Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Appetizer Fusion: Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries

The boys and I have a couple of favorite appetizers when we go out to eat.  Cheese fries, and Boneless Buffalo wings.  We usually have to play rock paper scissors to decide which one we order.  Occasionally we settle on both.  However, we don't go out very often anymore and sometimes you just get that hankering for those things.

So the other night I thought, you know what?  I can combine the two at home, take out some of the guilt and I think I can definitely get all of the flavor.  That is not to say that this is a low-calorie meal, um....not at all.  However, it's the flavors we love, and only the french fries are fried.  Win!

Here's what you'll need:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can Rotelle tomatoes
1/2 cup Frank's Wing Sauce (use your favorite wing sauce)

In an oven safe baking dish drizzle the chicken breasts with a little olive oil and salt n' pepper.  Pour the Rotelle evenly over the chicken and top with wing sauce.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender.  (30-45 minutes).  Shred the chicken after it's cook and allow the juice to soak into the meat.  If you like your chicken really spicy you can add more wing sauce to taste.

Next we're going to double fry the french fries and bake the bacon.

6-8 Russet potatoes
8 slices thick cut bacon
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
1 cup jack cheese shredded (you can use whatever cheeses you like here)

Slice the potatoes into fry size (1/4 inch) pieces.  I keep mine in cold water until ready to fry to keep them from turning brown.  Just drain and pat dry before frying them to avoid spattering in the oil.

First fry at 340 degrees for 4-5 minutes.  Drain on paper towels.  This process cooks the inside of the potato.  Once you have fried them all once and are ready, turn the heat on your oil up to 375 degrees.  Fry the once fried potatoes for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until golden and crispy.  (I use peanut oil for this, but feel free to use your favorite oil.  Canola or Corn would work well too.)

While you're frying up your french fries, bake your bacon off in the oven.  375 degrees until crispy.  Place the bacon on a broiler pan, or a sheet pan fitted with a wire rack to allow the grease to fall away.  Once the bacon is done chop it up and set aside.

Now that all your ingredients are done.  Grate your cheese, or just use the already shredded stuff in bags.  We layer this stuff up on a sheet pan.

Fries first.  With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken.  Allow the juices to drain so that you don't have soggy fries.  Add the chicken to the fries.  Top with cheeses and sprinkle with bacon.  

Bake at 375 degrees until the cheese is completely melted.

We drizzle a little Ranch dressing over these to serve.  You can use your favorite Ranch or Blue Cheese.  I make mine with Hidden Valley Buttermilk seasoning pack.  I use light mayo, 1/3 less fat sour cream and a splash of cream.  Less calories.  There's enough going on without the full fat Ranch dressing.  

I hope you give these a whirl.  I have to tell you, I impressed the boys, BDC and myself.  Best combo slash fusion slash fly by the seat of my pants concoction I've ever come up with.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Share a Spoon - Mock Hostess Cupcakes

 Think Tank Momma

I truly love cupcakes.  They are just so cute, and yummy, and perfect.  They are just the right size.   The ratio of sweet frosting to moist cake is just right! Yes, a cupcake is just the perfect sized sweet treat.

Now, ordinarily I am not that big of a fan of chocolate cake.  It's just o.k.  You know, unless you're talking about the Chocolate Hazelnut Cake at The Capital Grille or something equally as decadent.  However, most of the time I would prefer something like carrot, white, lemon, etc.

Save for one of my favorite Hostess treats.  I love the Hostess Cupcakes.  You know the ones.  The chocolate cupcake.  The creamy white filling.  The chocolate ganache topping with white squiggles.  When they are fresh, they are fabulous.  Since I can't always find them, or refuse to pay as much as they want for them, I decided I would figure out how to make my own version at home.

Google Images.

Mock Hostess Cupcakes

1 ¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 extra large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa, cayenne, salt and baking powder.

Cream together sugar and butter.  Add eggs one at a time and mix well.  Add milk and vanilla.  Slowly stir in flour mixture.  Stir until well incorporated but don't over mix.

Line regular sized cupcake tins with papers.  Fill 2/3 of the way full.

Bake 17 minutes.

Remove from cupcake tins and allow to cool completely.

Creme Filling

1 jar Marshmallow fluff 7oz.
2 teaspoons hot water
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
½ cup shortening
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Whip shortening and hot water.  Mix in marshmallow fluff, sugar and cream.

In a piping bag, or zip top bag, fitted with a round decorating tip, add the creme filling.  

Insert tip into the center of the cooled cupcakes about half way down.  Squeeze gently until the top of the cupcake puffs up just a bit.  Be careful not to over fill the cupcake.


1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 bag milk chocolate chips (I use Hershey's)
1 Tablespoon butter

In a small sauce pan over medium low heat warm the cream and butter until butter is melted.  Stir in chocolate chips until chocolate is smooth and shiny.  Remove from heat.

Allow ganache to cool to room temp.  Dip cupcakes.  Allow excess chocolate to drip down off.  Flip and leave ganache to set.

Decorate tops with melted white chocolate or vanilla frosting.

I add the cayenne pepper to these cupcakes to give the chocolate a little punch.  Kick up the flavor a bit.  You can omit if you like.  

These are a fun treat and the kids seem to LOVE them.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Share a Spoon - Quick Pork Fried Rice

Think Tank Momma

I know, it's been too long since I posted here.  I've neglected this blog, and Share a Spoon over here.  I haven't gotten any recipes from followers lately, and with the holidays and baking.....yeah I'll stop with the excuses.
Anylazy, this week's theme is quick and easy.  I have a healthier version of a take out favorite for you this week, and....it's super simple!

I love Chinese food.  LOVE IT!  However, we tend to only indulge every so often.  All the fat and sodium.  Yikes!  However, my sister turned me on to this and it definitely sates the craving and doesn't break the calorie, sodium and fat gram bank.

Quick Pork Fried Rice

3 slices bacon
1 medium onion
1 bag Birdseye Steamfresh Rice w/veggies
Low sodium Soy Sauce
1 egg
olive oil

Chop the bacon slices and render them over medium heat in a large skillet.
Remove the crispy bacon and drain on a paper towel.

Cook the rice in the microwave according to the directions on the bag.

Discard the bacon drippings and add two tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet.  Saute the chopped onion with a bit of kosher salt until softened.  (4-5 minutes).

Add the steamed rice to the skillet.  Add the egg.  Stir well.  The egg with scramble and cook through quickly.  Toss the bacon in the pan and stir well.  Add soy sauce according to your taste and allow to warm through.

Garnish with some chopped scallions.


It's so good!  You could substitute turkey bacon, but I am a fan of the pork.  I serve it with this recipe, I Shared previously over at LIB!