Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Stromboli

My husband and I are both huge fans of homemade Stromboli.  I normally use my mother's recipe and fill it with the traditional Genoa Salami, Regular or Capicola Ham and Provolone Cheese.  Baked to a perfect golden brown, sliced and dipped in marinara sauce... it is one of our favorite snacks or meals.

Kevin, as you may or may not know, has a bit of an obsession with all things hot sauce/buffalo wing flavor related.  In particular, Frank's Red Hot.  He puts Frank's on eggs, pizza, french fries, burgers, potatoes, heck even steaks sometimes.  I'm convinced he is going to develop a stomach ulcer or just blow out his gut one of these days from his excessive use of hot sauce... but there is no stopping him.

Tonight, I decided... if I can't beat him, may as well join him, right?  Someone sent me a link to a delicious looking stromboli stuffed with buffalo chicken.  I knew this would have Kevin going gaga, so I thought I would treat him.

Here is the base for the recipe I used...  http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/buffalo-chicken-stromboli/0123bbba-466f-4e23-8faa-1dc439a34432/?WT.dcsvid=NzkwMTYwMDQ2NQS2&rvrin=5B68C20E-99B0-44AD-8C40-BC0B5007B74C&WT.mc_id=Newsletter_PB_PB_2012_04_17&nicreatID2=Newsletter_PB_PB_2012_04_17

It's from Pillsbury.com which has lots of very simple,quick and easy type recipes.

Here is my version:

  • 1 Box of Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix (blue box)  Mix the dough as directed on the back of the box.
  • 1 pound of chicken (I use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but leftover chicken of any kind would work great too... this would be a perfect way to get rid of leftovers!!)
  • 1-2 cups of Frank's Red Hot hot sauce
  • 1 package of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Ranch dressing for dipping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. If not using leftover chicken, boil the chicken until cooked through.  (I know I know... boiling chicken just sounds terrible, but trust me... there is no need to bake it, boiling is best here)
  3. While the chicken is boiling, roll out the dough into an oval shape.  You can do one large or cut the dough in half and do two small mini strombolis
  4. Shred or chop the cooked chicken very fine (I use my handy dandy slap chop for this) and stir in the hot sauce.  The chicken should be well coated, but you don't want excess liquid so add as much or as little as you need.  
  5. Sprinkle a layer of cheddar cheese onto the dough, leaving 1-2 inch border around the outside with no cheese.  Pour the hot sauce/chicken mixture on top of the cheese, spreading evenly and keeping the 1-2 inch border bare.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
  6. Fold the outside ends in until they meet in the middle, slightly overlap then pinch closed to seal.  Then fold the top and bottom ends in, doing the same.
  7. Roll the stromboli onto a baking sheet (I always use parchment paper... makes it easier to roll and easier to clean up after).  
  8. Brush the top of the stromboli with olive oil and slice 3-4 small slits in the top of the dough (to allow air to escape and prevent from forming a huge bubble).
  9. Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
We sliced and dipped ours in ranch dressing, but if you are a huge fan of buffalo ranch flavor, you can mix a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (the powder stuff) in with the chicken and Frank's Red Hot for a Buffalo Ranch Stromboli.  Enjoy!!


27 Week Check In

… and we are officially in the third trimester... the home stretch!!!  I honestly am in awe of how fast the time has flown by.  I know I keep saying this week after week, but it just blows my mind.  In just 3 short months, God willing, I will be holding our new son or daughter.  Truly amazing.

How Big Is Baby?

  • Cauliflower... and well over 2 pounds now.  Grow baby grow!!
Baby’s Development
  • At 27 weeks, baby is breathing (it’s amniotic fluid, not air, but it still counts) and even showing brain activity.  There are some studies that show baby may even be able to dream at this stage.

How Big Is Mommy?
  •  Here is my "Oh my gosh I'm in my third trimester" bump and Lucy with her new favorite pillow, Toby the Turtle... and a sneak peek of our nursery.
How Am I feeling?
  • Physically:  Still pretty good.  Feeling lots and lots of kicks, jabs and rolls... which is so cool.  I can see movement very easily from the outside and it looks like there is an alien in my belly.  Too funny.  I have joined the pee-every-hour club... which is not something I planned to do quite this soon... but it's still better than the morning sickness was, so I'll take it!
  • Emotionally:  Really good.  The crib should be here any day now... my mom ordered the stroller and car seat... so I feel like we are really making some progress in the getting-ready department, which makes me very happy.
Any new developments, milestones?  Anything new?
  • Third trimester is a pretty big milestone!!  Baby's lungs are almost fully developed which means a small sigh of relief from me.  I am thrilled to be where I am and healthy and doing well.  Still working my normal schedule and doing all of my normal activities (even running when the weather is right).  I'm very very blessed.
  • Love:  I have been on a BLT kick again.  Not the healthiest, but they are so delicious... and Kevin has been spoiling me with them left and right.  Still loving fresh fruit, veggies, salads and smoothies... so hopefully that balances out the bacon.  :/
  • Hate:  Peeing every hour.  It kind of puts a damper on my work schedule and  digs into my sleep.  Although at this point, I think it's a catch 22.  Either baby is low and on my bladder... or baby is high and smushing my lungs.  Either way, as long as baby is happy, mommy can deal.
Any upcoming developments, milestones?  What's next?
  • Next appointment isn't for 2 more weeks... just waiting until then.  My mom may come up to visit in the next few weeks and I am thinking about scheduling an elective 3D ultrasound if she does.  Not sure though...
  • Still waiting for our nursery goodies to start arriving.  All of the painting is done, most of the decor is up... but it just doesn't look like a nursery without a crib.


Recipe: Mac-N-Cheese Mini Muffins

We had some of our close friends over on Saturday night for dinner and I decided to try out a new recipe that I have been drooling over for a while... Mac-N-Cheese mini muffins.  They were so fabulous!!  We received tons of compliments on them and can't wait to make them again.  Next time, I plan to add some bacon.  Yummy!!

**This is also the same recipe I use to make homemade mac-n-cheese.  Simply leave out the eggs and 1/4 cup of bread crumbs.  Place in a glass baking dish instead of muffin tin and sprinkle a handful of the breadcrumbs/butter mixture on top.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  Delish!

I snagged the original recipe from Yahoo here... http://shine.yahoo.com/tistheseason/tis-season-mini-mac-n-cheese-muffins-004800028.html  and made some changes to make it a little easier.  Here is my abridged version...

Mini Mac n' Cheese Muffins
These bite-sized treats are perfect for a holiday party whether you're a guest or the host.

Yields: 48 mini muffins


1 lb. small elbow pasta
1 stick butter, divided in 1/2
1/2 cup flour

2 cups whole milk
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 lb. cheddar cheese, grated  **I usually use a combination of cheeses; mild cheddar, extra sharp cheddar, pepper jack... basically whatever I have on hand.  Sometimes I add 1 8oz package of cream cheese, just to make them extra creamy**
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided in 1/2
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Special equipment:
24 count mini muffin tin


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bring salted water to a rolling boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Cook until soft.

Make Mornay sauce by melting 1/2 stick of butter and mixing in the flour. Cook the butter and flour together for a few minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Slowly add the milk and whisk in. When sauce thickens remove from heat and add grated cheese and can of cheese soup. Season with salt and cayenne. Add sauce to the cooked pasta Then add 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and eggs. Stir the mixture.

Melt the remaining 1/2 stick of butter and blend in with the remaining bread crumbs. Set bread crumb mixture aside.

Liberally grease mini muffin tins.

Spoon the mac n' cheese mixture into the muffin tins. Garnish with bread crumb mixture and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until browned on top and somewhat firm to the touch.

Cool for about 15 minutes before removing them. If you have trouble removing them cool for a bit longer.



Bittersweet doesn't even seem to come close to how I am feeling right now... but it is the only word I can think of to describe the simultaneous sadness and joy that is today.

Today should be your birthday.  Although... if you are anything like me {{late for everything}} then your birthday would probably be next week sometime.  But... today is your due date.  Was your due date.

Today I am also 26 weeks and change pregnant with your brother or sister.  My belly is growing and I feel them kick and punch and roll all the time.  I am so thankful for this little miracle and he or she is always quick to remind me that I do have much to be thankful for.  Despite this enormous blessing, it is hard to smile today, knowing that I could be holding you, should be holding you.

Fly high with the angels, sweet baby... until we meet again.


26 Week Check In

… and we are officially in double digits!!  As of today, our due date is only 98 short days away.  We have made a lot of progress this past week.  We decided on a stroller and car seat (what a fiasco THAT was) and also the crib.  My mom offered to buy the car seat and stroller for us (she kinda loves me, I think) and Kevin and I ordered our crib last night.  I am so excited to start buying baby things and see our little one’s nursery come to life.

How Big Is Baby?

  • A head of lettuce now!  Bigger every day!
Baby’s Development
  • At week 26, baby may be interfering with my sleep, messing with my brain (forget much?), and even be giving me a stress headache or two. It’s normal to be experiencing some mild swelling, but around this week, it’s important to watch out for swelling severe or sudden -- it could be the sign of a dangerous condition called preeclampsia.

How Big Is Mommy?
  •  My bump is growing!!  I can totally see it now!  :)
How Am I feeling?
  • Physically:  Pretty good.  My back and neck have started aching at night and I wake up very stiff, but I’m sure that’s normal.  I am going to experiment with a few different pillows and hopefully find something that helps a little bit, but it’s really not super painful yet.
  • Emotionally:  Well, aside from the fact that my OB made me feel like a fat cow… I am feeling great.  I feel a huge relief now that we have decided on some of the major baby purchases and have a few things already taken care of.  I am getting more excited by the day and can’t wait to have everything in the nursery set up and ready for show time.
Any new developments, milestones?  Anything new?
  • I had my glucose test on Monday.  I had heard horror stories, but it really wasn’t bad at all.  The drink just tasted like sugary flat orange soda and getting blood drawn never really bothers me.  However, when I went in to see the OB, they weighed me and told me I had gained 9 pounds over the past month.  Now if you remember last month… they told me I needed to gain weight.  So I gained weight.  Well, the OB said “So I guess you took my eat lots of cake and ice cream advice to heart”… I wanted to crawl under the table and hide.  I was mortified.  And the worst part is… I don’t really feel like I gained 9 pounds and everyone I run into tells me how “tiny” I look for being 6 months pregnant.  Sigh… there is no middle ground I guess.  I know part of the problem is that the weather has still been quite cool (with the exception of Monday being 89 degrees) and I just haven’t been as active as usual.  I eat very healthy (salads and wraps) and actually have not eaten any ice cream in months because it makes me sick (fruit sorbets are another story)… so I don’t know what the deal is, but it was very upsetting to have my first “fat talk”.  She did say that overall, my weight gain is on the low end of average for this point in the pregnancy… but that I should aim to gain no more than 1-2 pounds per week.  Hopefully next month will be better.
  • Love:  Mocktails.  I have been making lots of new mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails) and have come up with some delicious concoctions.
  • Hate:  Feeling like a pork chop.  I know I am supposed to gain weight with a baby.  I don’t feel like I am overindulging, but having someone tell you to “slow it down a bit” stings.  I know there are many people who struggle with their weight on a daily basis and I am fortunate to have never had this issue before, but I can’t even begin to describe how shocked and hurt I was to have my doctor lecture me about my weight.  Never again.
Any upcoming developments, milestones?  What's next?
  • Next doctor’s appointment is in 3 more weeks, so cruise control until then, I hope.  The next one will be the last of my regular monthly check ups.  After that, I will be 30 weeks along and the appointments will increase to every 2 weeks.  Getting closer.
  • Also, we are patiently (ha!) waiting for the crib to arrive so we can continue working on the nursery.  I have decided on some quotes that I want to have made into prints to hang on the wall… now to just get those done.


Y3W: Boom Boom's Open!!!

Wow... it's been a while since I have done a Y3W check in.  So strange.

So... Syracuse isn't exactly known nationally for many things (besides, of course, a kick @ss basketball team and a ridiculous scandal with the coach that wasn't even a scandal)... however, we do have a few little local secrets that are pretty special to us CNYers.

One of them is a teeny tiny little restaurant called Boom Boom Mex Mex.  I just found out that they are now open for the season and I am super excited.  This place is crazy good and just too cool not to write about.

First off, the owner is from Mexico... like real, south of the border, tequila and sombreros, Mexico (not Mexico, NY which isn't far from here).  She and her husband only come up to Syracuse and open their restaurant for the summer, while the weather is nice.  Once it starts to get frosty, they pack up shop and head south.  I am totally jealous of this lifestyle, by the way.  I was shocked to hear that they are open so early, but we have had an unseasonably mild winter and spring.

Next, the restaurant itself is in what looks like a little house.  The tables are mismatched plastic picnic tables and card tables with those cheap outdoor table cloths taped or stapled to them.  The chairs are mismatched folding chairs and plastic chairs.  The decor inside is a random array of pictures, paintings, souvenirs and nick nacks from all over Mexico.  They also have a bunch of picnic tables scattered outside... such a great place to enjoy lunch in the summer.

The food is nothing short of amazing.  Real deal Mexican made the right way with fresh ingredients.  Absolutely delicious!!  They always have a variety of fresh salsas too which I love to experiment with.

And the best part... the prices are out of this world.  Kevin and I can go enjoy a full meal for under $15.  Oh... and another cute quirky little aspect... it's BYOB... so people walk in with coolers or 6 packs and just hang out on the weekends.

It's such a great place, it's been way too long (over the winter) since I last enjoyed some good Mexican home cooking and I am super excited to head over that way for lunch!

 Bon apetit!


25 Week Check In

According to all of the know-it-all pregnancy books, my uterus is now approximately the size of a soccer ball... and coincidentally, I look like I have swallowed a soccer ball.  :)

How Big Is Baby?

  • An eggplant and pushing 2 pounds... wow!

Baby’s Development

  • Maybe it's because I'm getting nervous about delivery, or maybe it’s my haywire hormones, but I might start to have trouble sleeping around week 25. This is a common complaint of many moms-to-be. Experiment with different strategies for getting some sleep.

How Big Is Mommy?
  • We're making progress with this little bump and I am super excited!  I have finally had a few strangers congratulate me or ask when I am due... Love it!
How Am I feeling?
  • Physically:  Still pretty great, although finding a comfortable position to sleep in is becoming a little more difficult.  I usually like to curl up in a little ball with my knees up to my chest... but since my belly is about the size of a soccer ball, that's not really an option.  After some tossing and turning, I can usually settle in and I am very thankful for that... I know in the months to come it will only get worse so I am enjoying any sleep while I can.
  • Emotionally:  Great!  Baby is moving quite a bit and I am loving it!  Also, I have had a few random strangers offer "Congratulations!" so I guess I really am starting to show.  Exciting!
Any new developments, milestones?  Anything new?
  • Not much this week, but I do have my glucose test coming up on Monday.  I have heard horror stories about the sugary orange drink, but I am hoping all will go well.
  • Love:  Still loving smoothies, although I loved them pre-pregnancy too, so I don't know if this counts... but I love love LOVE them anyway. 
  • Hate:  That heavy dairy still makes me sick.  I bought mac-n-cheese from Panera yesterday (which I LOVE)... then remember when I got home that it would make me sick.  I ended up giving it to Kevin because I didn't want to feel crappy at work all night... but man, I miss my mac-n-cheese.

Any upcoming developments, milestones?  What's next?
  • Glucose test on Monday... wish me luck!!!