My friend Tina made this salad for a party our girls had a few months ago. I love the crunchy texture of the veggies with the creamy texture of the pasta. This is super easy to throw together. 1 bag chopped Romaine lettuce 1 small zucchini 1 small yellow squash 1 small cucumber 10-15 cherry tomatoes 4-5 slices provolone or Swiss cheese 1 small pkg. pasta (bowtie or spiral) Bernsteins Cheese Fantastico dressing
Cook pasta according to package directions and cool. Chop the zucchini, squash and cucumber (I cut them in thin slices, then cut each slice in half). Cut each tomato in half. Slice cheese in thin strips. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, veggies, and pasta. Just before serving, toss salad with desired amount of dressing (you'll only need about 1/3 of the bottle). Stir in the cheese slices last. Serve immediately.
Our President's Day weekend has thus far been cold and snowy, putting us in the mood for something warm. Not wanting to run to the grocery store, I dug through the freezer and found a package of frozen meatballs. After hunting through the darkest regions of my cookbook collection I found a one pot recipe that looked pretty decent. It turned out hearty and delicious. My kids said, "Mom, this is some serious comfort food!" Spoken like true Food Network fans.
15-20 frozen meatballs (I used Italian style)
2 stalks celery
1 small onion
2 Tbs. tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 T. Italian Seasoning
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 c. water
salt & pepper to taste
crusty French or sourdough bread for dipping
Cook the meatballs according to the package directions. While meatballs are cooking, peel and dice the carrots, celery and onion in small pieces. In large skillet, saute the veggies in a little bit of olive oil and cook until they are soft and start to caramelize.
Add the tomato paste, cooking and stirring for a minute or two to add some depth of flavor to the sauce (don't worry if the bottom of the pan browns a bit - it will lift off once you add the beef broth and make the sauce even more yummy).
Stir in the garlic and the Italian seasoning and then add the tomatoes, beef broth and water. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the mixture on medium low for about 30 minutes. Finally, cut the meatballs in half and add them to the sauce. Simmer until everything is hot and bubbly.
***TIP: Serve with crusty bread for dipping (toasted garlic bread would be delicious!)
My friend Jenny shared an idea for the easiest (and most delicious) chocolate chip cookies. It starts with a Betty Crocker Mix, but don't even think about looking on the back of the bag for instructions, just do this...
Dump 1 bag Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix (about $1.50 at the grocery store) into a bowl. Throw in 1 cube softened butter, 1 egg and 1 cup oatmeal. Mix with hand or electric mixer until well mixed. Bake at 350 degrees for about 7-9 minutes (7-8 if you like them a little on the doughy/soft side and 8-9 if you like them crispy on the edges and soft in the middle).
***TIP: I love to throw in a handful of M&M's (those little baking ones are my favorite) OR I also like to add dried cranberries or dried cherries and pretend like it makes them healthy!
Here's a quick pick of the mix I use....and the dried cherries, YUM!
Some people have accused me of being a good cook, but the truth is I am just an avid collector of good recipes. I am not above writing a recipe on the back of a napkin, on a receipt buried in my purse or even on a dollar bill if it becomes necessary. For me, cooking and baking is so much more than food. When I'm in the kitchen, I feel connected to my family and friends (old and new, living and gone) through the recipes they have shared with me. Each recipe has a story behind it and I wouldn't include it here if it didn't. I love the way my house feels when it is filled with the smell of something delicious in the oven. Cooking and baking relaxes me and helps me connect to the less-hectic life that I long for. If only the mess could clean itself up:0)
I will be working over the next several months to save and post all of the recipes from my Tried and True recipe book. I will also be adding many more new and delicious recipes for you all to enjoy. Bon Appetit!