Bridal Shower Cupcake Cake

A coworker of mine is getting married! It’s tradition in the office to throw a shower. I decided to volunteer to bring the cake.  Usually a cake doesn’t get eaten entirely and sits around.  Cupcakes are easy to serve and require no portioning. I’ve seen quite a few “cakes” made out of cupcakes but had never done it.  I also was seeing zero how-to instruction online. I knew I wanted to make something in the shape of a bridal dress, as this is a bridal shower!

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One of the first questions that came to mind was how do I transport this to work? My best mate, Costco, came in handy.  I picked up a flat shallow box and wrapped it in wrapping paper, finishing it by lining the inside with tissue paper. I also needed to pre-determine the layout and estimate a number of cupcakes needed to make the dress. This dress takes about 31 cupcakes.

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*Note: keep the cat out of the box 😉

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Because of the quantity of cakes, I needed two batches of cupcakes.  I followed recipes from the Cake Doctor; making both a Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcake and Yellow Pudding cake.

 

I made all the cupcakes two days ahead of the party, laid out the dress, and wrapped them tightly in press and seal wrap.  Frosting came next! I love a good buttercream frosting.  Again, referencing the Cake Doctor, I whipped up a frosting to then pipe rosettes on each cupcake.

Because the intention is to make this look like a cake, you’ll want to the piping to run together.  This should look like one piped unit, rather than 30 individual cupcakes stuck together.  I’ll admit, that’s a big challenge.  I think the thicker you make your buttercream, the better. I had to make three batches of frosting.  Once piped, I added some edible pearls to create a sash on the dress. The final finishing touch was made with powdered sugar donut holes as diamond rings.  I’d searched the net for diamond clip art, printed and cut out the shapes, used double stick tape to attach them to toothpicks and affixed them to the donettes. From here, all that was left to do was transport to the office and enjoy!

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Meatball Lasagna

This is the easiest lasagna I think I’ve ever made. I used jar sauce, some fresh herbs, roasted vegetables, frozen beef meatballs and no bake lasagna noodles. Yum yum yum! The boys at the table had two helpings!

Meatball Lasagna
1 box no boil lasagna noodles
2 cups frozen beef meatballs
1 bunch fresh Italian leaf parsley
2 tablespoons basil
1 green pepper
1 sweet onion
1 large garlic clove
1/2 cup mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by coarsely chopping the pepper, onion, garlic and mushrooms. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 425° for about 20 minutes.

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Mix together in a small bowl the ricotta, mozzarella, 1/4 cup of Parmesan, parsley and basil. Set aside.

Place a third of the sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 glass dish. Add the roasted vegetables on top and then a double layer of the pasta noodles. Use another third of the sauce, the meatballs and the cheese mixture. Finish off by laying the remaining noodles, sauce and the last 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Cover and bake at 425° for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.

 

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Super Bowl Treats

I was amazed to see that the Super Bowl is the second biggest food consumption day of the year (just behind Thanksgiving)! As you know, I love to entertain and had some success with football themed treats for last year’s event.  They might be making a comeback for 2014!

Brownie TouchdownsTouchdown Brownies

  • Green Frosting
  • White frosting
  • Star and fine point icing tip
  • Chocolate covered almonds
  • Brownies

Bake your favorite brownies.  I personally love the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate mix from Costco.  For super fudgey brownies, use two mixes for one batch. Let the brownies cool completely and cut into squares.  Generously pipe the green frosting over the tops of the brownie with the star tip.  Place a “football” onto each field and pipe on football laces with white frosting.

Football Deviled EggsDeviled Egg Footballs

  • 6 hardboiled eggs
  • 3 tb mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp horseradish
  • 1 tb chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika
  • Chives

Cut eggs in half.  Scoop yolks into a bowl.  Mash yolks.  Beat in remaining ingredients until smith.  Replace yolk mixture in whites after seasoning to taste.  After eggs are prepared and dusted with paprika, place chives over the tops to create the football lacing effect.

What velveeta shortage?

A Super Bowl essential

A Super Bowl essential

Super Bowl Treats

Happy Halloween!

Happy All Hallows Eve! Did you carve pumpkins? Are you dressing up or passing out candy? I decided to carve pumpkins for the sole purpose of roasting the seeds. Yum!

Jack-o'-lantern

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Red pepper flakes
Chopped onion

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Rinse the pumpkin seeds separating as much of the pulp as possible. Spread out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place in the oven at 300* for about 10 minutes to dry out the seeds.

Remove from the oven, drizzle olive oil over the seeds and combine with seasonings to evenly coat. Increase temperature to 350*. Continue to roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the seeds have turned golden brown.

Trick-or-Treat! Happy Halloween

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

An “Un-Official” Eggplant Parmesan

With this week’s family dinner, I felt inspired to create a hearty vegetable dish alongside the meal’s protein.  Eggplant stood out as I cruised the aisles of Costco (you’ll soon learn about my Costco addiction).

I don’t claim to be well versed in Italian cooking, however, eggplant parmesan seemed to fit the bill for this meal.  After browsing the standard formulas online, I felt confident enough to create my own dish.  Give it a try and I can guarantee a crowd-pleasing success!

/A/MY’s Un-Official Eggplant Parmesan 

  • 4 baby eggplant
  • 2 TB salt
  • 2 TB pepper
  • 2 TB dehydrated onion
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 TB chili infused olive oil
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 4 C panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 C baby spinach
  • 1 Jar pasta sauce
  • 1 C parmesan
  • 1 C grated mozzarella

Preheat oven to 425゜(375゜ for convection)

Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds and place into mixing bowl.  Mix together with salt, pepper, onion, garlic and olive oils.  Dredge each seasoned eggplant round in panko breadcrumbs to coat.  Line a cookie sheet with a cooling rack.  As each round is dipped through the breadcumbs place onto the rack.

Oven-Fried Eggplant

Oven-Fried Eggplant

Bake the seasoned and breaded eggplant slices for 20-30 minutes.  Let stand.

Cover the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish with 1/3 C of store-bought pasta sauce.  Begin the laying process by placing 1 C of fresh baby spinach atop sauce.  Follow with half of the oven fried eggplant.  Top with 1/2 C of both parmesan and mozzarella.  Repeat with sauce, spinach, eggplant and cheese.  Finish with the remaining 1/3 C of sauce.

Eggplant & Spinach Parmesan

Eggplant & Spinach Parmesan

Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Bon appétit!