Texas Caviar

This is a recipe I cannot take credit for.  My friend Alexandra made it for me on my birthday two years ago and we fell in love with it.  Because it’s so healthy and versatile I started making it for family parties.  Turns out they love it too.  It is somewhat of a bizarre recipe. In fact, every time I make it, I turn my nose a little bit at the ingredients.  It doesn’t make sense, it’s not particularly appetizing and I always doubt it coming together.   But then, I dip my chip to taste it and all that goes away.  I hope I didn’t lose you… you just have to try it to love it.

NOTE: Tostitos scoop chips are the perfect accompaniment to this salsa.

Other ingredients you can add or substitute that I didn’t put this time around: chopped tomatoes, avocado, fresh cilantro (or parsley), jalapenos.  There are so many versions of Texas caviar out there so whatever you choose, I’m sure it will be great.  I also don’t let mine sit for 24 hours and it doesn’t suffer on taste or flavor.  Also, most recipes call for about 1 cup of sugar which I feel is completely unnecessary.

This salsa would be great in lettuce wraps, on fish tacos, as a side dish or as I always make it, a perfect party appetizer.

INGREDIENTS:

Sauce:

  • Cider vinegar (little less than a cup)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sprinkle of sugar in the raw (this is my replacement for the cup of sugar)
Salsa:
  • 4 or so stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small jar of pimento peppers
  • 1-2 cans shoepeg corn
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • 1 can black eyed peas
  • 1-2 can black beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
INSTRUCTIONS:
In a small sauce pan heat the oil and vinegar with a sprinkle of sugar.  Bring it to a low boil and whisk well.  Add salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl add all your canned and diced ingredients for the salsa.  Pour the sauce on top and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
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The Best Buffalo Chicken Dip

This delicious dip tastes just like wings but with out all the mess and fatty skin! It’s so easy to make and great for a party. Since I started making it, people often ask me to bring it to their house for parties.

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
  • Ranch seasoning packet
  • Celery (5-7 stalks- I like to have the nice fresh crunch in there)
  • Scallions (3-5)
  • 3 Chicken breasts
  • Part-skim Mozzarella Cheese and/or Blue Cheese to top (some people don’t like blue cheese, so I put it on half)
  • Franks Buffalo Sauce
  • Whole wheat ritz crackers and/or cut up celery and vegetables to dip.
  • S&P

Instructions

Low boil seasoned chicken in water until cooked through and let cool. (If you prefer you can cook the chicken in a slow cooker with the hot sauce on low for 2-3 hours, or you can buy a rotisserie chicken in the store if that’s easier for you.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Chop up celery and scallions and place into a bowl.

Use 2 forks to pull the chicken apart into small bite sized pieces. Put in the bowl with celery and scallions and add Franks Hot Sauce. (I used about 1/2 the bottle- you can taste the chicken and test the temperature) You have the option to add a tablespoon of melted butter- it sure helps with flavor but not fat 😉

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In your baking dish, mix the cream cheese with ranch seasoning and spread along the bottom of the  dish. Add the chicken mixture over the layer of cream cheese. Top with the mozzarella and/or blue cheese. Sometimes I do half and half to please those who don’t care for blue cheese.

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Cook for 25 minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly. I like to add a little more hot sauce at the end on top to bake into the cheese. It looks pretty–that’s all.

Top with more fresh cut scallions for a little color and serve with whole wheat ritz crackers or scoops.

 

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Instead of a dip, use won tons!

Not that this recipe needed changing, but I’ve tried several different versions. We all know how dips can get messy to eat when you’re dressed up and you don’t want to drip gooey cheese or hot sauce on your dress or nice shirt. So, I bought won ton wrappers for the first time. I used mini cupcake pans, put a won ton in each holder, brushed with melted butter, and baked in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until browned. Then remove from the oven, take the won tons out of the cupcake holders and place on a baking sheet.

Fill the won tons layering first the cream cheese mixture, then the buffalo chicken and top with mozzarella and blue cheese. Then place them back in the oven until the cheese is melted. Serve these tasty individual bite sized snacks hot! I do recommend trying this at home!! Delicious!

I’ve also stuffed them and closed them and served with ranch dressing (yum!):

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