Easy Italian Pasta Salad

It’s so sad Summer is almost coming to a close. I can’t believe we are already halfway through August. WOW! No clue where 2021 has gone. I figured I better share this recipe before the snow hits the ground so here goes! This easy Italian Pasta Salad is quick it make and is always a hit! It’s best to make this in advance so the flavors can marry!! Give this a try and you won’t regret it!

Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
1lb multi-color pasta, cooked
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 green pepper, diced
1 can black olives, cut in half
8 oz block mozzarella, diced (I usually add extra as cheese is the my favorite)
1-2 cups bottled Italian dressing
1/2 packet dried Italian dressing packet
salt/pepper to taste

Directions: In a large bowl mix cooked pasta with the dressing. dressing packet, olives and green peppers, refrigerate. Add in the tomatoes and cheese about 2 hours before serving. The longer this sits the more flavor it will have. This salad is easily customizable. Switch up the cheese for fresh mozzarella or you’re favorite kind. Add diced or sliced salami or pepperoni for an extra kick. Add onions, or red peppers for other veggies you may like. I made this for a family gathering at my brother’s house and he doesn’t like onions. I love them so this salad would be great with some red onions or green onions!

Note: You may need to adjust the seasoning and dressing once the salad sets and is refrigerated. Add more or less depending on taste.

Air Fryer Stuffed Mushrooms

I love stuffed mushrooms.  For someone who never loved mushrooms until I was older, it’s something I really enjoy making now.  You can really mix up recipes and add anything you want to a make a stuffed mushroom.  Any flavor combo you like. 

These were made in the air fryer and they came out SO delicious.  They were tender but not soggy at all, which unforunately is a common occurence for mushrooms since they have a high water content. 

If you love mushrooms and have an air fryer, give these a try. They are so quick to make.  Just keep in mind each air fryer is different and the cook times are estimated based on my specific air fryer.  I use an oven air fryer vs a basket one.  However, you can make this in either, you may jut have to adjust the temp and time.  If you are interested in my air fryer, check out tool bar above that says “Shop Items I Use.”

Air Fryer Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:
8-10 oz white button mushrooms, cleaned
8 oz cream cheese, soften (whipped or in the tub will work too)
1/2 small onion, diced
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Romano cheese, finely grated
1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
1 T olive oil
1 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t dried parsley
1 t garlic & herb seasoning, optional (Check it out on top tool bar, “Shop Items I Use”)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Directions: Remove mushroom stems and diced up.  In a medium bowl add in the cream cheese, onion, garlic and mushroom stems.  Mix well.  Add in the bread crumbs, Romano cheese, seasoning and oil and mix well until fully incorporated.  Taste mixture and adjust seasoning to taste.

 

Fill each mushroom evenly with the cream cheese mixture.  You want the filling to be slightly heaping.  Preheat air fryer.  Mine preheats at 400° for 4 minutes.   Place mushroom on rack (if using oven air fryer, that’s what I have) or place in basket. 

Cook mushrooms at 360° for 6-8 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t get very dark on top.  I originally started cooking for 8 minutes and ended up taking them our early since they were golden on top and the mushrooms were tender.  I cooked about 6 minutes.  Remove from air fryer and enjoy!

Creamy Sweet Potato Casserole

I love sweet potatoes. I try and make a recipe with sweet potatoes at leeast once a week, even if it’s just a simple baked one! They are healthy and good for you so good to have to your diet. This recipe isn’t so healthy and is a little more induldgent. This sweet potatoe casserole is nice and creamy smooth and toped with brown sugar, butter and pecans. YUM! This is a perfect holiday sidedish.

You can make this casserole with fresh or canned sweet potatoes. Whichever you’d like. Please take a look and drool a little!! 🙂

Creamy Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:
4 cups cooked sweet potatoes
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 stick butter, melted

Topping:
1/2 stick butter, cubed
1/4-1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup mini marshmallows

Directions: Add cooked sweet potatoes to a large bowl. Add in eggs, butter and sugar to the bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix until completely smooth and lump free. (Note: you can use a spoon if you don’t have a hand mixer, it just may not be super smooth, and that’s ok.)

Next add the sweet potatoes to a oven safe baking dish. Top evenly with brown sugar and chopped pecans. Add the butter cubes over the top of the brown sugar. Bake in oven at 375° for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and brown. Lastly remove from oven and add the mini marshmallows on top and bake for another 8-10 minutes until they are soft but not melted. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Note: This can be made ahead of time and popped in the oven the day of. Just note you may need longer cook time since mixture will be refrigerator cold. You can also use canned sweet potatoes if you prefer, I’d just rinse them as they may add extra sweetness. Or instead you can just reduce the sugar in the potatoes.




Cream Cheese Ranch Roll Ups

There are so many variations of these roll ups out there. You can really mix whatever ingredients you want and be able to create one that is DELICIOUS. However, this is one that I go to a lot. It’s my family’s favorite and it’s super flavorful and yummy. A super simple appetizer that can be made ahead of time and just sliced the day of. Give this a try and make sure to save for later!

Cream Cheese Ranch Roll Ups

Ingredients:
2 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Ranch seasoning packet
3 green onions (white & green), chopped
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
1 can pimentos
1/2 can black olives, drained & chopped
tortillas, any size (Note: if you use bigger burrito size tortillas you this recipe should make about 4 roll ups)

Directions: In a medium bowl add in the soften cream cheese and smash down with a fork. Next add in the ranch seasoning packet and all remaining ingredients, green onions, chilies, pimentos and black olives and mix until everything is fully incorporated.


Take a few scoops of the cream cheese mixture and put in the middle of the tortilla. Spread the mixture evenly across the tortilla, do not go fully to the ends of the tortilla. (This will make it easier to roll) Once fully spread, start with one side of the tortilla and roll as tight as you can. Complete with all the cream cheese mixture.

Wrap the tortillas in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for a least 3 hours up till over night. When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator, take off saran wrap and slice into thin slices and serve. Just wait and see how fast these go at your next gathering!

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

This recipe for hasselback sweet potatoes is such a fun way to eat them! They are definately a show stopper! Make these for your next dinner party or holiday! It’s a cool take on sweet potatoe casserole! Give this recipe a try!


Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:
4 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 t salt
2 t olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven 375°. Slice the sweet potatoes but don’t fully cut through. You can use chop sticks or straws to put on the bottom of the potatoes to keep the knife from going all the way through. Cut as far down as you can without cutting all the way through. Using your fingers try and separate the slices slightly.

Add sweet potatoes to a foil covered baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. (Note: the cooking time will vary depend on the size.)

In a small bowl add in melted butter, light brown sugar and salt. Mix well. Once potatoes are done, remove from the oven and brush with the brown sugar mixture. Trying to get in between each of the slices. Top with chopped pecans and place back into the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and pour any left over butter over the top of the sweet potatoes. Serve & Enjoy!

Creamy Potato Soup

Fall is upon us here in Chicago. I love fall for some many reason, but mostly for the food! I love a nice comfort dish, like a delicious bowl of soup, or a stew or chili. Anything I can put in a cute little bowl and enjoy on a crisp fall day.

Potato soup is one of my favorites. It’s usually the first kind I think about when I am craving soup. This potato soup is nothing short of delicious. I use half and half vs. heavy cream to keep it a little lighter. This is finished off with some sour cream which really takes this soup to the next level. You can easily adjust the flavors. Keep in mind all recipes of mine have my taste buds in mind. However, the spices can easily be adjusted.

I need to talk about these adorable soup/chili bowls I got from Amazon. I ordered them and couldn’t wait for them to arrive and couldn’t wait to use them. They are absolutely perfect for soup, chili, pasta, stew, or anything that need to go in a bowl. Check out my Amazon favorites https://www.amazon.com/shop/garlic_and_oliveoil_veins for the bowls. They are fairly inexpensive and they are oven, microwave and dishwasher save! I can’t wait to use them over and over!!

So, check out this delicious recipe!

Creamy Potato Soup

Ingredients:
4 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 cups celery, diced (about 4 stalks)
2 cups onion, diced (2 medium onions)
4 cups russet potatoes, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 -32 oz chicken stock
1 cup half and half (or heavy cream)
1/4 cup light sour cream
8 oz shredded cheese ( I used cheddar jack)
2 T grated Romano cheese
6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
3 T flour
2 t thyme
2 t rosemary
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
2 t garlic powder
2 t onion powder
2 t salt
2 t pepper

Toppings:
cheese
chopped bacon
green onions

Directions: Heat a large stockpot/ soup pot on high heat. Add in the olive oil and let heat 2 minutes. Add in the celery, onions and garlic, cook till tender and fragrant. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add in the butter and let melt. Sprinkle the onion mixture with the flour and mix well. Let the flour cook about 3 minutes.

Next add in the chicken broth and mix well. Add in the potatoes and half of the thyme and rosemary. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Simmer 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender. After the 30 minutes make sure the potatoes are fork tender.

Remove pot from the stove and use an immersion blender to break up the potatoes. If you want to keep the soup a little heartier you can keep some of the potato pieces whole. I prefer a smoother finish so I make sure all the potatoes are pulsed.

Next add in the shredded cheese and half and half and mix well. Make sure that the cheese is fully melted. Season the soup with the garlic and onion powder, the rest of the thyme and rosemary, the crushed red pepper and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Add in the chopped bacon. Let simmer on low for 10 minutes mixing a few times .

To finish the soup, add in the sour cream and Romano cheese and mix till it’s fully melted. To serve using a ladle add into a soup bowl and top with shredded cheese, chopped bacon and green onions. Enjoy!

Notes: You can adjust this to make it vegetarian. Use veggie broth and remove the bacon! It will still be delicious. I use low sodium chicken broth in this as well. Keep in mind with doing that you will need to make sure the soup is seasoned enough with salt. I prefer to add my own salt vs getting all the salt from the broth, therefore I can control the salt level.