Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
TIP Make the wings (and sauce) ahead of time and reheat the chicken just before serving.
BUFFALO WINGS AND BLUE CHEESE DIP
5 1/2 pounds chicken wings (20 wings)
3/4 cup hot sauce
6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup milk
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray.
2. Cut tip off each wing; divide remaining two sections. Place in one layer on sheet pans and roast 45 minutes, until crisp, rotating trays and turning wings once.
3. Meanwhile, combine the hot sauce and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook until butter is melted. Toss sauce with cooked wings.
4. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, blue cheese and milk in a bowl; stir to combine but allow sauce to remain chunky. Adjust milk for thicker or thinner sauce. Serve sauce with wings. Makes 8 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 395 calories, 17 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 33 g fat, 15 g saturated fat, 1,113 mg sodium
BLACK BEAN, MANGO AND BACON NACHOS
3 slices bacon
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 mangos, peeled and chopped into 1/3-inch pieces
1 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
6 ounces tortilla chips
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
12 slices pickled jalapeño
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Cook bacon in a skillet; transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Crumble when cool enough to handle.
3. Pour off all but a thin film of the bacon fat and return pan to medium-high heat. Add chili powder and cumin; cook 15 seconds until fragrant. Add the beans and cook, stirring and partially mashing, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the crumbled bacon.
4. Combine the tomatoes, mango, onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt in a bowl.
5. Spread the tortillas out on the baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Slide warm chips on to a serving platter, top with the beans and spoon the tomato-mango mixture over the top. Dot with the jalapeño slices and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 353 calories, 11 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 17 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 591 mg sodium
SHRIMP AND AVOCADO QUESADILLAS
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups thinly sliced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1. Toss shrimp with chili powder and salt.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium high; add the shrimp and cook until opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Set aside.
3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet. Add onions, oregano and sugar; cook until onions are golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese on one-half of each tortilla. Top with onions, avocado and shrimp. Top with remaining cheese, and fold empty half of tortilla over filling.
5. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel and place over medium heat. Add two quesadillas at a time and cook until lightly browned and the cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Allow quesadillas to stand 2 to 4 minutes before cutting each into 4 wedges. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 321 calories, 21 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 18 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 533 mg sodium