Buffalo wings: two words that scream cheat meal. Each tiny wing, fried and smothered in buttery hot sauce, can have about 165 calories. Order them in a restaurant, and you’ll get a dozen or more of those calorie bombs, usually served with a creamy dip… oh, and a smattering of celery sticks that do nothing to redeem the healthiness of the meal — or appetizer for some. One could make a wishful case that the effort of stripping the small amount of meat from the bones burns calories, but that kind of argument is doomed to disappoint.
But they taste so good; what is a lover of Buffalo wings to do?
Under unlikely circumstances, I had an idea to make Buffalo wings and their accompanying dip so lean and clean that it might even pass for a healthy snack.
A friend brought a casserole dish filled with her mom’s famous Cheesy Buffalo Wings Dip to a potluck. It was a deliciously addictive abomination that was much faster easier to shovel into my face eat since the meat and dip were already combined in a heavenly vat of bad-for-you. But after a few dozen bites, I realized that the dip could be easily revamped to remove most of the fat and calories without diminishing the flavor. I scooped up a few more bites to make sure.
This skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip is the result of that junk food binge (you might say I took one for the team). Shredded chicken breasts replace the fattier dark meat, and a combination of Neufchatel (look for it next to the cream cheese in the grocery store) and Greek yogurt give it the creaminess of a dip. We added part-skim Mozzarella to make this cheesy like my friend’s dip, but you could substitute part or all of that for more Greek yogurt to make yours even leaner. Tangy hot sauce and a little bit of crumbled blue cheese create the familiar flavor of Buffalo chicken. Combine everything and bake until bubbling; serve hot with raw veggies like celery sticks, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, or cucumber slices, and enjoy!
Tip: Put this Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip together quickly using leftover baked chicken breasts or rotisserie chicken that has been shredded with a fork.
Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip
To make this healthier Buffalo Chicken Dip, we've combined cayenne pepper hot sauce with two creamy cheeses, and yummy blue cheese crumbles.
- 2 oz . Neufchatel cheese , softened
- 1½ cups reduced fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
- ¾ cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
- ⅓ cup cayenne pepper hot sauce
- ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1½ cups shredded cooked chicken
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 4 cups raw vegetables (like celery sticks, carrots sticks, jicama sticks, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber slices)
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Combine Neufchatel cheese, yogurt, mozzarella cheese, hot sauce, blue cheese, and chicken in a medium bowl; mix well.
Place in a 1½-quart baking dish that is lightly coated with spray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and edges begin to slightly brown.
Serve immediately with raw vegetables for dipping.
The Nutrition Facts box below provides estimated nutritional information for this recipe.
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Photos by Kirsten Morningstar