Italian Salad(Pasta or no Pasta)

Let’s face it, I love all pasta.  I love it hot, cold and leftover!

When I think of pasta salad I think of summer. But this Italian Pasta Salad can be served all year long hot as a main dish, cold as a side dish, and packed in the lunchbox the next day for a yummy lunch your kids will love!

pasta salad

Don’t want the pasta? Put it over Romaine lettuce instead! I love making an Italian Salad for a crowd because sometimes I don’t want to make an antipasto and a salad. So, I combine them and there you have it! Like everything else this recipe can be adjusted depending on what you have in the house.

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Italian Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

With Pasta:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of small elbow pasta(or any type you prefer)
  • 1 packet of Good Seasons Italian Dressing
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 of a red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of black olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup of Giardeniera Italian mix, drained
  • 7-10 oz pack of mozzarella balls(the little pearl ones)
  • 1/4 cup of pepperoni or salami, chopped into small pieces
  • big bunch of parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Boil a pot of salted water.
  2. Cook pasta per directions on box.
  3. Drain and set aside.
  4. Prepare the dressing per directions on box.
  5. Put the pasta in a large bowl.
  6. Add all the ingredients except for the dressing.
  7. Toss together. Make sure you added enough salt and pepper. It needs a good amount.
  8. Drizzle with a little bit of dressing and mix again.
  9. Add enough dressing so that everything is coated and tasty.
  10. Before serving you may need to add more dressing to moisten the pasta.

Without Pasta:

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 packet of Good Seasons Italian Dressing
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 of a red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of black olives, halved
  • 7-10 oz pack of mozzarella balls(the little pearl ones) or shredded mozzarella
  • 1 can of hearts of palm
  • 1 can of marinated mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup of pepperoni or salami, chopped into small pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare the dressing per directions on box.
  2. Lay your lettuce on a platter.
  3. Top the lettuce with all the toppings except for the dressing.
  4. Season with salt and pepper salt and pepper.
  5. Drizzle with a little bit of dressing.

Enjoy!

Listed below are some of my other favorite salads…

No Romaine, No Problem

Shoepeg Corn Salad

 

 

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Rockin’ Ramen

So, my boys recently said the words I thought I’d never hear. “Mom, everyone else at school eats Ramen Noodles. Why can’t we have it?”

My response of course was, “It’s gross and has way too much sodium.”

But of course my next trip to the supermarket I left with some Ramen noodles. I figured they would hate it. Well, guess what? They liked it. And they wanted it every day after school.

That is what led me to making my own homemade version. It was good, but simple. There was something missing though. Then it came to me… MITA! Of course my friend Mita will have a recipe she can share. I texted her asking if she has a homemade Ramen noodle recipe. Five minutes later she had a picture and recipe for me.

I’ve mentioned my friend Mita in several other blogs. We met when our kids attended pre-school together. I joke that I stalked her, but it’s the truth. She was so sweet and I wanted to be her friend. Lol. Then she baked me peanut butter blossom cookies and we were friends from that point on. I grew up in an Italian Catholic household in the suburbs of Long Island. Mita grew up in an Indian Hindu household in the city of San Francisco. But we raise our boys very similar and have the same values. I’ve learned a lot of different things from Mita. She taught me about different spices and how to use them while cooking. She also taught me how to eat slow, especially when we are out to eat. I am still working on that one! Mita also taught me how to listen. She’s so patient when other people talk. Another thing I am still working on…

BTW, she moved to Texas and I am not happy! 

So, I followed her recipe and it is amazing! It takes a half hour and is a big bowl of comfort.

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Your Ramen Soup essentials:

Reusable Chopsticks

Soup Spoons

Soup Bowls

Rockin' Ramen with Optional Chili Bomb

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. of sesame oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tsp. of grated ginger
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 package of shiitake mushrooms (sliced thin)
  • 2 Tbsp. of low sodium soy sauce
  • 64 oz. of beef or chicken broth (Mita prefers beef, I love either)
  • 1 Tsp. of rice vinegar
  • 1 Tsp. of chili sauce or sriracha
  • 2 cups of bean sprouts
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • 8 oz. package of Chinese noodles (I use KAME)

Optional: Chili Bomb (goes in the center of the bowl on top of everything else for an extra explosion of flavor)

  • Chili Sauce
  • Garlic, sliced
  • Scallions, chopped
  • dash of soy sauce

Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat the sesame oil.
  2. Saute garlic and ginger for about 1 minute. (Do not brown)
  3. Add carrots and soy sauce. Stir.
  4. Add broth, vinegar, and mushrooms.
  5. Bring to a slight boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Add chili sauce or sriracha. Stir.
  7. Taste and add more soy sauce or chili sauce if needed.
  8. Add noodles to the pot, and cook per directions on the package.
  9. Serve in individual bowls. Top each bowl with a bunch of bean sprouts. Submerge them into the broth.
  10. Top with green onions and the optional Chili Bomb if you like it spicy!

Enjoy!

If you like this, you will also enjoy:

Salsa Salsa

Mita’s Slow Cooker Chicken

Holy Guacamole

Soup Season

 

 

 

Cheesecake Bites

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This is the perfect dessert to make for that special someone in your life. They will appreciate it and your love will shine through. I got this recipe from my mom’s recipe book. She used to make these when she entertained. I loved them as a kid and I love them now. This is one of those simple recipes that looks like you spent hours preparing.

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Believe it or not, the only kitchen essentials you will need to get started with this recipe are:

A simple hand mixer And A mini muffin pan

 Mini Muffin Pan

Cheesecake Bites

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • Mini cupcake liners
  • 2 (8 oz. packages of cream cheese), leave out to soften
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Nabisco MINI Nilla Wafers
  • Optional Toppings: mini chocolate chips, blueberries, strawberries, etc…

I whipped up a batch of homemade whipped cream, without the cinnamon, vanilla and sugar. Just plain whipped cream. I added a dollop to the top of each cheesecake bite. My favorite topping is a can of cherry pie filling. I scooped out one cherry and placed it on top of the whipped cream. It presents beautifully for Valentines’s Day. 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Fill the mini cupcake pan with the cupcake liners.
  3. Put one MINI Nilla Wafer in the bottom of each cupcake liner.
  4. Add the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and eggs to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Mix until all the ingredients are fully combined.
  6. Carefully top each wafer with a spoonful of cream cheese mixture.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool completely.
  9. Top with your favorite toppings!

Enjoy!

My favorite dinner to serve on Valentine’s Day is Ravioli with Crushed Tomato Sauce.

 

 

 

Ravioli with Crushed Tomato Sauce

When I think of Valentine’s Day dinner, I think of a simple, comforting meal at home with my family. Ravioli with Crushed Tomato Sauce may not look simple, but it is! And it’s so quick that it allows me to spend more time with my family instead of time in the kitchen. And nothing shows love better than Ravioli with a red Crushed Tomato Sauce. Right?

The only ravioli my mom ever bought when we were growing up was Pastosa. They were so delicious. We used to eat them raw out of the box! I can get them(frozen) at The Boys near me, but if I don’t feel like taking a ride there, I can pick up Mimi’s Ravioli at Western Beef. They are also very tasty.

 

 

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Go ahead and make your dinner at home look fancy. A beautiful lace tablecloth and a vase of fresh flowers is all you need.

If you are in the market for new wine glasses these are the perfect stemless wine glasses.

I love my square white plates that I have, but these dinner size ones are perfect for a bright dinner like this.  I love how a white plate always makes the food look that much better…

Better Homes and Gardens Square Porcelain Dinner Plates, White, Set of 6

RAVIOLI WITH CRUSHED TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of Ravioli(Pastosa, Mimi’s or similar)
  • 2-28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 8 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • EVOO
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions

  1. In a large saute pan heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and garlic.
  3. Once garlic is light golden, add both cans of crushed tomatoes (When I pour the tomatoes in the pan there is usually some leftover tomatoes in the can. Fill both cans 1/3 of the way with water and swish it around to get all the leftover tomatoes.  Add that to the pan as well.)  
  4. Lower the heat to low so it doesn’t splatter.
  5. Add 2 pinches of salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  6. Stir and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, boil a large pot of salted water.
  8. Cook the ravioli per directions on the box.
  9. Drain the ravioli and top with the crushed tomato sauce.
  10. Sprinkle with grated cheese and enjoy!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you will also like:

Lasagna Rolls

Momma’s Meatballs

Call it what you want…

Meat Sauce

 

Ruggable

This is a true story…

I had been looking for rugs for my home for several years. I am a bit of a neat freak, so when we had two dogs I could never keep the rugs clean. I would buy them and they usually can only be spot cleaned. So, after a couple of months I threw them out. Unfortunately, both of our pups passed away. And my search for rugs continued.

I finally gave in and bought this rug for my kitchen…download

BTW, that’s a meatball!

The next day my sister and my nephew Joseph came to visit from New York. He took off his diaper and peed right on my new rug! We realized we couldn’t put it in the wash, so we scrubbed it as good as we could. And the story repeats itself over and over. Meatballs, sauce, wine, and the list goes on.

No matter how hard I try not to spill things, it happens. Once a week I would shake it out and hang it outside. When my husband came home from work I would have him hose it down with dish soap. Needless to say, it takes 3 days to dry and doesn’t look very presentable anymore as you can see in the pic above. What a waste of money.

I found a solution and have to share it with you…

Ruggable

If you have pets, this is the rug for you.

If you have kids, this is the rug for you.

If you live in your kitchen like me, this is the rug for you.

There are several sizes, colors and patterns to choose from. I chose the runner(2.5′ X 7′) for my kitchen and it fits perfectly. I was so excited to choose a bold pattern for once. I love the colors.

2-5x7

2-5x7

2-5x7

It comes with a non-slip rug pad. The rug cover clings to the rug pad and stays perfectly in place! The Ruggable cover is 100% waterproof, stain resistant and machine washable! I have not had to wash mine yet, but am weirdly looking forward to it! I did easily vacuum it. I will update the post once I have washed and dried as directed.

I would never feel bad about spending my money on a Ruggable rug due to the fact that it will not get ruined. And if I feel like I want to change the pattern or color, I can just purchase a new cover. I’m hooked.

Click here, and use code FEEDINGTHEFAM for 15% off your purchase!

 

 

Game Day

If you ask me whose playing in the Superbowl, I promise you I will NOT know the answer. My husband says he stopped watching football once he started dating me. And that’s pretty accurate. No one in my family ever watched sports, so that is that. Lol. He can totally watch it, but my main focus will always be the food and the halftime show! But now that we have 2 boys, he has made a point to start watching it again. I’m ok with that, as long as there is some good food, not just a bowl of Doritos!

So if you are planning on watching the game and are having friends over, here are some of my favorite game day foods that will keep everyone happy, whether they watch the game or not… Feel free to pick and choose your favorites and throw in some classics like chicken wings and chili!

  • You have to start with chips and dip! People come hungry on game day and love to pick. These are two of my favorite dips that will start the day off in the right direction.

Guacamole and Salsa: This combo is always a hit and goes quick on days like this, so make double batches!

If you were asked to bring a dish to a friend’s house, this Shoepeg Corn Salad is amazing! Make ahead and bring a big bag of Tostitos. It will be the star of the game.

 

  • I like to serve pizza as an appetizer. I highly recommend you keep the toppings simple and use a pizza slicer to slice them into small, handheld slices. For some reason everything tastes better when it’s bite size.
  • Stuffed Bread is a great option for game day. It’s a hearty meal for big eaters.
  • And who doesn’t love a big platter of meatballs? I would make them small enough so that you can serve them with toothpicks and your friends can just pop them in their mouth!

If your’e crowd isn’t full after all this food, you may have a problem. But I think everyone should be full and happy.

I know most people want beer on Game Day, but if I was at a Super Bowl party after hours of drinking and eating I’d be looking for strong coffee and a sweet treat! Hello, Annie’s Crumb Cake… It’s simple, delicious and will feed your crowd.

Go Mets! JK, but not kidding…

***My posts contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.***

Click here to shop some of my favorite items.

Click here to shop your favorite Pampered Chef Products.

If you like this blog, you will also like:

Soup Season

Can’t Have a Party Without a Punch

“Crowd Pleasing” Rice Pudding

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Get a Poppin’

So for Christmas we secretly converted our office into a movie room/game room. The boys love it! Our house is small and as they grow it will give them some space to hang out with their friends other than in their rooms. We don’t have a couch yet, but we do have some cool chairs and a bar cart. I filled the bar cart with some fun snacks, but wanted to keep it healthy. The last thing I want is them hiding out in their “MAN” cave, playing video games for 3 hours and eating handfuls of movie candy!

BUT

Popcorn is a perfect snack to fill my family up when they are looking to snack…

Do you still buy microwave popcorn thinking, how bad can it be? My mom is my personal Dr. Oz. She calls my sisters and I immediately after she watches DR. Oz to tell us to throw out everything in our pantry! And I usually listen. It’s crazy what some of our food has in it. So, I haven’t bought microwave popcorn in years! My mom said I can’t, so I don’t. She saw this video a couple of years back, so I don’t blame her…

Well, I recently purchased this Family-Size Popcorn Maker. Popcorn, without the scary chemicals, is a healthy whole grain food that is low in calories and high in fiber! So, let’s get a poppin’!

The Family-Size Microwave Popcorn Maker gives you the convenience of a bag of microwaveable popcorn without the extra cost and chemicals. You’ll have a healthy snack in minutes.

  • Makes about 12 cups of popcorn.
  • Includes bowl, lid, and cup.
  • 9¾” diameter.
  • Cup has a ¼-cup capacity.
  • Pop with or without oil or butter.
  • Silicone.
  • Collapses for compact storage.
  • Dishwasher-safe.
  • One-year guarantee.

Of course once I purchased the new Microwave Popcorn Maker, we had to try out some recipes!

I started out with a simple Buttered Popcorn🍿and then tried my favorite, Kettle Corn…

Both were a hit and have no chemicals! 👏🏼👏🏼

Buttered Popcorn

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: EASY
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 caps of kernels
  • 4 tablespoons of salted butter
  • Sea Salt for seasoning

Directions

  1. Add kernels to popcorn maker.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of salted butter.
  3. Place cover on the popcorn maker.
  4. Add 2 more tablespoon to the vented cap on top.
  5. Keep the cap open and place the popcorn maker off-center in the microwave, but make sure it doesn’t touch the walls.
  6. Microwave for about 4-5 minutes. This time will vary depending on your microwave.
  7. Add sea salt to your liking! Mix and enjoy!

***Pay attention to the popping. Stop the microwave when there are 1-2 seconds between pops***

Kettle Corn

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: EASY
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels

Directions

  1. Add kernels to popcorn maker.
  2. Add salt, sugar, and coconut oil.
  3. Mix together so kernels are coated evenly.
  4. Place cover on the popcorn maker.
  5. Keep the cap open and place the popcorn maker off-center in the microwave, but make sure it doesn’t touch the walls.
  6. Microwave for about 4-5 minutes. This time will vary depending on your microwave.
  7. Add more salt if you’d like. Mix and enjoy!

***Pay attention to the popping. Stop the microwave when there are 1-2 seconds between pops***

***My posts contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.***

Click here to shop some of my favorite items.

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The smaller size Microwave Popcorn Maker is just as great, but will only make about 5 cups of popcorn.

If you enjoyed this blog, you’ll also enjoy these…

Kid-Friendly Breakfast Options

Super Pretzel PB&J