Quick and Easy Angel Food Cake


I love to cook and don’t mind spending hours in the kitchen, but sometimes it’s fun just to make something quick and tasty for a family treat or an afternoon barbecue on the fly. I made about 60 of these working in the banquet kitchen at work the other day and while doing and I thought what a great idea to pass along.

I used a purchased angel food cake from Publix, if you can’t find one, an angel food cake mix is also easy to make.

To start, cut a piece of parchment paper about a foot long and then cut it into 3 equal size pieces. Place them around the edges of a plate, I used a favorite dinner plate. Gently remove the cake from the package and place on top of the parchment strips.

angelfood

The topping can be homemade whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping of your choice. Cool Whip comes in every combination now, fat-free, low-fat, regular. I used whipped cream which is also a good choice, but it doesn’t hold as long. Chill your mixing bowl in the fridge until its very cold. Mix the whipped cream, 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract and a few tbs. of sugar in a blender using a blender and the whisk attachment until stiff peaks are formed.
frosting

It’s best to frost the cake in two coats. Using a spatula, coat the cake with the whip cream lightly, this is called a crumb coat. Wipe any crumbs off the spatula, and coat the cake again, much more generously. Carefully remove the parchment paper strips and the plate will be clean. The cake can be decorated with berries for a more formal look, or sprinkles, chocolate, m & m’s, use your imagination!

cake-done

Happy Spring!
-Jeanne

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Spinach Lasagna


Life continues to be busy; I have been working 6 days a week along with some 10-12 hour days. Palm Beach is having a good season which hopefully speaks well for the economy. I am adjusting my schedule though, and hoping to have regular posts over the coming months, so please don’t give up on me. In the meantime, here is a great little recipe to try.

Lasagna

I found this recipe in one of my favorite cooking magazines, Cooks Illustrated, in the annual review of best recipes edition. I made some changes. It will be easy to make, and is low calories for a lasagna, only 350 per serving, and really delicious. Also, I should mention that it’s also inexpensive and I made it after work; it doesn’t take a lot of time or preparation.

Sauce
1 onion small dice
1 tsp canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups low-fat milk
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbs. cornstarch
2 10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, dried
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 box lasagna noodles, cooked using package directions. Toss in oil when done to keep noodles from sticking together until you are ready to use them.

8 oz. whole-milk cottage cheese
1 large egg
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups fontina cheese, shredded; it is easier to grate this cheese if you freeze it for 30 minutes first.

1. In a large saute pan, cook the onion in the canola oil very slowly until softened, add the garlic and continue to cook for about a minute. Stir in 2 3/4 cups of the milk, the bay leaves and the nutmeg, and bring to a simmer.
2. Whisk the cornstarch into the milk and whisk it into the pot. Whisk frequently until the mixture thickens, 5 minutes or more. Meanwhile, thaw the spinach and dry it very well. This can be done by placing it in a colander and then putting another pot on top to weight it down and get the water out. Add the spinach to the sauce and stir in 1/2 cup parmesan. Set the mixture aside.

While the sauce is cooking, add the cottage cheese and egg to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Spray the bottom of the baking dish with cooking spray. Spread a layer of the sauce on the bottom, then layer the noodles next. Add another layer of sauce and some of the parmesan cheese, then another layer of noodles. Continue until you have 3 layers of sauce and noodles, top with the cottage cheese mixture and then the grated fontina cheese. Cover with foil.

Cook at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until a cake tester indicated the inside is hot. In my oven this took about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and place under the broiler until the top is brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and cover with foil. Wait about 15-20 minutes before serving, to allow it to set up.

I decided to include a picture of our new tree. It’s called a clusia tree. They are originally from Hawaii, and it is nicknamed an autograph tree. The leaves are waxy, a shiney green, and you can write an autograph on them that will remain for years to come. The other photo is my peanut gallery: Stuart and Riley are wearing coats after a cold Florida morning, Cooper is tougher and doesn’t need a coat. I will think of that freezing morning this summer when every day for four months it is 90 degrees morning, noon, and night.

-Jeanne

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