Monday, October 14, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Crostini

Happy Columbus Day! I am lucky enough to have today off, and I hope you do too! After being away for most of last week, I plan to spend the day doing a whole lot of relaxing and catching up on sleep.

The week before last, we had catering from Panera Bread for lunch at work, and with the food came a number of whole French baguettes. There was so much other food that the baguettes were barely touched, so I brought one home and decided I wanted to make some sort of crostini with it. On my agenda for the day was a good bit of football watching, and since I have trouble watching football without some sort of buffalo-flavored food, I thought buffalo chicken crostini were in order. This is basically a version of buffalo chicken dip on little toasts. I normally use plain cream cheese in my dip, but I saw that Philadelphia now makes a jalapeno cream cheese in a tub, and I thought that would work really well in this. I was right, but you could certainly use unflavored cream cheese if that's what you have or if you're not a fan of jalapenos.

They were so good, and made for a great lunch while I sadly watched my Patriots break their winning streak that day. I made a small batch for myself, but you could easily double the recipe to make more crostini at once, or save some of the buffalo chicken mixture to eat with chips (or a spoon) or make a separate batch of crostini later in the week.

French baguette
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, poached and shredded or diced*
4 oz. jalapeno cream cheese (or plain cream cheese)
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1/8 cup Frank's Red Hot (you can use a little more for some extra kick - I did!)
2 scallions, green parts only, sliced

*To poach the chicken, place it in a pot in a single layer and cover with water until it's about an inch over the chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, keep the chicken covered, and allow to sit for another 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the water and allow to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice 12 pieces of French bread between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 - 8 minutes.

In a small pan, melt cream cheese and combine with dressing and Frank's Red Hot; stir until smooth. Add diced chicken and stir to coat. Spoon the buffalo chicken mixture onto the pieces of toasted bread, then sprinkle the sliced scallions onto each piece. Add a few extra dashes of Frank's Red Hot, if desired.

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