Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Cake, Crazy Train, and Recipes for Watermelon Peach Spritzer and Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet Dinner

Our life on the crazy train continues, but it is just about to round the corner. All of the special meetings and events that dealt with the high school that I work at becoming a 7-12 grades school have happened. Now we just have to get through to the end of the year, which is hectic in its own way. This is the time when many of my students sort of begin to shut down and some even give up. I am in extra energetic cheerleader mode with some of them. Sometimes I think I care more about their grades than they do.

Last week Ellie made a cake for a bridal shower. It was the first cake that she made for someone that we do not know directly. The bride has a western theme and so she wanted a fence and purple. Originally she also wanted burlap. This was a bit of a challenge for Ellie, but I think the cake came out really lovely and very elegant. My favorite parts are the tiny flowers.

We are also gearing up for two parties this weekend since graduation is on Saturday. I am heading up the reception party committee at the school and we are hosting a party at home. We were hoping for and planning on nice weather, but it looks like it is going to be rainy, as it has been all week, so some of our ideas, especially those dealing with decorations, have to be reconsidered.

I've asked Ellie to figure out what we will serve at the party at the house. We have to have recipes that we can prep. on Saturday morning and then put out after we return home from the celebration at school. It is a bit of a challenge. I had hoped to serve some of the kids' favorite foods, but that simply does not work out. We are hosting the party for Ellie and Kohlton. It just makes sense to combine the parties since they will want to be together on that day anyway. I am adding this drink recipe below. The spicey sausage skillet recipe is a dinner we had a while ago. The guys all liked it. It was too rich for Ellie and I.

Watermelon Peach Spritzer
via: What's Cooking Love

1 bottle (2 liters) lemon-lime soda
Frozen sliced peaches
Watermelon, cubed
Ice cubes

Put about 5 frozen peach slices in the bottom of each glass. Also add about 5 pieces of cubed watermelon to each glass as well. The amount of fruit you can add will depend on your glass size. I found about 5 peach slices and 5 watermelon cubes worked well for my glass sizes.
To each glass also add 2 ice cubes. Then fill up each glass with the lemon-lime soda. Stir each glass to mix the fruit throughout the drink. If desired, place a piece of watermelon on the rim of each glass.


Spicy Sausage Pasta Skillet
via Plain Chicken

1 tbsp olive oil
14 oz smoked sausage, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can rotel (I prefer mild, but if you want more spice use the original)
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz whole grain penne (or whatever noodle you prefer, I've also used bowtie)
Pepper, to taste
1 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

Heat oil over medium-high heat in an oven safe skillet until hot. Add the sausage and onion and cook until lightly browned, 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add the broth, rotel, heavy cream, uncooked pasta, and pepper. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the pasta is tender, 15 minutes. Stir once or twice while cooking. Preheat the broiler while pasta is cooking.

Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in 1 cup of the cheese. Taste, and add salt as needed. Top with the scallions and remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and lightly browned - about 3 minutes.

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