Olympic Greatness: Jalapeno Ranch Chicken Fire Balls

The opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games are tonight, which pretty much means the Mr. and I are settling in for 2 solid weeks of volleyball, swimming, sprinting, gymnastics, and heart wrenching stories of triumph over tragedy (Seriously, did every Olympian’s dad die when they were eight forcing their family to live on the streets where they trained on glass-strewn blacktop and practiced pull ups off of a rusty basketball hoop?)

The Mr. and I are huge fans of the Olympics. I mean, when else do you get the chance to see so many talented people, all competing against each other, and not for money or fame, but for their country, their family, and for the sheer joy and pride of the sport. Maybe I’m just overly dramatic, but I truly love the Olympics–all the countries getting together for some healthy competition…no guns or militaries battling it out, just lightning quick runners, graceful divers, and super crazy arm-muscly men twirling on rings.

It. is. awesome.

We love the Olympics so much we considered getting cable just so we could watch multiple different events…on multiple different channels…any time we wanted. It seemed like a good idea. Until we figured out how much cable costs.

Then we decided that was foolish and it would make way more sense for us to just barge in on our cable-watching friend’s houses and watch there.

But then we decided we wanted to still have friends after the Games, so we needed a plan. A plan that involved delicious food. You see, plates of delicious food make barging more like “casually dropping in to give you a little gift.” Then, when you’re invited in (because it’s the only polite thing to do when you’re given a plate of delicious treats) you can just casually say, “Wait, what? You guys are watching the floor routine competition? Well, I guess we could stay for a little bit.”

Voila. You’re in.

Hence the need for these kick butt Jalapeno Ranch Chicken Fire Balls. You see, if you just show up at a friend’s door at 9:00 at night asking to watch their TV you’ll probably get the door slammed in your face. But if you’re holding a plate of fire balls (brownies would also be an acceptable choice), you’ll be invited in like this party was actually planned.

You may remember the original Fire Balls (and my terrible photography), from football season last fall. These babies were with me when the Buckeyes led the way to a heart stopping victory over Wisconsin during what had otherwise been a less than stellar season. Here’s hoping they hold the same power for the good ol’ USA.

These are very similar to Fire Balls 1.0 but with a few delicious additions. Instead of cheddar cheese, I used an authentic Mexican blend. Plus, I added jalapeno, half a ranch dressing packet, and a bit of diced onion (The Mr.s’ suggestion. He is so smart.). They have a nice heat from the jalapeno and Sriracha sauce, but if you’d really like to fire it up, leave the seeds in the jalapeno. I promise you’ll be feeling the heat.

The Mr. helped me make the filling for these which he described as a “meat dough.” It’s thick, creamy, and moldable. This time around I tried using a mixture of corn flakes and panko bread crumbs for the coating, but I’ll definitely stick with all corn flakes. They hold up better and give a much better crunch to the finished product. Not surprisingly these are great dipped in ranch dressing or marinara sauce.

These are the perfect Olympic Games food, and by perfect I mean perfect for sitting on your butt and watching the Olympics, definitely not for competing in them. For that I recommend protein bars, lots of water, and this absolutely ridiculous Michael Phelp’s diet.

Consider these Fire Balls your own personal torch to kick off the 2012 Olympic Games. Go USA!

Jalapeno Ranch Chicken Fire Balls
Yield: 20 balls–These are VERY filling. I could only eat 3 as a main dish.
Recipe by bakeeatrepeat.blogspot.com

Ingredients:
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
2-3 Tablespoons Sriracha sauce (depending on how much heat you want)

Juice of 1 lime
2 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Powder Mix
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups shredded authentic Mexican cheese blend 

2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1/3 cup diced onion
3/4 cup flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten 
3 cups coarsely crushed corn flakes


Directions:
1. In a large bowl combine shredded chicken, Sriracha sauce, lime juice, ranch dressing mix, softened cream cheese, and cheese blend. Mix with an electric beater or use your hands to stir all ingredients until thoroughly combined. Mixture will be thick. Taste test. Add additional Sriracha or lime juice to taste. Stir in jalapenos and diced onion. 

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place flour, eggs, and crushed corn flakes into three separate shallow bowls. 

3. Shape meat mixture into 1 inch size balls then dip first in the flour, then egg, then corn flakes. Place on baking sheet. Repeat until mixture is gone. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Serve with ranch dressing or marinara sauce. 

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