style Italian restaurants and steakhouses. But it’s even better to make at home, because then you can ensure you get lots of blue cheese goodness, and you can eat the batch all week. This dressing not only works on salads — I recommend romaine hearts, croutons, tomatoes and bacon — but it also makes a good dip for crudites and chicken wings.
Blue Cheese Dressing
Makes about ¾ cup
- 2½ ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about ½ cup)
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk or substitute whole milk, if you must
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (you can also use mayonnaise, but I prefer yogurt)
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and ground black pepper
Mash the blue cheese and buttermilk or milk together with a fork until the you’ve achieved the right crumbly-creamy texture to suit your tastes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Pasta Frittata is a recipe that I’ve had on my “to try” list for a long time, but I’ve put off making because it sounds so weird. It is just what it seems like: a frittata that is made with leftover spaghetti or similar pasta (I used linguine). I don’t know why it seems so strange to me. The recipe I used calls for the same ingredients in a classic Carbonara: eggs, bacon, Parmesan and pasta. It’s just cooked like a frittata instead. Even my husband balked a little when I told him what I was making, so I wasn’t the only one who thought it sounded strange.
The frittata turned out pretty good, if a little plain. It definitely did not taste weird, though. The pasta adds some texture to the frittata, a little heft, but not a lot of flavor. I probably wouldn’t make this again unless I had some leftover cooked pasta that I was trying to get rid of, and next time I would add more vegetables and cheese. All things considered, Carbonara is definitely the tastier way to go.
On a totally unrelated note, when blue cheese is on sale, I love to buy a chunk and feast on green salads with blue cheese dressing. This is completely a guilty pleasure, but I try not to indulge too often. Here is my recipe:
Blue Cheese Dressing
- ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 tbsp. buttermilk or milk
- 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. sour cream
- 1-2 tsp. red wine vinegar (to taste)
- 1 tbsp. parsley or chives, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
There’s a reason why certain combinations are “classics”–you never get tired of them. This salad just says to me, “Fall is here.” I think it goes great with the Autumnal Butternut Squash Soup.
Pear & Blue Cheese Salad
Time to make: ~15 minutes
For the salad, layer on a plate:
- 1 head leaf lettuce, torn
- 2 pears, peeled, cored and sliced thin
- ¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
Nifty tip: To core a pear, slice it in half lengthwise and scoop out the core with a melon baller.
Now make the dressing, which is just a simple vinaigrette, by whisking together:
- 2 tbsp. walnut oil
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.