Monday, February 20, 2017

Spring Fever and Piping Practice

Unseasonably warm temperatures have me thinking about spring flowers. 
Yes, spring fever has struck and I succombed to it by making floral cupcakes for the Ladies Tea and Luncheon at church. Spring fever isn't the only reason I made these cupcakes. 

I have been wanting to practice piping buttercream flowers with my new petal tips. 
I did find that piping the flowers individually on a flower nail was time consuming. However, I believe that the end results were worth the amount of time spent piping each purple bloom onto a square of parchment paper on top of a flower nail. What do you think? 
I also piped the daisy/aster blooms indiviually. 

Purple flowers - 104 tip and a 3 tip for the yellow centers
White flowers - 102 tip and a 5 tip for the centers
Green ruffles on the cupcakes - 104 tip
Yellow drop flowers - 224 tip

The Cupcakes
Lemon and strawberry are the two flavors I chose to use in these cupcakes. I purchased a box of each flavor at the local grocery store. After mixing the cake batters, I put about 2 Tbsp. of yellow lemon cake batter in each cupcake liner. Next, I topped the lemon cake batter with pink, strawberry cake batter. A swirled "S" with a butter knife created marbled cupcakes that are pink and yellow. 

I made 2 dozen cupcakes and used the left over batter to make 1-9 inch layer cake. After cooling the layer cake, I wrapped it in plastic wrap and it is in the refrigerator freezer compartment waiting for me to torte it, or slice it crosswise, and to fill/frost with buttercream frosting.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Baked Italian Pasta Skillet

Yield: 4-6 servings         Time: about 40-50 minutes
  • 8 ounces of small shell pasta
  • 1/2 pound ground chuck
  • 1/2 pound whole hog, mild pork sausage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1  - 4 ounce can mushrooms, drained
  • 1 - 24 ounce can meat spaghetti sauce
  • 1 - 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese, slightly packed
  • 1 Tablespoon Parmesan Romano cheese
  • 1 ounce, or about 18 thin slices of pepperoni
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C
  • Fill a 2 to 2.5 quart sauce pan about three-quarters full of water and bring to a boil. Do not add salt.
  • While you're waiting for the water to boil, chunk up and brown the ground chuck, pork sausage, and dried Italian seasoning in a 12 inch, oven safe skillet.
  • Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning over the meat and mix it with a spatula as the meat browns.
  • Place the browned meat into a colander that is sitting on top of another dish, or paper towels to drain off any excess fat.
  • When your pot of water begins to boil, pour in shell pasta, and cook until al dente, about 7 - 8 minutes. Let the pot of water come back to a simmer after adding the pasta, but don't boil it. 
  • While the pasta cooks, rinse your oven proof skillet briefly with hot water to remove excess fat.
  • Next, combine the spaghetti sauce, mushroom soup, drained mushrooms, water, teaspoon of brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp. of dried Italian seasoning in the skillet.
  • Add the browned meat.
  • Drain the al dente pasta and stir it into the skillet of meat sauce.
  • Slice pepperoni slices into quarters and sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture.
  • Next, sprinkle the cup of shredded cheese over the top of the pasta
  • Finally, sprinkle the Parmesan Romano cheese over the top of the shredded cheese.
  • Bake in preheated oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 20 - 25 minutes.
Enjoy eating some almost homemade happiness on a plate!