Thursday, August 27, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

It's back to school time.

If you're like me, that makes dinner time crazy and hectic!

Working full time, plus running kids to and from all of their extra-curriculars... it's challenging to get dinner on the table at a decent time.

On busy nights like that, Rotisserie Chicken is your friend!!
(really, it's always your friend!)

As is, you can just add a couple sides and dinner is served.

Or just pull it apart to toss into sandwiches or quesadillas or to top hearty dinner salads.

Look at them.


Aren't they beautiful?

They exist solely to make your life easier!

Take advantage of that!!

These are wicked easy!

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
1 Rotisserie Chicken
Frank's Red Hot Sauce
Ranch Dressing
Blue Cheese, crumbled
Sandwich Rolls

No real measurements here. Everything is pretty much to your taste/liking.

Combine Ranch Dressing with Crumbled Blue Cheese.


You could just use blue cheese dressing... but I like to combine it myself.

Put shredded rotisserie chicken in a separate bowl.

Add Frank's Red Hot.

Like is saucier? Add more sauce!

Drier you say? Don't put in as much!


This is so fast and easy, I have time to grill the buns.

They came out so nice and golden brown.

Add some shreddy lettuce.

Some of that moist delicious Buffalo Chicken.

A big dollop of Ranchy Blue Cheese Sauce.

And in less than 15 minutes... you're sitting at the table, talking about the new cute boy/girl in school... or which cheers they're practicing for the big game on Saturday... or the new plays for that big game... how much they love/hate their new math teacher... the new songs they're learning on their instruments...

Anyway... in less than 15 minutes your sitting at the table!

You can't beat that!!

Don't you hate it when that final shot is blurry... even though you took at least six of them!!

Everyone not eating at the same time tonight? These are also wicked easy to prep ahead so they can make sandwiches as they come and go.

Part of your night just got easier!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mini Cheesecakes

I wanted to bake something for my most recent wine tasting party. It was still a little warmer than I like it and I really didn't want to heat up the house too much.

Since Mini Cheesecakes bake in a cooler oven than lots of baked goods and they're mini, so they don't bake very long, I baked them!

I tweaked this recipe a little, that I found at Food.

I don't really know what's southern about it. But it looked ok and it was wicked easy.

This is the doubled recipe.


Easy Mini Cheesecakes
2 dozen vanilla wafers
4 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese
1 C granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla (I used almond extract)
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 325F

Line two muffin trays with paper liners. Place one vanilla wafer in each muffin cup and set aside.
Beat cream cheese, sugar and almond extract until well blended. Beat in eggs.
When well blended, pour cream cheese mixture over vanilla wafers, evenly between the 24 muffin cups.
Bake for 25 minutes.

Cool completely and add your favorite toppings.

I left some plain, topped some with Lemon Curd and some with Chocolate Ganache.

These really couldn't be easier to make.

Line muffin cups with paper liners and place a vanilla wafer in each one.

Spoon cream cheese mixture into cups and bake at 325F for 25 minutes.

Cool completely.

They all sank in the middle after coming out of the oven. Not really a big deal. The plain ones looked a little funky. But the ones I topped had a built in cup for toppings!

I left 8 of these plain and just sprinkled them with powdered sugar.


I topped 8 of them with Lemon Curd.


I topped the remaining 8 with Chocolate Ganache.


Personally... I thought that both the Lemon Curd & Chocolate Ganache really overpowered the flavor of the cheesecake. But opinions were split. Some people agreed and others thought both worked really well.

I think over all, this isn't a really flavorful cheesecake.

Definitely not bad and so quick and easy I'll definitely use it again. Maybe more extract... or extract plus vanilla... or some sour cream. I'll keep playing around with it.

They were good... and everyone liked them. I just don't think they were 'great'.

Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Ganache is something else I had never made.

I know most people love chocolate. (even though I'm not one of them)

I thought my family and friends would really enjoy it on top of Mini Cheesecakes.

This seems to be a basic Chocolate Ganache recipe that was repeated over & over online.


Chocolate Ganache
8oz bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 C heavy cream
1 TBLS liqueur

In a double boiler, combine heavy cream & chocolate over medium low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted and well combined with cream. Stir in liqueur. Cool until still pourable. Now it's ready to use!

Combine chocolate & cream in double boiler over medium heat.

Stir in liqueur. I used Starbucks Coffee Liqueur.


Cool until still pourable and it's ready to use!

I topped Mini Cheesecakes with it.



As with the Lemon Curd, I thought this was too bold for these cheesecakes. And again, opinions were split. Some really liked them topped with the Chocolate Ganache. So you just have to try it yourself!

Now since I only had 8 mini cheesecakes to top with ganache, I had quite a bit left. I stored it in the fridge and gently reheated it a couple days later.

I used it to top chocolate chip cookie bars and peanut butter cookie bars.

It was GREAT!!!

Lemon Curd

I had never made lemon curd and really didn't even know this WAS lemon curd!

(and if it's actually NOT lemon curd... please let me know!)

I wanted an easy lemony topping for Mini Cheesecakes and found this recipe at

I didn't change it all.


Delicious Lemon Topping Sauce
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter room temperature
1 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and whisk over medium heat until it thickens and just starts to bubble. Cover and chill. That's it!! Ready to use lemony stuff!!


I used it to top Mini Cheesecakes.



On this particular cheesecake recipe, I thought the lemon overwhelmed the cheesecake. But opinions were split. Some agreed and some thought it worked well. I guess you just have to try it and see for yourself!

Even though I thought it was a bit too much for those particular cheesecakes, I really enjoyed the flavor and will try this again for other recipes.

Tangy & delicious!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I experimented with making some Sangria over the weekend. I'm making some for a special occasion coming up and wanted to get in at least one practice batch!

The one I made is pretty simple.


1 bottle Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon
1/3 C brandy
1/3 C triple sec
1 nectarine, sliced
1 granny smith apple, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 big handful raspberries

Pour all ingredients except 7up, into a large pitcher and refrigerate for several hours.
Add some ice to wine glasses, pour in wine mixture and top off with 7up.

The pictures aren't really great for this.

Everything except 7up into the pitcher.


Chill several hours.

Add ice to wine glasses.

Then wine mixture.

Check out that wine soaked fruit.

Top off with 7up.

So far, I haven't found a red wine that I like. But I do like Sangria.

This was pretty good.

I think I can probably find a better one. I have time to experiment a little more this weekend.

This would have been good over champagne or asti too!

Penguin Wine Opener

I'm sure by now you're all familiar with the BakeSpace Wine Club. No?

Click the logo to check it out!

BakeSpace often has VERY cool give-aways... and I was the lucky winner of this Penguin Wine Opener! (Thank You BakeSpace & Penguin!!)



Since Jon & I really aren't wine drinkers, we didn't have a decent wine opener. We had to struggle with our old inadequate opener. It was pain.

The Penguin Wine Opener is totally effortless!!

Here's a pretty lame video of me demonstrating how easy it is to use.

Ok... the video was lame... but the cork came out so easy!!

The next two bottles opened even easier! That was the first one... I probably should have videoed the last bottle instead!

Anyway... if you're in the market for a wine opener, I HIGHLY recommend the Penguin Wine Opener!!