Pint-Size Chicken ‘n’ Waffles

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There are certain things that always get me flavor-wise: sweet + savory, bonus points for spicy, lots of crunchy texture, a little novelty and a little fun. Make it mini, and I am sold!

These Pint-Size Chicken ‘n’ Waffles, from Tiny Food Party by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park of the blog Spoon Fork Bacon, are everything mentioned above, in a perfect, pint-size bite. Chicken and waffles is a totally novel dish, a little kitschy, yet totally delicious. Maybe, somehow, this poultry+breakfast item craze has escaped you. Maybe it’s a little too weird and the idea of breaking into a chicken-leg-on-top-of-a-waffle-drizzled-in-syrup seems a touch cumbersome, then I urge you to make your first foray into the world of chicken and waffles a miniature one.

I have made chicken and waffles at home before, and ordered plenty in restaurants, but Sean and I both agree, these are definitely the best ones. Not just because of the recipe–I mean, I used a frozen mini-waffle here–because, it makes the most sense. It’s a two-bite miracle; no wrangling of chicken bones or dinner utensils required. I swapped the honey butter suggested in the recipe for a mix of honey and tabasco sauce. The honey brings floral sweetness, while the tabasco brings tangy-vinegar heat, and pairs up perfectly with the crunchy-savory chicken and waffle.

I made these for a fun lunch on an easy weekend, but I’m thinking they would be really fun for a game-day spread or any festive gathering…I mean, who can resist? It’s a tiny, crunchy, sweet-savory, Pint-Size Chicken ‘N’ Waffle Wonder!

Pint-Size Chicken ‘n’ Waffles

Makes about 30

Recipe from Tiny Food Party by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park

You could purchase a tiny-waffle-maker, I nearly did but stopped myself from becoming a single-use-appliance hoarder. I still kinda-sorta-really want that dang waffle maker, but my will is maintaining some integrity and, for now, frozen mini-waffles work perfectly. Below I have included the suggested honey butter, as well as the spicy-honey sitch that I favor. Do both, do either, or make your own thing. Happy Tiny Food Party-ing! 

10 chicken tenders, cut into 3 equal pieces (or a couple boneless chicken breasts, 2-3 depending on size)

2 cups buttermilk

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups vegetable oil

30 mini waffles, or regular waffles cut into 30, 1-inch pieces

Honey Butter:

4 Tablespoons softened butter

2 1/2 Tablespoons honey

Whisk until combined.

Spicy Honey:

3 Tablespoons honey

several dashes Tabasco sauce

Whisk until combined, add as little or as much Tabasco as you like.

Place the chicken in a bowl and cover with buttermilk. Cover, refrigerate, and soak the chicken in the buttermilk for several hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 375*F. Place waffles on a baking sheet and toast for 12-15 minutes.

In a shallow dish, whisk together flour, garlic powder, paprika, salt, onion powder, and pepper. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, remove chicken from buttermiilk, dredge through flour mix, shake off excess , and carefully place chicken pieces in hot oil, cooking about 5 minutes per side or until golden, crunchy, and cooked through. Drain on paper towels.

Spread honey butter onto waffles, if using, and place 1 chicken piece on each waffle. Drizzle with spicy or plain honey and serve warm.

 

 

 

Roasted Pepper Cheese Dip

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Maybe it’s already obvious, I don’t know,  but I’m not much of a sports fan. If it’s a “game day” of any sort, you just better know, I’m totes in it for the snacks. Wings, beers, brauts, and dips galore.

As an avid fan of dipping crunchy chips/crackers into gooey things, I find the ever-present queso dip to be dangerously alluring. From the jar, I basically feel like I am shoveling straight garbage into my face…delicious garbage, but trash nonetheless. Even most homemade versions turn to a block of processed, melty, orange “cheese”. I mean, yeah, it melts like a dream, but I really wanted to make a cheese dip sans Velveeta. Just once, at least.

Don’t get me wrong, this dip does not lack in cheese or calories. It’s made creamy by way of evaporated milk and a little cream cheese. Real cheesy flavor comes by way of sharp and medium cheddar–though you could really use what you want, anything that will melt with a little gentle heat. The spice is dialed up with a little habañero, some anaheims, and red jalapeños–roasting the mix of peppers adds heat and sweetness. While the end product looks almost identical–it doesn’t quite have the same sheen that the jarred stuff has–the flavor sets it apart and makes the little effort it takes to throw this dip together worth the work.

Roasted Pepper Cheese Dip

All of the peppers I purchased were red. I spotted them at the farmer’s market and they were too pretty to resist! Red peppers are not necessary, just use whatever ones you like, I’m sure the next time I make this, green jalapeños will make an appearance.  Dial back the heat by removing all the ribs and seeds post roasting, or nix the habañero if you want.

1 small habañero pepper

3 small anaheim chiles

2 jalapeños

5 cloves garlic, skins on

1 shallot, diced fine

8 ounces cheddar cheese (I used half sharp, half medium)

4 ounces cream cheese

1, 12-ounce can evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 375*F. Rinse and dry the peppers. Snip the root ends of the garlic cloves, leaving skins intact. Toss the peppers and garlic with a few teaspoons oil and roast in the oven until the pepper skins blister and garlic is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, place peppers in a bowl and cover. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Remove the pepper skins, seeds, and ribs (I left a few in for heat). Chop peppers. Squeeze garlic cloves from their skins.

In a medium saucepan, sweat shallot in a teaspoon of olive oil, until tender and translucent.  Add the garlic and peppers. Add the evaporated milk and bring to a simmer, stir in the cheeses, in 3 batches, until everything is combined, smooth, and heated through. Serve warm with chips, crackers, or anything else that needs a cheese blanket.

Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week. Reheat in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring, between each, or on the stovetop over gentle heat, stirring often.