Monday, January 31, 2011

Settling In For Another Winter Spell

Okay, I have slid down my driveway to get supplies for the fam before the big old snow storm of the century hits. I keep on saying the diet starts tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow... but when it is this nasty outside I just want to have the good stuff. Now, I think Chicken Stock Up Soup is pretty darn tasty and probably not bad considering it actually has veggies in it. But look down further at this yummy sink your teeth in treat. Bring on the Snow Storm Cupcake is going to be gobbled up in my home tonight without guilt! If you have the goods in the cupboard I hope you can enjoy this as well, who cares how much snow is coming right?

Chicken Stock Up Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil 3 carrots 1 medium onion 3 celery stalks 1 garlic clove, minced 1 cup leftover chicken 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning 1 bay leaf 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock 1 can diced tomatoes 3/4 cup uncooked pasta salt and pepper

Dice the carrots, onion and celery into 1/2 inch dice. Add the olive oil and diced vegetables to a large soup pot over medium heat, lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper, then saute for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the minced garlic and saute for another 5 minutes.

Add the italian seasoning and chicken to the vegetables and saute for another minute. Add the bay leaf, chicken stock and tomatoes then bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, then season to taste.

After 10 minutes, add the pasta and continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until the pasta and vegetables are cooked, but not mushy.

Bring On The Snow Storm Cupcakes

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (we used Ghirardelli)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and lightly spray the top of the pan with some cooking spray so nothing sticks.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In another large bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Use a hand mixer to combine the wet and dry ingredients by adding the wet ingredients slowly to the dry ingredients (Make sure the mixer is at a low speed). Once the wet and dry ingredients are combined, add the hot coffee and use a spatula to mix until just combined.

Pour the batter 3/4 way up each cupcake liner (the batter will be thin) and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester can be inserted into a cupcake and come out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 20 minutes and then take them out of the pan and allow to completely cool on a cooling rack.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 2 chocolate bars), chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

In a small saucepan bring a small amount of water to a simmer then take the pot off the heat or turn to very low heat, place a heat-safe bowl over the water, without allowing the water to touch the bottom of the bowl, add the chopped chocolate, cream and butter to the bowl, add the chopped chocolate, cream and butter to the bowl and stir gently until the chocolate has melted into the cream and butter- this is using a double boiler.

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