I looked in the cupboard earlier to make myself some dinner as the kids were at their friends house. “What do I fancy today?”, I asked myself. It was soon apparent that well.. it didn’t really matter, cos there was barely anything in anyways! All I could find was some tomato sauce and some lasagna noodles. Usually I’d use spaghetti, but in this instance I just didn’t have the opportunity. So I questioned myself; can I boil oven ready lasagna noodles?
The correct answer is that yes, it’s absolutely fine to boil oven ready lasagna noodles. The only issue can be that the lasagna noodles are too hard, but you can leave them in water for a few minutes to soften them.
It’s a common question that many people have, so I decided to check it out myself and found that the no boil lasagna noodles cam eout just fine. I do however like my lasagna a little harder than the majority of people, so bear that in mind when you’re cooking your own lasagna noodles.
Which pan to use?
When you’re boiling your noodles, I’m automatically assuming that you’re not going to be using your run of the mill lasagna pan. You would be far better off using a regular pan to boil these lasagna noodles as the metal will help to conduct the heat better than what it would with a different style of pan.
Favorite No Boil Lasagna Recipe
There are tons of great lasagna recipes that use no boil noodles. I’ve cooked many myself – here’s a look at one of my favorite recipes that I found online. It’s very easy to use and you don’t need to worry about the flavor too much.
No boil lasagna can be a great alternative to regular pastas like fusilli. Although I wouldn’t choose it over any regular pasta, as an alternative I would definitely recommend it if you don’t have any other pastas in your house.
You could choose to use the no boil pasta with tomato sauce, but I also think it would be an awesome idea to use carbonara sauce or something that’s more creamy.
It was the start of the summer holidays and the cafe was closed. Jasmine was getting ready to go to Guide Camp.
‘I cannot wait to get to camp,’ said Jasmine, packing a rucksack so big it was nearly as big as her. ‘I just love it when we sit round the camp fire in the evening. We’ll probably have toasted marshmallows again, or maybe sausages and baked potatoes, cooked on the fire. Every thing tastes so much better when you’re outside.’
Jasmine tried to swing the massive rucksack onto her back, and nearly fell over sideways. ‘I think I’ll get dad to carry that to the car.’ She looked in the mirror and started to plait her hair into two pigtails. ‘Don’t you wish you were a Guide, Lucy? We get to do such exciting things’
‘No, not really,’ replied Lucy. She had decided she would spend the first weekend of the holidays trying out new recipes at home. ‘Aren’t you going to be a bit bored,’ asked Jasmine.
But Lucy loved cooking so much, she would even read recipe books before she went to sleep. Jasmine couldn’t understand it – ‘There’s no plot! What’s the point?’
The next night, Lucy sat in her room looking at recipes and dreaming of the meals she would cook when she was older. She had found a book on Moroccan cookery in the library, and now huddled up on her bed, with the rain lashing against the windows, she read about recipes for Lamb tagine with dates and preserved lemons and spicy vegetable cous cous sprinkled with almonds. Lucy became absorbed in the smells and tastes of North Africa, and was imagining that she was in a Moroccan castle, with huge fire places and red carpets and she was serving dinner on enormous wooden table lit with candles.
She had just decided that dessert would be freshly cooked meringues, with cold whipped cream and ginger syrup (to contrast with the spiciness of the cous cous), when her mobile phone rang.
‘Hello,’ she said, wondering who on earth would be ringing her so late. It was Jasmine and she sounded quite cross.
‘It’s a complete nightmare. It hasn’t stopped raining, our tent leaks and worst of all, we’ve been having cup-a-soups and pot noodles for tea. I can’t stand another night of this. If I see another pot noodle I’ll scream.’
‘Oh no, it sounds awful,’ said Lucy, secretly thinking how glad she was not to be a guide. ‘Are you going to come home early?’
‘No way,’ snapped Jasmine. ‘But I need you to bring me some dry clothes, nice food and ear plugs.’
‘Okay,’ said Lucy. ‘But why do you need ear plugs?’
‘Because,’ bellowed Jasmine down the phone, becomingly steadily more cross ‘SOMEONE in our tent snores and it is CERTAINLY NOT ME!’
Lucy got the impression that the last comment was aimed at someone else. Things did sound pretty grim. Lucy was suddenly back in rainy England after day dreaming about cooking in Morocco. She wondered if she could use the power of cooking to cheer up Jasmine and the rest of the Guides. And then she had an idea.
The next day, she got up early and baked a big batch of Coca Cola Cupcakes – they were Jasmine’s favourites, especially when they had fizzy cola bottles on the top. Then Lucy searched all the cupboards for stuff to make Corn Beef Hash – perfect camping food, because it is easy, delicious and only uses one pan. Perfect for when you are camping and only have a single stove.
‘Corned Beef, stock cube,’ Lucy muttered to herself as she put all the ingredients into a bag to cook later. ‘Potatoes, carrots, – and the secret ingredient.’
Jazzy’s mum drove Lucy to the camp site, which turned out to be a muddy field just a few miles away from where they lived. The guides did look rather miserable, with their hair and clothes dripping wet. As soon as Jasmine saw them, she raced over to give them a hug and then demanded to know what they had brought to eat.
‘Coca cola cupcakes – fantastic. We can have them with our cocoa later on. Oh and corn beef hash! What a good idea. I’ll tell captain, and then we can make a start on peeling the vegetables.’
An hour later, the corn beef hash was ready and smelled fantastic. Amazingly, the rain finally stopped and the guides managed to get a fire going. Warm at last, and with a plate of good food in front of them, everyone started to remember why camping was such good fun. Only Jasmine seemed unhappy, frowning at the food on her plate.
‘Looking for something?’ asked Lucy smiling, as she produced a bottle of brown sauce her pocket. The secret ingredient!
At last, Jasmine smiled. ‘You see,’ she said, squirting brown sauce all over the plate of corned beef hash. ‘Food does taste better outdoors – especially if it has brown sauce on!’
It was a rainy Sunday lunchtime. Jasmine sat, staring out of the window, brooding about Ben, Andrew and the Chocolate Easter cakes.
‘I still can’t believe it! They were buying cakes from us for 50 pence and then selling them to people in the park for a pound! 50 pence per cake profit, just for doing nothing!’
‘They did have to dress up as Easter Bunnies,’ Lucy pointed out reasonably. ‘And they nearly got arrested by the police. Oh by the way, my mum saw PC Atherton yesterday. He said the cakes were delicious!’
Jasmine didn’t answer. She was still seething at the boys making a profit out of her hard work. And deep down, she was wishing she had thought of the Easter Bunny idea. If anyone was going to look good in an Easter Bunny costume, it was her!
At that moment, Aleesha from school knocked at the door. She was soaking wet from the rain.
‘I am in so much trouble at school,’ she said, pulling off her wet coat and flopping dramatically onto the settee. ‘You won’t believe the homework Mr Banks has given us. I’ve got to think of an idea for an internet business – by tomorrow! You two have gotta help me.’
‘How long have you had to do it,’ asked Jasmine.
‘Four weeks,’ admitted Aleesha sulkily. ’But the thing is, everytime I think of it, my head hurts and my brain goes blank. So it is so not my fault!’
They sat in silence for about thirty seconds, before deciding they were too hungry to think. Aleesha showed them how to make Carrot and Coriander soup. It was gorgeous and Lucy was very impressed.
‘I didn’t know you could cook,’ she said.
‘Oh, yeah,’ replied Aleesha casually. ’This is my mum’s recipe. We make it all the time at home. Oh I wish I didn’t have that homework to do.’
The soup was so good, the three girls used their bread to mop up the last bits of soup from their plates. It had stopped raining outside and the sun was beginning to shine through.
‘We could do with some cake now,’ sighed Lucy. Aleesha nodded her head in agreement. ’I could always eat cake.’
All at once, Jasmine jumped. ‘That’s it – that’s your business idea. An internet cupcake delivery service! Everyone loves cupcakes. People order them by email – it could be for themselves, or as presents. And we bake and deliver them!’
Aleesha was doubtful. ’Who would bother ordering a cupcake on the internet, when you could just go down to the shops and buy some.’
‘No, no, no!’ Jasmine explained excitedly. ‘Each cupcake is delivered by us in a fancy box. We could decorate the cakes as well – so if your friend is ill, you could send them a cupcake saying ‘Get well soon.’ Or you could send one to someone you liked, with a love heart on.’
And so that afternoon was filled with Aleesha writing out a business plan for ‘Cupcakes-R-Us’, their new internet cupcake delivery service. Jasmine designed publicity for the school’s website, as well as sending individual emails out to everyone they knew. Meanwhile Lucy checked her cookery books for the best ever cupcake recipe.
‘How much are we going to charge?’ asked Aleesha, chewing the end of her pen.
‘£2 each,’ said Jasmine firmly, remembering how much the boys had charged for the Chocolate Easter cakes.
‘With free delivery.’
Aleesha looked at Jasmine, as though she had gone completely mad. ’Who is going to pay that much for a cupcake?’
The answer to this question was ‘quite a lot of people actually’ – as Jasmine pointed out to Aleesha later that day, when the orders started pouring in. The first email was for a ‘Get Well Soon’ cupcake from Andrew to his grandma. Then there were a couple of ‘Thank you’ cakes for a teacher who was leaving the school that term.
But things got really interesting when the orders for ‘I Love You’ cupcakes started to arrive.
‘Oh my goodness – I can’t believe it!’ squealed Aleesha. ’Jenny Harper is sending James Pierce an ‘I love you’ cake! But HE is sending one to Sarah Ward, in Year 8. This is just the best internet business EVER!’
‘Just hurry up and make the boxes and cards,’ said Lucy. ’Jasmine – have you finished decorating those cakes yet?’
Jasmine’s part of the kitchen was looking decidedly untidy, with icing sugar every where, including all over Jasmine.
‘Nearly finished, but cupcake decorating is harder that you think. I still can’t get the writing on the cakes quite right, so I’m using sweets and stencils instead. This is my best one.’
Jasmine held up a cupcake, covered in white icing and decorated with a bright red heart made out of chopped up bits of glace cherries.
‘That looks amazing,’ exclaimed Aleesha, genuinely impressed. ‘Right, we should do that for all the ‘I Love You’ cupcakes. I’ll write the name of the person sending it on the card.’
The last part of the day was spent with the girls riding round on their bikes, collecting money and delivering cupcakes. Each of them had a list of addresses, with a note of the type of cake to be delivered. It was hard work but good fun. People really loved receiving the cakes.
Jasmine’s last delivery of the day was to Sam Foxton’s house. Heather in their class had sent him an ‘I Love You’ cake. Jasmine leant her bike on the gate and walked up the driveway to the house. She had never been to Sam Foxton’s house before, and so she had sneeky peak through the windows, whilst she was waiting for someone to answer the door.
Sam opened the door and immediately Jasmine presented him with the cupcake.
‘Hiya Sam,’ she said breezily. ‘I’m delivering you an ‘I Love You’ cupcake.’
Sam looked amazed and delighted at the same time. ’Wow! Er, well thanks very much. Er, I don’t know what to say!’
‘You don’t have to say anything,’ Jasmine shrugged her shoulders. She was about to go when suddenly, a thought occurred to her. ’Its not from me you know! Its from Heather Middleton.’
For a brief moment, Sam seemed lost for words. But then he laughed and said hurriedly ‘Oh yeah, I knew that! Ha, ha.’
Jasmine peered at him through narrowed eyes – was Sam Foxton blushing?! Surely he didn’t think she would ever send him an ‘I Love you’ cake! ’Right I had better go then,’ she said gruffly, grabbing her bike. ‘Enjoy your cake.’
As she rode away, she began to think of the Sam situation. As the most popular boy in the school, he was likely to be getting a lot of cupcake deliveries. ‘It was probably be better if I didn’t deliver them,’ she resolved to herself. ‘I wouldn’t want anyone getting the wrong idea. Especially not Sam Foxton!’
Cake pops are very delightful as well as amazing food item that will definitely entertain you and your child. Cake pops are mainly small smashed balls of cake containing frosting. You can easily make them from your birthday or party cake scratches. You can make these cute and delicious cake pops very quickly to impress your near and dear ones. All that you have to do are just bake a cake in usual way, crumble it and mix with frosting to hold it and finally roll into little balls. Additional decoration of the balls depends on your choice. To make it you don’t need too many ingredients as you will find most of the ingredients in your kitchen already. Besides you also have the option of showing your creativity as you can create variation in making cake pops. Making yummy cute cake pops is a very good way to utilize your leftover cake. They have an outer chocolate or toffee shell which is moist and a soft inner core which will melt in your mouth and captivate you with it’s indulging taste. They are sweet but not too sweet to make uncomfortable. In this modern busy life you can comfortably prepare these very cool cake pops using ready made cake mix and canned frosting.
In order to make cake pops you will need lollipop sticks, chocolate chips, white chocolate barks, colored sugar, candies, decorative sprinkles, edible wax (optional). You will find all the ingredients in your nearby super shop.
As a starter take a medium sized cake of any kind. If you fond of chocolate of vanilla flavor then take these cakes. Even you can also use black forest cake. Then your job is to prepare cake pan for baking covered by parchment paper. Pour the cake mix into the cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for at least 25 to 30 minutes. After baking let it be cool for sometimes and when it is little bit warm crumb it.
Now you have to blend cake crumb with frosting. You can choose different type of frosting on the basis of your personal preference and taste. Butter as well as margarine whipped with powdered sugar containing small amount of cornstarch as it gives appropriate consistency can be used. Similarly butter cream frosting also serves the same purpose. You have also the opportunity to use cooked frosting. Some people prefer to use icing as frosting which is usually used to decorate cakes.
Now mix the cake crumb and frosting thoroughly and roll into small round balls. Keep them in the freezer for sometime to make them stable. Then you have to make the covering of the balls. You can use any kind of chocolates like white chocolate or caramel chocolate as well as others. Beside use of toffees or hard sugar boiled confectionary will give a new dimension to the taste of your lovely cake pops. Take your preferred covering into a double wall saucepan and heat it with low flame otherwise chocolate may be charred. Insert lollipop sticks in each cake balls and dip it into the melted chocolate covering. Keep it at room temperature for sometime for cooling. Don’t keep them in refrigerator as it may crack their coating. Now your delicious cake pops are ready to be served!!
At birthday party or wedding shower, Christmas party or evening tea party whatever the occasion is cake balls spiked with booze or decorated with swirls, sprinkles as well as nuts are loved by not only the children but also the adults. It has an awesome taste as well it’s making process is very easy and great fun. So no doubt that everybody will be amazed with it’s taste. All that you have to do is bake the cake, grind it, mix the frosting with the crumb and roll into balls and finally immerse the balls in chocolate. You can make cake pops and use lollipop sticks to hold them as well as can use your hand to eat them. By attempting various types of frosting and coating you can generate unlimited variations. Isn’t cool?
In order to make cake balls you need three main things that are cake, frosting and coating.
You can make your cake by yourself or find the pre-packaged cake crumb available in markets. As coating you can choose any sweet and easy melting chocolate. You can use bark coating as well as colorful little confectionary wafers.
If you want to make the cake yourself do it in the usual way that you follow. You can use any type of cake sheet pan because the shape doesn’t matter as you are going to crumble it after baking. After the cake has baked give some time to make it little bit cool but it should be slightly hot before you grind it. Firstly use your hand to crumble it and then you can use hand mixer for further mixing.
In the next step add frosting the crumb and make a paste. The amount of the frosting will be based on the amount of your crumb and ensure that it doesn’t look dry. But if you want to make more cakey cake balls in that case you have the freedom to add less frosting. After mixing let the paste to be chilled for some time because in warm state they will crumble into bits instead of roll out into balls. For chilling you can keep the mixture into freezer for about 15minutes. To make balls you can use your hands or now various balers are available in market. Make the size of the balls as your wish but 1 to 1.5 inches is most suitable. Then wrap the balls with cookie sheets or keep in plastic container and place in the freezer for at least 6 hour to make them hard enough to dip in the melted chocolate.
The final step is to coat the balls with the liquid chocolate. You can use various instruments like microwave, saucepan as well as double broiler to melt bark coating. You can use fork and spatula to coat you cake balls which is the simplest way. Just hold the fork in your one hand and spatula in another hand. Dip the balls in the melted chocolate and by using fork and spatula ensure that all the surfaces have covered. Using the fork lift up the ball from the chocolate coating and let the extra coating drip off.
After coating you can decorate your cake balls with various fancy decorative materials or sprinkles and make them lovely!
Fruitcakes are perfect for tea parties or Christmas parties. It has an incredible taste that makes everyone impressed. Children just love it and if you give fruit cake for school Tiffin they will just love it. It contains candied fruits or dried fruits, nuts as well as spices so from nutritional point of view it’s not less important absolutely. In UK fruit cakes are widely used as wedding cake and why not? It is so gorgeous in both look and taste!
Fruit cakes contain lower flour content than other types of cakes and that’s why these cakes are much more heavy and dense as these have lots of mixed dried fruits.
The outstanding taste and wonder combination of nuts ad dried fruits of fruit cake make it compulsory in the Christmas food list of some people. Various types of dry fruit items that are commonly used in this version of cake are currants, raisins, dried figs, dried apricots, dried cranberries, prunes, peel and other candied fruits that are preserved in concentrated sugar syrup. Ground almonds are very popularly used. In the UK on the occasion of Christmas fruits cakes are made usually three to four weeks earlier in order to brush the cake several time with alcohol. This enables the flavor of the cake to merge and age.
How to make a cake
In order to make fruit cake first you have to take butter and sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly with either electric or hand mixer to make the mixture light and fluffy. Next step is to add eggs one by one and blend well after each addition of eggs. If you feel the need, rub down the sides of the bowl. Then add zest and juice of range and lemon, chopped nuts, ground almonds as well as all other candied fruits that you want to include in your cake. If you want you can add brandy as well. In another bowl take salt, flour and baking powder, mix thoroughly and fold into the butter-fruits mix.
Now you have to bake your cake mixture. For this take a cake pan and spray butter on a parchment paper. Place the buttered parchment paper on the side as well as bottom of the pan. Then you need to preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. If you want you can decorate the top portion of the cake with blanched almonds which will be really attracting after baking. Pour the cake mix into the baking pan and bake it into the preheated oven for at least one hour. Then decrease the temperature to 150 degrees Celsius for another one hour and 30 minutes. When an extensive spit inserted into the center of the cake will come out with wet crumbs quickly remove the cake from the oven and leave on a rack for sometime to be cool. If you want to give alcoholic touch brush with brandy once or twice a week and wrap up with aluminum foil and keep in cake tin. You can also preserve it by freezing. The best fruit cakes take at least one month for maturation and during this time saturated with brandy, Madeira or Sherry from time to time. The fruit cakes which contain only dried fruits no alcohol can be preserved for several weeks to a month at best. After then they are attacked by moulds.