Monday, April 20, 2015

Lemon Cream Cheese Buttercream

I was asked to make a cake for a baby shower brunch over the weekend and I wanted to make something breakfast-y! As breakfast like as a cake can be anyway :)  I decided to make a blueberry breakfast cake (click here for recipe).  I usually just bake it in a 9x13 and serve it directly from the pan so I was a little nervous about it turning out of the pan okay. I doubled the cake recipe and baked it in two well-greased 9 in. round cake pans and luckily it fell right out!

But what to do for frosting? What to do?  Finally, after much thought I decided to make a lemon buttercream.  And then I thought...what's lemon without cream cheese really? And thus an amazing new frosting recipe was born.  It was easy and smooth and went great with the blueberry cake.  It's also flavorful enough to hold it's own on a simple white cake. One recipe will make enough frosting for one 9in. round cake or 24 cupcakes. It's cool and tangy and perfect for summer!

Lemon Cream Cheese Butter Cream Frosting
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup shortening (room temp)
1/4 cup cream cheese (softened)
4 cups powdered sugar
2 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest* (or zest from 1 fresh lemon)
2 T. milk**

Cream butter, shortening, and cream cheese together until well combined and smooth.  Beat in powdered sugar one cup at a time, taking time to let sugar mix in between each addition.  Add lemon juice and lemon zest.  Add milk 1 T. at a time.

* For stronger tasting frosting add extra lemon zest
**For thinner frosting add extra milk until desired consistency is reached.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Chicken Club Pasta Salad

So I had this yummy pasta salad a couple years ago at my friend Angela's and we've been making it ever since. I'm looking forward to summer cooking! I love barbecuing, eating outside, and being able to serve a cold salad and call it dinner. This is one of my favorite summer dinners.  A cool, filling pasta for a hot day!

I love that the sauce uses avocado and honey to give it a creamy consistency without overusing mayo.  Plus it has bacon in it so even my kiddos will eat this dish despite it's obvious veggies :) It's a great side or main dish.  It makes a huge batch so it's great for parties, picnics and potlucks!  It's very fast quick to throw together and stays fresh for several days in the fridge. So cook it on a Monday and then you can spend the rest of the week at the pool :)

Chicken Club Pasta
1 lb. medium shell pasta (cooked according to package directions)
1 container cherry tomatoes- chopped in half (apx. 1 1/2 cups)
10 slices bacon- cooked and crumbled
2 cups shredded or chopped chicken (I used a rotisserie)
2 cups baby spinach -chopped
1 1/2 cups cheese -cubed (I've used cheddar, pepper jack or colby can't go wrong)
1 avocado, chopped (optional)
1 lg. avocado -peeled and pitted
1/4 cup lemon juice (I used fresh)
2 T. honey
2 T. Mayo or greek yogurt
3 cloves garlic- minced
salt and pepper -to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Rinse in cold water and drain.  Place pasta in a large mixing bowl.  Add tomatoes, bacon, spinach, chicken and cheese.  You can also add the chopped avocado if you like! Yum!

In a blender combine avocado, lemon juice, honey, mayo, garlic, salt and pepper.  Blend together until smooth.

Stir avocado mixture into pasta.  Toss together until well combined.  Chill in fridge 2 hours or overnight before serving.