Some days just need a little Buffalo Sauce.
Ok, maybe a lot of buffalo sauce and a little blue cheese, because I am a blue cheese freak.
I know some of you may not be blue cheese lovers, but over here it’s the bomb. If you’re not a fan, I am sorry, just swap it for cheddar or goat cheese, but in my opinion buffalo sauce always needs a little blue cheese to accompany it. Always.
How do you guys feel about onion rings though?
My family use to say they hated them, so I just assumed I did too.
Well, what the heck was I thinking. Onion rings are awesome, and I spent nineteen years of my life thinking they were gross. Thanks a lot mom and dad. They are not gross and when they are baked to a crunchy perfection they make the perfect snack.
That became apparent the other day when my eldest brother Creighton walked in the door and literally starting mowing these. I mean, like he could not eat them fast enough.
But he does eat like it is his job. No literally he does. I have never met a person who loves food so much. I feel like he is always eating, at times I wonder if he ever gets full. I think I have come to the conclusion that he just does not get full. Like at all. And man, do not even come near him after he works out unless you have food. Workouts mean he actually did something other than eat, which then makes him ravenous.
It is scary.
But I gotta love him because he is always pumped on whatever I am making.
Unless of course it is salad.
That would mean he would be eating something without meat and that is just not even an option in his brain. Yeah, he is one of those, “its gotta have meat in it” dudes. No meat, no game.
FYI, it is getting a little old.
Give the guy some color please!
So I compromised.
Buffalo chicken is always a good compromise, and I got the kid (err more like grown man) to eat something green, something red and something orange.
Yay! Everyone can thank me for saving him from a heart attack. Just sayin.
Ok, wait. That makes it sound like he is un-healthy. He’s not, promise. But he really does eat too much meat.
Anyway, since Creigh is only here for a little while longer. (he is doing this whole month-long Christmas Vacay thing – I kind of wish I was doing the same) I feel like I have to make some of his favorites.
And onion rings are one of his favorites. Of course, he is totally used to the fried ones so I was a little wary of what he would think of these, but it was apparent by the mowing he did within thirty seconds of walking through the door that he still loved um. Sweet!
I just improved his diet immensely. My mom should totally be thanking me for this.
Oh and this salad?
It is totally worthy of that big thing coming up that starts with Super and ends with Bowl. I know I am a tad early to the Superbowl frenzy, but football food is good, and this is healthified football.
One last thing. Do not skip this blue cheese guacamole. Just don’t. It works with these flavors like no other. So good.
Buffalo Chicken and Crunchy Baked Onion Ring Salad with Blue Cheese.
- Serving Size: 4
- Cook time: 30 minutes
- Total time: 45 minutes
- Chicken + Onion Rings
- 4 smallish chicken breast, cut into strips
- 2 large sweet onions, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 1/2 cups butter milk
- 1-1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons [buffalo wing sauce | http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/blue-cheese-guacamole-stuffed-mushrooms-with-buffalo-sauce/], + more for drizzling
- 1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- a good pinch of salt and pepper
- 8-12 cups butter lettuce, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
- 6 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley
- 1 batch [blue cheese guacamole | http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/blue-cheese-guacamole-stuffed-mushrooms-with-buffalo-sauce/], regular guacamole or mashed avocado
- crumbled blue cheese, for topping
- Super Quick Greek Yogurt Ranch
- 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried chives
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
To make the dressing. In small bowl mix together the greek yogurt, parsley, chives, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Add the cayenne and smoked paprika if using. Mix well and if needed, thin with 1 or two tablespoons of buttermilk. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.
Add the chicken to a large bowl and pour half the buttermilk (about 3/4 cup) overtop. Mix well and set aside. Add the remaining buttermilk to a bowl and set aside. Place the flour in a sealable plastic bag, then add onions, and shake to coat. Set aside.
In a shallow pie dish or large bowl add the panko, cornmeal, cayenne and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well.
Now grab the bag of onions. Shake off the excess flour and dip the onions 1 at a time into the buttermilk, then dip into bread crumbs and place on a baking sheet. Spray oil evenly over rings and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until coating is crisp flipping half way through. Season with salt, to taste. Set aside, but keep warm.
Meanwhile make the chicken. Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk, and dredge through the the remaining crumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the chicken has been used. Make sure not to crowd your pan, if necessary use two baking sheets. Spray each chicken "wing" with non-stick spray or a mist of olive oil.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, then gently flip using kitchen tongs and spray the other side. Bake for 10-12 minutes more, then remove from oven. Reduce the oven to 400 degrees F.
Gently toss each piece of chicken in the 1/2 cup of buffalo sauce, draining the excess sauce back into the bowl. Place the chicken back on the pan and repeat until all the chicken is coated in the sauce. Place both the onion rings and chicken back in the oven for 5 minutes just to re-warm.
Meanwhile add the lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, green onions and cilantro leaves to a large bowl and toss well. Divide the salad among four large plates or salad bowls. Top each plate with chicken and onion rings. Dollop with blue cheese guacamole and sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles. Drizzle on the ranch and buffalo sauce as desired. EAT.
This is the kind of salad that I like to think is the ultimate “score”!