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Crispy Oven Baked Hot Wings, a #WingWeek guest post

Please help me welcome my third (and final) #wingweek guest poster, Bernadette of Rants From My Crazy Kitchen. She set out on a mission to make some husband-pleasing crispy hot wings from the oven instead of the fryer—and succeeded. I'm pretty sure these would please husbands all around the world!
Crispy Oven Baked Hot Wings, a #wingweek guest post by Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
Hi, everybody! I'm Bernadette from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen. I've been recipe blogging for almost 3 years, and I am a wife and a mother to a 5 year old girl. My husband had a heart attack on December 20th, at the age of 46, but is on his way to a full recovery. Since then we have made a lot of changes to his diet, which means mine and my daughters as well. I am cooking a lot healthier, no more red meat, no fried foods, etc.

A few weeks after he came home from the hospital he was thinking about food, and said "I guess no more chicken wings for me." I told him I could bake them, and he said "Yeah, but there not as crispy." The next day Heather asked for guest posters with the theme of chicken wings, and I just knew I could do it!

Popcorn-crusted Chicken Wings

Popcorn-crusted Chicken Wings
It's Friday, and that means we're more than halfway down the #wingweek homestretch. I'm a little bit bummed out that I didn't unearth the grill from the garage and share some grilled and/or some smoked chicken wings with you this week, but that just gives me a goal for #wingweek part deux!

Today's wings aren't from the grill, they're another baked variety, but what makes them fun and a bit unique is the fact that they are breaded! Now, I've never breaded my wings before today. Well, wait a minute—I have breaded wings, but only when I've cut up a whole chicken and breaded that. So, it was "whole" wings. That doesn't count. But it's the same difference. A lightly seasoned flour coating, then into the beaten eggs, then shaken up in a bag full of ground-up cheesy popcorn mixed with chipotle chile powder.

We dipped these in chipotle ranch, but you could definitely use regular ranch, as well. Though they have chipotle in the breading, they're not spicy. Just be sure to season your flour well, so that your wings have flavor!

Slow Cooker Sticky Wings, a #WingWeek guest post

Please help me welcome my second #wingweek guest poster, Karen from Karen's Kitchen Stories. Today Karen is sharing some beautifully sticky wings that are sweet, and just a little bit spicy—plus they're made in the slow cooker (my current favorite way to make a big batch of wings...or a small one)!
Slow Cooker Sticky Wings, a #wingweek guest post from Karen's Kitchen Stories
Hi!! Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories here! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be contributing this post to All Roads Lead to the Kitchen. Heather is one of the most creative cooks and prolific bloggers out there, and you can always find something delicious here. Heather is one talented woman and she writes from her heart.

These slow cooker sticky wings are sweet, slightly spicy, and, of course sticky. Plus, they are super easy to make. They are cooked on low in a slow cooker for 4 hours, brushed with a sticky sauce, and then broiled on both sides to give them a wonderful char. You get the best of both worlds; fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness from the slow cooker, and a crispy charred skin from the broiler.

Bloody Mary Chicken Wings

Bloody Mary Wings photo
When January rolls around, so many people are focused on finding recipes to back up their resolutions; this usually means lighter fare. Words like healthy, skinny, and lightened-up take over the search bar. I totally get that. The holidays kick my butt, too. For me though, January triggers something entirely different—a craving for chicken wings!

I think wings are a natural accompaniment to January. Or maybe I should say they're a natural accompaniment to football and the art of gathering around the television eating things with your fingers. Now, I realize that this is actually the tail end of the season, but for one reason or another, it's bowl games and play-offs that trigger my desire for wings.

I'm pretty sure I look like a madwoman, preparing for the chicken apocalypse, as I stack every last package of chicken wings and chicken drumettes from the cooler into my shopping cart. Should I even mention what happens once I get all that chicken home? Let's just say that if a fridge was a pair of jeans, I'd need a pair of pliers to zip them up.

Crisped Ginger-Soy Chicken Wings + Beer Pairing, a #WingWeek guest post

Please help me welcome my first #wingweek guest poster, Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla. I'm pretty thrilled that I inspired her to make chicken wings in her own kitchen for the very first time! Her Crispy Ginger-Soy Wings sound like they are bursting with flavor, plus, she's offered up a beer pairing to go along with her wings. No wonder I like this girl.
Crisped Ginger-Soy Chicken Wings + Beer Pairing, a #wingweek guest post from Culinary Adventures with Camilla at allroadsleadtothe.kitchen
When Heather posted that she was looking for some chicken wing guest posts this month, I almost skipped reading the rest of the request. Chicken wings?!? I thought. I don't fry.  I remember watching a cooking show about chicken wings and there seemed to be a complicated dance between the fryer and the oven. And, remember: I don't fry.

But as I finished reading her post, I decided that this would be a good culinary challenge, one that I definitely wanted to complete: make tasty, crispy wings without frying. Challenge accepted.

Good chicken wings are about great flavor and great texture. I did it! This has both.

Slow Cooker Sweet 'n Tangy Glazed Chicken Wings

Slow Cooker Sweet 'n Tangy Glazed Chicken Wings
Until recently, I'd never really thought about making chicken wings in the slow cooker. It was either baked, fried, or if I happened to think about it while the grill was fired up, I'd throw some on there. I don't know if I just didn't pay attention before, but as soon as I saw one recipe for crockpot wings, I've been seeing them around every corner. It's like the buying a new car syndrome (see a beautiful car, buy it, then suddenly everybody and their mother is driving the exact same car).

I figured it was finally time to throw some wings in the slow cooker and see what came out. I bet you can guess. Tender deliciousness, of course. I mean, they were cooked in a slow cooker! The result was a batch of wings just threatening to fall off the bone. But boy, were they ugly. Half the fun of eating wings is a crispy skin, and obviously you can't achieve that in a wet environment.

The trick is lifting them carefully from the crock, setting them onto a rack, and then saucing them up and sliding them under a hot broiler. That skin will crisp up in no time, and all you have to do is give it a couple of sauces and a couple of turns. Minimal finishing work for such amazing results.

Chicken Wings: how to break them down + how to cook them

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating a whole chicken wing, I prefer cutting up my wings into smaller sections before preparing them for game day or appetizers. It really is as easy as one, two, three! Today I'm kicking off #wingweek with a simple tutorial on how to break down chicken wings into easy-to-nibble portions, and also sharing five different cooking methods to prepare those wings with.
Break down a whole chicken wing in seconds via girlichef.com #wingweek
Simple Steps to quickly Breaking Down Whole Chicken Wings:
  1. Locate the two joints by using your fingers. You should be able to feel where they connect.
  2. Use a pair of kitchen shears to snip through the center of each joint, leaving you with three parts: the Drumette, the Wingette (often called a Flat), and the tip.
  3. Use the Drumettes and Wingettes in your recipe. I like to store all my wing tips in a large freezer bag (just adding them as I get them) to add to a batch of chicken or poultry stock, but you can discard them if you don't think you'll use them.
Seriously, it doesn't get much simpler than that. Okay, it kind of does—most markets carry packages of drumettes in their chicken sections. I admit to buying them like this from time to time, but it's nice to know that you don't have to, isn't it? Plus, I like having both of the wing sections to choose from.

Terminally Hip Avocado Toast inspired by The Divorce Diet

Terminally Hip Avocado Toast inspired by The Divorce Diet
The Divorce Diet is dedicated to every woman who ever walked away from a relationship—or a diet.

While The Divorce Diet is not a diet book, it is a book that centers around divorce and diets. Internal monologue is basically how I would describe the tone of this story. We're introduced to our main character, Abigail, as she lies in bed contemplating life as a new mother, the changes in her body and marriage, and another main character in the story—her diet book (and the basis for her imaginary guru), Losing Weight the Natural Way (which ironically includes mostly "low fat" items you purchase from the grocery store).

As if trying to navigate motherhood and wifehood when you're 25 isn't enough, Abigail soon discovers that she'll also have to navigate being a divorced young mother of a baby...without a job or a house.

I had a bit of a hard time getting into this story at first. Abigail is somewhat annoying and grating, but as the story went on and we got to know her better, my attitude towards her shifted. I imagined myself in her shoes. I remembered what it was like to be a single mother at that age. I understood the feeling of being lost and alone. I remembered waiting tables and I remembered how amazing it felt (and still does) to cook—and do it really well—for people. Let's just say, it grew on me.

Chapati, aka Roti (Indian Flatbread)

Chapati, aka Roti (Indian Flatbread)
It never ceases to amaze me the amazing things that result from using only three simple ingredients: flour, salt, and water. That is exactly the case with this month's Bread Baking Babes challenge—Chapatis (Roti), issued by BBBabe Elizabeth. Elizabeth mentioned that "something nice and plain after all our excesses over the holidays" was in order. I had to agree. Even though I didn't make the gorgeous Nutella Brioche flowers that the BBBabes made last month, there was still excess.

As soon as I read through the instructions for making Chapatis, I realized that making them is basically like making flour tortillas. It's pretty amazing how so many different cultures make a very similar version of the same food, don't you think? Each may have a slightly different method, or use a slightly different technique or tool. Different, but not.

Elizabeth made a very helpful video (included after the recipe below) that actually helped me see the major difference between making tortillas and making chapatis. Of course, she uses an electric stove, and I use a gas stove, and that actually makes a difference, as well.

Sparkling Mojitos

Sparkling Mojito
What girl doesn't love a little sparkle in their life every now and again? On her finger, in her glass, in the eye of a dreamy guy. You can't deny the lure of sparkly things. Therefore, you'll totally understand when I tell you that I'm sharing not one, but two #bloggerCLUE posts this month. Our theme, afterall, is SPARKLY!

I've been talking lately about things that warm my bones, like soups and stews, comforting roasts, basically anything that cooks low and slow. But sometimes, it even works to just sit back, close my eyes, and sip a cocktail. A sunny burst of lime...the freshness of mint...the rum (oh yeah, totally the rum)...combined they are instant transport to a hot Miami beach via a cocktail—specifically a Mojito.

But I'll do you one better, thanks to Aly of Cooking in Stilettos. She made it easy, really. I knew within just a few moments of rummaging through her "kitchen" what sparkly thing I'd be making. That sunshine-conjuring Mojito I mentioned? She topped it off with sparkles in the form of fizzy Prosecco!

Crockpot Black Bean Soup

Crockpot Black Bean Soup
I'm still hunkered down over here in Frozenville. Stock pots, Dutch ovens, and slow cookers crowd my counters and stove top. Containers of soup disappear from the shelves of my fridge almost as soon as they get there. There's no mistaking the fact that it's mid-January in Northwestern Indiana.

I love coming home after a day out and about to the welcoming smells a slow cooker conjures up. Who doesn't. But tell me, do you ever let your slow cooker work its magic while you're nestled snugly in your warm bed? It's a whole 'nother level of happiness. The scent sort of envelopes the quiet house in a comforting blanket, and invokes good dreams.

What's that you say? You don't feel like waking up to a hearty bowl of stew? That's okay, cool it down and refrigerate it for later. Everybody knows soup only gets better with time. Or better yet, ladle some into thermoses to warm your loved ones back up during lunch at work or school.

Soft Pretzel Sticks with Spicy Mustard Sauce

Soft Pretzel Sticks with Spicy Mustard Sauce
I recently went on a scavenger hunt with my main objective being to find something sparkly. That's right, I said SPARKLY! Why, you ask? It's all due to a not-so-secret secret society called blogger C.L.U.E.. I was given a blog to rummage around in and get familiar with, and since I already "know" the brains behind this blog, I a wee bit worried about finding something sparkly. When I think Debra, and her blog, Eliot's Eats, I think down to earth...I think from the earth...I think seasonal produce.

But, even though I couldn't recall ever seeing a bubble, a shimmering coating of sugar, or a colorful smattering of sprinkles adorning her food, I was on a mission to dig up some sparkle. I was moments away from turning her Maldivian Scrub into a sugar scrub...adding my own sparkle, if you will. But I decided that was changing things up a little too much (our goal is to stay fairly true to the original recipe). I worried that adding sugar and oil (and removing rice flour) may be too much fiddling. But I still plan on making it. This frigid, dry weather has my skin begging for a little resort getaway (at home).

So, I set forth once more. I didn't look far before I the answer was staring me in the face—pretzel sticks gleaming with the twinkle of sea salt. Done. Finito. Acabado.

Split Pea and Smoked Turkey Soup

Split Pea and Smoked Turkey Soup
If you know me and my "soup preferences", you're probably surprised to see this recipe. I'm not a very big (or even small) fan of thick, pureed vegetable soups. I usually avoid them like the plague. It feels like I'm eating baby food. And yet, here I am pushing a big pot of baby food in your direction. My only explanation is one I use often—I am a walking contradiction.

I haven't gone dark side, this weekend was simply a "clean fridge and pantry" kind of weekend, and well, necessity is the mother of invention. I had a package of yellow split peas that were nearing their best-by date. I still had about a third of a smoked turkey in the fridge. Plus, there's never really a time that celery and carrots aren't waiting their turn in the crisper. Soup it was.

Fast forward to the fact that today is actually the start of the 11th week of the Twelve Weeks of Winter Squash—and I've been a true slacker in this department for an entire month. Seriously, I've neglected to post a winter squash recipe for the past four weeks. I'm ashamed. Needless to say, I fell short of that goal this year. But I couldn't let another week go by with only my best intentions to show, so I grabbed a can of pumpkin puree from the pantry and added that to the mix.

Smoked Turkey and Spinach Curry inspired by Bridget Jones's Diary | #FoodnFlix

Smoked Turkey and Spinach Curry
"It all began on New Year's Day, in my 32nd year of being single. Once again I found myself on my own and going to my mother's annual turkey curry buffet."

She says it like it's a bad thing. I suppose that in Bridget's situation I may feel the same. But since my mother doesn't hold an yearly Turkey Curry Buffet, and never once tried to set me up when I was single, I find it a fairly brilliant tradition. I'm thinking about starting my own New Year's Day Turkey Curry Buffet tradition, actually. It sounds both fun and delicious. Of course, I also think a summertime "Tarts and Vicars" party would be a blast, so...

In case you hadn't guessed yet, this month the Food 'n Flix club is watching Bridget Jones's Diary. I was excited for this pick since I hadn't seen it in years. I watched it way back when, and have caught bits and pieces on tv now and again over the years, but I'd pretty much forgotten it. I couldn't actually recall any of the scenes if my life depended on it. Apparently I didn't appreciate it as much at 25 as I do at 39 (perfectly sandwiching the age that Bridget was slogging her way through in the film)...because certainly I would have remembered it if I did. That all changed after I cozied up with it on New Year's Eve this year. I kind of love it now.

Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings Bread)

Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings Bread)
Growing up in my American household, January 6 was just another day. It usually coincided with the end of a winter break from school that was far too short. But while I was dragging myself out of bed and into school clothes, two thousand miles (or so) south of my location, my future husband was waking up excited to receive a gift left by the Three Kings.

January 6, or Dia de Reyes, was the day for presents, not Christmas. Three Kings Day follows the twelfth night of Christmas. The way I grew up having a hard time to falling asleep from anticipation on Christmas eve is the way my hubs had a hard time falling asleep on January 5. It wasn't Santa Claus he was waiting on, instead the Three Magi left gifts as they traveled through the town.

Of course the day also meant a celebration! The Merienda de Reyes was an Epiphany feast (a tradition brought to Mexico from Spain) that included food and drink like posole, tortilla soup, tamales, atole, hot chocolate—and of course Rosca de Reyes!

Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Salad

Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Salad
Once the new year hits, you hear people left and right making resolutions and setting goals that often revolve around their diet. I'm not immune to getting in that mindset, but I also try to be realistic. You know, with myself. I definitely get the urge for lighter and fresher. But the thing is—it's January. And January in my world means it's still downright freezing outside. So, I'm still knee deep in hearty stews, slow cooking roasts, and comforting casseroles. And don't plan on letting those go for at least a few months.

That said, I love adding a bit of freshness to those meals meant to warm you to the bone. Although that can also be a bit of a challenge this time of year. While I love locally grown produce, and devour it with an urgency as soon as the ground thaws, sometimes we have to get a little creative with what we have this time of year. Onions, winter squash, tubers, and cabbage abound! You know what's great about that, though? All of those crops are inexpensive and extremely versatile.

When you think red cabbage, images of a big pot simmering on the back of your grandmother's stove may fill your head. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that (pass me a bowl!). But, I know many people who don't like cabbage...or think they don't like cabbage. And it's usually memories like boring boiled cabbage that they cite as the reason why when I ask.

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
When I was a kid, I used to pray that it wouldn't snow before my birthday. Since my birthday falls three days after Halloween, an evening of being able to wear costumes unhindered was automatically covered in that prayer. Sometimes my prayers were answered, sometimes they weren't. It was a crapshoot.

Fast-forward 30 years, and we're lucky if it snows before mid-January. Yes, there's usually one really big, foreboding blast during the first half of November that fools us into unearthing every spare pair of gloves, hat, and scarf we had packed away—but it fades into a distant memory long before lights start twinkling from every other house on the street. I can't remember our last white Christmas. And as far as I'm concerned, once Christmas is over, I'm done with snow. Oh how my younger, largest-snowy-hill-in-the-neighborhood-seeking self would be disappointed in me.

My point really being that it's now January 2nd, and instead of peering out the window to a white blanket that envelops our street in a hush, I see lawns mottled with patches of brown. But those gloves are definitely getting their use, as it is cold as all get-out. Which means that I pretty much want a big pot of soup simmering on the stove on a daily basis.

Golden Raisins in Chardonnay Syrup over Baked Brie

Golden Raisins in Chardonnay Syrup over Baked Brie
I'm that girl at the party hanging out by the cheese tray...

And today I'm holding fort over at Food Fanatic with a wheel of melty Brie that's topped with tipsy golden raisins in a luxurious Chardonnay syrup that is flecked with vanilla beans, aka Baked Brie with Chardonnay Raisins.

Visit me there to read more about my love of cheese and grab the Baked Brie with Chardonnay Raisins recipe!