Posted in Pasta, Recipes, Side Dishes

Lemon Basil Pasta

I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman’s website. Since I had put some lemon chicken in the freezer, I decided this would complement the chicken. The pasta dish is pure heaven. Okay, maybe not pure heaven. However, it was delicious, and the smells coming from cooking it or heating it up made me happy. In fact, I took it to work for lunch, and one of my fellow teachers complimented me on the smell of the dish. If you get a chance, make this dish and escape to happiness from the taste and smell.

Stars of the Recipe

  • 1 pound Penne Pasta, Cooked Until Al Dente
  • ½ sticks Butter
  • 3 whole Lemons, Juiced (I also used some lemon rind to add another depth of flavor.)
  • ¾ cups Heavy Cream (I used heavy whipping cream.)
  • ¼ cups Half-and-half
  • 1-½ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese (or Romano)
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • 20 whole Basil Leaves, Chopped (I used basil paste in a tube. It’s all I could find. I used maybe a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half. I didn’t measure.)


  1. Cook pasta, reserving 1 cup of hot pasta water when you drain.
  2. Set pasta aside in a colander.
  3. In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat.
  4. Squeeze in the juice of 3 to 4 lemons. (Also, use a Microplane to grate some rind.)
  5. Whisk together.
  6. Pour in cream and half-and-heat. Whisk until hot.
  7. Dump in cheese and whisk until melted.
  8. Add salt, pepper, and basil.
  9. Check consistency, adding some hot pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. (I didn’t need to add that much.)
  10. Pour pasta and sauce into a large serving bowl. Sprinkle the remaining basil all over the top. (I skipped this step.)
  11. Serve!

This recipe is great as a side dish or eaten by itself.

For other great recipes, Potluck Sundays, Delicious Dishes, and Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

Posted in Dessert, Imaginative one, Recipes

Dirt pudding

Last weekend, we went to the zoo and COSI (a science museum).  For a snack at both places, the Imaginative One tried dirt pudding.  He loved it because it had gummy worms, Oreos, and chocolate pudding.  Since he liked it, we decided to make some for dessert tonight. 


Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 small box of chocolate pudding (We used milk chocolate flavor.)
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 – 16 oz. container of Cool Whip
  • 10 to 15 Oreos
  • gummy worms


  1. Make up the chocolate pudding by following the directions on the package.  Put it to the side so it can be set up.
  2. Place Oreos in a Ziploc bag.  Crush up the Oreos.  (We used a meat tenderizer.)
  3. Fold in cool whip into the pudding.
  4. Place a third of the crushed Oreos and a few gummy worms on the bottom of a bowl.  Top with half of the pudding/Cool whip.
  5. Place another third of the crushed Oreos and a few gummy worms on the pudding/Cool whip.
  6. Top with the rest of the pudding/Cool whip.
  7. Place the rest of the crushed Oreos on top.  Place some more gummy worms or sticking out of the top.
  8. Enjoy!

For more great recipes, check out Potluck Sundays and Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

Posted in Recipes

Two good fruit dips

I have been transferred back to the middle school for this school year.  Yesterday we had our first work meeting, and I got to talk with some of my co-workers I hadn’t worked with for a few years.  As I was eating my lunch, one of them mentioned a fruit dip I used to make for carry-ins.  She used to take the leftovers.  For my life, I couldn’t remember what fruit dip she was talking about.  Later that evening, it came back to me.  It’s the heavy whipped cream with pudding.  It’s so easy and very delicious.

Whipped Fruit Dip

From my mother-in-law

  • 1 small container of heavy whipping cream (the smallest one)
  • 1 small box of instant pudding, sugar-free or sugared (My favorites are cheesecake and white chocolate for this recipe.)
  1. Pour the whipping cream into a mixing bowl.
  2. Open the box of pudding and pour it over the whipping cream.
  3. Using a hand mixer, whip the pudding and whipping cream until it is stiff.  (I usually start at the lowest and gradually move toward the highest setting.)
  4. Serve.

This is especially good with strawberries or even by itself!

For the Fourth of July, I made a fruit tray for a family get-together.  My mother-in-law asked me what kind of fruit dip I was going to bring for the tray.  I told her that I was probably going to get Marzetti’s fruit dip and call it a day.  She gave me this recipe which turned out to be delicious.

Strawberry Fruit Dip

From my mother-in-law

  • 1/2 of a container of marshmallow fluff
  • 1 container of soft strawberry cream cheese
  1. Place the marshmallow fluff in a bowl.
  2. Fold in the cream cheese until it’s well incorporated.
  3. Refrigerate or serve immediately.

This has been posted on Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

Posted in Recipes, Side Dishes

Make Over Macaroni and Cheese

Last week, I was looking through Taste of Home’s Healthy Cooking Magazine when I saw a recipe for makeover macaroni and cheese that used no butter.  It was also very simple to make because you make a roux of milk and flour and then add Velveeta (or a similar off-brand cheese) and cheddar cheese to make a cheese sauce.  You then add that cheese sauce to cooked pasta, such as elbow macaroni.  The texture reminds me of Kraft’s Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese with the cheese packet instead of the powdered cheese sauce.  When I served it, my hubby and the Wee One loved it.  Both of them went back for seconds.

I love having this in my arsenal of simple side dishes, especially when I’m in a time crunch.

Stars of the recipe:

  •  1/2 package elbow macaroni or shells
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/2 package (16 ounces) VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product cubed or similar store brand
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided


  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine flour and milk until smooth.
  3. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Stir in processed cheese and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese until smooth.
  5. Drain macaroni; stir into cheese sauce.
  6. Remove from the heat; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  7. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

This recipe makes 4 servings.

This post has been linked to Mommy’s Kitchen for Potluck Monday and at Colleen’s Kitchen Recipe Swap.

Posted in Bread and muffins, Recipes

Cranberry Pecan Muffins

Two days ago, I posted about a recipe for an All-Star Muffin Mix that I found in Taste of Home’s Simple and Delicious magazine.  One of the add-ins I used in the muffin mix was dried cranberries and pecan pieces.  The original recipe called for either fresh or frozen cranberries.  Even though I didn’t have either in the house, I had Craisins, so I used those instead. 

After I baked a batch of those, I flash-froze them and then put them in freezer bags for later use.  These are great for quick breakfasts, which I will need when school starts in a week and a half.  I just put one in the microwave for a minute on 40% power.  They are especially great with a cup of coffee.

Stars of the recipe:

  • 2 and 3/4 cups of All-Star Muffin Mix
  • 1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

I omitted the sugar when I used the Craisins.


  1. Mix muffin mix, cranberries, pecans, and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk the egg, milk, and butter; stir into dry ingredients until moistened. 
  3. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full.
  4. Bake at 400° for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
  6. Serve warm.

 For great recipes, visit Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Colleen’s Recipe Swap.

Posted in Bread and muffins, Recipes

Homemade Hamburger Buns

A few months ago, I found this recipe for homemade hamburger buns. Since then, I’ve made them three times. My fourth attempt is currently in the bread machine. If I could describe them in one word, it would be delicious.

After making them, I wrap each in foil and place about five in a gallon-size ziplock freezer bag. Then I place them in the freezer. When I want to use one or two, I pull them out of the freezer, unwrap them, and defrost them in the microwave. My favorite sandwich with them is a chicken patty, muenster cheese, and a tiny bit of olive oil-based mayo. Yum!

Homemade Hamburger Buns

via Hun . . . What’s For Dinner??

Stars of the recipe:

  • 3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 T instant yeast


  1. Mix and knead all dough ingredients—by hand, mixer, or bread machine—to make a soft, smooth dough. – I do it in the bread machine.
  2. If doing it by hand or mixer, cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 hour until it’s doubled in bulk.
  3. Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round 1″ thick (more or less); flatten to about 3″ across. Place the buns on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour until very puffy. – I divide mine into 12 pieces.
  4. If desired, brush the buns with melted butter. Or brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water), and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. – I omit this part
  5. Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, till golden. Cool on a rack.

Makes 8 to 12 buns.

To defrost, place on a microwave plate. Heat it up for a minute at 70% power. If not defrosted, heat it up for 30-second intervals at 70% power.

This post has been linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays and Colleen’s Kitchen Recipe Swap.

Posted in Bread and muffins, Recipes

Easy Rolls

A while ago, I was looking for a recipe for biscuits or rolls on Paula Deen’s website.  I found this recipe for Easy Rolls.  They looked easy, so I decided to try them.  Once I tried them, I was hooked.  They have a slightly sweet taste and are so tender.

The Imaginative one tasted one, and his response was “M-M-M.”  After you try them, I’m sure you will say the same thing.


Easy Rolls

Stars of this recipe:

  • 2 cups of Self Rising Flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 Tbsp. of sugar
  • 4 heaping Tbsp. of mayonnaise


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together flour and milk.
  3. Add sugar and mayonnaise.
  4. Bake in lightly greased (I use cooking spray.) muffin tins for 12 to 15 minutes or until brown.

This recipe makes 12 rolls.

This recipe is linked up to Mommy’s Kitchen for Potluck Sunday.

Posted in Recipes, Side Dishes

Brown sugar carrots

My mom gave us various vegetable seeds last April. My hubby decided to plant some of them.  One of the vegetables was carrots.  Last night, I harvested some of the carrots.  I decided to make brown sugar carrots for dinner.

This recipe is so simple, but the taste is superb.

Brown Sugar Carrots

Stars of the Recipe:

  • carrots cut into circles (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp. of butter or margarine
  • 3 Tbsp. of brown sugar (You can add more if you want it sweeter.)
  • 2 tsp. of ground cinnamon


  1. Cut up the carrots.  Put in a microwaveable bowl.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients in the bowl.
  3. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.  You want them tender, crisp, and not mushy.
  4. After they are finished, take the bowl out of the microwave and then stir the syrup up.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

This recipe is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Posted in Dessert, Eat at home ingredient spotlight, Family Recipe, Grandma, Holiday/Christmas, Recipes, Salad

Grandma’s White Salad

I have so many memories of this salad.  One of my best memories is when I worked at Walt Disney World in 1995.  My grandma sent me various family recipes so that I could have a little bit of home while down there.  When Thanksgiving came, I decided to make a Thanksgiving meal for my friends and me to share.  We had a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings, except we had chicken instead of turkey.  One of the dishes I made was grandma’s white salad.  For two weeks afterward, I would take portions of the Thanksgiving meal to work for my lunches.

That Thanksgiving weekend was also when I almost met Rider Strong and Ben Savage from Boy Meets World.  At Disney-MGM Studios, now Hollywood Studios, they would have celebrities put their hands in cement at the Chinese Theater.  Both Rider and Ben put their hands in the cement and then went to have a talk.  I “ran” along the side of their convertible as they traveled between venues and ended up sitting behind their families.  Too bad Fred Savage was not there.  I would have gone up and said hi to him.

My Grandma’s White Salad

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 sm. lemon or lime  jello
  • 2 c. hot water
  • 1 (8 oz.) package of  cream cheese
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of crushed pineapple drained (med. can)
  • 1 & 2/3 c. mini marshmallows
  • 1 & ½ c. chopped pecans or walnuts (My grandma used pecans.)
  • 1 (8 oz.) container of Cool Whip


  1. Mix jello with water.  Add cream cheese and beat until smooth.
  2. Put in fridge until semi-solid.  Remove and then put in the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Chill.

Or how my grandma made it:

  1. Mix jello with water.  Add cream cheese and beat until smooth.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients in a flat pan (9 by 13 glass dish).  Put it in the fridge to chill.

This recipe is linked to Mommy’s Kitchen for Potluck Sundays and Eat at Home’s Ingredient spotlight!

Posted in Cookies, Holiday/Christmas, Recipes

Watermelon cookies

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I enjoyed reading murder mysteries. One of my favorite authors is Joanne Fluke. Her main character Hannah Swenson owns a cookie shop. Joanne includes recipes in her books. This is one of the many recipes I have found in her books.

Even though the recipe calls for watermelon kool-aid, you do not have to use watermelon flavored kool-aid. You can use any flavor, which is great for holidays. You could use lime kool-aid for one batch and cherry (or any other red kool-aid) for another batch at Christmas time. Your choices are endless.

When I made these, people loved the cookies’ color and flavor. I even shared some grape ones with my students. They thought they were delicious. In fact, one of the students was still talking about it at the end of the school year. They must have been memorable.


Without further ado, here is the recipe.


  • 1 package (.16 ounce) watermelon (or any other flavor) Kool-Aid powder (Don’t get the kind with sugar or sugar substitute added.)
  • 1 2/3 c. white sugar
  • 1 and a 1/4 c. softened butter (2 and 1/2 sticks, 10 ounces)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten (just whip them up in a glass with a fork. I usually poke the yoke first, so it is easier to beat them.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)
  • 1/2 c white sugar in a bowl


  1. Mix the watermelon Kool-Aid (or whatever flavor you choose) with the white sugar.
  2. Add the softened butter and mix until it’s nice and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and mix well.
  4. Mix in the salt and the baking soda. Make sure they’re well incorporated.
  5. Add the flour in half-cup increments, mixing after each addition.
  6. Spray cookie sheets with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray.
  7. Roll dough balls one inch in diameter with your hands.
  8. Roll the cookie balls in the bowl of white sugar and place them on the cookie sheet, 12 to a standard-size sheet.
  9. Bake the Watermelon Cookies at 325 degrees F. for 10 to 12 minutes or until they turn golden around the edges. Don’t overbake.
  10. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for a minute, and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: Approximately 6 dozen pretty and unusual cookies that kids will adore, especially if you tell them that they’re made with Kool-Aid.

This recipe has been linked up to Potluck Sunday.