Wing it with this Buffalo Chicken Dip

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Buffalo Chicken Dip atop gluten-free crackers. — Connie Berry

It was a crisp fall day in Syracuse in 2008 when I first tasted Buffalo chicken dip. It was my wedding day, Oct. 25, and to save pennies, we had a big ol’ potluck at our house instead of a reception dinner. My friend Danielle, always a tremendous cook, made the dip and brought it over. It was an instant hit. So there’s another reason why I’ll never forget my wedding anniversary.

Buffalo and Syracuse are in direct competition for the highest snowfall, so we didn’t take anything with the word “Buffalo” attached to it lightly. Syracuse was the original home of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, and Buffalo is home to the earliest chicken wings drenched in hot sauce and butter. (As the legend goes, the first plate of wings was served in 1964 at a family-owned restaurant in Buffalo called the Anchor Bar.)

I digress. The minute I tasted that Buffalo chicken dip, I had to try to make it myself. Over the years I’ve used leftover chicken, I’ve baked chicken breasts to use specifically for the dip, and I’ve purchased rotisserie chickens to make sure I use the most delectable chicken in my dip. Well, after 10 years, I’ve decided that the best-tasting homemade Buffalo Chicken Dip comes from those bigger-than-a-tuna-can tins of chicken on the shelf at the grocery store. Now, I wouldn’t likely use this canned chicken for any other purpose, but for dip, it’s perfect.

With the advent of another football season upon us and a chilly Sunday this past weekend, I decided it was time for my Buffalo chicken dip.

I keep things simple by using the recipe on the bottle of Frank’s Redhot for a template, and add a few tweaks of my own. First off, I’m not a huge fan of ranch salad dressing, but I am a lover of blue cheese dressing, so I substitute blue cheese for ranch. And I’ve never measured how much chicken goes into two cans of the stuff, but I bet it’s close to the two cups the recipe calls for. Believe it or not, I add a cup of shredded Cheddar cheese because, well, more cheese is always better. I also warm up the cream cheese in a pan on the stove until I can stir it into smooth creaminess.

All that aside, I’ll share my version and you can try it for the next football game.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 cups shredded cooked chicken (Use two cans of chicken, it’s easy and tasty. Drain the liquid from the can first, and break it up a bit.)
8 oz. package of cream cheese
½ cup Frank’s Redhot
½ cup blue cheese salad dressing
½ cup blue cheese crumbles
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a shallow one-quart pan with Pam. (This just helps with cleanup; you don’t have to do it.)

First melt the cream cheese in a pan on low heat, stirring until it becomes creamy and there are no lumps. Take it off the heat and wait a few minutes before tossing in all the other ingredients. Combine the ingredients thoroughly, spoon it all into the one-quart pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until it’s bubbly and turning a bit brown on top.

Serve with crackers, French bread, or veggies.