Buffalo Chicken Football Pockets

Superbowl weekend is upon us and as far as food bloggers are concerned, this is one of the biggest holidays of the year.  Small One is still feeling a little bitter about the way her beloved Ravens were knocked out (or should we say kicked out…) of the playoffs this year, but the promise of good food is drawing her back to football this weekend.  Tall One has never really had a football team to call her own, so for her the Superbowl has always been all about the food!  The Giants may be getting ready to take on the Patriots tomorrow, but The Spatularettes decided to take on Buffalo Chicken in the kitchen!
Buffalo chicken dip is always a crowd favorite at any sports themed party, but whenever we read the ingredients, it makes us think twice before dipping.  A BOTTLE of ranch dressing?  A CAN of chicken?  Yeah, we decided this classic recipe needed an update.  Our Buffalo Chicken Football Pockets are still far from healthy, but we thought dropping the canned meat and the bottle of fatty dressing was at least a good start.  And seriously, could it get any cuter than these little hand held footballs?  We love them and are sure that you and your guests will too!
INGREDIENTS:

Football Pockets:
-1/2 Tbs butter (or butter substitute)

-1 c shredded chicken
-4 oz cream cheese
-3 tsp dry Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
-3 Tbs hot sauce (we like Franks’ Red Hot)
-1/2 blue cheese crumbles

-10 frozen empanada disks, thawed (we use Goya)

-1 egg + splash of milk
Dipping  Sauce:
-8 oz sour cream
-1 Tbs dry Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
-1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

-About 10 shakes of hot sauce

Note: The empanada wrappers can be hard to find, but well stocked grocery stores should carry them.  We always find them at Shoprite in Philadelphia.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover two baking sheets with foil.

In a large pan, melt the 1/2 Tbs of butter or butter substitute over medium heat.  Add shredded chicken and toss around to even  coat and warm through.  Store bought rotisserie chicken works great when you need shredded chicken in a pinch, but you can also cook up a couple of chicken breasts ahead of time and shred those.  Once meat is warmed through, add cream cheese, 1 oz at a time and allow to melt into the chicken.  Once cream cheese is melted, add 3 tsp of ranch seasoning and 3 Tbs of hot sauce and stir until well combined.  Remove from heat and fold in blue cheese crumbles.  Set mixture aside until ready to fill football pockets.

The process of making the footballs is a little tricky, but totally worth the cute results!  We’ve included some step by step pictures to help make things more simple.  First, lay an empanada disk on a cutting board.

Fold disk in half, but don’t press too firmly.  You don’t want it to stick.
Choose a large round object.  We thought the lid from the blue cheese was the perfect size!
 Use the lid to gently press the 2 arcs of the football into the disk. 
Carefully use a knife following the shape of the football to remove the excess dough. 
Separate the 2 footballs and lay a piece of wax paper between before setting aside.

Top 1 football with 1 1/2 Tbs of buffalo chicken filling.  Top with other football and use a fork to press edges and create a seal.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Beat 1 egg with a splash of milk and gently brush each football with the egg wash.  We saved the excess dough and used it to make little laces for each football.  Brush with egg wash again after applying laces.  Use a fork to gently poke holes in the top of each football to allow for ventilation while baking.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

For a super simple dipping sauce, fold together sour cream, ranch seasoning, blue cheese, and hot sauce.

It doesn’t matter who wins the big game, because you’ll be the real winner if you serve these at your Superbowl party!

XOXO,
Tall and Small

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