I might be a little obsessed with appetizers. If we go out to a restaurant, I rarely order an actual entree — sharing 10 appetizers is always so much more fun! Give me a dip and chips, and I’m happy as a clam.
Whenever we’re invited to a party or bbq, I try to bring stuff I’ll eat; you know, just in case the hostess chose poorly or invited salad lovers. I mean, really, who wants to be known as the “salad bringer”?
Ingredients shot, and um, go Gators!
But this dip? Oh em gee. This buffalo chicken dip is hands down my most requested dish to bring to a party, and oh btw, it’s so freakin’ easy to make too. I’ve held the recipe close to my heart for the last few years, but as I’m feeling generous today, here you go. You’re welcome.
Hands down, the absolute BEST buffalo chicken dip around.
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups cooked chicken (or all the white meat from one rotisserie chicken)
2 tbsp butter, melted
½ cup Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce
½ cup ranch dressing
2 handfuls shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread softened cream cheese on the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish (sprayed w/ PAM). Free free to use your (washed) hands for this, as cream cheese rarely likes to cooperate. Light cream cheese is perfectly fine for this, but don’t use fat free – people will notice.
Chop the chicken into small pieces (or shred finely), and combine it with the melted butter and wing sauce. Feel free to add more wing sauce to taste – you want it saucy.
Dump the chicken mixture on top of the cream cheese and spread into an even layer.
Blob ranch dressing all over this and smoosh it around as well, getting it into all the crevices of the chicken/wing mixture.
Drizzle a little more wing sauce on the top of the ranch in fun designs, because…why not?
Top with 2 handfuls of shredded cheese, but don’t get too heavy-handed. You don’t want your guests breaking chips left and right from a thick layer of cheese. Use any kind of shredded cheese you’d like – my favorite is the Mexican blend, but mozzarella and cheddar are both good. Again, light or 2% cheese is fine, but don’t use fat free. It won’t melt correctly, and people will notice.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly.
Let stand at least 10 minutes to avoid giving your guests blistered mouths, and serve with sturdy chips and sliced veggies. My favorites are the Tostitos Multigrain Scoops, sliced cucumbers, and celery slices.
I don’t measure the ranch dressing. I just drizzle it on in fun designs and then smooth it out. Aim for saucy but not overpowering. You can also fancy this dish up with blue cheese dressing and then top it with blue cheese crumbles, but since I think blue cheese tastes like a dusty closet, I prefer ranch dressing.
My favorite food group is the appetizer group. If it’s little, meant to be eaten with my hands, and laid out on cute platters in groups of 20, I’m SOLD!
However, there really is one standout appetizer that slays me every time, and that’s the beloved pesto pinwheel. These babies are legit the best things since sliced bread, and since my aunt began making them when I was still in high school, I officially can’t remember (or imagine) family parties without them.
I don’t know if it’s the pesto, the gooey cheese, or the butter-laden puff pastry, but these bad boys never fail to put me in a fantastic mood (and then promptly put me on the couch, where I moan about how much my stomach hurts because I ate 30 of them). The recipe listed below is one I finally wrote down after the 400th phone call to my mom asking “So, do I put the cheese on first or the ham? Ok, and then what do I bake it at? For how long?”
Carefully unfold the puff pastry and lay flat on a clean surface pushing the seams together if they’re separating.
Spread pesto liberally (really go all out if you’re like me and can’t get enough of the green stuff), then top with one layer of ham.
Add a layer of cheese, trimming edges of ham and cheese so it all evenly fits on the square of pastry.
Beginning on one end, tightly roll up halfway (this can get a little messy, but don’t worry, it’ll still taste good). Rotate the pan or whatever you’re working on and roll up the other half to create the “pinwheel” effect.
Press both sides tightly tightly, and flip over so the open seams are on the bottom. Again, push every together tightly and then slice, no more than ½ in thick each.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes.
I’ve actually experimented with different liners, and parchment paper is the only one I’ll use anymore for these.
If I can ever figure out how to post pictures on here, I’ll possibly maybe one day add a tutorial. But seriously, it’s not hard – just roll them up!
Please note – these are NOT healthy, but frankly, good appetizers rarely are. Also, make sure you get puff pastry, not phyllo dough, as they are different.