Thursday, June 30, 2011

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Chock full of tomatoes, pepperoni, cheese, and black olives...this pasta salad is a real crowd pleaser! It's also delicious for a light summer lunch...not too filling. This is a Betty Crocker recipe that I "tweaked" just a bit.

Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
1 box Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad Classic pasta salad mix
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/2 cup green pepper, (cut into thin strips, about 1 1/2 inch in length)
3.5 oz. package sliced pepperoni (cut slices in half)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (halved grape tomatoes or bite-size pieces of regular tomatoes can also be used)
1 cup (4 oz.) white cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (monterey jack, mozzarella or provolone works well)
1 can (2.25 oz.) sliced ripe olives, drained

Emply Pasta mix into 3-quart saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well. In a large bowl, stir together seasoning mix and dressing. Toss with pasta and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Makes 8 servings.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Vintage Kitchen Decor-Vintage Spice Tins

Spice Tins

I love vintage spice tins...the interesting graphics and bright colors. They add a bit of old-time charm to the kitchen. They are small and easy to display which is a plus in my "cozy" kitchen. Mine are displayed on the window shelf above the sink.

I must confess I did not collect these one by one. I cheated a bit and bought them as a set on Ebay. The seller put together a nice collection of colors and sizes for me.

Vintage spice tins can be found at garage sales, flea markets, and vintage/collectible stores. Prices vary from a dollar or two on up, depending on the age and rarity. What do you "show off" in your kitchen? *smile*

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Using Herbs and Spices- Money-Saving Hint!

When doubling a recipe, increase the spices and herbs by one and one-half. Then take a taste. Add more if necessary. In most recipes one and one-half times the seasoning will be sufficient to provide great flavor.

Using less herbs and spices saves you money! Yay!
Thanks to McCormick for this super tidbit!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Image courtesy of
Have A Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

English Lemon Curd Recipe & English Cooking Class

Lemon tarts and mincemeat tarts.

Recently I attended an English Cooking class. We studied the history of English High Tea and made various sweet and savory teatime treats. We made lemon tarts, strawberry jam tarts, mincemeat tarts, cucumber finger sandwiches, and others. What fun! At the end of class we ate our creations, served with a satisfying cup of tea of course! My favorite was the yummy lemon tarts. 

The delicious lemon filling is called English Lemon Curd and is not hard to make. Lemon curd is thick, like a jam or spread and very lemony. It's wonderful in pastry-tart shells or spread on muffins or quick breads. The recipe below is from an old bed and breakfast cookbook of mine. Enjoy!

English lemon curd

English Lemon Curd
4 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon rind
8 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in the top of a double boiler. Cook over boiling water, stirring often, until thickened...about 20 minutes. Place in clean jars. Seal and store in the fridge. Makes 1 1/2 pints.

Finger sandwiches and strawberry jam tarts

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cheetos Duck!- Sunday Funny

I was having Cheetos with my ham and cheese sandwich for lunch today and I found...wait for it...Cheetos Duck! Who is he? What is he here for? Is it a sign from the Cheetos gods? What does it mean? Could it be a result of global warming? You tell me! LOL!

Here he is swimmin'

Here he is as I found him. Sweet little guy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bakery Style Muffins- How To


Since this how-to was "buried" in my blueberry muffin recipe I posted last September, I thought I'd mention it again for those that may have missed it.

How to make those fancy bakery-style

big-topped muffins you see at the bakery...

1. When coating your muffin pan with non-stick spray, spray some on the top of the pan also. This will keep the underside of the muffin tops from sticking.

2. Fill up the muffin cups full to the top. The batter will rise up and over just a bit, making a big round top.

3. Add four minutes to the baking time. Test with a toothpick for doneness. There you go! Fancy-pants muffins! *smile*

Friday, June 3, 2011

Organizing A Food Pantry

Neat and orderly shelves save you time and money!

Here's how I did mine. I put together "like with like". You'll save time hunting for things when you group similar foods together. (Don't look too closely at the photo above, my pantry is "messy-organized" at the moment. Ha!)

Top Shelf-
All dry cereals together
All dry mixes (cake, brownies, Rice-A-Roni) together.

On the second shelf I grouped all heat-and-eat canned goods.
Second Shelf-
Soups together
Pasta and Chili
Far right, canned veggies

Bottom shelf-
Foods for cooking such as canned tomatoes, canned tuna, pizza sauce
Soup for recipes (cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup)
Pantry staples- ketchup, mustard, Miracle Whip

Other tips:
* Place items on the shelves with the labels facing front so you can quickly see what you need.

* For safety's sake rotate your food. Put the newest item toward the back of the shelf and bring the oldest toward the front so you'll use it first. Also, check the expiration dates- particularly if you know an item has been on the shelf for a long time.

Ahhh! It feels good to be organized! *smile*

How are your pantry or cupboard shelves organized?