Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mint Cookie Cupcakes

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Oh goody, another holiday, another excuse to eat chocolate!
I found this delicious recipe last year at Pleasant Home (I love the name).
I wish my home evoked pleasant instead of loud!
I baked these marvelously minty cupcakes last year about this time and last night.
Not sure why I don't make them more than once a year because who doesn't like chocolate & mint or chocolate & anything??

Mint Cookie Cupcakes
1 box Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
1 pkg Mint Chocolate Cookies Like Grasshopper Cookies or GS Thin Mints
Chocolate Mint Buttercream Icing

Make cake mix as directed.
Place one mint cookie in the bottom of each cupcake liner in a muffin pan.
Fill cupcake liners with approximately 1/4 cup of cake mix.
Bake according to directions on the box.
Let cool.
Frost with chocolate mint buttercream icing.
Simplicity and so yummy!
Yield: 24 cupcakes

Helpful tip: Don't forget the cute cupcake liners but bake the cupcakes in plain liners because they are quite sticky on the bottom after baking and need to be sat in another liner. You're welcome!

Chocolate Mint Buttercream Icing

1/2 c solid vegetable shortening
1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 c cocoa or three 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares - melted
1 t mint extract
4 c sifted confectioners' sugar - (approximately 1 lb.)
3-4 T milk

Stiff Consistency: In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
Yield: 3 cups

Chocolate Mocha Icing: Substitute cold brewed strong coffee for milk in Chocolate Buttercream recipe.

Darker Chocolate Icing: Add an additional 1/4 cup cocoa (or one additional 1 oz. square unsweetened chocolate, melted) and 1 additional tablespoon milk to Chocolate Buttercream Icing.

For Thin (Spreading) Consistency Icing: Add 3-4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Spring may be on it's way but I was craving some yummy soup.
I found this recipe awhile back during my multiple hours of blog surfing at Back to the Cutting Board.
I enjoy visiting her blog even tho it makes me feel quite inadequate. I wish I was a web designer but I was born in the 60's.
Emily has two different colored eyes, just like my girl and we both heart tumeric.
But I'm really not a stalker!
And her photo is better than mine.
Someday I may need to learn how to blog like the pros.
But until then I will cook/bake & share with you.

Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients: .
16 oz cherry/grape tomatoes or 1 can of diced tomatoes, with chilies if you like things spicier (I use both)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 green pepper, diced
3 t olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 onion
2 garlic cloves - minced
1 T chili powder
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t dried oregano
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t tumeric
1 t salt
1 t pepper
4 c low sodium chicken broth
1 c water - (plus more if needed)
12 oz. frozen corn
1 can black beans - rinsed and drained
3/4 c fresh cilantro - divided
1 c shredded Mexican cheese blend
tortilla chips
1 lime - cut into wedges
Add tomatoes, carrots and green pepper to a food processor and pulse until blended, but still chunky. Set aside.
Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add in the cubed chicken and cook until it's completely cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
Remove from pan and shred chicken. Set aside.
Heat another tsp. of oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook about 5-8 minutes.
Add chicken and all the spices and cook over medium heat for one minute.
Add in the tomato mixture, chicken broth, water, corn and beans and 1/2 cup cilantro. Simmer, partly covered for 30-60 minutes.
Ladle soup into a bowl and top with a handful of tortillas and a couple of tablespoons of cheese & avocado. Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro. Squeeze a wedge of lime over it just before eating.