Fruit Soup

My mom has made this 3 times now and every time we are licking the bowl. It is that good.

You might think this is "chick food" because it is a fruit dish. But guess what? Boys like it, too.

Fruit Soup

¾ c. sugar (we have used as little as 1/4 cup without noticing a difference!)
1 c. water
1 c. peach juice (or another cup of water)
3 Tb tapioca (be sure to use the “minute brand” quick cooking tapioca!)

6 oz orange juice concentrate
1 ½ c. water

2 cans mandarin oranges (with or without juice)
1 quart sliced peaches - (you can use 1 large can of peach slices, but I would not add the heavy syrup – I always try to use Lite peaches that have been bottled with pear juice and water, in which case I add the juice. Also, cut up the slices so they are bite-size.)
2 c. fresh strawberries, sliced, just before serving
2 bananas, just before serving
1 bag frozen raspberries, thawed but still cool and firm (or an equivalent amount of fresh) or other berry mix (raspberries give the juice a red tint, without raspberries it is an orange color. We used the tri-berry mix from Costco which includes raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.)

Bring sugar, water, peach juice and tapioca to a boil. Continue boiling on medium high for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Some tapioca will be clear and other granules will have a white center. Take off heat. Let sit for 30 minutes. (This is when the tapioca will become more clear.)
Add 6 oz orange juice concentrate and 1 ½ c. water. Chill overnight.

Add mandarin oranges and peaches. Before serving add strawberries, bananas, and raspberries.

{from Sister's Cafe}


Quick and Easy Breadsticks

This recipe is so fast and goes delicious with pizza, pasta, salad, soup, fruit...you get the idea. They literally come together in 5 minutes and cook in 10, which means I make them weekly. I usually sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top but this time we were out, so I tried mozzarella and LOVED it. The cheese got all crunchy and delicious.

Just try them and you'll see what I mean.

Quick and Easy Breadsticks

3 to 3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups warm water
melted butter
cheese (parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar...whatever you want to try!)

Add 3 cups flour, salt, yeast, and honey to a bowl. Slowly mix while adding warm water. Knead until shiny and smooth. If you need to add more flour, do so until the dough isn't sticky.

Roll into rectangle. Put dough on cookie sheet and slice with pizza cutter.

Spread melted butter and sprinkle grated cheese (I love mozzarella!) on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-14 minutes until golden brown.


Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, and Mozzarella

This fit the bill for dinner tonight - I could make it ahead and stick it in the fridge, pop it in the oven when we were ready and it turned out delicious.

I have a love/hate relationship with sun-dried tomatoes. Sometimes they are yummy. Other times they really turn me off. I added them this time, but this would still be really good without them.

Baked Penne with Chicken, Broccoli, and Mozzarella

{serves 4}


3/4 cup bread crumbs (store-bought or make your own)

2 tablespoons butter, melted


1 bunch broccoli (about 1 pound), stalks cut off, florets trimmed into 1-inch pieces

8 ounces penne pasta

1 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium onion, minced

3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half worked fine for me)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2), trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces

3 ounces mozzarella, grated

4 ounce jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into pieces (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and butter and set aside. Lightly grease an 8X8-inch baking dish and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and make sure the oven rack is placed in the middle of the oven. In a large pot, bring the water for the pasta to a boil. Stir in some salt and the broccoli. Cook the broccoli for 1 minute, until it is bright green. Quickly remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 1-2 minutes less than how you would eat it normally (it will cook a bit more in the oven while baking). Drain the pasta in a colander and toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Leave it in the colander and set it aside.

Wipe the pot dry. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and cream; bring to a simmer, whisking often. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes.

Add the cooked pasta and broccoli to the sauce; stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the cheese and the bread crumb topping. Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the crumbs are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

*The casserole can be prepared in advance with the following steps: after the broccoli is removed from the boiling water, plunge it into a bowl of ice water and cool completely. Assemble the casserole following the directions in the recipe. After the casserole is spread in the prepared baking pan, let it cool for 5-10 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating for up to 8 hours. To bake, preheat the oven to 375 and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

{Modified from Mel's Kitchen Cafe}


Classic Italian Lasagna

In a way I see it kind of pointless to copy a recipe from another recipe blog just to put on my own recipe blog. What do you girls think? Well, The only reason I'm going to do it here is because next time I'm going to do a few things differently (and there WILL be a next time) I make this. It was fabulous and I thank Mel from mykitchencafe for posting this recipe from wherever she got it from. Here it is...make it. I don't even really love Lasagna but this was fabulous! I made two 8x8 pans and froze one and we had one for dinner two nights in a row...can't wait for the frozen one!

Classic Italian Lasagna

Red Sauce:
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. butter
4 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1/2 large onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
8 oz. mushrooms, chopped (omitted these, thanks but no thanks)
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tsp. Italian seasoning (or a mix of dried oregano and basil)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

White Sauce:
3 cups milk (not skim)
5 Tbs. flour
4 Tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

9 lasagna noodles, boiled for half the time on the box. - I used the no-boil noodles (Barilla Brand) obviously don't boil these...skip the boiling step.
1 pound ground turkey
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded (I would use a little less cheese next time, there was plenty of cheese)
8 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan and set aside.

In a large skillet, brown the turkey. When cooked through, drain. (I like to put it in a strainer and run hot water over it to get as much grease off as possible) Set aside.

In a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat, add 2 Tbs olive oil and 1 Tbs butter. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. When oil/butter is hot, add the garlic, stirring constantly. When garlic is lightly browned, but NOT burned, add the onion and mushrooms. Continue cooking on medium-high heat until the vegetables are soft and browned and the fluid has mostly cooked out. Remove from heat and blend vegetables into a paste-like mixture - because I did not use mushrooms in this recipe, I opted to NOT blend my onions. Return the pot to the heat (pour the pureed vegetables back in pot) and add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Then add the diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir. Cover and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Right before using the red sauce in the lasagna, stir in the reserved ground turkey. - NEXT time I make this I think I'll 1.5 this red sauce and meat part of the recipe. I could have used just a little more of this when I made (and ate) my lasagna.

While the red sauce simmers, boil your noodles if you need to. Once cooked (for half the amount of time on box) drain but do not rinse. Add a dab of olive oil to keep them from sticking together. If you are using no-boil noodles, you can skip this step.

Also, while the red sauce is cooking, melt the four Tbs. butter and when melted, add the flour, stirring constantly to combine and letting the mixture cook, while stirring, for a minute or two. Gradually add in the milk, whisking constantly. Add the salt and pepper. Slowly whisk he shite sauce, ensuring it doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan, while cooking it over medium heat. Continue slowing stirring or whisking while the white sauce cooks and thickens quite a bit, about 5-7 minutes. Add a pinch of mozzarella for good luck, if you wish! (Oh yes I wish!)

To begin layering the lasagna, keep in mind that you'll have three layers of noodles as well as three layers of the sauces and cheese - so plan on splitting all the sauces and cheese into thirds so you don't run out at the end! On the bottom of your lightly greased baking pan, layer three pre-boiled noodles or four no boil noodles, slightly overlapping the no-boil noodles. Layer the red sauce, white sauce, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, spreading all to the edges and top with another layer of noodles. Again, layer the red sauce, white sauce Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and top with the final layer of noodles. Layer the sauces and cheeses again.

Cover the lasagna with a greased layer of aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Removes the foil and let the lasagna sit for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.


Tomato Basil Soup with Orzo

Imagine standing in line at Zupas waiting to order your favorite soup - Tomato Basil. Oh wait, you no longer have to go wait in line for soup at Zupas (although, if I was ever in town, I still would because that's a fun place to eat) because you can make it in your very own home!!! You heard me folks! I made this today for dinner and Gary said "Put it on the docket" - that always means he likes and wants to have it again really soon. In this case, it will most likely be this week because I had leftovers! Yeah!! Or maybe I'll freeze it for another meal another day. I served it with yummy buns I made but next time I think I'll put a little grilled cheese on the griddle as well! Enjoy! (You can thank me later!)

Tomato Basil Soup with Orzo

1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 C. apple juice
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped **see notes at the bottom
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 4 because I love garlic)
1/2 C. diced red bell pepper
4 C. chopped fresh or canned tomatoes. (I used 42 oz. - a 28 oz. can and a 14.5 oz. can of whole tomatoes)
1 C. vegetable stock (I used chicken broth)
1/3 C. Orzo pasta - (because I love this and used more tomatoes than it called for, I used more Orzo too)
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil - (If you have it totally use it. NOTHING replaces fresh basil, but in my case, I didn't have it and didn't want to run to the store for one thing...so I used a small amount of dried. Can't wait to make it with fresh though)
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 C. butter

In soup pot, heat oil and apple juice over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic and red pepper 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is soft but not brown. Add small amounts of water if mixture becomes dry). Remove from heat. Add tomatoes and broth. Stir. Puree in blender and return to the pot. Add Orzo pasta; cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add butter and cream. Stir. Simmer 15 minutes stirring as often as possible. DO NOT BOIL. Add basil and serve immediately.

**yes, I use my Vidalia chopper EVERY.SINGLE.DAY and if you don't have one, go buy one right now! They are only like $19.00 and it will be the best $19.00 you ever spent in your whole entire life! :) I like to buy a big bag of onions at costco and then chop them up and freeze them, one onion at a time, in small sandwich freezer bags. It's AWESOME! I do this because 99.9% of the time I need a yellow onion, it is going to be cooked and put into something and I don't need it fresh. So, to save time and make my life just a little more simpler, I chop and freeze. Plus, I LOVE my Vidalia chopper and try to get as much use out of it as possible because it makes me happy! (and yes I used it on the red pepper too)

Recipe Sourse: I googled it because I wanted that Zupas soup and found this on a website about family cookbooks. Random...but thank them very much!