Thursday, July 31, 2008

Amazing Pizza Pasta Salad!

This is one of my absolute favorite summer pasta salads. The other day I was kind of MEAT-ed out, so I decided to make this yummy salad for dinner. It is so lite, easy, and full of flavor. This is another Kraft recipe that never fails at my house. I love making this for a pot-luck, bbq, or neighborhood party. It always gets gobbled up. The fresh basil is delish in this dish. I love Kraft's Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing! It really gives this pasta a zing that you will love!

Pizza Pasta Salad

3 cups penne pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
4 tomatoes, chopped
12 slices Oscar Mayer Hard Salami, chopped
1 cup Kraft Natural Mozzarella Cheese Crumbles
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
1/2 cup Kraft 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing

Toss all ingredients in large bowl; cover. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 10 servings, 1 cup each.

**I use pepperoni instead of the hard salami, because we have pepperoni all the time. I haven't ever tried it with the salami...I'm sure it's great! Using the pepperoni is more convenient for me. I can never find Kraft's Mozzarella Cheese Crumbles, so I use Mozzarella String Cheese. I use about 6 sticks and cut them into pieces. I always use more dressing than they say, and also add more dressing after it has been in the fridge for a day. Sometimes I have had a hard time finding the Roasted Red Pepper Italian dressing, so I have used Kraft's Sun-Dried Tomato Vinagrette and it also tastes great! We love this easy dish and I know you will too! It is perfect served with garlic bread.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Leftover Taco Meat Anyone???

We're back, and had a fun-filled weekend! We celebrated Pioneer Day until we dropped! We had fun with family and friends and of course ate some great food! Our annual fireworks and homemade ice cream was great! We had some great flavors. On Pioneer day we tried to eat as pioneer as possible and made tin foil dinners. They were yummy! I will post some tin foil dinners soon. We ate some great Navajo Tacos at our small town Pioneer day celebration. They are so yummy, and I willl post a recipe for them soon as well. We had a great weekend and we are all worn out. Too bad we have to wait a whole year to see more "fiweworks", as my son calls them. He loved them. I love the month of July! On to some yummy, cheesy, Taco Pockets! I had some leftover taco meat and got this idea from a Taste of Home cookbook that I tweeked a bit to fit what I had. They were a hit, and I will always do this with my leftover taco meat from now on . My taco meat is a recipe from Kraft Foods found here: . We love to make these yummy Taco Salad Bowls. They are so easy and tasty. I love this recipe for taco meat with kidney beans. The beans really add to it. After we had the taco bowls one day, we had plenty of leftover taco meat. So one afternoon I whipped these up. Give them a try!

Taco Pockets
taco meat
1 pkg refridgerated large flaky buttermilk biscuits (8 to a pkg)
sliced cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray large cookie sheet pan. Open biscuits and roll out flat to make a 4 inch circle on the cookie sheet with all 8 of the biscuits. Dollop your taco meat in the middle of four rolled out biscuits. Top with cheese and put one rolled out biscuit on top to make a sandwich. Press edges together and seal with a fork all the way around the pocket. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 4 Taco Pockets.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

For my first time making homemade ice cream, I picked a great recipe to try out! This is absolutely delish! I have memories of homemade ice cream in the month of july and decided to finally try it myself. My sister-in-law gave us an ice cream maker for Christmas one year, and I have waited til now to break it out. I think I was a little nervous. What was I was so easy! My family has a tradition of watching Fireworks and eating homemade ice cream and cookies to celebrate Pioneer Day. We all love this tradition and I am looking forward to it. I am especially excited for my boys to see the fireworks. There is something about being a parent and watching your child experience things for the first time that I just love. No more rambling...onto this yummy ice cream!
I think that some of the best recipes are found in your instruction book. At least this one was a winner! The only thing that I will do different next time is leave my graham crackers more chunky and not complete crumbs. I also used fresh strawberries. I used my handy dandy egg slicer to get them cut into small pieces running the strawberry through one way, then turning it a quarter turn and running through the other way to make small squares. It worked for me! I cut them up the day before and put them in the fridge until I was ready to use them. Look come the calories! Now you will know why it tasted soooo good!

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

1 8-ounce pkg cream cheese (softened)

2 cups frozen strawberries (slightly thawed)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup graham cracker crumbs


Allow cream cheese to soften and the strawberries to become slightly thawed. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add condensed milk until smooth, (I used my hand could use a blender). Mix in heavy whipping cream and vanilla. Chop strawberries into small peices and stir into mixture. Stir in graham cracker crumbs. Mix well. Pour into canister. Plug in your machine, add your ice and salt, and let it churn, churn, churn!

When I was young we always wanted to be around when the ice cream was done, because Grandma & Grandpa would let us have the best taste... right off the dasher spatula. If we were lucky they would leave a lot of ice cream on it. I enjoyed licking it all by myself this time! Enjoy!

My favorite way to eat this yummy treat is in a nice sugar cone. It is a cool treat for a hot summer day! Happy Pioneer Day! I will be spending the rest of the week with family, in fact I get to go to my sister's kitchen and see what she has been up to. I'm excited to try out her yummy donuts on Pioneer Day!

Our 2nd Ever Blog Award!!!

A BIG Thank you to Jenny at Picky Palate for the Blog Award!!! We just love Jenny's blog, and read it oh, so frequently. Jenny is a very, very talented and inventive cook. She is always entering contests, and receiving rewards for the yummy things she cooks up. She has even appeared on the Food Network. She has got beautiful pictures on her blog that will make you drool and send you strait to your kitchen with new recipes to try. If you haven't visited The Picky Palate yet, do so NOW!!! (Her link is on our sidebar.) You will find a new favorite foodie blog! My sister and I have both cooked recipes from her blog that we just love...and we know you will too! Check her out!

Now we will send this award to 5 of our favorite blogs that we feel deserve THE SMILE AWARD. These blogs just bring smiles to our faces when we visit... whether it is with their food, great tips, or fun ideas. Go see for yourself!

1) Our friend Prudy at Prudence Pennywise;
2) A Little Of This And Some Of that ;
3) Brooke at ...and a cookie for dessert;
4) Ramblings of a Frantic Home Cook;
5) Megan at Plum Pudding;

Now, pass this award onto 5 more blogs that bring a SMILE to your faces, and don't forget to tell them where you got it!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Brigham's Buttermilk Doughnuts

This week, here in Utah, we celebrate the 24th of July, the day that the pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. We've been doing various activities throughout the month to help them understand what it could have been like to be a pioneer. Last Saturday we had an activity with our little ones where they got to dress up as pioneer children and play games that the pioneers would have played. They were very simple games, but I'm convinced that my boys should have lived during that time (don't get me wrong, I'm so grateful they're mine ritght now). I couldn't believe how much fun they had with the most simple activities. Well, tonight for Family Home Evening we made these wonderful doughnuts that were a favorite of the prophet Brigham Young. He led the first group of Saints into the Salt Lake Valley. This recipe comes from one of his wives and is in the Christmas Recipes from the Lion House book. They are delicious, I couldn't stop after one. I rolled mine in cinnamon and sugar and they were great. Happy 24th!!

Brigham’s Buttermilk Doughnuts

2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs beaten
1 cup sugar
5 cups flour
2tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
¼ cup melted butter

Combine buttermilk, eggs, and sugar and mix well. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg together into a large mixing bowl. Stir in buttermilk mixture, then melted butter. Roll dough out about ¼ inch thick on floured board; cut with doughnut cutter. Fry in hot oil till golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle or roll in sugar. Makes 2 dozen doughnuts.

Super Simple Strawberry Freezer Jam

Last week I ran out of jam, and I my little boy every morning lately has wanted toast with jam. Strawberries were on for a good price, so I got all the stuff to make this yummy NO COOK Freezer Jam. We love this stuff at my house. It is like candy, and its always a treat to lick the spoon when you are done with the spreading! All you need are strawberries, 1 pkg of Ball's No Cook Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin, 1 1/2 cups sugar and freezer jars or 1/2 pint jars. Ball makes these wonderful plastic freezer jars that make stacking a sinch. The lids screw on and make my jam packing a lot easier. Just follow the directions on the Ball package for the jam.
For each package you need 4 cups of crushed strawberries. This package can be used with raspberries and peaches too! I have tried all of them. We loved the raspberry and strawberry the best. Crushing the fruit is the hardest part. It is best to have your fruit a little over ripe so it is easier to crush. Then you add your pectin and sugar and've got freezer jam!!!
Next you pack your jam in your jars giving them a 1/2 inch head space, screw on your lids and let them sit for 30 minutes before loading them into the freezer. I like to pack some in the 1/2 pint jars because they make pretty gifts when I need one. There's nothin' like homemade jam. It makes store bought jam look very sad! I love this jam because it is Super Simple!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Boxed Shells 'N Cheese Makeover

We love this simple boxed meal makeover at my house. It is always gobbled up. Especially because anything with noodles my 2 year old will eat! This recipe comes from Kraft Foods, of course! Anything brilliant and yummy usually comes from them. I love the taste of the fresh basil from my garden. The garlic salt gives it a little bit of a zing, and the tomatoes give this a fresh twist on a plain boxed meal. It is so easy and quick...perfect for a summer lunch! I also love this quick Italian Garlic Bread that I just pop in the broiler. If you are looking for a quick fix meal, this is it!
Shells 'N Cheese with Tomato, Basil & Garlic
1 Box Shells 'N Cheese Dinner
1 Tomato, diced
1 handful Basil, chopped
Garlic Salt, sprinkle to your liking
Cook Shells 'N Cheese according to package. Drain and return noodles to same pan. Add cheese and stir well. Add tomatoes, basil and garlic salt. Serves 4.
Italian Garlic Bread
1 Loaf French Bread
1 pkg Italian dressing mix
Parmesan Cheese
Mozarella Cheese
Cut loaf of french bread lengthwise and butter both sides. Sprinkle Italian dressing mix lightly on both sides (I usually only use half of the package, and save the other half for the next time.) Sprinkle with Parmesan and Mozarella cheeses to your liking. Broil on high for about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted and browning, and when sides get crisp.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tender Pork Ribs & Garlic Mashed Potatoes

For a first time griller of ribs...I think I did pretty good! My brother-in-law and his family gave me these Pork Loin Back Ribs for my birthday. I have been very excited to try new things on my grill, so this was great! I was a little nervous and didn't know what I was doing, but whatever I worked. They were so tender and juicy. They were perfect. My husband usually doesn't care for ribs, unless they are from Famous Dave's. Now he has a new favorite! The ribs I got were John Morrell Pork Loin Back Ribs. Sold in your local grocery store already marinated the way you like it. I cooked mine at a Low to Medium heat for just under 1 hour, turning it every 15 minutes. I placed them on aluminum foil that was sprayed with cooking spray really, really good so that they wouldn't stick and cause problems when I turned them over. That also helped the juices stay put and really soak into the ribs. They were so good. Thank you to Dave & Tiff for the birthday present. We really enjoyed the ribs! Our Creamy Garlic mashed Potatoes made for a great side, and of course some fresh greens from our garden for our salad topped this meal off!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

8 good sized Red Potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 cloves Garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add potatoes and boil until soft. Drain and add remaining ingredients. Mix with an electric mixer to desired consistency.

Our First Ever Blog Award!!!

A great big "thank you" to Prudy for the Yum-Yum blog award! If you haven't already checked out her blog, go there now! The link to Prudence Pennywise is on our side bar. You will love what she does in her kitchen. She is an amazing cook with great ideas and a fun sense of humor. She is a bargain shopper and always includes a total cost for what she makes. She is a lot of fun! Last week she had 4,000 visitors on her blog. Go see for yourself! Kick back and drool over her yummy food! You will love the music and don't be afraid to tap your feet to the beat! Thanks again, Prudy! Now we are going to send this award to 5 other recipe blogs. Here are some of our favorite recipe blogs that we feel deserve the Yum-Yum blog award! Post the blog award to your blog and pass it on to 5 more food blogs that deserve the Yum-Yum award!

1) Food For Thought
2) The Recipe Girl
3) Everyday Food Storage & Preparedness
4) Sara's Recipe Spot
5) Marie's Recipes

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hot Dogs on a Stick

One of my weaknesses is buying the magazines or little recipe books that you see when you're standing in line at the grocery store. Well, I found this in one of those. It came from a Taste of Home magazine. They were so yummy! I don't like corn dogs, so these were perfect for me. They were easy for my kids to eat too! I made five using one package of crescent rolls. On a couple I used 1 1/2 of the rolls to make sure in went to the end of the hot dog. It just depends on how much roll you want.

1 pkg. crescent rolls (break apart and roll into 15 inch ropes)
8 hot dogs
Skewers or popsicle sticks

Place hot dog on skewer and wrap roll rope around to top. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes on a well greased baking sheet. Serve with ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce or Ranch.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Stuffed Fiesta Burgers

My husband got me a grill for my birthday. We refused going another summer without one. We don't have air conditioning at our home so when we turn on the oven the whole house heats up. It's wonderful in the winter, but unbearable at times in the summer. Ever since we got the grill we have cooked most of our dinners on the grill. We are loving it. We've done shishkabobs, chicken, ribs (coming soon), french bread (also coming soon), and all kinds of burgers. This is one of my very favorite burgers. It is so packed with flavor and oozing cheese out of the middle. You are going to love it! I got the recipe from Kraft. If you haven't noticed, I love cooking Kraft recipes. They are easy, fun, and very family friendly. If you don't already have a free subscription to their food & family magazine, go to to sign up. Did I mention it's a FREE subscription? It is well worth it! You are going to love the tangy, cheesy taste of these Tex-Mex burgers!

Stuffed Fiesta Burgers

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg (1/4 cup) Taco Seasoning mix
1/4 cup Chive & Onion Cream Cheese Spread
1/3 cup Kraft Shredded Cheddar Cheese
4 hamburger buns, split, lightly toasted
1/2 cup Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
8 slices ripe avocado

Preheat grill to medium heat. Mix meat and seasoning mix. Shape into 8 thin patties. Mix cream cheese spread and shredded cheese. Spoon about 2 Tbsp. of the cheese mixture onto center of each of 4 of the patties; top with second patty. Pinch edges of patties together to seal. Grill patties 7 to 9 min. on each side or until cooked through. Cover bottom halves of buns with burgers. Top with salsa, avocado and top halves of buns. Makes 4 servings.

*I like using a thick slice of cheddar cheese in the makes the burger ooze more with cheese. Rather than mixing the cream cheese and shredded cheese, I spoon 2 Tbsp of cream cheese on the burgers, then top with slice of cheese.
*I also like to mix in one pkg. of lipton onion soup in with my hamburger meat. It makes the burgers even more tasty.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cheese Souffle & Creme Brulee on Independence Day!

My family had a wonderful 4th of July at beautiful Bear Lake! The food I made was not your typical 4th of July BBQ food, and not very patriotic looking at all...except my cute red ramekin dishes that I made my Creme Brulee in. We had a Taste's of the World food contest on the 4th of July. My little family was assigned French food. I had never cooked french food before, except crepes. I am not an experienced French food cook to say the least! Fortunately we were successful with 2 out of 3 recipes we presented. Our Creme Brulee and Cheese Souffle both won 1st prize! (We were only competing against 3 other families, so it really wasn't a big deal.) Our third dish was Ratatouille, and it was "blahhhh"!!! I'm not a fan. I thought for sure it would taste good seeing that they named a movie after it. Boy was I wrong! I am now a huge fan of these two yummy french dishes. They are both a must try and they were super easy. See for yourself! The Cheese Souffle (pictured above) recipe can be found here:,1946,FOOD_9936_24531_PRINT-RECIPE-4X6-CARD,00.html. I was really nervous to be trying a souffle for the first time. It turned out nice and fluffy. It was gobbled up very quickly! I loved the taste of the swiss cheese and the chives make it so tasty! The Creme Brulee (pictured below) recipe can be found here: . I love creme brulee! This was the first time making it, and I think it turned out great! I thought it was going to be hard to make, but I was wrong. It is super easy and I love this recipe. Doesn't it just look beautiful!!! The one thing I did differently the second time making it, which was yesterday...yes, I am obsessed now, is I sprinkled more sugar on top to get more of a crisp top layer. We drizzled ours with caramel syrup, which was a great finishing touch to this elegant & creamy dessert. I did not use a hand held broiler worked great! I did have to flip them around to get them evenly crisp on top, but I think they turned out great!
We had a wonderful Independence day and I feel so blessed to live in this country. I love this land of the free, and I am grateful for those who have fought so hard and are still fighting for out freedom. God bless the USA! This last picture is our masterpiece we made on the beach. The recipe is... some good moist sand, sand castle buckets, shovels, american flags, sticks, sea shells, and patience with your 2 year old who wants to destroy everything! We had a great time constructing this amazing sand castle on the beach of Bear Lake. We even had a drawbridge. This was another contest with the family, however no one ever got a prize...hmmm...who was judging this contest? The castle directly behind us was a replica of the castle of Moridor (probably spelled that wrong) from The Lord of the Rings. We had a great time! Happy 4th!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Around the Campfire

Campfire Macaroni & Cheese

We had planned to go to our family cabin for the 4th of July, but had a change of plans. I found this recipe and thought it would be something fun and different. We usually roast hot dogs but I needed something different. We didn't end up going to the cabin, but we decided to do use our firepit in the backyard instead. I can't believe how good it turned out. My kids absolutely loved this because they got to help put it together. Here's the link .

Easiet S'mores Ever
This is our family version of s'mores. It's so much easier than having to break the graham crackers and chocolate bars to fit. All you need are Fudge Stripe Cookies and big marshmallows. Roast the marshmallow and place it between 2 cookies. Enjoy!

Shredded Pork Sandwiches

Okay, so we live in a very, very old house that doesn't have Central Air. I feel like I'm sweating constantly. We have at least one fan in every room. I try not to cook too much in the kitchen since it heats up the whole house, so I've been searching for recipes I can do on the grill or in the crockpot. I came across this recipe on Family Fun. I did a few things different than what the real recipe did and we loved it. The combination of the molasses and lemon juice was amazing! Here's the link for the recipe . Instead of using the pork tenderloins, I used a pork loin roast. I doubled the sauce and poured half of it on the top of the pork loin roast in the crockpot. I cooked it for 3 hours on high then shredded it. I used the other half of the sauce on the pork after it was shredded. They turned out to be very yummy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Best Ever Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!!!

I've been searching for a yummy cookie recipe with my 3 favorite ingredients. I found the recipe at Kraft Foods, but I have altered it and made it even better and one that my family just loves. The 3 favorite ingredients are peanut butter, oatmeal, and chocolate chips. It is wonderful that they are all combined in this one cookie. This is my no-fail cookie. They really are fabulous! They are soft, chewy and melt in your mouth on a hot summer day! These cookies are always made when we have new neighbors to welcome and we always get great reviews. They are gobbled up so quickly at my house. Hope you gobble them up too!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks-softened)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar (packed)

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 pkg milk chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter and sugars. Add peanut butter, egg and vanilla. Add flour, oats, soda, powder and salt and stir while it sits on top of the wet ingredients, just until mixed together. (I don't like using a lot of bowls, so I find this fulfills the purpose well enough.) Mix together both the wet and dry ingredients and add chocolate chips. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. (I have a super oven and they were done after 8 mintues of cooking. If you have a super oven also, check at 8 minutes.) Cool for 1 minute; remove from baking sheets to wire racks. Cool completely. Makes 5 dozen.