Saturday, October 30, 2010

30-Minute Minestrone Soup

Winter is right around the corner and it's a perfect time prepare yummy soup for dinner!  30-Minute Minestrone Soup is great when you have leftover veggies!!  I normally make a big pot that would serve 6 people (or more)... or 2 people with days of leftovers + frozen portions for later!!

(remember, you can add or omit any veggies you want!)
2 medium carrots, chopped - or baby carrots cut in half, or not?
1 1/2 cups chopped cabbage
3 celery rib, chopped (I LOVE celery so you can use less)
1 small onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 can green beans
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
32 oz chicken or vegetable broth
2 cans Italian stewed or diced tomatoes, undrained
2/3 cup cooked macaroni (elbow, ziti, anything!)

you can also add:
chopped potatoes or spinach

1. In a saucepan, saute carrots, cabbage, celery, onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes.
2. Add broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender
4. In a separate saucepan, bring water to a boil and cook Macaroni until Al Dente.  Strain and put aside.
5. Add macaroni when ready to eat (if you put it in your soup prior, it may absorb the liquid, add more water if necessary)
6. Add salt and pepper to taste

Dee-Lish!!  Super yummy, quick, and easy!!  Not to mention- HEALTHY! ...just thought I'd share! xoxo

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Secret to my Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake!

Red Velvet Cheesecake, YUM!!  This has got to be my new favorite!!  Not only does EVERYONE LOVE the combined together, it's QUICK and EASY!!

I use box cake mix- bake as directed on the box.  BUT, I add 1/2 a package of Jello instant pudding, cheesecake flavor, it helps keep the cake moist and also makes it a little heavier.

I cut make round in half with my cake leveler (gosh I love this thing!)

I take the top half off so I can start layering my frosting and cake...

Here's my TOP SECRET weapon.  I found this by accident right next to the Philadelphia Cream Cheese- GASP - "Ready to Eat" ?!?!??!!

So I separate it into 3 sections for my 3 layers.  (I also put this into the freezer for 30 minutes prior to use so it would be firm enough to keep a thick layer and thin enough to spread)

No need to worry about crumbs in the layers.  Just keep it about 1/4 inch from the edge or it'll gush out the sides!  I'm bad about creating a frosting wall FIRST (you pipe frosting at the edge of the cake to prevent the icing from gushing over the edge) I was short on time and lazy...I'm a bad example, I know...

Here's my layers and what the cake looks like before the crumb coating.

I didn't document my crumb coat or my frosting technique, sorry.

But here's the finished product!!  I used chocolate fondant to make strips approximately 1 inch in width.  I also used white fondant to make fun circles.  I hand cut the letters out of fondant too, but there's GOT TO BE an easier solution.  I have to find alphabet cutters!!  What a quick and fun project!!

Baby Shower Cake

We have 3 1st time parents having babies in the office so we decided to have a party to celebrate!  Of course, I was in charge of bringing the cake!  I had to make cupcakes too, I knew the cake wouldn't be enough for our entire department.

I'm not a fan of fondant (the taste) so I used frosting to ice the cake. Then added fondant accents to make the cake look a little snazzy!  Super easy project because the fondant pieces weren't too extravagant!  Of course, there were no left overs, everyone told me it tasted amazing!

Congratulations, Yuliya, Rahul and Ashley on your bundles of joy!