Cooking Up A Storm

While Ryan and I were lunching at Pei Wei yesterday, we planned our menu of meals for the week. Since it has been so freezing here lately, soup was at the top of my agenda. I have been craving Easy Tortilla Soup from How Sweet It Is ever since she posted her Top 10 Recipes of 2010 and the soup made the list. I also have been eyeing the Young’s Chocolate Double Stout Brownies over on We Are Not Martha that they posted last week, so I knew that I had to make them so I would stop obsessing over them.

So, yesterday afternoon – I was cooking up a storm in the kitchen! But before I got started, we bundled up and headed outside for some much-needed puppy playtime.

Phoebe is so patient with little Henry

This was especially good for Phoebe, she needed to run around

takin a breather

P looks like she's preparing for take off

Since it’s been so cold it’s been hard for us to give them significant time outside, so I know they both had fun chasing each other and the tennis ball in the backyard.

After playtime, I hit the kitchen hard. First, I made Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Brownies because dessert is the most important meal, right? I definitely have my priorities straight.

-1 C Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
-5 oz. plain chocolate (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet 60% cocao like WANM did)
-3/4 C unsalted butter (1.5 sticks)
-1 C light brown sugar
-2/3 C flour
-1/2 C cocoa powder (I used Nestle Tollhouse)
-2 large eggs

the star of the show

Step 1: put water in a pot and boil. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down to low and place a heat safe bowl on top to create a double boiler. Meanwhile, whisk flour and cocoa in a separate bowl and set aside. Pour the chocolate stout into a measuring cup and set aside to let the foam settle.

2. Cut up the butter in small pieces and break the chocolate into small pieces; melt the butter, then add chocolate and stir until it is smooth and completely melted

Step 3: add in sugar and beat, allow the mixture to cool; then add in eggs and beat

excited to use my new mixer I got for Christmas

Step 4: pour in the chocolate stout & stir; then add the flour/cocoa mixture and stir - it's okay if there are a few lumps in there

step 5: grease an 8×8 baking dish, pour batter in, spread out evenly and bake for 20-22 minutes at 365*
*I ended up adding about 9 minutes (I actually can’t remember because it kept not getting done) to the time because the middle of the brownies were really jiggly and uncooked. I would just watch it and add time as you see fit if it doesn’t get done. I always stick a fork (or a toothpick if you have one) in several parts of the brownies and if it comes out clean, then they’re done.
optional: finish the rest of the Young’s while baking your brownies

Step 6: serve with a glass of milk (or Young's!)

Review: These brownies were soooo good. They were also pretty easy to make and required little ingredients, which is always a plus! I think the words that came out of Ryan’s mouth were, “These may be the best brownies I’ve ever tasted” or something to that effect, which made me smile. They were perfectly moist and tasted divine – and the Young’s double chocolate stout definitely made the recipe. Try these!!

Now, onto dinner!┬áThis soup was also really easy to make – I guess that’s why “easy” is in part of the title. :)
-olive oil
-1 medium sweet onion
-1 red pepper
-3 cloves garlic, minced (we used minced garlic)
-1 t cumin (I just shook it a bunch of times until it looked right)
-pinch of cayenne pepper (we didn’t have any, so I used crushed red pepper)
-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (we used 1 rotisserie chicken skinned and ripped into small pieces)
-32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
-4 oz can of green chiles
-1/3 C red enchilada sauce
-1/4 C sour cream
-added: 1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed
-will add next time: 1 can of corn, drained & rinsed

Step 1: sautee onion & red pepper in olive oil, then add garlic & spices

Step 2: add in chicken, green chiles, enchilada sauce, chicken stock & black beans; stir, bring to a boil & then let simmer on low

We let the soup cook for about an hour to an hour and a half. Add in the sour cream right before you are ready to serve…and then save some for topping if you feel so inclined.

make your own tortilla strips

I used some leftover whole wheat tortillas we had from last week and used a pizza cutter to make the tortilla strips, tossing them in olive oil and salt. Bake at 400 for about 7 minutes or so. Be sure to keep an eye on these because I burned the first batch. :) Woops – thank goodness we had extras!

serve with cheese, sour cream, fresh avacado slices and homemade tortilla strips

Review: All I can say about this meal is….YUM. It was beyond delicious. Ryan and I both went back for round two. It definitely hit the spot! I suggest you make this immediately – it is the perfect remedy for the freezing cold temperatures you are probably experiencing.
We had such a nice weekend – I didn’t want it to end! It was packed with lots of relaxation and good food. Thankful for a short week right now! :)


Filed under cooking, pugs!, recipes

5 responses to “Cooking Up A Storm

  1. I don’t know which looks better…the brownies or the soup. I must make them asap!! More importantly, I can’t wait for Kath’s cookies on Thursday!!!! Ahhhh!!!

  2. I am so glad you liked the soup love! :)

  3. A – SO excited for the cookies as well.

    Jessica, thanks for posting the soup recipe! I’m having it again for lunch today. :)

  4. the soup looks great! and i have that jacket :)

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