{slow cooker} buffalo chicken sliders with blue cheese slaw

are you ready for some football!

{slow cooker buffalo chicken sliders with blue cheese slaw} crowd pleasing + semi-homemade is the perfect combo for these #football favorites!

tonight is the kick-off {PUNS} of the NFL’s first week! 

and while, for most, football season is all about the game, for me, it’s a season filled with sunday fundays, hometown pride {DA BEARS ..yes i know cutler is still our quarterback} + of course, the glorious football food that comes along with it all!

ever since my culinary fire was lit, i have dedicated football season to trying out new chili + slow cooker recipes on my guinea pig friends.

they get fed. my ‘to-try’ recipe list gets more organized.

everyone wins! {except, usually, da bears}

and since sundays are a dedicated game day from this day till late january, that gives me some serious time to perfect my tailgate taquitos + my chicago chili.

{slow cooker buffalo chicken sliders with blue cheese slaw} slow cookers make things so easy!

while the allure of the slow cooker is impossible to resist, it’s also super fun to stretch my bite-size wings {GUYS. ANOTHER PUN} and give some fun appetizers a whirl as well!

so! starting today, i’m going to post a gameday delight every week!

whether you find yourself hosting a weekly fanatic feast or spend your sundays curled up on the sofa for a party of one – these recipes will ultimately have the spirit that football season emits to me!

i think this will be a super fun way to get all jazzed about the week to come {regardless of how your fantasy running back did last week}.

and hey, for those of you who are giving me the ‘i. dont. care. about. football.’ eyeroll, think of this weekly series of apps, dips + chilis as a way to grow your arsenal of party food!

so let’s start off with my go-to, the slow cooker recipe that started as a football sunday trial + wound up as my gould gold standard for easy, crowd-pleasing food!

the buffalo chicken slider with blue cheese slaw!

{slow cooker buffalo chicken sliders with blue cheese slaw} crowd pleasing!

the chicken is as hands-free as it gets! you simply toss it into a slow cooker with some fizzy beer, a bottled buffalo sauce + a classic spice mix.

as the chicken cooks away in the orange pool of love, your house literally starts to smell like a party is about to go down + all that’s left is to mix up a semi-homemade slaw.

the slaw can be made ahead of time but once you see how simple it is, all you’ll need is a yawn-inducing halftime report to whip it together! the coleslaw crunch is left intact, and you my friend, just got a little arm workout from whisking together the dressing!

{slow cooker buffalo chicken sliders with blue cheese slaw} these are sure to be your #gameday favorite!

the thing that’s the best about these little sandwiches of buffalo love is that they are super versatile!

slider buns take them to two-bite town, lettuce wraps excite your low-carb-abiding guests + pretzel buns -of any size- please the masses!

however you serve ‘em up, i know the flavors will have your guests doing a touchdown dance to the slow cooker for seconds! i think it’s fair to say that once your guests get a whiff of these sliders, they won’t be saying ‘i think i’ll pass!’

{i may have just won the pun superbowl..}


{slow cooker} buffalo chicken sliders with blue cheese slaw
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
for the buffalo chicken:
  • 1.5 lb of boneless skinless chicken breast, 3 huge pieces
  • 1 beer, i used 312
  • ½ cup of your favorite buffalo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
for the blue cheese slaw:
  • 1 package of coleslaw mix
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded + thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled + peeled into thin slices
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅛ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3oz crumbled blue cheese, more to taste
Instructions
buffalo chicken:
  1. pour the beer into the base of the slow cooker
  2. place the chicken, in single layer, into the slow cooker.
  3. mix the sauce, garlic + onion powder. pour over the top.
  4. cover + cook on low 6 hours. {may do 4 hours on high!}
  5. shred the chicken + mix with the butter. let cook for additional 15 minutes.
  6. serve on slider buns with slaw on top! enjoy!
blue cheese slaw:
  1. combine the coleslaw mix, jalapeno + carrot.
  2. in a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar + celery salt. whisk to combine.
  3. dress the coleslaw mix with the mayonnaise mix, evenly to coat.
  4. fold in the blue cheese.

 


cooktip

don’t have time for the slow cooker? no problem!

i suggest to poach your chicken breast in the beer {with water to cover, if needed} then shred + mix with the buffalo sauce, spices + butter! voila! done in under 20 minutes!

and. although i find the shredded meat from a rotisserie to be a bit dry, you could swap the chicken out for store-bought rotisserie for the sheer convenience of it!

cal arrow

a great way to drop cals in this football food is to serve the slaw in a lettuce wrap! you could also swap the mayo in the slaw recipe for plain greek yogurt.

tiny leftovers

both components of this dish hold super well in tupperware! whether you want to make it the day-ahead of a party or hold onto leftovers – the chicken will reheat best in a pot over low heat {add the butter at this step!} and the slaw will lose a bit of its crunch, but you could add fresh -undressed- coleslaw mix to resurrect the crisp touch!

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avocado slices are awesome as a topping! you could also add finely sliced celery to the slaw mix for the full buffalo wing companion experience!

swap

although i hate to realize it, i know that some of you are not blue cheese lovers.. but that’s okay! in the slaw, simply omit the blue cheese! it still packs tons of flavor! if you want a ranch flavor then you could add in a tablespoon of packaged ranch mix to the slaw dressing or give your sandwich a drizzle of ranch dressing for the effect!

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slider-style is my party go-to for these! i like to set up a buffet bar with the chicken, slaw, blue cheese crumbles, fresh jalapeno slices, ranch dressing + classic potato chips for maximum build-your-own options!
drink

this is football season, ya’ll – go with an ice cold beer or hard cider!

roasted garlic veggie tostadas

these tostadas are veggie gold.

{roasted garlic veggie tostadas} the amazing flavor starts with roasted garlic

the awesomeness starts with the magical process of roasting garlic.

if you don’t know how to do this – let me enlighten you! it’s crazy easy AND requires very little time on your end!

all you do is take a head of garlic, chop the tip off to expose the tasty cloves + then douse the cloves in olive oil!

next, simply seal that sucker up in a tinfoil package of perfection + roast it for about 35 minutes.. when the time has elapsed you’ll have roasted gold that you can spread, schmear or eat by the handful garnish with as you wish!

{roasted garlic veggie tostadas} fresh + simple ingredients!

this recipe is one of my weekday favorites because the ingredients can be adapted to whatever your fridge has to offer up thus making it a recipe of the ‘clean out your veggie drawer’ variety.

don’t fret, i’ll equip you with my suggested veggie line-up down below – but feel free to swap in or out to accommodate to whatever you have on hand.

the biggest rule you’ll want to adhere to is: whatever veggies you choose – cut ‘em in as even size as possible!

be it diced super small {lower cook time!} or be it chopped into larger chunks {longer cook time = more candy crush playing hand’s off time!} – just keep ‘em cut as close as possible to their fellow roasters!

{roasted garlic veggie tostadas} sweet, creamy roasted garlic mixes into balsamic roasted veggies!

now, uh kelly, i took french in high school, what the heck is a tostada?!

well, imaginary voice in my writing head, so glad you asked!

tostada is a is a spanish word meaning “toasted.”

easiest way to look at the tostada is as a flat taco! a crunchy taco base for towering toppings if you will!

the internet told me that the tostada avoids waste when tortillas are not fresh enough to be made into tacos, but fresh enough to be eaten.. i think that’s a fun way to look at it!

as an avid taco fan {we’re talkin’ tortillas folded up + around the goodies inside} i was always a bit confused on when + why people choose tostadas over tacos. BUT if you look at it as a way to stretch those nearly stale corn tortillas, then it not only makes sense but it turns dinner into a fun little food-saving adventure!

{roasted garlic veggie tostadas} sweet, creamy roasted garlic, balsamic roasted veggies + your favorite toppings all atop crisp tostadas!

here, we are going to ‘fry’ our tortillas in a skillet to get that crispy base the tostada calls for.

but! you could totally serve the roasted garlic veggies taco style or in a burrito bowl situation.. no matter how you do it, your tastebuds will thank you for it.


5.0 from 1 reviews
roasted garlic veggie tostadas
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed into ¼ inch pieces
  • ½ red onion, cubed into ¼ inch pieces
  • ½ red bell pepper, cubed into ¼ inch pieces
  • ½ hatch green chile pepper, cubed into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 ear fresh corn, kernals removed {frozed may be used. thaw + pat dry}
  • kosher salt + pepper, to taste
  • corn tortillas
Instructions
  1. for the roasted garlic:
  2. preheat the oven to 375º
  3. slice off the tip of the garlic head to reveal cloves.
  4. set the head of garlic in the center of a piece of foil, large enough to fold up + over the head.
  5. pour roughly 1 teaspoon of olive oil per clove.
  6. wrap the foil around the head of garlic to seal + roast in the oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. for the roasted veggies:
  8. line a baking sheet with aluminum foil + spray with nonstick spray.
  9. in a large bowl, combine you veggies + drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, sprinkle with salt + pepper, then toss to coat.
  10. spread in an even layer on the baking sheet + roast for 20 minutes.
  11. after 20 minutes, toss the veggies with the balsamic vinegar + stir to coat. then roast an additional 15 minutes.
  12. while the veggies are roasting, heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
  13. brush each tortilla {front + back} with olive oil, then place one at a time in the skillet until crisp on each side {about 2 minutes per side}
  14. remove tortillas to a wire rack to cool.
  15. remove veggies from baking sheet + add back to the bowl.
  16. squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves + mix thoroughly into the vegetables.
  17. build each tostada with veggies atop it + the toppings of your choice! enjoy!

 


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 for toppings, i went with a drizzle of homemade lime crema + diced avocado.

here’s my go-to crema recipe:

→ combine 1/2 cup of sour cream, juice of 1 lime, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro + 1/2 teaspoon of sugar together. adjust taste with salt + pepper to taste!

swap

 we talked about swaps in the post – the veggie world is your oyster here! just don’t skip the roasted garlic – it’s a must-have! but a fun shortcut option is to buy the roasted garlic cloves from the olive bar at your local market.

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 these make for a GREAT appetizer! a fun way to make them bite-size is to use a small bowl to cut your tortillas into smaller circles! then top ’em with the veggies + leave some fun topping options for your guests to customize with!

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the easiest way to drop cals here is to adjust the tostada base. try serving your veggies over a bed of a super grain – like quinoa! or omit the frying step all together + serve with a handful of your favorite low-carb tortilla chips.

 tiny leftovers

the roasted veggies will hold wonderfully in an airtight baggie or container! as for the tostadas, they will taste best fried up to serve!

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garlic is pretty awesome for you. here are some fun things the internet taught me:

• garlic is highly nutritious, but has very few cals!
• garlic can combat the common cold
• the active compounds in garlic can reduce blood pressure!
• garlic improves cholesterol levels thus lowering the risk of heart disease!
• garlic was one of the earliest ‘performance enhancing’ substances! crazy right!? studies suggest that expercise-induced fatigue may be reduced with garlic.
• garlic may have beneficial effects on bone health in women!
• garlic can help detoxify heavy metals in the body!

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this recipe is adapted from, in my opinon, one of the best bloggers out there – jessica from how sweet it is!

 

simple bolognese sauce

happy fall ya’ll!

okay, fine.

technically it’s not officially fall yet, but as soon as the september calendar rolls out, my kelly brain thinks fall has arrived in all it’s pumpkin-picking, soup-spooning, boots + sweaters glory.

so to celebrate the official kelly launch of fall, i am sharing with you one of my favorite cool weather comfort dishes.

{classic bolognese} a few steps to the perfect comfort dish! bonus- your kitchen will smell amazing!

a stick-to-your-ribs classic bolognese!

what is it? how’d it get it’s fun name?

very simple! bolognese is a meat-based sauce originating from bologna, italy!

never had it? never heard of it?

well, let me enlighten you with the simple idea of it – some dishes are edible hugs + bolognese is one of ‘em!

{classic bolognese} a few steps to the perfect comfort dish!_

although this recipe takes a few hours, it only takes a handful of steps at the beginning to help build big, gorgeous, complex flavor.

taking the time to layer these flavors will result in a homemade sauce that is sure to blow your pasta night out of the park!

our layering starts with browning a glorious meat trifecta of beef, pork + pancetta. we then start the classic sweat down of carrots, celery + onion in a pad of butter + add minced garlic {6 cloves of it!} to amp up the richness. then, as the san marzano crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme + red wine start to join in on the action, your kitchen will smell heavenly!

let’s just say, if you weren’t planning on hosting a pasta party then make sure your windows are closed! because any whiff of this amazing sauce stewing away will bring all the boys to the yard.

as the last of the ingredients are mixed up in your pot, you’ll turn the heat down low + let some serious simmer magic happen for two hours of hands-off ‘cooking’ time.

 

in those two hours, take a load off.

read the internet, do some yoga, drool over the stove + taste test every 4 minutes.

or, even better, julia child famously said to never cook with a wine if it’s not suitable for drinking – pour yourself a glass of red + do all of the above until it’s bolognese-serving time!

{classic bolognese} the perfect comfort dish!_

when the sauce has transformed into a thick, smooth sauce – the pasta ball is in your court!

boil up some pappardelle – al dente, of course. or hey! get a little crazy + spirialize some parsnips for a veggie alternative to pasta thats perfect for a lower-carb option!

wanna know another AMAZING pasta/life choice you could make? whip and nea nea up some lasagna! i know. i know. that option seems a bit time-aggressive BUT it’s really just a few minutes of layering love! plus. hopefully that bottle of red you choose was the 750mL kind, so really you’ve got all sorts of time! 😉

no matter how you serve this sauce up – you’ll be so glad you did!

the thing i love most about it, is that every comforting bite tastes like home to me. but even if bolognese wasn’t part of your growing up journey, i am sure something home cooked with classic ingredients + a few hours of love, sure was!

so i think you’ll find an edible hug in your bowl too!


 

simple bolognese sauce
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground beef
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground pork
  • 4oz pancetta, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled + finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine {such as an italian chianti}
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 28oz canned crushed tomatoes {san marzano is the best brand!}
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen string
  • 1 parmigiano-reggiano cheese rind
  • kosher salt + pepper, to taste
for serving:
  • pasta, such as al dente fettuccine, tagliatelle or pappardelle
  • grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • minced fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. heat a large heavy-bottomed pot/dutch oven, over medium-high heat. add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  2. add the ground beef + pork, and season with salt + pepper. cook, stirring occasionally, until browned {about 12 minutes}.
  3. transfer the meat mixture to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. add the pancetta to the pot + cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp {about 7 minutes}
  5. transfer the pancetta to a separate paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  6. reduce the heat to medium + add the butter. add the onion, carrots + celery, cook until soft + translucent {about 8 minutes}
  7. then, add the garlic +cook, stirring, until fragrant {about 1 minute}
  8. stir in the tomato paste + cook for 2 minutes then add the wine + simmer until almost evaporated {about 5 minutes}
  9. add the heavy cream, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme bundle + cheese rind. stir until combined, then add in the meats.
  10. bring the mix to a simmer then partially cover + reduce to a low heat. cook until the sauce thickens {about 2 hours}
  11. before serving, discard bay leaves, thyme bundle + cheese rind from the bolognese. season to taste with additional salt + pepper.
  12. serve with pasta, minced parsley + grated parmigiano-reggiano. enjoy!


swap

can’t get your hands on pancetta? bacon can be substituted!

drink

red wine for serving: choose a bright, fruity italian red like sangiovese.

tiny leftovers

this recipe should yield 9 cups of sauce. my best suggestion for keeping anything leftover is to freeze it -in dinner-portions!- in ziploc baggies. then, when needed, just defrost in the fridge or reheat in a pot on the stove for a quick meal!