Please, nobody laugh at me.  I have a reason for today's recipe...  Truly, I do.

When I was talking about this week's recipes and theme with my husband, the kids overheard.  Of course, the word they overheard was "party food."  Well, specifically, the word "party."  From that moment, I was in trouble.  When I told them the food I was making, all I got were blank stares.  Chicken wings?  Soup?  A crazy salad pizza?  Even the cheese dip was met with a little bit of apprehension because I put the funny word "nacho" in front of it.  Then came the words that were like a knife to my heart...  "But what about us?  Why can't we pick food for our party?"

So, there we have this recipe.  Chosen by children.  Cooked out of guilt.  Shared with apprehension because this is basically dressed up boxed cornbread with a hot dog in it.  Something that probably actually doesn't need a recipe at all for most people...  Yet, here we are.

My silver lining to this is, however, that it was (and still is occasionally) served at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort at the Grand Floridian Cafe and on the buffet table at 1900 Park Fare, which means at least it's corn dog muffins served by a fancier place.  Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if these came to be after a chef was approached by an adorable, wide-eyed, Disney loving child who said much the same as what I heard...  And the subsequent mad dash back to the kitchen to throw something together out of guilt.  Let's be honest, the food there is outstanding, but there was awhile there at both locations that kids really just were there for the characters and fruit.  I can't imagine the salmon lox and bucatini were high on the kids "gotta eat this" list.

All of that being said, these are actually really good.  I was nervous about the cheese and  The texture on them is still light and fluffy and the hot dogs don't make the corn bread wet or soggy (my pet peeve), I think because the cheese provides enough additional fat to keep things moist and the use of turkey hot dogs cuts down on the sweating the dogs do while baking.  Everybody loved them, even my husband, who was happy to eat them but equally curious as to why I really needed to share the recipe.  When the kids rounded the corner on their second muffin and were done with dinner in less than 20 minutes, there were less questions though.  
the sugar combination and these are sweeter than your average corn muffins, but not in any sort of bad way.

So I'm kind of glad that my kids pointed out that I did an awful job planning a kid-friendly menu for the week because now I have a quick, easy, go-to corn dog muffin recipe for those last-minute weeknight meals.  Though, in my defense, the kids had everything but the wings and loved every bite of it, especially that nacho dip.  My table looked like a chip tornado had torn through.

Like the looks of this recipe?  Check out the recipes for Disneyland's Famous Cornbread (using cake mix?!), or try pairing it with an Oreo Milkshake or my favorite, the Red Velvet Cupcake Milkshake from 50's Prime Time Cafe!


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Corn Dog Muffins
As is served at 1900 Park Fare, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
 
°o°  1 pound box of cornbread mix (or two Jiffy Boxes)  
°o°  2 tablespoons brown sugar  
°o°  2 eggs  
°o°  1 1/2 cups milk  
°o°  1 cup grated cheddar cheese  
°o°  Turkey hot dogs, cut into halves or thirds (depending on muffin tin size)  
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and generously grease muffin tins with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine cornbread mix and brown sugar.  In a seperate small bowl, combine eggs and milk, whisk completely.  Add to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.  Mix in cheese.  Spoon mixture into muffin tins 2/3 full.  Add hot dog to center of each muffin.  Bake 14-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  Serve immediately.  These do not reheat well. 
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When it comes to spice, I'm a big baby.  The Spicy Nacho Doritos are my absolute threshold for spicy and even then, I struggle through the bag because it's just too darn hot.  But I couldn't let March Madness week go without sharing a recipe for chicken wings and these particular wings I've had numerous requests for.  Apparently, they're the best chicken wings in the world and considering they're from the ESPN Club, a perfect addition to March Madness party week!

Having made these, I can now say two things with iron clad certainty.

Number one, these are the best chicken wings I've EVER had.  Hands down, without a doubt.  Sorry Buffalo Wild Wings...  Your Garlic Parmesan wings are amazing, but these are the crispest, juiciest, most expertly seasoned wings in the entire world.  From the marinade to the crunchy dry seasoning on them after they bake to that sauce you drizzle on them, they're perfect.

The second thing I learned?  These will melt your face off.  I don't know what Aunt Cass from "Big Hero 6" puts in her melt-your-face-off chicken wings, but if I were to guess, she probably uses this recipe.  One bite, just one bite, with the sauce on the wing and tears came rolling down my cheeks, sweet was on my forehead, my tongue was trying to leap out of my mouth, and my stomach was on fire.  My husband, who has the heat tolerance of a firefighter in full gear, even got a bit warm after his second or third wing.  He didn't stop eating them mind you, he just said they were a "fairly spicy."  "Fairly spicy" to him, of course, being an absolute inferno to everybody else.

Despite the burn-your-house-down level of heat on these wings, I absolutely will be making them again.  It's 8am, scorch marks are still in my mouth, and I am fantasizing about how succulent they were...  Next time, I'll eat them without the sauce and just baked, then fried, in the dry rub.  The dry rub isn't spicy in the slightest, so if you're making these wings, a few without the sauce on it for the people like me who cry when things are too spicy would be perfect.  That dry rub makes such an amazing crunchy skin, it's almost a shame to soak it in the sauce anyway.  I could pull up a bucket of those just as they are without the sauce and eat it like popcorn.

If the heat is a bit much for you, add a little butter and lemon or lime juice to the sauce, just to cut the heat a little, or serve the sauce on the side so you can control how much you get.  Despite the insane level of heat, the sauce is so perfectly seasoned and flavored, even crybaby me would try a few pieces carefully dunked in the sauce so I could get just a whisper of that perfectly balanced, smooth sauce.  Really, it is total perfection.

So there you have it!  The perfect wing recipe, just in time for March Madness.  Eat, share, enjoy, and make sure you give your friends plenty of tissues to help control the tears.

Looking for a sweet option? You've got to check out the honey coriander wings from Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.  They're incredible.


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ESPN Wings
As is served ESPN Club
 
Citrus Marinade
°o° 1 to 1.5 pounds whole wing chicken wings
°o°  2 cups water
°o°  1 cup orange juice
°o°  1 cup sugar  
°o°  1/2 cup salt
°o°  1/4 cup cracked black pepper  
°o°  2 tablespoons dried basil  
°o°  2 tablespoons dried oregano  
°o°  1/4 cup onion powder

ESPN Wings Spice  
°o°  1 1/4 ounces celery salt  
°o°  4 1/3 ounces granulated garlic powder  
°o°  4 3/4 ounces white pepper  
°o°  2 2/3 ounces chili powder

ESPN Wings Sauce  
°o°  1 1/3 ounces Frank's Hot Pepper Sauce  
°o°  1 teaspoon black pepper  
°o°  1 flakes crushed red pepper  
°o°  1 tablespoon Louisiana Gold Pepper Sauce   
°o°  2 chipotle pepper, chopped fine  
°o°  1 1/2 ounce cayenne pepper 
°o°  Oil, for frying
Combine all ingredients for marinade in a plastic bag.  Add between 1 and 1 1/2 pounds of whole-wing chicken wings.  Squeeze out air.  Allow to marinade in fridge overnight.

The next day, remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade.  Sprinkle very generously with ESPN wing sauce making sure to cover entire wing.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Arrange chicken on a foil-lined cookie sheet or pan that has been lightly coated with non-stick spray.  Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and juices run clear.  Allow to cool slightly.

Heat frying oil in a pot or saucepan to 360 degrees.  Deep fry wings until very crisp, about 2-3 minutes.  Springle wings with ESPN sauce and toss in a glass bowl.  Serve immediately.


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No March Madness party would be complete without some really good dip, am I right?  And this super rich, super cheesy dip from Disney's Contemporary Resort (the old Fiesta Fun Center Snack Bar, to be exact) may just hit the spot.

I will warn you, this is a recipe from the 80's and 90's and you so can tell.  I'm not going to lie, when I saw that it called for blending processed cheese with higher-quality Provolone and melting it food coloring...  I cringed a little.  No way would any decent recipe these days, at Disney or anywhere else, would they call to mix processed cheese with a Italian aged cheese.  It's very nearly sacrilegious.  And to actually add food coloring?  The mind boggles at the sheer 90's-ness of it.  While I'm not opposed to a recipe that calls for a creative use of food coloring, this was a bit much for even me...  I ultimately, I just left it out.

While I did silently weep to myself as I chucked American cheese into the bubbly pot of quickly melting Provolone, my family on the other hand was waiting with chips in-hand for this to be ready to serve.  A more kid-friendly, savory dip loaded with cheese has not yet been created.  I wouldn't add this to my favorite dips list as it really is very cheesy and I'm not the cheesiest of cheese eaters, but it was all I could do to keep my husband and kids out of it.  I'm glad it made a fairly good amount because between the four of them (and an occasional sweep from myself), it was gone by the end of the night.  The kids loved that it was thick and really coated the entire chip without making a huge mess (I liked that part too).  My husband loved that it was good on everything he stuck into it.  Chips, veges, pretzels, a hot dog, chili, a spoon, his fingers...  He is a cheese maniac so if I can get him to sing the praise of the perfect balance of a cheese-based dip, it must have some pretty strong flavors.

This is best served warm as when it cools it thickens into a pub cheese-like texture.  Personally I thought that the spreadable aspect of it was more appealing for things like crackers and toast so maybe setting some of the dip aside (seriously, there is a lot) to cool may be a nice way to get two distinct treats out of one single recipe.  Hey Run Disney people...  You liked that cheese dip in the post race boxes?  You'll like this...

Overall, I can't deny the power it seemed to have over my family.  At one point I looked over and saw three kids and my husband circled around the table, hovering over the dip, chips in hand, laughing and hanging out like we were in an ad tortilla chips.  So to me, that makes it a perfect recipe to bring people together.

Ah, the power of cheese.  Save the beer for the adults, though.


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Nacho Cheese Dip
As was served Disney's Contemporary Resort
 
°o°  1/2 pound Provolone cheese, grated  
°o°  1/2 pound American cheese, sliced  
°o°  3/4 cup heavy cream  
°o°  8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 
°o°  1/4 teaspoon garlic powder    
°o°  3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce  
°o°  1/8 teaspoon cayenne  
°o°  1/8 teaspoon yellow food coloring (if desired)  

Melt provolone in a double boiler over boiling water.  Add American cheese and stir in cream.  Add cream cheese and stir until melted.  Add garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, and food coloring.  Season additionally to taste if desired.  Serve warm with crackers, chips, vegetables, pretzels, or as a topping for chili, chips, hot dogs, hamburgers, or bread.

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I'm not sure really how to introduce this pizza, other than to say that it seemed like a perfect fit for March Madness week.  The idea was intriguing...  A pizza, but not the same old, same old pizza we've all had a million times.  Not that that pizza is bad, but don't you sometimes just crave a change?

Formerly found at Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney/Disney Springs, this was a pretty popular little meal.  For those who haven't been to Planet Hollywood, you really need to make time to stop in, even if only for an appetizer and a tour of some of the unique movie memorabilia.  Being inches away from the ax used to break down the bathroom door in "The Shining?"  I'm sorry, that's pretty cool.  With a big refurb coming, I think that Planet Hollywood is getting ready to cross over from "place people kind of remember is there" to "place you cannot even begin to think about missing."  The food used to be really eclectic and funky with everything from loaded burgers to cereal coated chicken, and in that menu this pizza was a mainstay.

In my mind, I could picture this pizza coming together, but my mouth just couldn't quite figure out how it would taste.  I was assuming it would be pretty delicious considering how
popular it was and the mourning period was pretty significant after it was retired from the menu (thank you folks at Planet Hollywood for helping curb the crisis by immediately sharing the recipe), but I just couldn't quite see how it all came together to make something that blended pizza and salad in one curious bite.

Well, let me just confirm first of all, it tastes fantastic.  The sharp savory bite of the chicken and peppers combined with that pizza cheese brings out a strong and familiar pizza flavors.  But topped with that cool, crisp, refreshing romaine and the zip of the Caesar dressing it brings it to a whole different level, perfectly blending heartiness with the light crunch of a good salad.  Good both warm and cold (I prefer the warm, but we've established by my need to drink soda at room temperature or above I am a bit weird when it comes to my hot and cold preferences), this pizza isn't going to reheat or keep well if you top the whole thing with the salad, so I suggest mixing the salad on the side, then topping each slice as you need it (or, as you can see by the pictures, doing the exact opposite of what I did).  Reheating the next day will be easy as you just slide it into a warmed oven and worry about adding the salad afterwards.  If you get overly ambitious and top the whole pizza with the salad, you still have maybe a day or two to enjoy it, but the dressing-covered salad may be a bit limp.  I wish I had a great tip for spicing that up, but generally it involves just adding more cheese to cover up the texture, because as we all know, cheese solves everything.

This was a huge hit in my house, even with picky eaters who first looked at me like I was nuts when I put this in front of them.  I think I was even asked "are you sure this is pizza?"  One bite in though and they were sold and a request for leftovers at lunch has already been made.

Trust me, it seems weird, like it could work but maybe it won't, but I promise you, give it a shot...  It's too scrumptious to not try.  I swear, nobody will accuse you of trying to sneak a salad onto people's plates during their March Madness parties.

PS - No comments about how I can't roll a round pizza to save my life. I already know.    


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Chicken Caesar Pizza
As was served at Planet Hollywood, Downtown Disney/Disney Springs
 
°o°  2 chicken breasts, cooked, cut into pieces  
°o°  2 garlic cloves, minced  
°o°  1 small onion, chopped 
°o°  1 red bell pepper, chopped  
°o°  Caesar salad dressing, brand of choice
°o°  1 ball refrigerated pizza dough
°o°  1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded  
°o°  1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
°o°  1/2 head romaine lettuce, rough chopped    
°o°  2 tomatoes, diced  
Over medium heat in a large pan, combine garlic, onion, and pepper with 2 tablespoons of Caesar salad dressing.  Cook until vegetables are tender and onion is translucent.  Add chicken and cook about 2 minutes, or until chicken has started to warm.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out pizza dough into desired shape on pizza stone, brushing dough with salad dressing.  Spread chicken and vegetable mixture evenly over the dough.  Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  Brush crust with additional Caesar dressing.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden.  

Combine lettuce and tomatoes and dress with Caesar salad dressing to taste.  Top pizza or individual pizza slices with salad after it has been removed from the oven and cooled slightly.  Garnish with additional salad toppings such as croutons, if desired.    
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Good morning sports fans!  To celebrate March Madness, I'm sharing some recipes that are perfect for all those basketball parties you know you're going to be attending all month.  Believe it or not, Disney Parks do have some pretty awesome places to catch the games, and some really good food to go along with it.  While Carnation Cafe in Disneyland maybe isn't a sports hot spot, it is home to maybe one of the creamiest, flavorful potato soups anywhere.

The loaded baked potato soup is something of an iconic dish to Disneyland, and it should be.  I'm not a potato soup person but even I couldn't keep my spoon out of the pot.  It's rich without being fatty or heavy, with strong potato flavors, minus that funny texture that they sometimes get when you boil them in a soup.  The secret is that quick little saute before you add the chicken broth, which helps them keep their shape but also allows the chicken stock to work some magic on the starchy blandness that potatoes are sometimes guilty of having.

The best part about this soup is you can throw it in a slow cooker or crock pot on your game day table and simply forget about it.  If you drain the bacon really well, you won't get that oil slick of fat on the top of the soup and since the liquid is boosted by broth and not only cream, you won't get that funny cream soup skin on top either (as long as you keep it at a good temperature).  I think it'd be fun to turn this into a build-your-own baked potato soup bar by leaving out some small bowls of bacon, cheese, chives, onions, horseradish (do people put that on potatoes still?), and sour cream and let the sports fans (and picky eaters) build their own perfect soup.  

So soup and sports fans, this is a definate must-make if you want to impress your friends and get a quick Disney food fix.  I know I'm glad this makes a ton because even though it's 8am, I'm wondering if I can sneak a bowl and call it breakfast.  Maybe rename it "loaded potato hash soup" instead.  I mean, it has bacon in it...  That's a breakfast food...

Like what you see here?  Check out some other pretty fantastic soup recipes like Le Cellier's Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, Victoria and Albert's Roast Garlic and Gruyere Soup, or if the flavor of Carnation Cafe is what you're missing, you'll have to check out the Puffed Apple Pancakes.  So it may not be a sporty meal, but it's still awesome.


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Loaded Baked Potato Soup
As is served at Carnation Cafe, Disneyland
 

°o°  1 pound bacon, chopped  

°o°  1 medium yellow onion, diced  
°o°  1 large carrot, peeled, diced  
°o°  3/4 cup celery, diced  
°o°  4 large Russet potatoes, peeled, diced  
°o°  4 medium red potatoes, diced  
°o°  1/4 cup flour  
°o°  2 cups chicken stock  
°o°  4 cups heavy whipping cream, room temperature  
°o°  Salt and pepper, to taste  
°o°  Cheese and other toppings (chives, bacon, sour cream, onions), if desired  
In a large stockpot, fry bacon until crisp.  Strain from fat and drain on paper towels, set aside, reserving a couple tablespoons for garnish.  

In bacon fat over medium heat, add onions, carrots, celery and cook, stirring constantly, until onions are clear and other vegetables soften slightly.  Add potatoes and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.  Lower heat and add flour to form a roux.  When mixture has thickened, quickly add stock and bacon.  Over medium-high heat, bring to a low simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.  Slowly add whipping cream and simmer 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve warm, topped with garnishes.

To adjust soup thickness add water or broth to thin a thick soup (or during reheating).  To thicken a too watery soup, allow to slowly simmer for 5-10 additional minutes and/or mash some potatoes slightly and stir.




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Happy Sunday!

Anybody notice I'm switching things up around the site?  So far, I'm pretty happy with how it's all coming together!  There's now a variety of ways to follow me, the website, and all of our yummy food...  Be sure to check it out!  Over the next few weeks, be prepared for some more exciting additions and changes.

This was a great week for recipes, especially for those who're big fans of everything citrus!  The recipes I shared this week included:

Also this week, I shared a recap of Run Disney's Princess Half Marathon 2015.  Were you one of the lucky folks who signed up for Run Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2015?  You'll probably want to check out my recap of the 2013 race for some highlights.

Still craving sweet and fruity, or maybe a drink that's a little more grown up?  Be sure to check out some past recipes that may be right up your alley:


And of course, who could forget the famous Dole Whip?

Starting tomorrow I'm getting into the March Madness frenzy by sharing some recipes from the Disney Parks that are perfect for all those parties you know you're having this week.  Look for recipes from Disneyland, ESPN Club, Planet Hollywood, and a few more!

Need snacks now?  Why not start out with some wings from 'Ohana or some queso fundido?

Have a great weekend everybody and I can't wait until you all see what I've got coming this week!

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Today's recipe isn't just an adult salute to the Orange Bird, it's a shout-out to my Mom.  Hi Mom!

You see, when we went to Disney's Animal Kingdom back during Princess Half Marathon weekend, the first thing I said was that we needed to find these epic margaritas.  I'd seen them online, I'd heard tale of how awesome they were, and while I don't drink often...  When I do, you can be certain it's probably a specialty margarita.

Once we got through the gates, the hunt was on.  Yes, we went through the pretenses of eating breakfast and waiting to a more dignified alcohol-ordering hour so as not to be judged for wandering around with huge, colorful margaritas too early in the day (we held out until noonish...  Or 11am...  Somewhere in there)...  But really, we were on the trail pretty early.

The plus side about ordering one of the most popular alcoholic drinks earlier in the day is there's no line.  The negative side about trying to order one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in a park earlier in the day is that without the line, you may not be able to find where they actually sell the stuff.  Finally, we broke down and asked somebody for directions...  And the directions made absolutely no sense and we ended up at a samosa cart (the samosas were good though...  I had them on another trip).  After a bit more wandering, we desperately pleaded for any sort of help from a cast member who I think was actually teaching people how to write their name in Hindi.  She knew where to go.  And just like that, we found ourselves by a little cart-like building called Upcountry Beverages, kind of off to the side, waiting behind a guy who ordered 6 ice waters (?!) for our margaritas.  

Fun fact - you can't get ice water there for drinking.  Just margaritas.  I love this place already.

Watching them put this together was a marvel.  The lady was so detailed, precise, and really made sure all of the levels were well-represented and even.  As the gentleman who was just rejected his water order looked on in silent judgment, my mother and I took our first swig.

Fireworks.  Explosions.  The stuff was insanely good and worth the epic trek to find and the disgruntling of unsatisfied water drinkers.  Not too sweet but perfectly flavored in such a way that you could clearly pick out each individual flavor from each layer.  My mother swirled her up for this symphony of frozen tropical fruit flavors that were perfect and not at all muddy, where I went the purest route and enjoyed the perfection of each layer one-at-a-time.  Towards the end of the margarita, I may have insisted I perfected the perfect way to get a full swig of all flavors without mixing it by simply inhaling as I pulled the straw up...  But hindsight being 20/20, I probably only thought it was a good idea because I had just enough of the margarita to not care if I looked a bit silly.  Did I mention, I'm really not a drinker at all?

Now, whenever I see this drink, I think of the laughs I had with my mother trying to track
down a drink that we were starting to think was as mythical as the yeti, laughing at my goofy idea of getting perfect sips, and looking at my mother aghast as she actually stirred her drink as opposed to enjoying one layer at a time.  I'm sure it's a "you had to be there" moment for everybody else, but for me it was pretty much the most fun I've had at Animal Kingdom.

That is, until we get to part two of the story, where I drank mine too fast so I could make an Everest Fastpass reservation and I ended up doing Everest with a blinding brainfreeze then sitting on a bench afterwards feeling totally nauseous, regretting so many choices that I had made just before getting on the ride...  But my Mom thought it was funny.  Actually, I think she went and ordered another one when I was on the ride...


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Triple Yeti Blast
As is served at Upcountry Beverages, Disney's Animal Kingdom
 

Kali River Mango Margarita
°o°  1 part Sauza Gold Tequila  
°o°  1 part mango puree  
°o°  3 parts sweet and sour  
°o°  Splash of Rose's Lime Juice  
°o°  Ice, for blending

Maharajah Lime Margarita  
°o°  2 parts Sauza Gold Tequila  
°o°  1 part triple sec  
°o°  3 parts sweet and sour  
°o°  1/2 part agave syrup  
°o°  1/2 part water  
°o°  Splash of Rose's Lime Juice  
°o°  Ice, for blending 

Bali Hai Strawberry Margarita
°o°  1 part Sauza Gold Tequila  
°o°  1 part strawberry puree  
°o°  2 parts sweet and sour  
°o°  splash of Rose's Lime Juice
°o°  Ice, for blending  
Make each margarita individually and separately by blending all ingredients along with ice.

To create the Triple Yeti Blast, add a layer of Kali River Mango margarita to the bottom of a glass.  Carefully top with a layer of Maharajah Lime Margarita.  Finish with a top layer of the Bali Hai Strawberry Margarita.  Serve immediately.
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Like this recipe?  Be sure to check out a few others that may be right up your alley!




When I had these amazing wontons from Yak and Yeti Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom, it was instantly love at first bite.  As a fan of sweet, crunchy, and a little salty, this hit every last one of my cravings.  And paired with that grilled fruit and sweet, creamy sauce?  Heaven.  Absolute heaven.  I still fantasize about them and actually considered going to Yak and Yeti last trip just for the wontons.  And I'm not the only one...  This dessert has something of a legendary following of people who believe this is one of the best treats in Walt Disney World.  

I was so excited when the folks that run Yak and Yeti graciously shared the recipe, but I have to admit, while it was a mini-vacation back to Disney for my mouth, it still made me miss the real deal.  Yes, these are so close that I doubt anybody but the true wonton devotees such as myself would never notice a difference, but I think there's an overall presentation and grandeur to sitting in that gorgeous restaurant with all those fantastic treasures, smells, and having your tour guide lay this plate out in front of you fresh and piping hot.  Man, my mouth is watering!


I was cautioned that they tried to condense down the recipe to a homecook's needs...  I can guess they probably make this in super, duper, industrial sized batches...  So it may require slight tweaking here and there.  Overall, the recipe they gave me is perfect, but I think when making a batch using only 8 ounces of cream cheese, the egg really isn't needed.  It makes the cream cheese filling a bit runny and hard to kind of mash in there without little leaks.  I think that's really the only change I make when (notice I said "when") I make this again.  The only other bummer is that the only wonton wrappers I could find were the standard sized, while they use a large or "jumbo" sized.  Next time, I think I'll use a spring roll wrapper and trim it down for maximum cream cheese stuffing.  

These bite-sized fried cheesecake wontons are easily one of my favorite, favorite things on property.  Paired with the fresh fruit and creamy-sweet sauce, this is really one of Walt Disney World's perfect desserts.

Oh, and I did make a little tweak to the recipe...  It is Orange Bird week after all!  I added a splash of frozen orange juice to the sauce to bring out a little citrus splash...  That I will for sure be doing again.


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Fried Dessert Wontons
As is served at Yak and Yeti Restaurant, Animal Kingdom
 
°o°  8 ounces cream cheese, softened 
°o°  3/4 cup sugar  
°o°  1 egg (optional - I suggest omitting)  
°o°  jumbo wonton wrappers  
°o°  oil (for frying)  
°o°  3 tablespoons milk  
°o°  1 tablespoon honey
°o°  1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar  
°o°  fresh fruit  

Combine cream cheese, sugar, and egg until completely blended.  Place mixture in fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oil for frying.  Remove cream cheese mixture from fridge.  Lay wonton wrapper flat and wet fingers, brushing the edge of the wrapper.  Spoon a small spoonful of cream cheese mixture in the center of the wonton wrapper.  Fold wrapper into a triangle, then seal
around the cream cheese, then out to the edges of the wrapper, pressing firmly.  Fold two bottom long ends of triangle over to make an envelope.  Repeat with remaining wontons and cream cheese.

Fry wontons about 1-2 minutes per side until golden.  Remove, drain on paper towels.  Dust with confectioner's sugar if desired.

To make sauce, combine milk, honey, sugar, and drizzle over warmed wontons served over fruit.  Serve immediately.




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So I know it's St. Patrick's Day, but honestly...  All I can think about is spring.  So while this might not be the best St. Patrick's Day recipe, this really is a tangy and sweet meal I need to remind me of a time where I could wake up in the morning, put together my articles for the day, and not look out the window to see snow falling.  Plus, it's Orange Bird week, and even though maybe a chicken dish during a week where we're celebrating a bird is a bit morbid, at least it's very orange tasting.

This dish is nothing but happy, happy memories for me.  It's served at the quiet little Lotus Blossom Cafe at Epcot's China Pavilion in the cutest, quietest little cove that has a gorgeous view and always seems to be uncrowded, relaxed, and calm.  Even during the height of Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend (good luck to everybody signing up for that today, by the way!), we were able to wander in during lunch, find a table, grab a plate, and just sit and enjoy a gorgeous day at Epcot like we were one of hundreds people in the whole park, as opposed to actually being there during one of the busiest times of the year.  The taste of orange is really pronounced and I think it's the first time I had orange chicken that actually included whole, visible orange peels.  Didn't know what to make of that until I had the first bite, but it was actually really delicious.  I just love the crunch of the peels, the sticky sweet sauce, the crunchiness of the breaded chicken...  It makes my craving for sweet, salty, crunchy very, very happy.

I'm happy to say that this is pretty much a dead ringer for what you get in the parks in terms of taste.  Yes, there's a lot of steps and this isn't something that you throw together in 15
minutes, but really it's so worth it.  Especially if you're like me, still looking out that snowy window at the new inch of snow falling and really, really ready for spring and are maybe an eensy, weensy, tiny bit jealous of the people signing up for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon today.  This might be a day of leprechauns and luck of the Irish for everybody else, but I'm more than happy with my culinary flashback to spring at Epcot for today.

That is, until my other half gets home and we go out to our local Irish pub's famous Irish breakfast.  I'm not a total heathen after all, and I do really love Scotch Eggs...  But those remind me of Epcot too.  So maybe I don't need spring so much as I just need to get my tush to Epcot.


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Orange Chicken
As is served at Lotus Blossom Cafe, China Pavilion, EPCOT
  
Marinade
°o°  1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
°o°  white pepper  
°o°  salt  
°o°  2 tablespoons sugar  
°o°  1/4 cup water
°o°  1/2 cup cooking wine  
°o°  1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


Orange Sauce    
°o°  3/4 cup fresh orange peel, chopped
°o°  1/4 cup ketchup  
°o°  4 tablespoons sugar  
°o°  4 tablespoons rice or white vinegar
°o°  1 tablespoon soy sauce  
°o°  1/2 tablespoon chili paste 
°o°  1/2 tablespoon chicken base 
°o°  1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water  
°o°  Salt to taste

Batter  
°o°  3/4 cup flour  
°o°  1/4 cup cornstarch
°o°  1 egg, beaten    
°o°  2 tablespoons oil  
°o°  2/3 cup water 
°o°  pinch of salt
°o°  1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
°o°  oil for frying
Combine all ingredients for the marinade.  Toss in chicken to coat and allow to marinate at least 30 minutes at room temperature.  

To make orange sauce, add orange peel to a large saucepan and a splash of oil stir fry until fragrant and slightly limp.  Reduce heat and add remaining ingredients, whisking well.  Continue to cook orange sauce over low heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture bubbles, thickens slightly, and is warmed through.  Keep mixture warm.

In a fryer or stockpot, heat cooking oil to 320 degrees.  Drain marinade from chicken and discard marinade.  Combine all ingredients for the batter, making sure to do so only when ready to immediately begin frying (for best results).  Add chicken to batter and toss to coat.  Using a fork, separate pieces of chicken and add to the hot oil (the batter will appear thin on the chicken) and fry in batches until golden brown and cooked through.  Remove from oil to paper towels to drain, then transfer to a wire rack in a warm oven to keep to temperature.  Repeat until until all chicken has been fried.  

Just before serving, toss chicken in a large serving dish with warm orange sauce; serve immediately over rice, topped with additional orange slice garish and green onions (if desired).    



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