Real Food. Low-Fat. Low-Carb. High-Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly.
So what is it, really, that people love about "buffalo" anything? You know. Buffalo wings. Buffalo chicken. Buffalo deviled eggs. Buffalo hummus. Buffalo mac n cheese. Buffalo pizza. Buffalo quinoa. These, of course, are the hot-sauce hopped-up versions of their plain and often bland selves.
Now I ask about what we love about "buffalo" recipes as representative of a rare breed, someone who's actually cooked a real buffalo – yes, a whole buffalo, all 700-some pounds of dressed meat, not once but three times, if you must know :-) – with nary a drop of hot sauce within at least ten hollers. [By the way, a Note to Vegetarians.]
But it turns out, this Buffalo Chicken Dip was my personal favorite at a little Superbowl shindig on Sunday, the easiest of
But here's the thing. Buffalo chicken dips are usually ooey-gooey cheesy affairs, packed with calories. This recipe? I bulked up the dip with a surprise ingredient, one that melted into the background both texture and taste-wise. (Kinda like the Denver Broncos, dontcha just think?)
What is the surprise ingredient, you ask? Spaghetti squash! Now I'm no fan of spaghetti squash, it just doesn't taste like much and offers about zero nutritional benefit. But here, spaghetti squash was the perfect choice. I'll make Buffalo Chicken Dip again any time I'm asked, no whole buffalo required.
RECIPE for BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP with SPAGHETTI SQUASH
Time to table: 45 minutes if spaghetti squash already cooked, 2-1/2 hours if not
Makes 5 cups (easily halved)
About 1 pound spaghetti squash cooked "noodles" (see ALANNA's TIPS)
8 ounces Neufchatel low-fat cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup (45g) Frank's Original Hot Sauce
1 pound cooked chicken, "pulled" into shreds (see TIPS)
Thin rounds of small sweet red chili peppers, optional, for garnish
Heat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients, stirring well to combine. Top with chile rounds if using. Transfer to an oven-safe baking dish. Bake for about 30 minutes until hot and bubbly clear through. Serve with something firm to dip with – tortilla chips break too easily, crostini would work, pita chips worked perfectly.
MAKE-AHEAD Mix all the ingredients except the garnish, cover and refrigerate for up to a day or two. Bake uncovered at 350F for about 45 minutes until hot and bubbly clear through.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
I cooked the spaghetti squash whole, following this technique, Spaghetti Squash Cooked Whole. The squash wasn't close to done after an hour so I cut it in half and put the halves face-down on foil on a baking sheet. I think it would have been done after another 30 minutes but oops, I accidentally cooked it for another 2 hours! It wasn't too long, surprisingly.
I have great luck with the low-fat version of cream cheese but abhor the non-fat products.
Instead of chicken, I used turkey breast leftover from Thanksgiving that was in the freezer.
It would be easy to play with this base recipe, adding a small can of green chilies or chopped cooked bacon or toasted fresh sweet corn.
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