Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yes, you can eat the "wrapper!"


When I want a really special little finger dessert, one of my "go to's" is always my mousse filled chocolate cups. Very pretty AND tasty... and you can even eat the wrapper! Sometimes, it will take your guests awhile before they realize that the wrapper is chocolate. 

So here's the process. Get out your mini muffin pan, and line it with mini muffin wrappers. Melt your favorite chocolate, dark or light. I usually melt mine in the microwave, being careful to stir it at 30 second intervals so it won't burn. Pour your chocolate in a squirt bottle, and then squirt a generous amount of chocolate into each wrapper.  Using a paint brush, paint the insides of the wrappers with the melted chocolate. Make sure the sides have adequate chocolate or they will break when you try to remove the wrappers. After all the wrappers are painted, stick the muffin pan in the freezer for several minutes. When they are nice and firm, take them out and CAREFULLY remove each wrapper. At this point, you can stack them together until you are ready to fill them with the mousse. 

Here's a simple mousse recipe that you can make just about any flavor you want. You can leave it plain for a vanilla mousse, or add things like peanut butter, cocoa, mint, raspberry (my favorite), strawberry... let your taste buds go wild! 

Cream Cheese Mousse

(1) 8 oz. package cream cheese
About 1 - 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (I never really measure it, just put enough in so it's the sweetness that you like)
1-2 tsp. vanilla (or other flavoring) (Again, use your judgement for the flavor you like)

Put these ingredients in a mixer bowl and beat until smooth and fluffy. Then add:

(1) 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip (you can add more if you like)

Beat until nice and fluffy. Be sure to scrape the bowl on the bottom to get all of the cream cheese mixed in. Now you can fold in any other ingredients that you want. If I'm making chocolate or peanut butter mousse, I usually add the cocoa or peanut butter into the cream cheese mixture before adding the Cool Whip. 

The next step is to get out a large decorating bag and a large round or open star tip. Fill your bag with the mousse and pipe it into your pretty little chocolate cups. Now sit back and wait for your guests to be impressed!

Keep them cool until just before serving.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup... it's good for the soul... and the tummy!

Here's another favorite soup recipe, given to me from a dear friend, Lynne, many years ago. She brought it over one day when I was down sick with a terrible cold, and our family has loved it ever since. This is the original recipe with just a little tweaking on my part as far as spices. 

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

3 cups chicken broth or stock
2 tsp. chicken bouillon (I sometimes leave this out to cut down on the sodium)
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk (if you want it richer, use cream)
2 cups cooked, diced chicken (I use the canned chicken from Costco)
4 cups cooked noodles (don't overcook)
Poultry seasoning, thyme, and pepper to taste

Bring chicken broth or stock to boil. Add chopped vegetables and cook until tender. Add cream of chicken soup and milk. Bring to boil. Add chicken, cooked noodles, and spices (I love thyme) and heat through. Makes a large pot, about 10 servings. This is good warmed up as leftovers, like most soups.