Archive | February, 2011

Pasta Salad

7 Feb

When I worked for a large primary care physician group in east TN we had a co-worker who every once in a while would bring in a dish to share with us.  One time she brought in a taco soup with all the trimmings and then another time she brought in a pasta salad.  I adore pasta but pasta salads didn’t do much for me until this one.  I asked for her recipe and she told me it was nothing but cooked pasta, chopped tomatoes, green peppers, onions and cucumbers with italian dressing.  Simple but delicious, perfect for bbqs as a side or even a main dish.  Mariya loves this pasta salad.  Whenever I make this and friends are coming over I have to make sure to set aside extra for her.  This is like her cream cheese pound cake, I always have to have extra just for her.  There is never a problem with throwing away uneaten portions.  Never a problem if I make too much.  I use Good Seasons italian seasoning packet. I usually use a packet and a half because I like the extra flavor. Once in a pinch I used a regular bottled dressing, it’s not the same.  Do not substitute the Good Seasons!  I buy the box with 4 packets because I do this dish often especially in the summer. Since this is Mariya’s favorite dish and while it’s not french but it will be made and served for her wedding, provided she doesn’t eat it all!

Pasta Salad

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 to 1/1/2 packets of Good Seasons Italian Salad dressing made as per directions for 1 packet
  • 1 lb box of angel hair pasta, cooked and cooled

Chop all vegetables and place into a large serving bowl. 

Add the italian dressing to bowl.

Mix in the cooked pasta.  Best served after an hour so that the dressing can meld into the pasta and veggies.

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Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

2 Feb

Mariya has been on a roll lately in her quest for the remaining 2 cupcake flavors.  She wanted to do a raspberry lemonade cupcake.  Going thru our Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes she did not find exactly what she wanted but came across a recipe that I helped her adapt it to what she did want.  These were the dessert for her friends game night.  A couple of the gals thought the frosting was too sweet.  Barry and I thought the cupcake was perfect so I asked my son who is not a sweet lover what he thought of them.  He told me they were excellent and that he had 4 of them himself!  We couldn’t figure out what happened to all the cupcakes, now we know.  It was rather funny because when he came home there was one cupcake left but Mariya hid it earlier just in case and the 1st thing TJ did was go to the refrigerator to get a cupcake.  He was disappointed that there were no more left.  These are very good, she did a great job and it looks like the limoncello cupcakes are being replace with this one.

Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes Strawberry Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup frozen lemonade, thawed
  • 2 cups finely chopped raspberries, plus 24 more for garnish
  • Lemonade Buttercream Frosting 

Preheat oven to 350F and line standard muffin pan with paper liners.   In a separate bowl combine flours, baking powder and salt.  With an electric mixer cream butter, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat until incorporated.  Reduce speed to low.  Add the flour mixture in two batches alternating with the milk and lemonade and beating until well combined.

Fold in the chopped raspberries by hand.

Fill each lined cup 3/4 full.  Bake until golden and cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean 25-30 minutes.  Transfer pan to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto rack to cool completely.

Using Wilton’s 2D tip pipe the buttercream onto each cupcake swirling tip and releasing as you pull to form a peak.  Just before serving place a whole raspberry on top.

Lemonade Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • remaining frozen lemonade from cupcake recipe, thawed

With an electric mixer beat the butter on medium-high until pale and fluffy.  Add the extract and powdered sugar and beat on low speed.  Add the lemonade a teaspoon at a time until you have spreading consistency.  Tint with a few drops of yellow food coloring if desired.