Heartland Cooks - Slam Dunk Appetizers

Heartland Cooks - Slam Dunk Appetizers

Programming changes due to televised March Madness Basketball mean there will not be a Heartland Cooks segment aired this week. However, we don’t want to leave you hanging so we’re sharing a few party-pleasing recipes for you to enjoy whether you’re blubbering when your bracket’s busted, or cheering as your team climbs to the next level. Jean Wilson of Chester, Illinois shares her winning recipes for quick and easy appetizers sure to score extra points at your house.

Winning Chicken Wing Dip


  • 2 (8 oz.) Packages cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup hot sauce (Jean likes to use Frank's Red Hot)
  • 1 cup Ranch-style salad dressing


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese and hot pepper sauce until well blended. Stir in the Ranch dressing, chicken and Cheddar cheese. Spread into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. If oil collects on the top, dab it off using a paper towel.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Slam Dunk Brown Sugar Smokies


  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 (16 oz.) package little smokies sausages


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut bacon into thirds and wrap each strip around a little sausage. Hold bacon in place by skewering each wrapped sausage with a toothpick. You may also put the wrapped sausages on wooden skewers, several to a skewer. Arrange the skewers or sausages on a baking sheet and generously sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake until bacon is crisp and the brown sugar has caramelized.

Half Court Cucumber Salsa:

  • 2 cups Cucumber (peeled, seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Tomato (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 Garlic Clove (minced or pressed)
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream – or - plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt


In a small bowl, combine the cucumber, tomato, red onion, parsley, jalapeno, cilantro and garlic. In another bowl, combine the sour cream (or Greek yogurt), lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and seasoned salt.

Pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve with tortilla chips.


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