Recipes and Kitchen Hints

The Best Chocolate Cake With Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting
Nana's Chicken Noodle Soup

The Best Chocolate Cake With Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 1 three layer 9-inch round cake, serves 10-12 people, or makes 15 cupcakes

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brewed coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350° F. In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat eggs and sugar together about 5 minutes, until pale in color. Add melted butter and mix well. Add sifted dry ingredients alternating with coffee and buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Add vanilla and beat well. Batter will be very thin. Pour into three 9" greased cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until knife tests clean. Cool completely. Frost between layers with cream cheese frosting, leaving sides unfrosted.

You may opt to make cupcakes instead by pouring batter into greased or lined muffin tins. Baking time may differ slightly. When cupcakes are completely cool, frost tops with cream cheese frosting.

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Cream Cheese Frosting
Enough to frost 2 cakes or 2 dozen cupcakes

1/2 pound cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In mixing bowl, or bowl of electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter. Add sugar gradually, along with vanilla. Beat thoroughly until frosting is smooth and shiny.

To make chocolate cream cheese frosting, add 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder to above. Frost cake or cupcakes with chocolate frosting, for an all chocolate version of this cake.

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Nana's Chicken Noodle Soup
Serves 6-8 people

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick on the bias
4 - 14 1/2 oz. cans chicken broth or the equivalent of homemade
1 1/2 cups wide egg noodles
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place butter or oil in large soup pot. Add onions and celery. Cook over medium heat 10-12 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add chicken, carrots, chicken stock and seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked and carrots are tender. Add egg noodles and cook an additional 5-7 minutes until noodles are tender. Adjust seasonings. Ladle into soup bowls.

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Kichenette Hints

We always cook our bacon in the oven on a baking sheet. That ensures even cooking. Before roasting the bacon in the oven, try sprinkling it with a little sugar. You will be amazed by how much more flavor the bacon will have.

Do you ever have left over bagels? Try this. Slice the bagels thin, place slices on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Serve with homemade soup or chili.

Making your own fruit butter is a great and easy way to dress up toast or muffins. Just place 1/2 pound of softened butter in a food processor. Add 1/2 cup of your favorite jam or preserves and mix until well incorporated. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.

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