Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pasta Fagioli and Fiddler On The Roof Cake

Have you heard of the book The Five Love Languages?  It explains how people show their love and receive love from others in different ways.  It gives 5 ways people show or receive love:  words of encouragement, physical touch, acts of kindness, gift giving and quality time. 
This week I realized that food is not on that list and that is exactly how I reach out to others and show my love.  When friends or family are sick I want to make them food to feel better, when they are happy I want to make them a treat to celebrate, if they are down I want to comfort them   Do you feel that way too?
My grandma had knee replacement surgery last week and my family has taken turns bringing dinner for she and my grandpa.  What a treat to make a homemade meal and share it with the grandparents who have shown such love and devotion to our family all these years.   I treasure the time we have together.  My son politely sat at the table and talked their ears off - grandma listened intently and grandpa just shook his head at how Ben can talk so much without taking a single breath.  That's my boy.
My meal of choice was a wonderful crockpot soup.  I found this soup a few years ago on-line.  It makes a ton so it's great to feed a crowd or freeze for a later meal.  I love meals that you make in the crockpot.  You throw the ingredients in, set the temperature and in just a matter of hours - voila - there is a delicious meal ready to eat! 
This soup is so fragrant.  I love to lift the lid and just breathe it in...
See how it fills the WHOLE crockpot!  Goodness!
Along with the soup I also brought a lettuce salad, some Garlic-Rosemary bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. and cake.  Fiddler on The Roof Cake to be exact.  It was a new recipe for me.  I had a hard time deciding which cake to make.  I'm not sure why I chose this cake but I'm glad I did.  It was great warm out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream.  Grandma and grandpa loved it.  But after it cooled it was not what I had hoped.  It seemed dry and not very flavorful.  I was a little bummed.  Thankfully, 24 hrs later my sweet tooth kicked in and I went to the kitchen in search of a little something to satisfy my craving.  I opened the pantry door and saw the leftover cake.  The frosting looked a little different.  A little more moist.  I thought "what the heck" and gave it another try.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Like a fine wine it seemed to get better with time.  The frosting soaked in a little more and it tasted great!
Pasta Fagioli Soup in a Crock Pot (
1lb ground beef
1 lb sausage
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 (28oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 oz) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (16oz) can white kidney beans, drained
3 (10oz) cans beef stock
3 tsp oregano
2 tsp pepper
5 tsp parsley
1 tsp Tabasco sauce (optional)
1 (20oz) jar spaghetti sauce
8 oz pasta (I use Penne)
Brown meat in skillet.  Drain and add to large crock pot with all other ingredients except pasta.  Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours.  During the last 30 minutes on high, add pasta.

Fiddler On The Roof Cake (Ann Byrn - The Cake Doctor)
1 pkg yellow cake mix
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
Chocolate marshmallow frosting
Grease and flour bundt cake pan.  Using electric mixer, blend cake mix, sour cream, oil, sugar, almond extract, salt and eggs.  Mix 1-3 minutes until smooth.  Pour half of batter into pan.  Smooth with spatula.  Add cocoa powder to remaining batter and blend on high 1 minute.  Pour into pan.  Using knife, swirl batters together.  Bake 60-65 minutes.  Cool.  Frost with warm frosting.

Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder
6 large marshmallows
4 T butter
1/3+1 T milk
1 tsp vanilla
Sift together cocoa powder and powdered sugar.  Set aside.  In medium saucepan melt milk, marshmallows, butter.  Stir until marshmallows are melted.  Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar mixture.  Stir until smooth.  Pour warm frosting over cake.