You didn’t think I would serve just cake at Mister E’s birthday party, did you? Of course not! I had to have something savory to balance out all that sweet frosting. Being that the party was to start at 7 p.m., I went back and forth for a while over whether to serve a real dinner or a spread of appetizers. I didn’t necessarily want to go through all the effort of making a full meal, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to leave any guest who might have skipped dinner starving. So, ultimately I settled somewhere in the middle and decided to serve up some hearty appetizers.
It wasn’t difficult to come up with my first appetizer – mini burger sliders with a condiment bar. However, deciding what to serve alongside the sliders was proving to be a challenge. The guests were mostly Mister E’s guy pals, so I wanted to keep a “manly” theme for the food. After tossing out such options like mini bbq chicken pizzas and beef empanadas, my friend finally suggested the answer to my problem – Buffalo Chicken Dip.
Mister E and I had tried buffalo chicken dip once before several years ago at a party. We were both smitten after the first bite and I even raved to my mother how she absolutely had to make this dip for my brother. Well, life happened and as time went on, I completely forgot all about the hot and creamy dip.
I did a little searching around online and finally settled on this recipe to use. After I had finally completed all of the cake madness on the day of Mister E’s birthday party, I got to work on making the buffalo chicken dip. The main ingredients to the dip are: chicken, cream cheese, Ranch dressing, blue cheese, hot sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Actually, those are all the ingredients. Pretty simple, huh? The only deviation I made to the recipe was to use poached chicken that I shredded in place of the canned chicken. All the ingredients were combined in a small baking dish and then baked in the oven until everything was hot, gooey, and golden on top.
The dip turned out to be such a hit at the party! Everyone loved it, but me most of all since there was just enough for me to enjoy leftovers the next day. While eating the leftover dip, I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty for eating such an indulgent dip two days in a row (along with multiple pieces of the birthday cake). It got me thinking that there just had to be a way to lighten the dip up since a lot of the ingredients weren’t necessarily unhealthy on their own. When going through the list, I narrowed in on the Ranch dressing in all of its full-fat glory as being the main contributor to the unhealthy-ness of the dip. If I could just find a way to replace the dressing, I could eat all the buffalo chicken dip in the world completely guilt free!
Then it hit me. If I were to mix Ranch seasoning mix with 0% Plain Greek Yogurt, I don’t think anyone would be able to tell the difference once it was mixed in with hot sauce. The very next day I put my theory to test.
Healthified Buffalo Chicken Dip
(lightened up from this recipe)
- 1 8-oz package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 tsp Ranch seasoning mix (more to taste)
- 1/2 cup hot sauce (more or less to your taste preference)
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 large (or 2 small) chicken breasts, poached and shredded
- celery or tortilla chips for serving
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt with the Ranch seasoning mix. Add more seasoning to taste. In a small baking dish, mix together cream cheese, hot sauce, Greek yogurt mixture, and a 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Stir in blue cheese and chicken. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top of the dip. Place the dish in the oven and cook 20-25 minutes – until the top has begun to turn a golden color.
The best part about this dip was that I completely forgot that it was “healthified”! It tasted every bit as rich and indulgent as the original version, even when only eaten with the celery sticks. That’s a win in my book!
However, the second best part of this dip would have to be the method I figured out to eat the leftovers on the next day.
Sometimes piling chips and plopping a big spoonful of dip onto your plate can be less than visually appealing. And we all now what a pain it is when you pile so much food onto your plate that all the sauces and dips end up touching all the other food.
I thought it would be much more practical for a party to serve the buffalo chicken dip in little celery boats, crudite style, making them much easier for guests to grab and hopefully a little less messy to eat. To make the celery boats, I cut the celery stalks into thirds and then shaved a very thin peel off the bottom to make a flat bottom and help ensure that the celery wouldn’t tip over.
To take the buffalo chicken boats once step higher, let your guests “heat it up” or “cool it down” to their own taste level by setting out additional hot sauce and blue cheese as toppings.
Oh, and yes, for those of paying attention to the sequence of events in this post, I did in fact eat buffalo chicken dip four days straight. But it was mostly with celery sticks, which I’ve been told have negative calories or something like that, so I believe I’m good.