Friday, October 25, 2013

October 25, 2013

Are you ready for Halloween?  In our home the costumes are ready, the holiday plates and cups are in the cupboards, the pumpkins on the sideboard.  I had some women from the PTO over last night to cut and count BoxTops and decided to go with the Halloween theme for the snacks. The most "Halloween-y" treat was the monster cupcakes!!! I even made edible eyes and the cupcakes turned out really cute (though perhaps resembling Muppets more than monsters!).  You can buy edible eyes to use to decorate cakes, cookies and cupcakes but they are pretty pricey.  I decided it couldn't be that hard, so I looked for some guidance on line and learned that they are just made from royal icing.  Hmmm....should be easy enough to try!  I gave it a shot and it really did work!  I made a small batch of royal icing and oh my word...we have some eyeballs!  I think we will be having turkeys, reindeer and snowmen cupcakes in the future.

As for actual keeper recipes this week we only have one; it was a soup that we all loved.  The temperature has plummeted here and as a result soup sounded good to everyone early in the week.  Owen picked out the new soup recipe and he was very happy when it earned keeper rating from all of us!  It was called lasagna soup but we agreed this was a poor name.  With the exception of a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese in the individual servings at the end, there was no cheese in the soup.  When you think of traditional lasagna don't you picture cheese as part of the image?  Well, we renamed it spaghetti soup (though it doesn't call for spaghetti), and I know we will be making it again!

Have a fun time trick-or-treating this week!!!  Boo!

And, as always, happy cooking!

New Recipes
Spaghetti soup
Edible decorating eyeballs

Edible eyes for treats made from royal icing

Ingredients for Royal Icing
* 1 large egg white
* 1/2 tsp vanilla
* 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar

1. Beat the egg white and vanilla until foamy on medium-high speed.
2. Reduce the speed to slow and gradually incorporate the sugar.  Once fully incorporated, mix on high for approximately 6 minutes.
3. Add food coloring if desired, and frost your creation.

To make edible eyes
1. Using a small tip, pipe round white circles onto wax paper.
2. After letting the white frosting set for a short while (just a few minutes), follow with a black dot of icing piped onto the white.
3. Let the eyes fully set, 12-24 hours.  They will easily release from the wax paper when they are dry.
4. Use, or store in an airtight container in your pantry or cabinet until needed.

I used my stand mixer for this, but you can use a hand mixer as well.  The stand mixer was nice because it freed me up to do some other things while it went for the 5 minutes.  Gotta love when they appliance independently does the work for you!

I used a #5 tip for the white, and #1 for the black, but I think I could have gone with a slightly larger tip for both.   These were easy to make, and now we have eyes on hand for all sorts of creations!

I separated the frosting into 2 portions so I could tint one black.  I find the gel food coloring works much better then liquid. 

Spaghetti Soup

* 1 lb lean ground beef
* 1 large green pepper, chopped
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
* 4 cups beef broth
* 1 cup tomato sauce
* 1/2 cup frozen corn
* 1/4 cup tomato paste
* 2 tsp Italian seasoning
* 1/4 tsp pepper
* 2 cups uncooked ziti or rotini pasta
* Parmesan cheese, optional

1. In a large saucepan cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute or until fragrant.  Drain if needed.
2. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, tomato sauce and paste, corn, Italian seasoning and pepper.  Bring to a boil.
3. Stir in the uncooked pasta and reduce the heat.  Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
4. Serve and pass the Parmesan cheese to be added individually.

I didn't have tomato sauce on hand so I substituted with pizza sauce that was in my fridge.  I also tossed in some leftover plain pasta at the last minute, and used a mix of ziti and rotini that were in my pantry.  Everyone loved this, but we had a hard time calling it by its original name - lasagna soup, so we renamed it spaghetti soup since it tasted like with pasta with sauce!