WEIGHT WATCHER WEDNESDAY

First..sorry for the hideous photo..I sooooo need to get a Lowel Ego light. Going outside to use the natural light is just not working for me! It was so humid today that I couldn’t get my camera to stop fogging up! I am really enjoying Weight Watcher Wednesdays! I know when I am eating whatever […]

Left over rice? Make Rice pudding!!!!!

Even though my children don’t like rice..I have to do my part as a responsible parent and cook it and put it on their plate! Do they eat it?? Hell no! So needless to say I often have a bunch of leftovers. I was left with exactly 2 cups of brown rice. I’ll throw it […]

Video Post Update..with no eye twitch!

A big thank you from me to YOU!

WEIGHT WATCHER WEDNESDAY + meme at the end

Here we are on week #3 of Weight Watcher Wednesday..and today I didn’t have a sweet tooth(bizarre right?) so I decided to cook something savory. Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo.I am a big fan of the FULL FAT, ALL BUTTER and ALL CREAM version, but if you can lighten it up, why not??!!The sauce was not as […]

Blueberry Pancakes…Simply Yummy + some Tips

Will ya look at the action shot! Drippy butter! Nothing better than that! BLUEBERRY PANCAKES INGREDIENTS1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour2 teaspoons granulated sugar1/2 teaspoon table salt1/2 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon baking soda3/4 cup buttermilk1/4 cup milk (plus an extra tablespoon or so if batter is too thick)1 large egg , separated2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted1 […]

RED VELVET LOVE

This might come to a shock to some of you..but..No Red Velvet of any kind has ever touched my lips! Shocking I know! I am not sure how it has missed the reach of my hands. But nope, never had it. Back in June I saw a beautiful photo of some Red Velvet Cupcakes over […]

WEIGHT WATCHER WEDNESDAY

Week #2 of Weight Watcher Wednesday! Ok you got about 8 minutes? You can whip this one up!! I was leaving for the 4th of July Weekend and I didn’t want to leave the Strawberries in the fridge as a science experiment! My sister was having her book club at her house that night..so I […]

Cornbread Ya’ll

I must have been super out of it the other night..while cleaning up from dinner I realized I left my ear of corn on the stove. I clearly saw my whole family eating their corn..but I never thought..mmmmm..where is my corny goodness. Maybe it was my ass telling me to slowly step away from the […]

Tag I’m it!

I got tagged by Bridgett at La Bella Cook for a fun little survey to take.Below are my answers.. 1. LAST MOVIE YOU SAW IN A THEATER: Hancock…actually pretty good!2. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING: None..I cant read! I mean I can read but I just cant find many books that I can concentrate on. […]

My first award!

Fun Fun Fun! I got my first “Award”! Rita at The Clumbsy Cookie has awarded me my first award. I have been ooggling over her blog sometime. And as a fellow Daring Baker, you know she ROCKS!!!Check out her site! So with these awards you are supposed to pass them on to 5 others that […]

The Evil and Drunk Cupcake

My best friend Bobbi had a little mid summer pool party at her house for all the kiddos. One of her friends Diane brought some cupcakes. She said they were orange and chocolate. I am NOT a big fan of chocolate and orange together. I think my dislike of the combo comes from those nasty […]

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WEIGHT WATCHER WEDNESDAY

First..sorry for the hideous photo..I sooooo need to get a Lowel Ego light. Going outside to use the natural light is just not working for me! It was so humid today that I couldn’t get my camera to stop fogging up!

I am really enjoying Weight Watcher Wednesdays! I know when I am eating whatever I made it will be delicious and nutritious! Again, thanks to my friend Em at The Repressed Pastry Chef for starting WWW!!

I know I am boring and predictable..another chicken dish! Well, we eat a bunch of chicken in my house mainly because that’s what my picky eaters will eat and I can do anything with it!

This dinner is easy as can be to make and an easy clean up(a HUGE bonus for me)!

It has a wonderful thick sauce bursting with garlic flavor that the broccoli soaks right up!

Chicken with Broccoli and Garlic Sauce
Ingredients
2 tsp Olive oil
3 Medium garlic clove(s), minced, or more to taste
1 pound Uncooked chicken breast, boneless and skinless, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp Dried thyme, or 2 tbsp fresh minced thyme, or to taste
1/2 tsp Table salt
1/4 tsp Black pepper
2 cup Broccoli, florets
1 1/2 cup Canned chicken broth, reduced-sodium
1 1/2 tbsp Cornstarch
2 cup Cooked brown rice, kept hot
Preparation
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Season chicken with thyme, salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until browned on all sides, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.
Add broccoli to skillet, cover and cook 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of broth, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Dissolve cornstarch in remaining 1/2 cup of broth and add mixture to skillet. Simmer until mixture thickens, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Serve over rice. Yields about 1 cup of chicken mixture and 1/2 cup of rice per serving
Points Value: 5
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 17 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 min

Left over rice? Make Rice pudding!!!!!

Even though my children don’t like rice..I have to do my part as a responsible parent and cook it and put it on their plate! Do they eat it?? Hell no! So needless to say I often have a bunch of leftovers. I was left with exactly 2 cups of brown rice. I’ll throw it away..then I heard of voice of my past(mother)..”eat your food, there are starving children in China.” SO it sat there on the stove until I figured out its fate!
Ah ha..RICE PUDDIN!
Oh wait I cook all my rice and couscous in chicken stock(gives it much more flavor). Oh no I didn’t..not tonight. I used my last drop of chicken stock on my Chicken Piccata. So I used plain water to cook the rice..so there was a green light for the Rice Puddin!!

Left over rice? Make Rice pudding!!!!!
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast,Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Make Rice Pudding with Left-over rice
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked rice (brown or white)
  • about 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup splenda or sugar
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup raisins or fruit of choice..I used Regular and golden raisins
  • Spices to taste …like cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice..etc
  • Walnuts for a crunch if you like
Instructions
  1. All add ingredients to the cooked rice except the spices and bring to a boil.
  2. Boil for a few minutes and then cook until most of the milk is absorbed.
  3. Once you get to your desired consistency, add your spices.
  4. Add the nuts if you want.
  5. Serve hot or cold! Its was yummy either way!

WEIGHT WATCHER WEDNESDAY + meme at the end

Here we are on week #3 of Weight Watcher Wednesday..and today I didn’t have a sweet tooth(bizarre right?) so I decided to cook something savory. Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo.I am a big fan of the FULL FAT, ALL BUTTER and ALL CREAM version, but if you can lighten it up, why not??!!The sauce was not as thick as the original. But it was equally as tasty! I didn’t feel guilty after scarfing down a nice big bowl!

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Ingredients

6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with a knife
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, washed and patted dry(four 4 oz pieces)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Cooking Spray
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt, Greek-Style
salt..for cooking pasta
8 oz uncooked whole wheat fettuccine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup parsley, fresh, flat leaf, finely chopped

Instructions

Heat large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Rub garlic over chicken, reserve garlic. Season chicken with salt and pepper and rub it in the chicken. Coat skillet w/ cooking spray and then set over medium heat. Saute garlic until fragrant. about 1 minute. Add chicken and cook until golden, flipping once, about 5 minutes per side. In a small bowl, combine broth, heavy cream and yogurt: pour over chicken and scrape the bottom of the skillet to incorporate seasonings. Simmer chicken gently, turning once, about 30 minutes.Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Remove chicken from cream sauce and set aside. Add Parmesan cheese to cream mixture and mix until well combined. Add cooked pasta and 3 Tbsp of parsley; toss well. Serve pasta topped w/ chicken and the rest of the parsley.

Points value: 9
Prep time: 12 minutes
Serves: 4
The Stressed Baker for another set of memes! You can see the rules here at her site. On this set of memes I have to tell you all 6 random things about me..my goodness I could tell you a million..but here are 6 not so interesting thins about me..

1…I am terrified of heights.

2…I graduated from nursing school, but never work a day as a nurse after realizing that I am a germ-a-phob

3…I have never been in a fight with any of my friends..I am a lover

4…I hate scary movies..my imagination goes wild..I swear Jason Myers and Freddy Kruger are real and they must life on my street and only come out at night!

5…I am a hotel snob

6…My right eye is blue with 1/4 perfect pie shape in it that is brown

Well thats it..gripping huh?

I am going to keep this in the Daring Bakers Ring..I am randomly going to pick 6 of my DB’s to get to know better.

http://pamelaskitchen.blogspot.com/

http://novice-baker.blogspot.com/

http://www.cupcake-corner.blogspot.com/

http://www.butterandsugar.org/blog/

http://vanillabasil.blogspot.com/

http://lifeaftergluten.blogspot.com/

Blueberry Pancakes…Simply Yummy + some Tips

Will ya look at the action shot! Drippy butter! Nothing better than that!

BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

INGREDIENTS
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk (plus an extra tablespoon or so if batter is too thick)
1 large egg , separated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup blueberries

vegetable oil (for brushing griddle)

1. Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl. Pour buttermilk and milk into 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Mix yolk with melted butter, then stir into milk mixture. Whisk egg white in large bowl to stiff peaks. Dump wet ingredients into dry ingredients all at once; whisk until just mixed. Quickly fold egg white into batter. Fold blueberries into batter.

2. Meanwhile, heat griddle or large skillet over strong medium-high heat. Brush griddle generously with oil. When water splashed on surface confidently sizzles, spoon batter, about 1/4 cup at a time, onto griddle, making sure not to overcrowd. When pancake bottoms are brown and top surface starts to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes, flip cakes and cook until remaining side has browned, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Re-oil the skillet and repeat for the next batch of pancakes.

Recipe and pancake tips found on Cooks Illustrated.

Are there any tricks to making and serving great pancakes?
Hare some tricks we’ve found make for successful pancakes:Mix the Batter Lightly. There are two factors that promote fluffiness in pancake batter, underdeveloped gluten and dissolved baking soda. Gluten is a mix of very long proteins that are disorganized in structure. Once gluten is dissolved in water, these proteins can more easily rearrange their structure. Kneading or mixing gluten elongates the proteins and somewhat organizes them, an action similar to combing the strands of your hair. As the proteins start to lie more or less parallel to each other, the dough becomes elastic and less tender. By reducing the mixing time of your batter, you give the gluten less opportunity to organize.

Baking soda (either on its own or as part of the baking powder formula) creates the bubbles that make pancakes rise. When baking soda encounters an acid, carbon dioxide is formed to produce the bubbles in the batter. The stirring of the pancake batter speeds bubble formation by moving the baking soda and acid together. Unfortunately, stirring also causes the release of carbon dioxide gas by bringing formed bubbles to the surface of the mixture. Just a little too much stirring and the bubble-forming capacity of the baking soda will be quickly exhausted. To make the fluffiest pancakes possible, then, you should stir the batter until the ingredients are just incorporated—and not one stir more!

Use the Batter Within an Hour. To determine how far in advance we could make pancake batter, we mixed up a few batches of basic pancake batter and held them for different lengths of time before cooking: one hour, two hours, and three hours. Holding the batter for one hour had no detrimental effect on the pancakes. After two and three hours, however, the batter spread out too easily, producing thin, floppy cakes that were much less appealing than the ones made from fresh batter. Here’s why: In fresh pancake batter, baking powder reacts quickly, releasing most of its gas in a short period of time. The longer the batter sits, the fewer bubbles there are left when it’s time to cook, increasing the likelihood of flat flapjacks.

At first we thought we could add a bit more baking powder to the batter to provide some extra lift, but this merely lent an unpleasant chemical taste to the pancakes. Next, we tried adding a stiffly beaten egg white to the batter. The resulting pancakes were not quite as fluffy as those from fresh batter, but the egg white added a good amount of height. So the next time you find yourself with pancake batter past its prime, simply add a stiffly beaten egg white.

Heat the Pan Properly. The best way to determine when the skillet is ready is to make a test pancake the size of a half-dollar (use 1 tablespoon of batter). If after one minute the pancake is golden brown, the pan is ready. If the bottom of the pancake remains blond—or is close to burning—adjust the heat accordingly.

Serve as Soon as Possible. We tried several methods to determine how to hold pancakes before serving, from stacking up the pancakes on a heated plate, to covering them with foil, or to placing the plate of stacked pancakes in a warm oven. All of these methods did the job as far as keeping the pancakes warm. Even by the last batch of pancakes, the temperature reading would hit somewhere between 145 and 150 degrees. But these pancakes were compressed from being stacked, and they steamed from the heat and became very rubbery.

What we found that the best method was to spread the pancakes on a large cooling rack placed on a sheet pan (be sure to spray the cooling rack well with vegetable cooking spray and save yourself from sticking pancakes). Place the pan and the rack in a 200-degree oven and place your pancakes on the rack in a single layer, uncovered, for up to 20 minutes (or be warned-they will start to dry out.) The warm oven keeps the pancakes hot enough to melt a pat of butter, and leaving the pancakes uncovered keeps them from becoming soggy.

P.S..or you could sooooo cheat and use Bisquick and just add Blueberries! You can never go wrong with that!!!

RED VELVET LOVE

This might come to a shock to some of you..but..No Red Velvet of any kind has ever touched my lips! Shocking I know! I am not sure how it has missed the reach of my hands. But nope, never had it. Back in June I saw a beautiful photo of some Red Velvet Cupcakes over on Em’s site..

The Repressed Pastry Chef I printed it and put it in my ever growing pile of “To Make” list.
So today I was aching to bake something..seems like I have that ache everyday!
Well, they were really easy to whip up. It only took a few minutes from the time I started to get them in the oven. I seem to have a sinking in the middle cupcake issue, so I was pleasantly surprised to see when I pulled them out of the oven they didn’t sink in the middle. YEAH!
The cream Cheese frosting is OUT OF THIS WORLD! While I was decorating the cupcakes it went like this…one squirt for the cupcakes…one big squirt in the mouth for me! Oh its that good!
I am not the Red Velvet expert, but this one is a keeper!

P.S…Happy Birthday to EM..stop by her site and wish her Happy Birthday!

RED VELVET CUPCAKES with CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
1c cake flour
1/3c cocoa
1/2tsp salt
2/3c vegetable oil
3/4c sugar
1 egg
1oz (2T) red food coloring
1/2tsp vanilla
1/2c buttermilk
1/2tsp baking soda
3/4tsp white vinegar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Line12-cupcake pans with cupcake liners and spray with cooking spray.Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time.With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring . Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.Divide batter among 12-cupcake pans, filling each about 2/3 full.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
(Mine cooked for 23 minutes.)
Em’s Magnificent Cream Cheese Icing

8oz pkg of cream cheese – room temperature, divided in three parts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter – COLD
1 tablespoon shortening1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and combine very well. Add the first third of the cream cheese and combine very well. Add the shortening and combine very well. Add the remaining cream cheese one piece at a time, combining very well after each.

WEIGHT WATCHER WEDNESDAY

Ok you got about 8 minutes? You can whip this one up!! I was leaving for the 4th of July Weekend and I didn’t want to leave the Strawberries in the fridge as a science experiment! My sister was having her book club at her house that night..so I thought that was the perfect way to get rid of the ruby red jewels.
Cream Cheese Filled Strawberries
1 pound Strawberries, jumbo-size (about 18 strawberries)
4 oz Light cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup Powdered sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Preparation
Wash and dry strawberries (leave green caps on).
Using a paring knife, cut a wide v-shape out of the pointed end of each strawberry (like an open mouth); reserve cut out pieces of strawberries.
Place cut strawberries on a serving plate, green cap side down so they will be easy to fill.
Using an electric mixer, thoroughly combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl.
Chop reserved leftover bits of strawberries into tiny pieces and gently stir into cream cheese mixture with a spoon.
Fill each cut strawberry with a small amount of cream cheese mixture using a spatula or knife. Arrange filled strawberries on a serving plate, green cap side down.
Yields about 3 strawberries per serving.
Points Value: 2 for 3 strawberries

Cornbread Ya’ll

I must have been super out of it the other night..while cleaning up from dinner I realized I left my ear of corn on the stove. I clearly saw my whole family eating their corn..but I never thought..mmmmm..where is my corny goodness. Maybe it was my ass telling me to slowly step away from the carbs. Regardless of my lack of brain, in good conscious I couldn’t throw it away. So like the foodie I am, I instantly started thinking what I could bake with it. The easiest solution was cornbread! Not the jalapeno kind..but sweet cornbread! I know sweet cornbread is not authentic, but I like mine sweet so I’m gonna make it sweet damn it!
This ain’t no Jiffy cornbread mix y’all!!!! This southern dish is for you Peter

SWEET CORNY CORNBREAD with HONEY GLAZE

1/4 pound butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ear of corn (kernels cut of cob)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Stir in corn kernels. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

HONEY GLAZE
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons milk

combine all ingredients and stir until smooth

Pour glaze over cornbread…mmmmm …if you let it sit overnight the glaze will just soak into the cornbread and make it super moist!!!
Inspired from All Recipes

Tag I’m it!

I got tagged by Bridgett at La Bella Cook for a fun little survey to take.
Below are my answers..

1. LAST MOVIE YOU SAW IN A THEATER: Hancock…actually pretty good!
2. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING: None..I cant read! I mean I can read but I just cant find many books that I can concentrate on. Probably my A.D.D kicking in!!
3. FAVORITE BOARD GAME: Trivial Pursuit..don’t let the blond hair fool you folks!!
4. FAVORITE MAGAZINE: Cooking with Paula Deen and Cooks Illustrated
5. FAVORITE SMELLS: Baked good in the oven. My kids(when clean..lol)
6. FAVORITE SOUNDS: My children laughing!
7. TELL ME ABOUT FOOD: Pleasing on the tongue..but not pleasing on my ASS
8. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE: Coffee and sleep!
9. FAVORITE FAST FOOD PLACE: Pei Wei
10. FUTURE CHILD’S NAME: Good lord..if I had any more than 2..I don’t think I would know my name!!
11. IF I HAD A LOT OF MONEY, I’D…: Travel the world
12. DO YOU DRIVE FAST: Oh hell no..I am a dorky rule follower
13. STORMS – COOL OR SCARY: Love em
14. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR: A tan 1972 VW Superbettle
15. FAVORITE DRINK: Water..boring I know!
16. IF I HAD TIME, I WOULD: Take a nap
17. DO YOU EAT THE STEMS OF BROCCOLI: YUCK
18. NAME ALL THE CITIES YOU HAVE LIVED IN: Pittsburgh, Vero Beach and Tampa
19. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH: NFL Football
20. ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU: Bridgett..delicious blog..and always has nice things to say!
21. MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL: I am not a morning, noon or night person! LOL
22. OVER EASY OR SUNNY SIDE UP: Sunny side up
23. FAVORITE PLACE TO RELAX: In my bed
24. FAVORITE PIE: Cherry
25. FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR: Butter Pecan

Now I suppose I have to pass this one on as well…hmmm lets see who will be my victims????
Play along if you wish..but not required!!
Tag your it…
Peter @ Kalofagas
Em @ The Repressed Pastry Chef

My first award!

Fun Fun Fun! I got my first “Award”! Rita at The Clumbsy Cookie has awarded me my first award. I have been ooggling over her blog sometime. And as a fellow Daring Baker, you know she ROCKS!!!Check out her site! So with these awards you are supposed to pass them on to 5 others that you think are deserving..so here are my picks…
  • Stephaine’s Kitchen….I just adore her blog. Her photos are great and we share the same style of cooking with a house full of picky eaters! EVERYTHING on her blog is delicious!
  • Dhanggit’s Kitchen….Hilda has the most beautiful website. All of her photos look like they are directly out of a gourmet cookbook. She always has funny stories to tell that go along with her divine recipes!
  • Kalofagas… If you want Greek…Peter will give you Greek!!! Peter makes all the things I want to make but my family would laugh at me if I tried to serve it to them! His food is just delicious! And he always leaves the funniest comments on my blog! He is a HOOT!!!
  • A Southern Grace….She might live in the fast pace life of New York..but she still serves up some good ol’ Southern Food! Her posts crack me up and they aren’t too bad on the eyes!!!
  • La Bella Cook…Bridgett has a wonderful blog with scrumptious posts! She shared her families spaghetti recipe for me after my posting of my posting of my Not So Italian Spaghetti and I have been hooked on her blog ever since!!

The Evil and Drunk Cupcake

My best friend Bobbi had a little mid summer pool party at her house for all the kiddos. One of her friends Diane brought some cupcakes. She said they were orange and chocolate. I am NOT a big fan of chocolate and orange together. I think my dislike of the combo comes from those nasty chocolate orange chocolates that you peel like an orange..I have no clue what its name is. But me pass up on a cupcake, that will never happen in this lifetime!! I took the first bite and thought, hmmmmm….interesting. I wasn’t sure if I like them or not. I took the second bite(because you can never let food go to waste)..and I was hooked! They are so very divine! You could taste the Triple Sec in the frosting. And the miniature of the orange cake and the chocolate cake was Evil!!
Diane got the recipe from the Cake Doctor book.
When I was making them, my husband tasted the frosting and said with his brow ruffled..ewww what is that??? I frosted a cupcake for him and told him he couldn’t eat the frosting alone. He reluctantly tasted the entire goodie..and after his bite, he loved them! They are strange little things…I think that they are 2 bite cupcakes..they take 2 bites for you to get the full effect of the flavors! But my my my they are soooo good!!
I call them evil because when I was piping the frosting on them..they just looked kinda evil! Who knows..I’m just weird!

ORANGE SWIRL CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH ORANGE COCOA CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Cupcakes

24 paper liners
1 pkg. Fudge marble Cake mix
1 1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup veggie oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350, line 24 muffin tins w/ paper liners
Place cake mix, orange juice,oil and eggs in a large bowl. Blend w/ electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape sides if needed. Increase speed to medium and beat 1 1/2 minutes more. The batter should be combined. Measure out 1 cup of the batter into a medium bowl and set aside. Add the orange zest to the remaining batter in the large bowl. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the chocolate package from the cake mix to the 1 cup of batter you reserved and mix on low until combined.
Spoon the plain orange batter into the muffin cups, filling 2/3 of the way full. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the chocolate batter on top of each cupcake. Swirl the chocolate batter into the orange batter w/ a knife or toothpick, creating a marbled effect. Place pans in the oven.
Back the cupcakes until they spring back; 18-22 minutes.(mine only took 16 minutes only after the 2nd batch..my first batch burned at 18 minutes). Let them cool completely before frosting.

ORANGE COCOA CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

8 ounces cream cheese — at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter — at room temperature[1/2 stick]
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure orange extract
3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar — sifted
1 tablespoon orange liqueur — (1 to 2 tablespoons) such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec
Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the cocoa powder, orange extract, confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon orange liqueur. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well combined, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more. If the frosting seems too stiff, blend in another 1 tablespoon liqueur. Use to frost the top and sides of the cake or cupcakes of your choice. Makes 3 1/2 cups; enough to frost a 2- or 3-layer cake or 36 cupcakes