Bacon What?!?!?!

      I am a serious pack-rat and have a really hard time throwing things away… especially cooking magazines (which I have had WAY too many of)!  In an attempt to save on space, I carefully went through each magazine and tore out only the recipes that I thought I might potentially make someday.  Then I tossed the remaining shell of a magazine into the trash (I was so proud of myself).  After I had finished, I still had a large plastic box full of random sheets of recipes, but it was definitely an improvement over the original mountain of magazines that I had started with.  
     That said, I’ve had this gem of a recipe screaming to be made since I re-discovered it during the magazine massacre.  Get ready for it --- Mini Bacon Cheesecakes!!!!  Anything "mini" is usually a little extra work to make (and these were), but the end result is always so adorable and totally worth it.  The only changes that I made to the original Food Network recipe was that I used Neufchâtel cream cheese (1/3 fat) and chocolate Teddy Grahams instead of chocolate wafers.

     Since one recipe yields 24 mini cheesecakes, I felt I needed a special occasion to make them so that I wouldn't eat two dozen cheesecakes all by myself (and, after tasting the finished product, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have tried …and most likely succeeded).  Finally yesterday, an opportunity presented itself.  Some good friends of mine, the Rickers, invited me over for dinner.  Turns out I was not the only one de-cluttering.  They were doing some cleaning of their own (the inside of their freezer).  In order to make room for all of the new game that they have hunted this year, they needed to clean out what was left of last-year’s supply and decided to make a GIANT feast.  No complaints from any of their guests that night (PS. You guys can clean out your freezer ANY time… we all volunteer to help!  It’s a tough job, but that’s what friends are for!)  
     All in all, it was a great evening full of fun friends (both new and old) in which we sampled delicious dishes such as pheasant stroganoff, breaded pheasant with creamy yogurt sauce, smoked pheasant wrapped in bacon, and of course a Minnesota specialty deep-fried walleye.  DELICIOUS!  By the end of the meal, we had all eaten too much-- but don't worry --everyone still had room to finish off each and every one of the mini bacon cheesecakes.  Needless to say, they were a hit!  Try them for yourself...

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