Sunday, February 22, 2009

Football Cookies

This update is way late, but I wanted to share it anyway! I had taken 3 cake classes by the time the Superbowl came around this year and I wanted to share my creative skills I had learned. I had found a cookie cutter set from asking around on the "What's Cooking?" board of TheNest and it included a football shaped cookie cutter!! It also came with letters of the alphabet, so I took my creative side a little farther using the letter cutters. I will have to come back and add the recipe since I didn't write it down. It was in a Better Homes and Garden cookbook I received at my Bridal Shower this past fall. I love it!

Sugar Cookie Recipe
Recipe: Better Homes and Garden Cookbook

I made the cookies according to the recipe in the book, and decorated them using my [cake] class buttercream icing colored appropriately.
They were a lot easier to make than I thought they'd be, and everyone LOVED them. We didn't come home with any extra cookies, which surprised me because there wasn't a huge crowd at the party, but hey, less calories for me!
They took the longest time to decorate, but I had my Sunday afternoon available so I sat down at our kitchen table, and got to work!

Tangy Chicken and Vegetables

This was a very impromptu meal. It was quick, easy and delicious!! I wanted to create a chicken meal that was hearty, but also included the vegetables that we had bought. We have a serious problem of buying fresh produce with great intentions but then we never use it before it goes bad. The italian dressing in the meal gave it a tangy kick, but the rice and mushroom soup gave it a creamy, savory flavor.
You can adjust this recipe to however many people you need to feed. The ingredients are based on just my Husband and I.
Tangy Chicken and Vegetables
Recipe from: Myself
2 chicken breasts
cream of mushroom soup
zucchini and yellow squash
italian dressing
Rice, cooked
Place the chicken breasts in a pan with some italian dressing covering the bottom of the pan, fry up the chicken breasts, adding italian dressing to your liking. I added dressing after it cooked for awhile and all cooked into the chicken. While the chicken is cooking, prepare cream of mushroom soup according to the directions on the can, using milk.
When the chicken is done, set aside and let rest. Rinse out your pan, and add the sliced zucchini and squash, along with italian dressing to fry them up in. Cook the vegetables until they are done to your liking.

Place serving of rice on your plate, top with a chicken breast and the mushroom mixture along with your vegetables.

I served this with a side of steamed broccoli, my favorite!!

Stuffed Peppers

These peppers were delicious! They were so easy to make and were very filling! I made three and we each only ate one. Yum! This would be perfect for a weeknight meal! The only thing is they take awhile in the oven, but the prep and getting them to the oven takes no time at all!

Stuffed Peppers
Recipe from: Myself
Rice, cooked (you can make more or less to your liking)
1lb of hamburger, thawed (or ground turkey if you like)
1 cup of spaghetti sauce
Salt and pepper
~5 peppers (I used 3 and had lots of leftover meat mixture)

Cook rice and combine it in a large bowl with the hamburger, spaghetti sauce and seasonings you choose. Mix it all together. Add 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce so that the mixture sticks together. You could certainly add more than 1 cup if you would like the mixture inside the pepper to have more sauce.

Wash your peppers and clean out the seeds inside, poke holes in the bottom of the pepper so that the grease from the hamburger when cooking can drain out into the bottom of your pan. Make sure the hole is actually a hole and not a slit in the pepper as that wouldn't allow enough room for the grease to drain.

When peppers are washed and cleaned out, set them in a pan (a 9x13 or 8x8 pan would work just fine). Stuff each pepper with your mixture. I topped each pepper with some parmesan cheese too, you could do that if you like as well.

Bake at 350* for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, take them out and add some spaghetti sauce to the top of each pepper, and/or some shredded cheese or parmesan cheese and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The final product!!

Like I said, they're pretty time consuming once in the oven, but overall its a very easy dinner!! I made this with some fresh bread and like I said, they were very filling!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wilton Cake Classes at Michael's

I have successfully completed my first course in cake decorating classes! It was so much fun to do! I took them every Monday night for the month of January. You can definitely see the progression, and improvement with each class I took :-) I had a lot of fun making the cakes, learning new techniues, experimenting with flavors and using my creative side! I plan on taking the 2nd, 3rd and 4th courses as well. I highly recommend the classes to anyone. The class was about $15 dollars and then the price varied according to which supplies you chose to buy. My instructor was very helpful in suggesting alternatives so that we could use things already in our kitchen rather than having to buy something additional.
Here is a picture of my first cake. This was the cake I made to bring to my first class. We were told to bring a baked, iced cake. While it still meets the requirements, it wasn't a very pretty cake!You can see my Husbands head there in the background (Hi Honey!). I guess while trying to get a good picture, I wasn't taking into consideration my background ;-) On another note, look at all that frosting!!! Yuck! Definitely a beginners cake. Wow.

My first class was cancelled due to weather, so I took the opportunity to practice on my own at home. I colored my icing, and decided to use a cookie cutter to make a small indent on the frosting, and then pipe stars to create my design. I used a single heart cookie cutter to make this design and I just overlapped them at one point. I'm not really sure why it shows up flourescent looking, but it was blue and orange. Color suggestions from my Hubby!
This is the cake I brought to my second class (the first actual class). A basic vanilla 8x13 cake, cut in half and layered onto eachother to make a more square cake, rather than round. I was pretty proud of my piping skills for the words, but the more I look at it after having finished my course..yikes! That blob in the upper rigt corner of the cake....a rose. Well, its supposed to be anyway :) Those little things are hard to make!! I'll get better at it, I promise!

My third cake. Probably one of my best?! I probably could have done a few less flowers, but I stil think its pretty cute. It was definitely a "girly" cake. Bright pink, and vibrant purple! I told my Husband that I wanted to make a filled cake and he said to make it raspberry filled. Hmm..I wasn't really sure how to pursue my filled cake, but thought I didn't have much to lose, why not! I filled it with fresh raspberries, cut in half, mixed with that strawberry glaze you can buy in the stores. It was actually pretty darn good! The next time I need to make a cake, I think I'm going to make it raspberry filled, but I have a few ideas for improvement!

The grand finale....

We were told to bring an iced cake ready to mimic one of the designs in our class book. We were going to practice our roses, and learn leaves and vines. I was excited to see all that I learned from start to end, but also sad that the class was coming to an end.

TA DA! Sorry for such a dark picture, and for the missing piece. My Husband and I dug in before I remembered to take a picture :)Up close and personal with the roses. Although they don't look bad, there is still some room for improvement! The leaves were easier to make than I though, the vines were as well.

I have made quite the improvement, wouldn't you say? :) I've signed up for Course 2-'Royal Icing & Flowers' There will be plenty more cake pictures to come!