Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Easy Summer Pasta Salad

LOVE this new summer pasta salad!  I found the recipe and Two Peas & Their Pod.  Please visit their fun family blog!

Like I mentioned in an earlier summer post, we have been making a lot of different salads.  They have been great for my family to eat when they are passing through or when we gather to eat together.  This one was really easy and really good.  I typically think a salad is better if the dressing is homemade.  I used Newman's Own Lite Balsamic Dressing for this salad.... and we loved it!

Easy Summer Pasta Salad  (adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)

16 oz dry pasta ( I used Farfalle/bowtie)
1 small yellow, red and orange bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
1  12 oz. jar of artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 cup balsamic dressing, or more if needed ( I used Newman's Own Lite Balsamic)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
sprinkling or more of shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to "al dente" directions, Drain.  Toss with a little olive oil to keep from sticking.  In a large bowl, combine the cooled pasta and the chopped vegetables.  Add feta, basil, Parmesan and gently stir to combine.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Chill until ready to serve.

*This was very yummy the next few days.  Add a little more dressing to liven it up if needed
**You can always add grilled chicken or another favorite meat

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Brownies "Whatever Floats Your Boat"

Love these gooey, chocolatey brownies!  They were soft and fudgey, yet they came out of the pan perfectly.  These brownies would be the perfect base to some good vanilla ice cream.

When I saw these brownies were called..."whatever floats your boat" brownies, I knew they would be fun.  I doubled the recipe, added 1 cup of milk chocolate chips and baked in a 9 x 13 metal pan.  They were great!

I have made these brownie three times now.  I love how easy they are, they yummy flavor and that I always have everything on hand.  I added a cup of milk chocolate chips the first time.  I added toffee pieces the second time and I added a variety of milk, dark and white chocolate chips the third time. All were fabulous! Feel free to add to these brownies "whatever floats your boat".  Add craisins, raisins, pecans, pretzel pieces, peanut butter chips, etc.

I found this recipe over at Food.com.  Please visit for lots of yummy recipes!

"Whatever Floats Your Boat" Brownies (adapted from Food.com)
   ** Here is the recipe for the 9 x 13 version  See Food.com for the 8 x 8 version

2 sticks of butter, melted
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 - 2 cups of any add-in

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray or line with foil.  In a medium bowl, mix melted butter and cocoa.  Add sugar and mix well.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in vanilla, flour and salt.  Stir only until you can no longer see the flour.  Don't over-mix!  Fold in "whatever floats your boat" and spread evenly into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 for about 23-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out with moist crumbs - not clean.  Do not over bake or you will have dry brownies!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Honey Roasted Peanut Sandies

It is summer - I have more time to look for new recipes and get feedback from my family.  I saw this "Honey Roasted Peanut Crisps" cookie recipe in a Southern Living cookbook.  My family wasn't overly impressed..... but that is because they like soft, chewy chocolate chip type cookies.

I actually think these cookies have a great flavor.  I did add chocolate chips to the last half of the dough and I liked them better... but I like chocolate.  My hubby really liked them but he doesn't like chocolate as much as the rest of us.

If you like a "pecan sandie" type of cookie, give these a try!

Honey Roasted Peanut Sandies (adapted from Southern Living)

1 cup butter, softened or 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening - I did all butter!
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups honey-roasted peanuts

Beat butter at medium speed with mixer until creamy - gradually add brown sugar, beating well.  Add egg and vanilla, beating well.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, gradually add to butter mixture, beating well.  Stir in peanuts.  Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet - or lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Dip a flat-bottomed glass in sugar and flatten each ball to 1/4 inch thickness  Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes or until edges or golden.  Cool slightly on pan and move to wire racks to cool.  Makes about 4 dozen.

Printable Version

Friday, July 10, 2015

Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad with Teriyaki Dressing

Here is another yummy summer salad!  Serve as is or with grilled chicken.  My middle daughter loves a salad like this with fried chicken bites.  If you are here in Omaha, stop by our local No-Frills Grocery Store and pick up some yummy fried chicken tenders, chop in bite-size pieces and toss in your salad.

We all ate dinner at different times last night.  I had a bowl of spinach, a bowl of cooked pasta and the rest of the ingredients ready to be tossed together as they walked in the door.  Yea Summer Salads!

Visit Creme De La Crumb for other great recipes!

Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad with Teriyaki Dressing (adaped from Creme De La Crumb)


1/3 cup thick teriyaki glaze or sauce 
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar (may sub apple cider vinegar)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup oil (vegetable oil, canola oil or olive oil)

Mix together and chill.  


8 oz cooked bowtie pasta
4 cups spinach leaves
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup cashews or pine nuts (I used cashews)
14 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (I didn't use)

Cook pasta according to directions,  Drain.  I don't usually rinse pasta - I usually toss in a little olive oil to keep from sticking.  Set aside.  While pasta is cooking, prepare dressing, cover, shake and refrigerate.  In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients.  Just before serving, add dressing, toss and serve.  

*Feel free to add in your favorite meat - grilled chicken, steak, salmon, shrimp, fried chicken....