Cotton Candy Cheesecake Squares

Cotton candy cheesecake squares are the ultimate party treat – fun, whimsical and colorful. 

Cotton Candy Cheesecake Squares

Oh, cheesecake. My one true love. It is most certainly in my top three favorite desserts, followed only be lemon tarts and French macarons. There’s something about the richness, the smoothness, the creamy texture of a cheesecake that makes me see choirs of singing angels. And with how easy cheesecake squares are, there is really no excuse to whip these up all the time. I mean, sure my thighs probably wouldn’t approve but when have I really listened to them?

Cotton Candy Cheesecake SquaresI took cheesecake a step further here by turning it into cotton candy. It gives it a sweetness, a playful nature and a party-worthy feel!

Cotton Candy Cheesecake Squares

Cotton Candy Cheesecake Squares

Ingredients

  • 1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 sugar ice cream cones, crushed
  • ? cup butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. cotton candy flavor
  • 2-3 Tbsp. sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine sugar cones, graham crackers, melted butter and 3 Tbsp. sugar until well-mixed. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 13?x9? baking dish. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand-mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream together cream cheese and sugar until well-mixed. Add in vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully combined. Add in the cotton candy flavor and mix well.
  5. Fold in the sprinkles.
  6. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the vanilla wafer crust and spread it into an even layer. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool then refrigerate for at least an hour.
  8. Slice.
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Pulled Tandoori Chicken Nachos for #WeekdaySupper

Pulled tandoori chicken nachos have just the right amount of spice and coolness to keep any nacho lover happy for hours on end. 

Pulled Tandoori Chicken Nachos

Nachos are one of those universally liked by all foods, if only for their versatility. If you don’t like beef, simply omit and add extra beans. Fans of buffalo chicken can rejoice over having their very own plate of spicy goodness to dive into, extra blue cheese please. Really, you can make anything into nachos so long as you are willing to put up with the ridiculously sloppy mess that inevitably follows with every single bite. Wear a lobster bib and you’re good, right?

I discussed these nachos with my friend Kiera for a good week before making them. We talked about different toppings and sauces, cheeses and veggies to go along with it. We laid out a plan and then the time came to cook them. I took some serious liberties with our “recipe” in that I really changed every single thing. While I still have to make the actual nachos we talked about one day, this version – these pulled tandoori chicken nachos – were spectacular! One of those eat until you literally can’t fit one more bite into your mouth nachos. Unbotton the top button of your jeans, make room on the couch for a food coma nap, run an extra three miles that night nachos.

Pulled Tandoori Chicken Nachos

It’s the combination of perfectly spiced pulled chicken with cool Greek yogurt (standing in for sour cream) and light Monterey Jack cheese that does it. The chicken is spicy, but not overly so. The cheese is just enough that it doesn’t overpower that chicken flavor. Each chip gets a perfect chicken to cheese to sour cream ratio, leaving not one chip naked and none soggy from too much ingredient. That’s important with nachos. So set out to make these today. You likely have all the ingredients on hand and it takes less than 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Pulled Tandoori Chicken Nachos Tandoori chicken recipe from the Big Man’s World.

Pulled Tandoori Chicken Nachos for #WeekdaySupper

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • For the tandoori sauce
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • For nachos:
  • 15 to 20 tortilla chips
  • 1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • Green onions

Instructions

  1. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add in the chicken and then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. While the chicken cools, prepare the sauce.
  2. Combine smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, garam masala, black pepper, Greek yogurt and salt until well mixed.
  3. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Toss it with the sauce.
  4. Cover a baking pan with foil. Turn the oven to broil.
  5. Place the nachos on the baking pan, then top them with chicken and cheese. Broil two to three minutes until cheese is melted.
  6. Drizzle with Greek yogurt and green onions.
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Buffalo Chicken Poutine

Buffalo chicken poutine is a perfect way to trash up your smothered french fries. Spicy, cheesy and crisp! 

Buffalo Chicken Poutine

If there’s one thing us Americans are really particular about, it’s our french fries. Some like them curly, others steak. I’m a fan of crinkle cut but only if they are extra crisp. And even in fast food terms, people break it down further by choosing to side with McDonald’s over Burger King or Wendy’s over Arby’s. Then there is the topic of loaded fries: chili, bacon, cheese, gravy, mayo, ketchup. Toss any number of ingredients onto a fry and you have something entirely different going on. 

In Canada, there’s a popular dish known as poutine which I equate to a really done up version of loaded fries. Gravy and cheese curds are poured over top of french fries leading to what I think is probably the most epic French fries ever.  It’s my goal to try an authentic, straight-from-Canada version one day. Until then, here’s my take on it!

Buffalo Chicken Poutine

Buffalo chicken poutine seemed almost like a natural progression because you have all the good things in there. A little bit of rotisserie chicken, a gravy made with spicy hot buffalo sauce, some cheese – of course – all thrown over some crispy crinkle fries. You can call this the trashy meal of champions, if you want. I’d be ok with it. I made it for lunch over the weekend and the plates were licked clean – a true testament to its deliciousness!

Buffalo Chicken Poutine

Ingredients

  • 1 large bag frozen french fries
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook the french fries according to package instructions.
  2. While they cook, make the buffalo gravy. Head the butter in a skillet. Once melted, add in the flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add in the broth, whisking to avoid lumps.
  3. Add in the buffalo sauce and stir until fully combined.
  4. Once the fries are finished, divide them between two plates and top with monterey jack cheese. Drizzle buffalo sauce over top.
  5. Crumble blue cheese on top of the fries.
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Cuba Libres

Cuba Libres are essentially rum and cokes but with a healthy, sassy lime twist that takes them way up to the next level.

Cuba Libres

It’s amazing how one ingredient can change a dish or cocktail completely. A rum and coke is just a rum and coke, standard, simple and plain. But with a healthy squeeze of lime, it transforms into something entirely different, even taking on a new and exotic sounding name. The Cuba Libre is an incredibly fancy, sophisticated way to say rum and coke with a splash of lime. Nothing new and revolutionary but oh so much better than just a standard rum and coke. The lime cuts through the sticky sweetness of the cola, giving it a nice, acidic edge that is so very much needs.

Cuba Libres

Besides, doesn’t it sound so much more fancy to say Cuba Libre? “Yes, I’ll have a Cuba Libre, please.” People will think you are worldly, traveled, experienced, sophisticated. Your friends will be impressed by your cocktail knowledge and will bow down to you as the supreme. And if you serve these at home for a party or get-together, you can wax poetic about how exotic a cocktail it is, so much better than the plain old rum and coke. Who wants to drink one of those boring things, right? The simplicity of it will just be our little secret.

Cuba Libres

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces rum
  • 4 ounces cola
  • squeeze of lime

Instructions

  1. Stir together ingredients and serve over ice.
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Habanero Mango Faux-Garitas

When your regular margarita just won’t cut it, try these sassy and spicy habanero mango faux-garitas on for size. 

Habanero Mango Faux Garitas

When we used to live in Bowie, I’d go to the Farmer’s Market every Sunday from opening day until well into November when it was too cold to feel your own toes. It was my favorite weekly activity. Start with a scone or magic bar and eat that while you surf your way down each stand, squeezing different fruits and eyeing up different vegetables. There was one stand that had at least a zillion different kinds of peppers, from sweet to hot. I needed all of them. The purple, the yellow, the striped ones, the ones hot enough to singe your eyebrows off.

Thinking of those peppers gave me the inspiration for today’s Recipe Redux post. Our theme this month was “From the Garden”, which I take as a fast and loose way of saying vegetables that are seasonal. I have a black thumb, nothing is coming from my garden except mint and maybe the occasional sprig of basil. But habanero peppers are coming from someone’s garden and I feel I’ve done by duty by buying them locally, from farmer’s I know and love (they are adorable, each and every one of them).

I love mixing something spicy with something sweet, so these habanero mango faux-garitas were born from that desire to kick things up a notch. The method is simple. Toss a sliced habanero in with your simple syrup and let it sit, but only briefly. These babies are potent and anything longer than 5 minutes will get you to eye brown-singeing stage. Mix the simple syrup with some mango nectar, a squeeze of fresh lime and a little soda water and bingo. A kicky, sassy faux-garita that truly takes things to the next level.

Habanero Mango Faux-Garitas

Ingredients

  • 1 habanero pepper, sliced and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mango nectar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • soda water for topping

Instructions

  1. Toss the habanero pepper in a sauce pan with sugar and water and heat over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the habanero and stir the mixture. Allow it to cool.
  2. Once cool, place 2 to 3 tablespoons of simple syrup in a glass. Fill glasses with ice. Top with mango nectar, squeeze of lime and soda water. Stir well.
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