Weiner’s Circle Chicago Style Hot Dog


There is something about Chicago and the Cubs that make me crave hot dogs.  While we were in Chicago this weekend all I could think and talk about were sport peppers. This is the reason for the picture, since once the dogs are done I am throwing those peppers on them and anyone in my way better look out.  Now if you have never has a Chicago style hot dog, believe me the sport peppers make the hot dog.  In my opinion, a hot dog without sport peppers is not a hot dog at all.  Well my hubby heard my cries and asked me if I wanted to make Chicago style hot dogs for dinner.  This was one question that did not need to be asked twice.  This post is also a shout out to all the readers from the region, especially Jessica Wright who adores the Weiner’s Circle.

Weiner’s Circle Chicago Style Hot Dog

from Food Network.com


1 all-beef, natural casing, Vienna hot dog, char-broiled to perfection
1 poppy seed bun, steamed
1 heaping teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon green relish
Fresh chopped grilled onions
2 large pickle wedges
4 slices red-ripe plum tomatoes
A dash celery salt
Hot sport peppers


Place char broiled hot dog in bun. Top with mustard, relish, onions, pickles, sport peppers and tomatoes. Finish it off with a dash of celery salt.

Picnic Time® Circo Cheese Board Giveaway


I am so excited to announce my first giveaway!! I have been waiting patiently and now seems like the perfect time! With the summer here and fall coming up in a few months, this is the perfect item to spruce up a picnic.  The hubby and I have one of these from our honeymoon and it is a great piece to use throughout the year, both inside and outside. 

The giveaway will go through August 3rd, 2011 at 11:59 PM (EST).  At that time the cold, heartless random number generator will pick the winner.  Leave a comment below with your favorite picnic food in order to be put in the drawing.


All entries must be received by 11:59 PM (EST) on August 3rd, 2011.

There are two ways to enter:

                       1.   Leave a comment below answering the question. 

                      2.  Follow baking_bad on twitter and also comment below that you are following on twitter.




And of course I could not leave you without a recipe for a picnic…..

Ham Cheese Ball Recipe

 from BlogwithMom.com


2 pkgs. 8 oz. cream cheese

2 pkgs. 2 oz pressed ham cut into fine pieces (small individual “skinny” meat packages)

6 long green onions cut up fine

1 teaspoon Accent seasoning

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce


Mix everything in a bowl.  Once mixed, form it into a ball and chill in the fridge on a platter.

***This giveaway is not endorsed by Circo.  I have no affliation with Circo.***


Classic Fried Chicken


This weekend while driving home from Chicago one thing became apparent, the hubby wanted fried chicken.  It seemed every billboard we passed for the big chicken places he was drooling.  Now with that being said, I was not objecting to the idea.  I love fried chicken, my knowledge of frying chicken has been limited to chicken wings.  Then, as I was perusing the latest issue of Food Network Magazine I saw the recipe below.  I knew this one the one I had to make since there were ingredients like shortening, buttermilk, and peanut oil.  Now let me tell you this recipe did not disappoint us at all.  I would definitely have to say my first try at frying chicken was a success and have a go to recipe for picnics now.

Also, I would like to ask everyone out there what types of recipes you would like to see me blog about.  Please comment below or on twitter and I will be sure to start cooking them up.

Classic Fried Chicken

from Food Network Magazine July/August 2011


1 3-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces, or 3 pounds chicken pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 quart buttermilk

2 teaspoons hot sauce

1 bay leaf

3 cloves garlic, smashed

3 sprigs thyme

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 tablespoon onion powder

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying

Vegetable shortening, for frying


Season the chicken generously with salt and black pepper; place on a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

Mix the buttermilk, hot sauce, bay leaf, garlic and thyme in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken, making sure the pieces are submerged. Seal and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.

Mix the flour, baking powder, paprika, onion powder, cayenne, 3 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in a separate resealable bag.

Fill a deep 12-inch cast-iron skillet halfway with equal parts peanut oil and shortening. Heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F.

Remove about half of the chicken pieces from the buttermilk mixture, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the bag of seasoned flour; seal and shake to thoroughly coat. Remove from the bag, shake off any excess flour and transfer to a rack.

Carefully lower the coated chicken into the oil. The temperature will drop to 300 degrees F to 325 degrees F; adjust the heat to maintain this temperature so the crust doesn’t burn before the meat is cooked. Fry, undisturbed, 2 to 3 minutes to set the crust, then carefully lift with tongs to check the browning; continue to fry, turning as needed, until golden brown and cooked through, 12 to 14 more minutes for smaller pieces and 14 to 16 more minutes for larger ones. (A thermometer should register 160 degrees F in the breasts and 170 degrees F in the thighs and drumsticks.)

Remove the chicken to a clean rack to drain, sprinkle with salt and let rest a few minutes. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork


We have a pulled pork recipe that is a staple in our home.  Everyone loves a great pulled pork sandwich, but most people do not have 5 or more hours to cook on the grill after working all day.  The key is to start out with a good quality piece of pork.  I love cooking with boneless pork butt (shoulder).  Now, I know there are differing opinions on whether to get bone-in or boneless, but for me the best bet is boneless.  The slow cooker method makes a delicious faux smoking method when apple cider vinegar and liquid smoke are used.  This is definitely a delicious, healthy, and inexpensive meal that can be made for your family.  The uses for the leftover pork are endless!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork


4-5 lb boneless pork butt (shoulder)

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 cups water

1 Tbs liquid smoke

1 bottle of your favorite or homemade BBQ sauce (I used Bone Suckin’ Sauce)


Combine ingredients through liquid smoke in a slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Take out pork and let cool until able to shred with two forks.  Discard cooking liquid from the slow cooker. Put the meat in the slow cooker with sauce for 30  minutes on high.  Serve and Enjoy!

Summery Citrus Blanc


This weekend was incredible! We went to a Cubs game and despite the weather in the morning, it turned out to be a beautiful day.  The Cubbies pulled out a win!!  We went to several of our favorite pre and post game spots as well as some new ones.  There as one theme I noticed at each bar, skinny cocktails.  These cocktails seem to be all the rage since the release of Skinnygirl margaritas.  I have to say they are pretty delicious, but the hubby and were looking for something a little different while grilling out.  We had several things on hand and just decided to experiment.  Well after a few failed attempts, this was the recipe we settled on.  It is so delicious, and for under 50 calories per drink you cannot go wrong.  This will definitely be an easy go to summer drink for us.  The below recipe makes one drink.

Summery Citrus Blanc

2 ounces vodka

2 ounces Savingnon Blanc wine

3/4 ounce Triple Sec

1/4 lemon juiced

1/2 lime juiced

cut lemons and limes for garnish


Add 1 cup of ice to a cocktail shaker.  Juice the 1/4 lemon and 1/2 lime in the shaker.  Add the vodka, wine, and triple sec.  Shake vigorously, then strain into highball glass filled with ice.  Garnish with additional lemons and limes. Enjoy!

Pink Lemonade Confetti Cupcakes


Trying to deal with this heat wave we are having definitely makes eating lighter a necessity.  I have been wanting a dessert that is light, but still has the punch to satisfy my sweet tooth.  When I ran across this recipe, I instantly wanted to make it.  In this heat a pink lemonade cupcake sounded amazing, since it is both sweet and tart.  I also loved the fact there was not frosting with the recipe.  A lot of times, I find the frosting on cupcakes are too sweet.  These cupcakes were the perfect balance between sweet and tart, and still were light.  They will not disappoint in this summer heat. Enjoy!

Pink Lemonade Confetti Cupcakes

from Skinnytaste.com


18.25 oz box confetti cake mix, I used Duncan Hines

2 1/2 tsp powdered sugar-free pink lemonade mix

1 cup water

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

lemon zest from half of a lemon

2 drops pink food coloring (optional)

confetti sprinkles, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cupcake tins with 24 paper liners.

Stir together the water and pink lemonade powder.  Combine the cake mix, pink lemonade mixture, applesauce, lemon zest, food coloring and oil in a large bowl and with an electric mixer, mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake pans.  Add sprinkles if using and bake in the oven for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Cool completely on wire racks before serving.

Iced Coffee


Everyone can call me crazy, but I am not a fan of the famous “S” coffee establishment.  I am a NW Indiana girl, and grew up with DD my whole life.  To me there is no better coffee out there for the money.  Now I know a lot of you will protest, but for me “S” is way too strong.  I always see people with iced coffee from the big chain coffee places, but I have never really tried on since I do not like cold beverages.  But once the temperatures started rising I knew I may have to explore my iced coffee options.  I do not buy coffee out very much at all since getting my Keuring, so I knew it was going to be a struggle to find a coffee I liked.  Then, I saw this recipe and knew I could make this! Let me tell you, I have shared the iced coffee with several people and they say it is the best they have ever had.  The best part is you can make it in all flavors.  I made this batch with coconut-almond coffee and it definitely gives me a tropical feel on these warm days.  Try it and you will never go through the drive thru again.

Iced Coffee

from  The Pioneer Woman Cooks


1 pound Ground Coffee ( I used coconut-almond flavored)

8 quarts Cold Water

Half-and-half (healthy Splash Per Serving)

Sweetened Condensed Milk (2-3 Tablespoons Per Serving)

Note: Can Use Skim Milk, 2% Milk, Whole Milk, Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners, Syrups…adapt To Your Liking!


To make iced coffee concentrate:

In a large container, mix ground coffee with water. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature eight hours or overnight.

Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through. Discard grounds.

Place coffee liquid in the fridge and allow to cool. Use as needed.

To make iced coffee:

Pack a glass full of ice cubes. Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid. Add healthy splash of half-and-half. Add 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (can use plain sugar instead) and stir to combine. Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or sweetened condensed milk as needed.

Green Bean Fries


My in-laws have an amazing garden, and every year I cannot wait for the bags of fresh veggies to start flying into our home.    This year the green beans seem to be growing non-stop! I was trying to think of fun ways to use them up and fried green beans came to mind.  Now I love my deep fryer don’t get me wrong, but the hubby and I are trying to eat healthier this summer.  Therefore, I looked for a fried green bean recipe and then adapted it to baking.  This was especially easy since my faux fried ingredient has definitely become panko crumbs.  Panko crumbs give such a crispy crust without have to deep fry anything.  These came out wonderful! Next time I am going to make a sauce similar to an onion dipping sauce to accompany the fries.  We will definitely be making them again in order to keep using all the fresh veggies we are receiving.


Green Bean Fries

from Prevention RD


1/2 lb green beans
1 cup  whole wheat flour
1 egg
1/2 cup skim milk
2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
Kosher salt, pinch
pepper, pinch


Preheat oven to 425 F.  Fill a large pan with 2-3 inches of water and bring to a boil. While water comes to a boil, trim the green beans. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside.  Blanch the beans for 3 minutes and immediately remove them to the ice bath.  To prepare beans, gather three bowls. In the first bowl, combine the flour and spices. In the second bowl, combine the egg and milk, whisking to combine. In the third and final bowl, place the panko and season with salt and pepper. Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture and whisk into the egg/milk mixture.  Pat the beans dry and dredge in the flour mixture, then into the milk/egg mixture, and finally into the panko to coat. Arrange the beans in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil which has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Prepare all of the beans in that manner. Lightly spray beans with olive oil spray. Bake beans at 425 F for 15 minutes, or until slightly browned.

Chocolate Mint Crème Sandwich Cookie Ice Cream and Calling All Readers!!


First, let me tell everyone that I have officially purchased the domain http://bakingbad.com.  I am very excited about this and cannot wait to see what the future holds for bakingbad.  That being said, I am asking everyone to please subscribe to the blog and once we hit 100 subscribers there will be an amazing giveaway!!! Now, back to an amazing recipe to combat this heat wave we are having.

For a little over a month now my hubby and I have been enjoying homemade ice cream and let me tell you, we are never going back to store bought!  Now, I am not one of those people who believe everything should be organic, but being a chemist I unfortunately know what all of the preservatives in food really are.  It is scary sometimes to think of things I use in order to test are also going into my body.  That is why I am really making an effort for my hubby and me to eat much more “natural” foods.

This ice cream was definitely a melding of ideas rolling around in my mind.  While at the store last week, I found mint crème sandwich cookies on sale and knew that I wanted to make ice cream with them.  Then, while rummaging through the cupboards I found unsweetened chocolate.  This is how the ice cream was thought up, and what a great thought it was!  It tastes amazing, and I cannot wait to experiment with many more flavors.


Chocolate Mint Crème Sandwich Cookie Ice Cream

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups milk

2 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 cup mint crème sandwich cookies, chopped

Melt the unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Gradually whisk in the cocoa and heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Whisk in the milk, a little at a time, and heat through until blended. Remove from the heat and let cool.  Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and vanilla, and whisk to blend. Pour the chocolate mixture into the cream mixture and blend. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s directions. Fold the mint crème sandwich cookies into the ice cream base. Remove from the ice cream maker and store in a freezer safe container. Freeze overnight to meld flavors and serve. Makes 1 quart.

Champagne Punch


We had such a busy, but rewarding weekend.  We stained and painted our porch this weekend with the help of my wonderful in laws.  It seems like with each passing day we are working on projects that make me in awe that is is our house.  Everyone of course has their dream mansion, but to me this home is my dream.  We are making it in to our own each day more and more, and when we decide to move some day it will have given us so many memories.This weekend really solidified how much we are doing to make this our own home.  It looks wonderful! I cannot wait for it to dry so we are able to grill on it and I can post pictures.  But, don’t tell anyone the picture was taken on our still drying newly stained deck!

Well, as you can see we have had quite the weekend, so we thought a cocktail was in order to celebrate. While watching , the show,Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello”, we saw an amazing light cocktail.  Well, let me digress for a second.  when we were in Napa and Sonoma, I was able to meet and talk with Chef Chiarello at Bottega it was AMAZING!

Now that I have shamelessly plugged one of my favorite chefs in the world, back to what I was saying.  My hubby found an amazing light cocktail, which mimicked the light notes in Chef Chiarello’s cocktail, but was very different in flavor.  It truly made both of us smile at the thought of toasting to our new porch.

Champagne Punch

from Martha Stewart


1 thinly sliced peach
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup Simple Syrup
1 bottle champagne or other sparkling white wine (We used Cava)

In a pitcher, combine ice, peach, raspberries, blueberries, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Slowly pour in champagne or other sparkling white wine.