Monthly Archives: May 2013

World’s Easiest Pasta Salad


Do you need a quick side for your Memorial Day picnic today?  I’ve been making this salad for years and can’t remember where I first saw the recipe.  I think it was in a magazine but I’m not sure.  Anyway, it’s my favorite pasta salad especially the second day when the dressing has been absorbed.

It only has four ingredients:


  • One pound of pasta
  • 1 Pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Package of crumbled tomato and basil feta cheese
  • Balsamic vinaigrette – about 1.5 to 2 cups

Cut tomatoes in half. Cook the pasta according to the directions.  I usually rinse in cold water after draining.  I know that means the dressing doesn’t stick as well but it turns out fine and I want to cool it off before mixing with the tomatoes and cheese.    Combine pasta, tomatoes and feta.  Mix with 1 Cup of dressing. Refrigerate.  Done!

If it seems a bit dry, add additional dressing at serving time (I usually need to).


Red, White, and Blueberry Trifle

IMG_2486_edited-1webHappy Memorial Day, my friends!  As part of this weekend to celebrate those that have served our country, many of us gather with friends and family.  It’s a wonderful time for community and the unofficial start to summer.

Over this week I’ll share a few recipes I tried that worked well for a cookout we had last night.  Of course I had to post this first since it’s red, white, and blue!  I found it on a blog I follow,

I like this recipe because it’s delicious, pretty, super easy, and a healthier option than a cake or pie (ignoring that I also had Texas Sheet Cake for dessert too).


Here’s the recipe:  Red, White and Blueberry Trifle

The recipe calls for fat free condensed milk and non fat cool whip.  I used the regular version of the sweetened condensed milk, not for any reason – I just forgot to buy the other kind. I used the lite cool whip because that’s what I had in my freezer.  I’m assuming the recipe version would taste just as good.  The white chocolate flavor pudding wasn’t carried in the first store I stopped in but found it at Kroger. I used a store bought angel food cake.


This recipe is no more difficult than slicing strawberries and a couple minutes of whisking. It definitely tastes better than the effort it takes.  Love those recipes.  It’s a delicious way to take advantage of all the berries in season right now.


Double Layer Ice Cream Pie

IMG_2451_edited-1webEveryone likes ice cream, right?  How about two flavors and hot fudge? Yum!

We celebrated Mother’s Day a week late on my side of the family.  We had everyone over to our house and I made lasagna (btw, don’t use Barilla oven ready pasta – blech. I’ve used Mueller no-boil pasta many times before which turns out great) and dessert.  My brother was nice enough to bring the sides.

I made two ice cream pies for dessert.  The 9” pie shell looked just a smidge too small for eight people.  And, it’s not like extra ice cream pie would go to waste in our house.

Each pie has two flavors of ice cream with a layer of hot fudge in between. I made one with vanilla and English toffee caramel and one with chocolate and black raspberry dark chocolate chip.

They turned out great and couldn’t be easier to make.  Forgive the photos.  I was either simultaneously making lasagna and fruit salad or had hungry people waiting for their pie!


  • Pre-made chocolate cookie crust pie shell
  • 2 pints of ice cream – any two flavors you think will work well together
  • Jar of hot fudge sauce- a 12 oz. jar is more than enough.  I used one jar for two pies.
  • Tub of Cool Whip – I always use the light version and notice no difference. One tub covered two pies.

Set out your first flavor on the counter for about 5 minutes.  I put it in a bowl and stirred it a bit so it was soft but not melted. 


IMG_2432_edited-1webPour into pie shell and spread into the first layer.  My pie shell was pretty shallow so I only used just over three quarters of the the pint.


IMG_2434_edited-1webFreeze for about a half hour or until solid. I’m not sure exactly how long it was in the freezer since I was doing other things in the kitchen.


IMG_2437_edited-1webLayer half the jar of hot fudge on the ice cream. 


IMG_2436_edited-1webDon’t let the ice cream get soft – this is what happens when you try to spread the fudge on even slightly soft ice cream.  Still tastes fine and no one will know so no big deal…  Place in freezer for half hour.


IMG_2438_edited-1webSpread second flavor of slightly softened ice cream on fudge layer.  Freeze.


IMG_2444_edited-1webTop with layer of Cool Whip.


IMG_2445_edited-1webAdd sprinkles if you want! Place in freezer until ready to serve.





Summer Salad–Panera Berry Salad Knockoff


I have been in a real cooking funk lately.  I just haven’t felt like spending the time to make meals which is pretty unusual for me.  My husband and I have irregular schedules with my sporadic travel and his late hours.  When you combine that with my total lack of motivation it results in a lot of take-out.  I have cooked a bit, but nothing worth noting and/or I forgot to take pictures.  Oops.

Not today! Well, actually I did forget to take pictures when I initially made this for Mother’s Day dinner but I had leftovers today so that counts, right? I snapped a couple shots before I ate.  A food stylist I’m not.


I pinned this ages ago.  It’s a knock-off of Panera’s Summer Berry Salad which I love.  I have to admit, Panera is one restaurant that drives me crazy.  I like the food and I go there often when I travel because it’s predictable and has wi-fi.  But every single time I am shocked at how much I spent and the fact that I’m still hungry when I leave.


I just tore up a few hearts of romaine and added strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, and pineapple. I left off the candied pecans because I was making this for dinner at my step-mom’s house and she hates nuts.  The key to this is the Orange Poppy Seed Vinaigrette dressing.  It is so good!  Citrusy and sweet with just a bit of tang. For my lunch I added some leftover rotisserie chicken.  Delicious!


Here’s the link to the recipe.  Enjoy!