Archive | June 2014

Spencer’s Harley Davidson Themed 5th Birthday Party

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If  you have read the About Me page or the Our Phight with Pulmonary Hypertension page, then my elaborate birthday parties for my kiddos makes sense! I would be a fool to not recognize my time is limited and it is my deepest desire that my children always fondly remember that their momma did everything possible to make their life amazing! As always, we make sure our kiddies’ birthdays are huge blowouts and this year was no exception!

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We of course have to talk decorations! I do go all out but I also cut costs everywhere I can! I’ll start with the table centerpieces. I like them to always be functional and these Motorcycle Tray printouts were perfect! You can find the Motorcycle Trays HERE on Etsy. Once purchased, it is an automatic download! No waiting for something to be shipped. Just download and print! Of course my printer broke just a couple of weeks before the party so I did have to spend some money to print things. I took this pattern to FedEx/Kinkos and had them print it on their fancy laser jet printers for around .79 cents a page (it takes two pages to make the tray). I lined the trays with wax paper and bought a 10 count box of microwave popcorn. When you are putting the trays together, you can literally size the trays to your needs. I went larger, almost square in size to create the table centerpieces. I then dumped one bag of microwave popcorn into the trays! Yummy and stylish! You certainly can decrease the width and turn these into awesome goodie trays to give to your party goers!

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Next, I made my own tissue balls. The price folks want to charge you for them are absurd because they are stupid easy to make! If you buy your tissue paper at Hobby Lobby (they have a wide assortment of colors), they come perfectly square. You can make one large tissue ball (which is what I did) or cut them into 4 pieces and create 4 smaller tissue balls. Here’s a photo below with simple directions on how to make these.

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It’s a fun way to brighten up the ceiling for any party!

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I wanted to make some personalized signs to hang from the rafters of the shelter house. I wen to Dollar Tree and bought black foam core poster boards. My husband used his box cutter to cut each board into 4 even pieces. Using photoshop, I took a picture of Spencer on his Hot Wheels Motorcycle and created a picture with an orange background with text that said, “Spencer is 5!” The text I used is called FFF Tusj and you can download this font HERE. This font looks awesome blown up! I made sure the picture was sized to cover the entire print area of a normal size 8.5 x 11 size piece of paper.

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Again using photoshop, I created the personalized bar sheilds that said, “Happy Birthday Spencer”. I taped down the motorcycle picture on one side and the bar shield on the other. My husband took a phillips head screwdriver and punctured the top corners. I tied black yarn creating a hanger. They really turned out cute! Here’s the bar shield for you below ready to go,  just right click and save the picture to your computer. Open Word and insert the picture. Click on Word Art and add your child’s name using Arial font in white color. Resize the Word Art it to fit across the middle black section. Tadah!

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I always like to put little signs coming up the sidewalk to the shelter house. It lets people know they are heading in the right direction!

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I made 4 signs again using photoshop with the last sign being the same picture of Spencer on his Hot Wheels Motorcycle! I also had these printed at FedEx/Kinkos. I made all my signs the same size, so no weird cutting needed. Actually no cutting. I just taped the 8.5 x 11 paper to each piece of black foam core poster board. Again, I used the FFF Tusj font.

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Again, my husband took a black foam core poster board and cut it into 4 even pieces. I went to the local hardware store and picked up 4 of their free paint stick stirrers. Using duct tape, I taped a paint stick stirrer to the back of each sign. The paint stirrers were then pushed into the ground! Simple and easy!

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We also made some long signs. I opened Word again and used Word art to make the letters. I could get about 6 letters on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper. I just printed it on orange paper and again sticking with the theme, I used the FFF Tusj font. The hubby took another black foam core poster board and cut it evenly (long ways) into 3 sections. I did cut the letters square (again using the industrial paper cutter at FedEx/Kinkos) and then taped them down to the cut foam core poster board. The “Fuel” sign hung above the food tables. The “Pit Stop” sign hung above the goodie bags table and lastly the “Garage” sign hung above Spencer’s gifts table.

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I do specialize in cake pops and sell them locally. Spencer had over 100 Motorcycle cake pops that we displayed on our handy dandy cake pop stand my hubby made out of  1 x 3 inch wood slates.

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I also made 4 dozen cupcakes and put them in these awesome Harley Davidson cupcake sleeves I found on ebay. You can find them HERE. They were super fast shippers! If you have ever priced cupcake sleeves, you know they are pricey. Even if you make your own, they are pricey because you can only put 2 on each sheet of paper. These though were very reasonable priced and only $19.99 for 48 sleeves. They were really awesome and had a plastic feel to them. They also were reversible! I put the chocolate cupcakes in the sleeves showing the Harley Davidson logo. For the white cupcakes, I reversed the sleeves to show all orange. Made it easy for guests to pick which cupcake they wanted.

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We always make one special cake used for the “Happy Birthday” singing and the blowing out of candles. We don’t cut the cake at the party and always save it for later for just our immediate family. Saves us on the cost of plates and forks! We also don’t have to buy ice cream! There were more than enough cake pops and cupcakes for all the guests! This year, I made my very first tiered, fondant cake! It was a blast to make and I even made the marshmallow fondant from scratch! If you have ever eaten normal fondant, you know how crappy it actually tastes. The marshmallow fondant is made with marshmallows, powdered sugar and just a touch of water! It’s really yummy and easy to work with.

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The goodie bags were purchased at Flower Factory. They were around $3.00 for 12.

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I took his photo of him sitting on the Hot Wheels Harley Davidson Motorcycle and using photoshop, I added, “Spencer is 5! Thank you for celebrating with us!”. I again used the the FFF Tusj font. I resized it to 2″ x 3″ size.

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I then created a new project that was 4″ x 6″ size. I was able to add 4 photos to the 4″ x 6″ project. I sent the picture to Walgreens and printed them for 10 cents a copy costing less than $4.00 to make enough picture copies for 48 goodie bags. While at FedEx/Kinkos, I used their industrial paper cutter to cut the photo into fourths. Those went in to each goodie bag along with candy and some fun toys I bought at the Dollar Tree. Simple, fun, inexpensive and totally personalized goodie bags!

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Lastly, we made our yearly family t-shirts that we always wear at Spencer’s birthday party. We also wear the shirts the rest of the summer to different events like fairs and such. I bought the t-shirt transfers at Michaels using my 50% off coupon from my Michaels app on my phone (cost after using the coupon was only around $5.00). I found a motorcycle picture and using photoshop, added a large number 5 behind it. This became the fronts of our shirt. The white t-shirts were also bought at Michael’s on sale 2 for $5.00! So total cost for 4 personalized t-shirts was only $15.00!

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Then I used the same font for the number 5 to make the words to be put on the back of the shirts (I was able to get 2 words on each sheet of 8.5 x 11 transfer paper). My husband (who is an avid motorcycle rider and a Harley Man) helped me pick different models of Harley Davidson to put on the shirts. The hubby was “Road King”. I was “Soft Tail”. Our teenage son was “V-Rod” and lastly, Spencer was “Sportster”. These transfers print using your standard deskjet printer that most people have in their homes. We trimmed the transfers close to the pictures/words. We followed the directions and ironed the transfers on the front and back of the shirts. They turned out awesome!

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We’ve had the Hot Wheels Harley Davidson motorcycle for many years. It originally was our oldest son’s Christmas present when he was 3-years-old (he’s now 17.5-years-old). It hasn’t ran in over 10+ years because the batteries were worn out. We always hung onto it thinking our grandchildren could play with it. We didn’t know at the time that we would have our second child 12.5 years after our first and only child, lol! Spencer always loved sitting and pretend riding on it. We went to Batteries Plus and bought 2 new batteries. We brought it to Spencer’s birthday party and he was to the moon happy when he realized it actually worked!

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He spent the rest of the party riding around the park and giving his cousin, Uriah rides!

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It was a roaring great time and another birthday that I hope Spencer will look back on when he’s older. I hope he is able to say, “My momma threw me the best birthday party!” Thanks to all of our family and friends who came and made it a precious memory for our entire family!

Happy Birthday Spencer!

 Weeeeee! Birthday Express felt this post was worthy of a “Best Birthday” badge! I’m touched and humbled. 🙂

“On behalf of Birthday Express, we would like to offer you our ‘Best Birthday’ badge for throwing such a sensational party. Congratulations–you and your little one deserve it!”

– Mariah Olsen, Birthday Express

photo BestBirthday_zpsa6c2c38a.png

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Oreo Cream Fluff

craftycreativekathy.wordpress.comIf you check out my recipe archive, it’s obvious I favor making desserts! If you are visiting and there aren’t any home-made dessert goodies found in the kitchen, then you should leave immediately! You are at the wrong house! LOL One of my favorite quickie desserts are the Pillow Sandies. I can’t begin to describe the yummy sensation of whipped topping melting in your mouth with yummy crumbs from pecan sandies! Not to mention it is a 3-ingredients dessert (my favorite kind of recipe). I started thinking, I bet this recipe would work on just about any cookie? So the Oreo Cream Fluff was born! Again, 3-ingredients is all it takes to achieve a creamy, chocolaty and fluffy taste explosion! Give this easy and cool dessert a try! It’s perfect in the summer time! No oven, no cooking…just dip and drop!

Printable Recipe: Oreo Cream Fluff

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Oreo cookies

  • Milk

  • 16 oz container of frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions:

Pour milk in a glass this is wide and deep enough for you to dunk a whole Oreo cookie in.

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Dunk one Oreo cookie at a time in the milk. Place the dunked

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Oreo cookie in a glass dish in an even layer.

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Cover the Oreo cookie layer with a layer of whipped topping.

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Repeat steps 2 and 3, two times more ensuring you have three Oreo cookies left over.

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In a sandwich-size Ziploc, smash the cookies using the side of a meat tenderizer.

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Spread the crushed Oreo crumbs all over the last layer of whipped topping. Cover the dish and place in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours to chill. Scoop out and enjoy! Store any leftover in a covered dish in the fridge.

Maggi Beef Noodle Soup

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Steve’s Grandma Mac made some awesome dishes back in the day. One of my favorites was her very simple but super scrumptious Maggi Beef Noodle Soup. It is hearty and packed full of flavor! This picture below is one of my favorite pictures of Grandma Mac! She was so sassy and always making others smile!

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Grandma Mac was born in Germany and her meals were always very simple. She lived through World War II and back then, they had to make do with just the staples. Many of her recipes used basic items you can find in your pantry. I love her Maggi Beef Noodle Soup recipe! It’s hard to explain what Maggi tastes like. It is almost a concentrated beef seasoning of sorts. Grandma Mac used it on everything just like my Filipina mom uses soy sauce on everything. My mom just can’t cook without her Marca Pina Soy Sauce and Grandma Mac just couldn’t cook without her Maggi. Both of which we always have on hand in our house! We like to make mashed potatoes with this soup. I know it sounds crazy to pile starch on top of starch but we love spooning this soup right over a large bowl of mashed potatoes. It will always be one of my favorite meals to make and eat. Maggi is just amazing! You can find it in most grocery stores but it can be pricey. We buy our Maggi at the same place we buy our Marca Pina Soy Sauce, at our local Asian store! And at the Asian store, it is really cheap just like our Marca Pina Soy Sauce. You really have to buy Maggi and give this recipe a try because it is that awesome!

Printable Recipe: Maggi Beef Noodle Soup

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Ingredients:

  • Maggi Seasoning

  • 1 lb ground chuck

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic

  • 4 beef bouillon cubes

  • 2 – 12 oz packages of Reames Homestyle Egg Noodles

  • 6-8 cups water

Directions:

Sauté onions and minced garlic for a couple of minutes in a frying pan.

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Add ground chuck and brown till completely cooked. Drain off grease.

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In a large stockpot, add water till 3/4 full (approximately 6-8 cups of water). Drop in bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally to evenly disperse the dissolved bouillon cubes.

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Add cooked ground chuck to the boiling water. Add the two packages of Reames noodles into the boiling water. Add 13-15 shakes of Maggi seasoning to the water. Boil the noodles for approximately 10-13 minutes stirring occasionally until noodles are tender.

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Add Maggi to taste in each individual bowl of Maggi Beef Noodle Soup.

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We lost Grandma Mac on March 14th, 2014. She lived a long 78 years and touched so many lives. Our children are both very close to their great-grandma Mac. We purchased our home because it literally is next door to grandma’s house. It has been hard on our family but we find comfort in knowing she is no longer in pain and is reunited in Heaven with the love of her life, Grandpa Mac. We miss you Grandma and Grandpa! We love you both very much!

Perfect Coach’s Gift

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If your kid plays sports and has since he was 4 and is about to turn 18, you know how hard it is to come up with new ideas for the end-of-season coaches’ gifts. The cheer coach a couple of years ago made a gift for the Athletic Director. She found this huge letter “P” papier mâché. She painted it black and Mod Podged various black and white cheerleading photos all over it. I thought that would make a great gift the baseball coaches. So the captains of each team collected a little bit of money from the players to purchase the supplies. Problem was I looked everywhere for the large papier mâché letters. I found one at Hobby Lobby but it was only maybe 8″ tall. I wouldn’t be getting that many photos on something so small, lol.

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Hobby Lobby is such a wonderful place full of very unique home decor items that are at face value way too expensive however Hobby Lobby always has many of their items 30%-50% off! They have the widest assortment of wooden letters in every font you can think of in sizes from a few inches to over two feet! I found the letter “M” clearanced for only $6.80. It was painted a mauve color and had some metal embellishments on it. The hubby pulled the embellishments off for me and spray painted the letter black. The “B” I found in the unfinished wood area that is originally $12.99 but it was 30% off! The hubby also spray painted it black for me. Both letters were approximately two feet tall! I also made a letter “E” and letter “S” so that all the coaches got a gift (Freshmen, JV, Varsity & Assistant Varsity). They all loved their gift!

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When it comes to Mod Podge, it’s best to use pictures printed on regular to thin paper. Using regular to thin paper makes it easier to smooth out with an old credit card and easier to push any bubbles to the edge. So the hubby printed off various pictures I sized between 2-4 inches all in black and white on regular ol’ copy paper. Then I carefully Mod Podged the photos randomly on the large letters. I had to work in sections because the photos overlapped. So sometimes the Mod Podge went on the wood and sometimes on part of the picture I was slightly covering. It was tedious but with patience, completely doable! My husband used a razor blade to slice the edges of any pictures flush to the edge of the letters leaving the edges a solid black. On the back I wrote the team’s name and the year. I also had bought these awesome Felt Sticky-back Baseballs that I randomly put around the photos to cover any large black areas on the letter. They turned out really awesome. I used glossy Mod Podge and the pictures really don’t do these gifts justice. The letters were shiny and very pretty. Something their wives probably wouldn’t mind have hanging in their homes, lol. Something different and definitely awesome to give to a coach! For specifics on my Mod Podge technique, check out my post for these photo wood blocks HERE that I had made for the senior football players. The senior baseball players received their own photo wood blocks as a gift along with their senior banners, a copy of the team DVD and a Baseball Cake Pop. Their photo wood blocks turned out awesome also.

Jell-O Poke Cake

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There is nothing better on a hot summer day than a cool, sweet and refreshing Jell-O Poke Cake! Not only is it a pretty cake when sliced but it is absolutely fantastic! I can tell you it is a family favorite of ours and also Quinton’s favorite! Quinton and our oldest son have been friends since they were wee young lads and I do believe if you put a Jell-O Poke Cake in front of them, they would fight for it, lol! Seriously requires only 4 ingredients (well, the cake mix requires 3 ingredients as well) and is so easy to put together! If you’ve never had Jell-O Poke Cake, well, I just feel sorry for you! LOL

Printable Recipe: Jell-O Poke Cake

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Ingredients:

  • 1 white cake mix

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 3 oz package of Jell-O gelatin (your choice of flavor)

  • 1/2 cup cold water

  • 8 oz tub of whipped topping, thawed

Directions:

Bake cake according to cake mix instructions on the box in a 9×13 metal pan.

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Allow cake to cool completely.

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Using a wooden spoon’s handle, poke holes in the cooled cake by pushing the handle down all the way into the cake. I went through this phase where I thought all wood in the kitchen was evil because it is so absorbent. I kind of went overboard thinking that all my wood items were packed with germs. So I don’t have any wooden spoons, lol. But I do have these awesome plastic spoons shaped like a wooden spoon that I use to poke the holes.

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Space the holes about 1/2 to 1 inch away from each other.

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In a 2 cup glass measuring cup, add 1 cup boiling water. Add the package of jell-O gelatin. We usually use strawberry flavor but any flavor of your choice will work. Stir until all gelatin crystals are dissolved. Add 1/2 cup of cold water and stir until well combined.

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Slowly pour jell-O liquid over the cake ensuring the entire cake is evenly covered.

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Be sure to pour the jell-O liquid directly down the holes you created.

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Cover with whipped topping. In my picture of the ingredients I have a 16 oz tub of whipped topping. It’s just what I had on hand and it only takes 8 oz to cover the cake in a light layer of whipped topping.

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Place in fridge for at least one hour before serving. Keep leftovers covered and in the fridge.

Butter Rice

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I am half Filipina. This means I’ve ate more than my fair share of rice. When I was growing up, we had rice for every meal in every possible way. We had steamed rice, fried rice, rice cakes, chocolate rice, Spanish rice, you name it. I had it with breakfast, lunch and dinner. And sometimes, it was dessert (hence the chocolate rice). When I hit my 20s, I was just sick of rice. I boycotted it for almost 10 years. You have to understand that my mother always had rice in the rice cooker every minute of every single day. When we would visit my mom, our oldest son always tore up her steamed rice. I felt bad because I was basically keeping rice out of my son’s diet, lol. I’ve slowly gone back to making rice more often. Whipping up fried rice every couple of weeks keeps the kiddos happy. I am partial to plain ol’ steamed rice. Sometimes I don’t even add soy sauce. Every once in a while though, I get a craving for flavored rice. This butter rice really transforms rice into an exquisite side dish. It is hearty and packed full of flavor!

Printable Recipe: Butter Rice

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked white rice (do not use instant rice)

  • Soy sauce (in a spray bottle)

  • 10 oz can of French onion soup

  • 10 oz can beef broth

  • 1 stick of butter or margarine

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

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Add rice to a 9×9 square baking pan.

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Add water. Rinse dust and particles from rice by carefully dumping the water out.

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Repeat as many times as necessary. Pour out as much of the water as possible.

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Spray a light layer of soy sauce onto rice.

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Slice butter or margarine into little pats.

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Add French onion soup and beef broth. Place butter or margarine pats in pan (they will float on top of the liquid). If you aren’t too keen on that many onions, you can add all the liquid from the French onion soup and then spoon out the amount of onions you want into your pan. The onions get fully cooked down and are very soft.

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Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for 30 more minutes.

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Stir and serve.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

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Buffalo Chicken Dip is a very popular dip to bring to a party. There are very few people who don’t love chicken wings and this dip mimics that taste so well! The added plus is that you can have all the flavor of chicken wings without the bones! Which for me is a super plus plus because as you all know, I don’t do bones, lol! This whips together quickly with very few ingredients. If you are one of the maybe 5 people on Earth who have not tried this, give this recipe a whirl, you won’t regret it!

Printable Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened

  • 2 – 10 oz cans cooked chicken, drained

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (depending on how hot you want it)

  • 1 cup ranch dressing

  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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In a large bowl combine first 4 ingredients with a hand mixer on medium speed till well combined. Fold in 1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack Cheese.

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Place chicken mix in a glass 9×13 casserole dish. Evenly sprinkle 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese on top.

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Bake 30-40 minutes until bubbly. Allow to cool for approximately 10 minutes before serving with tortilla chips.