Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer Pasta Salad

I love this recipe! It's one of my favorites because it's not very difficult and doesn't take a lot of time! It's great for summer!

Summer Pasta Salad

8 oz. (or so) dry multicolored pasta, cooked

black olives, chopped

cucumber, chopped

tomatoes, chopped

bell pepper, chopped


onion powder

garlic powder

extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar

salt & pepper

Use as much or as little as you like of each ingredient and toss together. I tend to be sparing with the vinegar because it's very strong! You can also add any ingredients that sound good to you. Be creative!

Sometimes instead of using the olive oil and vinegar, I'll just toss it with some ranch dressing. It's also very delicious. Enjoy!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Meatloaf Pasta

The other night I made meatloaf and I always have tons left over. And I don't know about you but I get really sick of having the same dinner for three nights in a row. So here's an idea to use that leftover meatloaf in a different way.
Meatloaf Pasta

6-8 oz. dry pasta (your favorite shape)

about 1 lb. meatloaf, cut in cubes

about 1 lb. mozzarella, cut in cubes

1-2 c. spaghetti sauce

1 c. cottage cheese

parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Return pasta to pot and add remaining ingredients except parmesan. Heat over medium until cheese melts. Serve with parmesan sprinkled on top. Serves 4-6.

If you don't have meatloaf, you could use anything like meatballs, pepperoni, or even chicken. Or omit the meat altogether for a meatless dish. Experiment and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oreo Truffles

I found this recipe in a Kraft Food & Family magazine a couple years ago. I tried making them dipped in milk chocolate and dark chocolate. But I found that dipping them in vanilla almond bark was my favorite.

Oreo Truffles
1 (18 oz.) package oreos
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (slightly melted)
melted vanilla almond bark
In a food processor, crush oreos (including cream filling) until they are fine crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a bowl and add cream cheese. Mix until well blended. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Form small balls and dip in melted almond bark.
This recipe makes a TON of truffles so sometimes I only make half the recipe. You can keep them at room temperature for a couple weeks, but they keep much longer in the fridge. Also, I usually use 1/3 less fat cream cheese and I honestly can't tell the difference in this recipe. They're fun to make for special occasions or just for fun. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Meatball Soup

I love all kinds of soups! I found this recipe in my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook and I just love it! It's the perfect hearty, healthy meal for a winter day and it makes really good leftovers!

Meatball Soup
1 lb. cooked meatballs (homemade or frozen)
3 1/2 c. beef broth
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 oz.) can beans, drained and rinsed (any kind)
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. small dry pasta
3 c. fresh spinach (or 1/2 bag frozen)
1/2 t. italian seasoning
1 c. sliced mushrooms (optional)
In a large pot, combine broth, tomatoes, italian seasoning, and water. Bring to boiling, add pasta, and cook for 10-12 minutes or until tender. Add meatballs, beans, spinach and mushrooms and simmer on medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This recipe is a shortcut version of traditional guacamole. It's very tasty and you can adjust all the ingredients to your own taste.
We ate most of it before I could take a picture...:)
3 ripe avocados
bottled salsa
1-2 T. lemon or lime juice (optional)
fresh minced garlic or garlic powder (optional)
salt to taste

Mash avacados and add as much or as little as you like of all other ingredients. (Note: the lemon juice is to prevent the guacamole from going brown. My family eats it so fast that I usually don't add it. And even if it does go a little brown, it still tastes great!) Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chewy Oatmeal Date Cookies

This recipe was inspired by a cooking show I saw a few weeks ago. I watched as they made date cookies but I never thought I'd actually make them. After all, I've never made anything with dates before. But in the store that week, a box of dates caught my eye and I thought, "Oh, why not try something new?" (And surprisingly, dates aren't that expensive! I got an 8 oz. box for about $1.50 and they're found near the raisins.) So here is this recipe for Chewy Oatmeal Date Cookies. I hope you like them!!

Chewy Oatmeal Date Cookies

3/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 c. milk
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 c. flour
3 c. oats, uncooked
1 c. chopped dried dates
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and brown sugar and beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Add egg, milk, vanilla, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and mix well. Mix in flour and oats. With a spoon, fold in dates and chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cake Mix Cookies

If you've never made cake mix cookies, you should! If I ever need a really quick dessert, this is the one I make. Just this morning my husband told me he needed a treat for a church class he teaches so I threw these together and they were a huge hit. And they're so versitile because you can use any flavor of cake mix! I encourage all to try this recipe.

Cake Mix Cookies

1 (18-19 oz.) box cake mix (any flavor)
1/3 c. vegetable or canola oil
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine all ingredients until moist (dough will be very thick.) Roll dough into 1" balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes.

These cookies are great with or without frosting. Sometimes I put frosting in between two cookies for little sandwich cookies. You can also adjust the size of the cookies depending on how big or small you want them. Just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly. It's great fun for the whole family to help. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Easy Dinner: Enchiladas

Okay, so I wanted to start a blog about everyday stuff. I always want to share new recipes and money-saving cooking tips and I figured this would be a great way to do it! Also, I often have random thoughts that I want to verbalize, but they're the kind of random that would sound weird out loud. So I'll write them instead and then I won't feel so dumb! :)

Anyway let's talk food! I don't know about many of you, but I do nearly all the cooking at my house. I will say that there are a few dishes that my husband proudly makes, including this recipe for Chicken Enchiladas. This is one dish that I've actually NEVER prepared since we've been married because he always voluteers. But the other night, dinner time came and he was just too busy. So I made it for the first time. It's so good and SOOOO easy!

Chicken Enchiladas
1 (10.5 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
3/4 c. sour cream
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
salt & pepper
1 lb. chicken (cooked and shredded)
1/2 c. bottled salsa
1/2 c. sour cream
salt & pepper
1 lb. shredded cheese
6-8 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together sauce ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together filling ingredients except the cheese and tortillas. In the bottom of a 13x9x2" baking pan, spread about 1/3 c. of the sauce mixture. Divide the chicken mixture among tortillas, spread each with a spoonful of sauce mixture, and sprinkle each with a little cheese. (You'll have quite a bit of cheese and sauce leftover.) Roll each filled tortilla and place side by side in pan. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 35-40 minutes.

If you want to switch it up a little, you could use pork or beef instead of chicken. And I'm sure lowfat sour cream would work well, too! I'm all about experimenting to see what works. Good luck and enjoy!