Helloooo, March 1st! Where the heck is the time going?! How is it March already? Even with the extra day of February, I feel like life is just zipping by. (Yes, I know I’ve already talked about this phenomenon like 3482187731 times. Bear with me. I’m still reeling.)
I’ve been trying to take time to enjoy the moment more. It’s not in my nature to do so. I’m a planner at heart, and I’m always (ALWAYS!) looking ahead to what’s around the corner, always planning my next 10 moves, always writing to-do lists…rather than staying “in the moment” and really savoring it. Having a kid definitely put this in sharp focus for me. All of a sudden, he went from a tiny, squirming little blob to a walking (running!), babbling, laughing little HUMAN BEING. What the what! Making time slow down is the super power I’d want. I want to freeze “right now” so I can really just immerse myself in all the little joys of daily life with an almost one and a half year old. Because, you guys, it is all SO MUCH FUN right now.
The weather these past few days has been so ridiculously gorgeous. High 50s/low 60s. Sunny. LOVELY. So, we took advantage over the weekend and took Kieran to the park for an hour or so. I snapped a bajillion pictures and really tried to soak in every second. It’s a hard thing to do! But watching him grow and explore is the most gratifying thing in the world. It really is. Every little thing is amazing to him, and watching him discover the world is just…incredible. #mush
Plus! The freakish warm weather has me in all sorts of a good mood. And I’m jonesin’ for a margarita and some nachos. Preferably outdoors on a back patio. I’ve been craving lighter food in general, which I’m both excited and bummed about. Bummed because I feel slightly jipped. Winter comfort food is supposed to be happening for at least another month. And I’m excited because, well, it feels like freaking spring.
We all know by know that I’m a fan of buffalo chicken. I’ve said it at least 11 times now. Probably even more. The only problem? I associate it with winter. And football games. So, it isn’t always my go-to flavor profile when the weather is as warm as it has been these past few days.
The solution? A lighter twist on buffalo chicken! In the way of summer rolls! You guys, these were a revelation for me. Here’s why: I still get all the amazing flavors of buffalo sauce, bleu cheese, and ranch but with the refreshing crunch of veggies and slight chew of rice paper! It’s texture heaven. It’s flavor heaven. It’s HEAVEN, guys.
These little bundles are so perfect to make as a light dinner or appetizer, which is the way I’ve been wanting to eat as of late. They also would be an awesome thing to serve at a party. Or even for…dare I say it? A football game! Or sporting event, in general. They have all the flavors of tailgate food but with some health mixed in for good measure. Kind of like a buffalo chicken salad. But in a cuter package! YUM.
I made these last week and photographed them before chowing down for lunch. They were the perfect light meal. I didn’t feel gross and weighed down afterward, but I was still plenty satisfied! I love when that happens. It’s the perfect mix of spicy and fresh, and they taste way more decadent than they really are. The only bad part? They disappear very quickly.
I guess I still need to work on savoring my time more with these summer rolls. One step at a time, people!
For the Chicken:
- 2 teaspoons canola or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 lb chicken breasts or tenders
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup buffalo hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon ranch dressing
- 1 tablespoon bleu cheese dressing
For the Dip:
- ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup Ranch dressing
- ¼ cup crumbled bleu cheese
- 2 tablespoons buffalo hot sauce
- Drizzle of honey
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Summer Rolls:
- 10 rice paper wrappers
- 1 head of butter lettuce, leaves separated and washed
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
- 2 stalks of celery, sliced into thin strips
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin strips
- The prepared chicken
For the Chicken:
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil and one tablespoon of the butter. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Once the skillet is hot, add the chicken and sear on both sides until golden and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes per side.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and allow to cool. Shred the chicken with your hands or chop it with your knife. You want bite-sized pieces that will fit well inside a rice paper wrapper.
- Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining butter. Once melted, add in the shredded/chopped chicken and toss to combine. Stir in the hot sauce and two dressings and toss to combine. Cook for about a minute just to allow all the flavors to meld. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- While the chicken is cooling, prep the vegetables and lettuce for the rolls and make the dipping sauce.
For the Dip:
- Whisk together all the ingredients in a mixing bowl until fully incorporated. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl or cover and keep in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
To Assemble the Rolls:
- Take a rice paper wrapper and soak it in a shallow dish of warm water for about 10 seconds. Working quickly, place the wrapper on your work surface and line it with a lettuce leaf.
- Layer the vegetables and a few tablespoons of the chicken mixture. Starting at one end of the wrapper, gently roll the wrapper around the fillings, tucking in the side edges as you roll (the same way you would roll a burrito or wrap). The moisture of the wrap should make it seal together as you roll. Halve the roll and place it on your serving platter.
- Continue with the remaining ingredients.
- Serve the rolls with the dipping sauce on the side. If making ahead, cover the rolls lightly with a damp paper towel and keep in the fridge for an hour or two. I recommend eating these as close to assembly as possible, though. All the textures are best fresh!
- Serving Size: 4 servings