Buffalo Chicken Wings

I’m sure many of you already know (or can at least deduce from the name) that these red-hot chicken wings originated in the great state of New York, city of Buffalo (my dad’s hometown). When my husband and I first married, we took a trip back east to spend Thanksgiving with my dad’s family. My husband, being a connoisseur of bar food, was determined to order Buffalo chicken wings in Buffalo, so my dad took us to one of his favorite local joints. We grabbed a pitcher of Genesee from the bar, and when the waiter came to take our order, my husband asked for a dozen wings. He, like me, can tolerate some pretty spicy food, but since we were in the birthplace of the hot wing, he decided to play it safe and order the medium spiciness. The waiter nodded for a second, then said in his thick New York accent, “I can tell you’re not from around here, so I’m gonna bring you a plate of mild wings, and if they’re not hot enough, just send them back and I’ll getcha the spicier ones.” Looking slightly offended, my husband agreed. Continue reading

Birthday Cake Cookies

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Every year around the beginning of July (specifically July 7th), I’m reminded of how much my husband hates celebrating his birthday. I mean HATES celebrating his birthday. I’m not exaggerating here, he hates his birthday the way other people hate poison ivy and spiders. His loathing of any type recognition on his day not only borders on bah-humbugness, but it goes against every grain in my party-planning body. See, I love birthdays. And not just mine, either, I love everybody’s birthday. I love the cakes and the presents and the balloons, and all the other hoopla that goes along with a throwing big fete. To not celebrate his birthday every year is torturous for me, which is why I do it anyway. BUT, I do it very slyly, almost stealth-like, so that he doesn’t even notice that he’s celebrating. I begrudgingly forgo the streamers and the decorations, and instead opt for a few cards and unwrapped gifts, followed by a nice dinner at his favorite restaurant (and as much as I’d love to see him flush, I don’t ask the waiters to parade out and sing to him). And above all, and this is very important, there are no candles, and the cake comes in the form of a cookie. A birthday cake cookie! Pretty sneaky, right? Continue reading

No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake with Cherry Compote

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In keeping with last week’s Backyard BBQ theme, I’ve come up with a winning dessert that takes minimal effort to assemble, can be made and refrigerated a day ahead, and doesn’t require you to fire up your oven on these very hot summer days. Oh, and did I mention that it’s seriously good? It is. Make a bunch of individual ones for easy serving, or one big one that you can bring out all fancy-like and impress your friends with your mad baking skills. I won’t tell them it only took 20 minutes to whip up if you don’t. Continue reading

Easy Summer Salads

Alright, friends, have we all agreed to stop buying frozen, grocery store hamburgers and unanimously decided instead to try making our own patties this summer? Have the last couple days of me preaching from my soapbox convinced you that there are better ways to barb-e-que? Yes? Good. Now we can move on to fantastic salads to accompany those delicious burgers! Below are two, super easy salads that pretty much go with any main dish. Continue reading

Jalapeño-Cheddar Burgers with Chipotle-Lime Ranch Dressing

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Yesterday I posted my all-time favorite gourmet hamburger recipe (that I could seriously eat every single day, they’re that good!), but let’s pretend for a moment that bacon and blue cheese aren’t your thing. No biggie. I get that some people have a problem with “stinky cheese,” as my mom refers to it. Okay, so maybe you’re looking for a burger that’s a little less fancy and a lot more folksy. In that case, kick the mud off your cowboy boots and try on this spicy Tex-Mex burger for size. Continue reading

Bacon-Blue Cheese Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Garlic Mayo

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When I was a kid, backyard BBQ’s were a simple affair: frozen hamburgers, Oscar Meyer hot dogs, and pot-luck side dishes were about as elaborate as we’d get – and there’s nothing wrong with that. But now that I’m older and have a backyard of my own, I find myself wanting to put a more grown-up twist on my BBQ’s. I want to prepare food that my friends will remember and that will bring them back next summer. I’m talking about good quality food: gourmet burgers, interesting salads, and easy but fun desserts. So that’s what I’m cooking up for you this week! Continue reading

Unbelievably Delicious Burgers for Your Next Backyard BBQ

A great BBQ requires more than just good friends and lively music to be a success. Seriously, you know and I know that everyone is really coming for the food, right? So let’s all agree that this summer we won’t settle for throwing frozen meat-pucks on the grill, instead, let’s mix up our own one-of-kind gourmet hamburger patties. Sound like a lot of work? It’s not. Creating the perfect burger is much easier than you’d think, all you have to do is remember these three simple rules… Continue reading