Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lemon Cut Out Cookies with Royal Icing

My mom starting something last fall which I believe/hope may become a tradition between the households.  When she came to visit, she brought treats in a large Tupperware container.  The next time she came to visit, I tried giving that container (emptied of goodies and washed) back to her, but she would not accept.  She said, next time you come to my house, you bring this back with something in it.  Now, if i was in a jokester kind of mood, I probably could have put something like golf balls or paper clips or anything that I would have wanted to rid my house of, but...since it was a combo Easter weekend/My Mom's Birthday, I honored the intend of the tradition by making lemon cut out cookies with royal icing.  

The icing in the recipe is a little crazy because it takes about 12 hours to fully set, but can harden quite quickly.  Once I made the icing, I divided into five 1 quart zip lock bags, and mixed in the different colors I wanted.  I love that you can turn zip lock bags into make-shift piping bags...especially, since I only have one piping bag.  The cut out cookies were great because unlike those that I am used to (ie - grandma's sugar cookies), they do not need chilling time before you roll them out.  You can if you want...but it's the do not have to part that is awesome.  

The best part about this whole thing is that I unloaded the Tupperware and am eagerly awaiting whatever treat comes back to see me. :) 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Grilled Cheese & Gazpacho Soup

A New Twist on An Old Classic...
Who doesn't remember Kraft singles melted between toasted bread and served with Campbell's Tomato Soup from their childhood?!  This standby helped kids through colds, was awesome - if you cut the grilled cheese right (triangles), and I'm sure helped parents out on those nights where almost nothing sounded good for their children, except a standby like grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Jump ahead 25 years to re-invent this dish by changing out the Kraft singles, white bread and Campbells' tomato soup for Havarti & Provolone Cheese on French Bread Panini'd and dipped in a cool Tomato Gazpacho Soup.  I'm kind of hungry and longing a little for my childhood while writing about this right now.  This was served at one of the bridal functions I have been assisting with, so it was prepared with the thought of appetizers in mind, but this dish would also be perfect finger food for after school snacks or a summer lunch. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Minestrone Soup

Some recipes still manage to astonish me as to how easy they are to make, how little time they take and how truly delish they are.  This Minestrone Soup recipe is one of those. 

I found the recipe out of a Better Homes & Gardens magazine from this spring.  And the thing that I like most about this recipe is the adaptability of it.  I didn't have exactly everything that the recipe called for, but I had most of it and the substitutions worked great.  Probably didn't hurt that I had made some home made french bread that week to accompany the soup. 

Minestrone Soup
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (I had stewed tomatoes, non-Italian herb flavor)
  • 14 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1 Cup low sodium vegetable or chicken broth (I used chicken)
  • 1 medium yellow sweet pepper, chopped (I used sweet red pepper)
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning or 1 tsp each dried basil and garlic powder
  • 1 Cup dry rigatoni or penne pasta (I used shell shaped noodles, because that is what I had on hand)
  • 2-3 Cups baby spinach
  • Optional - Shaved Parmesan and/or fresh basil
  • In a dutch oven combine the tomatoes, 2 cups water, beans, broth, sweet pepper, seasoning, and pasta.  Bring to boiling over high heat.
  • Reduce heat to medium.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until pasta is barely tender.
  • Stir in spinach.  ladle into individual bowls. 
  • Top with Parmesan cheese and/or fresh basil.
Makes four servings.
Happy Cooking!!!