I told you that I was traveling a lot this fall for job interviews. And I started 2014 with another trip. This one for a scientific conference. Traveling can completely exhaust you because you are not on your normal schedule and you are living out of suitcases and you are not sleeping in your own bed.
I have concluded the thing that will make or break my travel is not the delayed flights, nor the eating out so often, nor the lack of a DVR for my normal TV shows. No, it is the heater or air conditioner in the hotel room. I LOVE a new hotel that has renovated and installed real thermostats. The ones that you can set at a temperature and they will only kick the heat on if necessary. I HATE the old heaters that are either on or off with no real control of the temperature, hot or hotter or cold or colder. When I was on this last trip, this was completely cemented in my mind. It was cold in the mountains of New Mexico so I turned on the heater in my room (low and towards the hot). I fell asleep for a few hours to awake in a completely dry heat where I couldn't breathe. So I flipped the heat off, chugged some water, and climbed back into bed. I awake after another hour or so completely freezing! I tried and tried to adjust the temperature to get a happy medium but to no avail; I was stuck every night jumping up to either turn on or off (multiple times) the stupid heater.
Ah well. It just makes you appreciate your own home so much more. I am thankful that I do not travel all of the time. I love my comfy pillow top bed and thermostat that keeps it a perfect 66F so I can cuddle under my blankets and sleep.
Enough of the story time, Julie; get on to the food! Today we are making and eating delicious mini buffalo chicken muffins. Technically I made them for a party a few months ago, but give me a break okay? I just told you had been traveling a lot. But really, you need to make these. Like today. Or maybe on February 2nd for the Super Bowl. They are perfect buffalo chicken bites--- loaded with buffalo sauce, blue cheese, and green onions. Make sure you follow the instructions and wait until they have rested for at least 15 minutes before you try to remove them from the pan. They need to set otherwise you will make a disaster in your kitchen. And I'm not volunteering for clean-up duty!
Mini Buffalo Chicken Muffins (adapted from The Noble Pig)
3 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, finely diced
3/4 cup buffalo sauce
1/4 cup ranch dressing
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz blue cheese crumbles
1 celery stick, minced
3 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 tbsp chopped green onion (just green part)
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray mini muffin pan(s) with cooking spray.
Mix together the chicken, buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, cream cheese, blue cheese, and celery until completely combined. Note: this will be easiest if the cream cheese is at room temperature.
Mix together the panko, parmesan cheese, and green onion. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix with a fork until all of the breadcrumbs are moistened.
Scoop rounded tbsp of the panko mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup. Press down with your fingers, making a crust. Spoon a rounded tbsp of the chicken mixture into each cup. Sprinkle with additional panko mixture.
Bake about 25-30 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and cool in pan for at least 15 minutes to let set. Gentle lift each muffin out of the pan.
Make 48 mini-muffins.