Fill em Up!

Believe it or not, when I make salmon everyone eats it! I never have any left over. It seems like when I make it, nobody gets filled. So I usually make this orzo side dish along with it to fill them up and it is amazing! I love pasta and I love vegetables, so for me this is perfect. I eat it leftover for lunch and it could be cold right out of the container…

You can use any vegetables you have in the house, not just the ones I used! 


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Orzo Side Dish


  • 1 box of orzo pasta
  • EVOO
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 of an onion chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 package of mushrooms chopped
  • A bunch of tomatoes chopped
  • handful of Italian parsley
  • salt and pepper


  1. In a medium sauce pan, boil salted water and cook the orzo per directions on the package.  Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, add olive oil to a pan over low to medium heat.
  3. Add onion.  After a couple of minutes add the garlic.
  4. Toss in the bell pepper and mushrooms and saute until they are tender.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes.  Take off the heat.  Toss in the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Put the drained orzo in the pan with all the veggies and mix together.  Top with a little grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.


See below for other similar dishes…

Simple Side

Italian Pasta Salad


Shoepeg Corn Salad

I got this recipe from my sister Ali.  She got it from one of her friends.  When they make it, they serve it as a dip along with Tostitos or some sort of corn chip.  This is also a great side dish for a summer gathering.   It’s sooo good and refreshing.  It’s hard to stop eating it once you start.  I had no idea what shoepeg corn was or where to find it until I made this!  FYI, it’s just a can of Green Giant corn that’s shaped like a shoepeg!  I found it at Publix…


Shoepeg Corn salad


  • 2 cans of white shoepeg corn, drained
  • 1 can of reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper diced small
  • 1 orange bell pepper diced small
  • 1/2 of a small red onion diced small
  • a bunch of cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 cup of safflower oil(it calls for vegetable oil but I don’t use vegetable oil due to the fact that it is not the healthiest option)
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of sugar(Yep, but it makes it soooo good.  You can use less if you prefer or none.  Still will be delicious!)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Put the first 6 ingredients in a large serving bowl and stir gently until combined.
  2. Add the oil, vinegar and sugar.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir gently until combined.
  5. Serve with your favorite chip or as a side dish.


I found some great summer essentials for your 1st BBQ of the season.  Of course you have to serve the shoepeg corn salad and maybe some Guac and chips!

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Don’t miss out on some of the best recipes for summer entertaining…
Main Course:  
Side Dishes:  
Desert and drinks:

Feeding the Fam on a budget

When I was pregnant with my first son I left my teaching job. On his first birthday I found out I was pregnant with my 2nd baby. So we went from my husband and I both working and no kids, to two babies with one income in a very short period of time. That is when I started cooking a lot. I couldn’t get out too often when my boys were small so coming up with dinner for all of us gave me something to think about. Feeding the Fam on a budget was a challenge. I would get recipes from my mom, aunt and grandma because they always had great options. Once the boys got through their toddler years and actually started eating and enjoying the food I couldn’t stop! Now they love to put in their requests and critique my cooking. My boys are now 11 and 13. They are growing rapidly and eating me out of house and home. Cooking on a budget is even more of  a challenge now. I definitely buy chicken broth, canned items, olive oil and pasta when they are buy 1, get 1 free. I shop at BJ’s once a month to stock up on some meats. And I’ve started shopping at some lower priced stores like Aldi which really helps. I put together some of my favorite meals that are budget friendly. I hope this post helps you feed your fam on a budget. There is nothing like knowing you fed your whole family for less than $10 and they have full bellies and smiling faces…

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Click here to shop some of my favorite items.

Pasta:  Need I say more? I love pasta. I love pasta for a lot of reasons.

  • There are so many different options (whole grain, rigatoni, gluten-free, spaghetti)
  • It fills everyone up.
  • It’s inexpensive!
  • Who doesn’t like pasta? Cold, hot, with veggies, as a side dish, etc…)

So here are some of my favorite budget-friendly pasta dishes…

Soup:  A bowl of comfort… So many reasons I love soup as well.

  • It’s a budget-friendly meal.
  • Super healthy
  • You can add ingredients based on your families likes and dislikes (pasta, beans, veggies, etc…)
  • Makes great leftovers.

So, here are some of my favorite budget-friendly soups you should put on your weekly rotation!


spin tort 1

All the other good meals that aren’t pasta or soup:  There are so many budget-friendly dinners. Honestly, when I look at all my recipes most of them are affordable. It’s never my motive to spend a fortune on dinner, holidays and celebrations not included…



Stuffed Pepper Stir Fry

I love stuffed peppers, but it is a big job. I usually like to roast the peppers a little before I even stuff them so they are soft, otherwise my family only eats what’s in the pepper. So, all that work for them to pick around the actual pepper. Hence, the Stuffed Pepper Stir Fry! It is much easier than the traditional stuffed peppers. It is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

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Click here to shop some of my favorite items.

Stuffed Pepper Stir Fry


  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 pounds of ground Italian sausage
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cups of chopped peppers (sweet bell peppers, sweet long peppers, cubanelle, etc…)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups of instant white rice
  • 3 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Italian Parsley, chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a deep saute pan.
  2. Add the sausage and brown. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Drain the sausage and set it aside.
  4. Add the peppers and onions to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender.
  5. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
  6. Remove from the heat and set aside until needed.
  7. Cook your instant rice per directions on the box (use chicken broth instead of water)
  8. Combine the veggies and the sausage. Stir and reheat.
  9. Add sauce. Cook for 5 more minutes.
  10. Add parsley and remove from the heat.
  11. I like to serve it with the rice in the bottom of the bowl and top it with the Stuffed Pepper Stir Fry.


If you enjoyed this recipe you will also like…

Stuffed Peppers

Shrimp with Red Beans and Rice 🍤

Sausage and Peppers

Spring Pasta

Spring is here and it’s getting hotter in Florida! When it gets hotter, the food has to get a little lighter. Instead of my pasta with meat sauce or meatballs, I like to add more veggies. One of my favorite side dishes of all time is peas and onions. When I have no fresh veggies in my fridge that is my go to. Sometimes I add it to pasta or rice and it is delicious. I took my fav, peas and onions and added a lot of other great ingredients and tossed it with pasta. OMG. This dish is really tasty and one of my family’s favorite meals.


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

I cook dinner almost every night. There are a few items that I can not live without.

  1. Large Pot:  I use this to boil pasta or to make sauce and soup.
  2. Saute Pan:  I use this to saute veggies and make a quick crushed tomato sauce.
  3. Wooden Spoons:  I can’t get enough of these…


Spring Pasta


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 package of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion sliced thin
  • 4 oz. package of diced pancetta
  • Splash of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bag of frozen baby sweet peas
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds of pasta (I prefer shells or bowties)
  • Grated pecorino romano cheese


  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a deep saute pan.
  2. Add mushrooms and onions and cook until all the juices from the mushrooms evaporate and the mushrooms and onions are browning.
  3. Add pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the chicken broth. Scrape the pan with a wooden spoon.  
  5. Return to the heat and add the peas. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until peas are heated through.
  6. Set aside.
  7. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Save some pasta water if needed to moisten the pasta in the end.  
  8. Combine the veggies and the pasta.
  9. Drizzle with olive oil and top with grated pecorino romano.

If this recipe is your kind of meal, you will also enjoy…

Mini Tortellini, Sausage and Spinach

Poolside Pasta Primavera

Bowties with Broccoli

Orecchiette with Sausage, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes

Simple Egg Salad

With Easter around the corner most of us will have a lot of hard boiled eggs hanging around. In my house we actually love hard boiled eggs with a little salt and pepper, so we have them around all the time. As easy as egg salad is, for some reason I don’t make it a lot. I always loved egg salad as a kid and still do. My son Dominick loves it also! So we shared some for lunch and it was filling and delicious.

If you need to know how to get perfect hard boiled eggs, follow the link below. Good ole Martha:

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Simple Egg Salad


  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • About 2 tablespoons of mayo(start with less and add more as needed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced small
  • Small of amount of onion, about 2 tablespoons, diced small(I used red onion this day, but you can use whatever type of onion you have)


  1. Peel the eggs and put in a medium bowl.
  2. Cut into chunks with fork and knife.
  3. Add mayo and mix by smashing with a fork so it is all combined. (You don’t want to drench it in mayo. It just needs a little bit to coat it.)  My mom doesn’t add anything else at this point and it is still delicious!!
  4. Add the celery, onion salt and pepper and mix until combined.

Serve on toasted buns, with crackers or just like that!!


If you like this recipe, you will also like…

Uncle Joe’s Simple Salad

Italian Salad(Pasta or no Pasta)

Kid-Friendly Breakfast Options


Easter with The Stylist Effect

I met Amy(The Stylist Effect) years ago in Connecticut. We were both attending Central Connecticut and clicked right away. We were both a little crazy back then and Italian. So right there that meant we’d be spending a lot of time together. On the weekends we would either head back to her parent’s house for some homemade fettuccine alfredo or stick around school. If we stayed at school for the weekend we always made a trip to this amazing Italian bakery in Hartford called Mozzicato Bakery. We would go for one thing and one thing only… Their bakery style pizza was off the charts! We would get as many slices as they had available and eat them cold out of the box all weekend. We were two Italian girls missing mom’s cooking, so a girl has got to eat! Right?

All these years later we decided to collaborate on an Easter blog. So, when I was thinking of what recipe I should share I thought about our love for our Italian family and our love for food!

This is a recipe based off of my Grandma’s Ricotta Pie. Ricotta Pie is also known as Italian Cheesecake and is traditionally served on Easter. I didn’t change much from my Grandma’s original recipe except that I baked it in a pie crust, removed the lemon juice and added chocolate chips. 

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Grandma's Ricotta Pie


  • 3 cups of ricotta
  • ½  cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 3 eggs separated(yolk in one bowl and whites in another)
  • ½  cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips plus a handful more to sprinkle on towards the end
  • 1 store bought pie crust
  • Confectioners sugar to sprinkle on top in the end.


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Place the ricotta In a large bowl. Beat until it is creamy.
  3. Add the sugar and flour to the ricotta. Beat thoroughly.
  4. Beat the egg yolks until lemon colored. It will take a little while, but they will get lighter in color. Be patient. Fold them into the ricotta.
  5. Pour the heavy cream into a medium bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. You will basically be making whipped cream at this point.
  6. Fold the heavy cream into the ricotta.
  7. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the ricotta.
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  9. Place your pie crust into a pie dish.
  10. Pour the ricotta filling into the dish. Don’t overfill. You may have some filling leftover.
  11. Bake for one hour.
  12. Top with the handful of chocolate chips.
  13. Turn the oven off and leave in for one more hour.
  14. When it is done it should be firm. Not jiggly.
  15. Let cool and refrigerate. Sprinkle with lots of confectioners sugar. Serve cold.

Enjoy and Hoppy Easter 🐰

A perfect Easter meal for me would start with an appetizer of Stuffed Mushrooms and an Italian Salad. The main course would be Lasagna Rolls. Of course ending with Grandma’s Ricotta Pie. Figuring out what to cook is the easy part, but what to wear I need help with. That’s where Amy comes in. She makes every outfit look effortless and classy. You can find Amy on Instagram @amy_guzzi_. She chose the perfect Easter outfit for a beautiful Spring day… 


To read more about Amy and her love for fashion click here