Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

This is one of the first meals I learned how to make. It is so wonderfully delicious, that this is all we would make for dinner when we made this. Probably the most fun part about making this for others is when they ask, “what’s the sauce?” Nobody is expecting to hear that it’s mayonnaise. It’s super simple and keeps your house cool during the summer.

Pasta Salad


  • 1 16 oz bag of swirly pasta
  • 2 5 oz cans of tuna
  • ¾ - 1 C mayonnaise
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 carrots, shredded or diced
  • salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a large bowl (it needs to be pretty big), combine tuna and mayonnaise until almost soupy.
  3. Add cucumber, tomatoes, and carrots. Mix.
  4. When pasta is done cooking, rinse with cold water, until there is no more heat in the pasta. Add to the tuna mixture.
  5. It takes quite a bit of salt to cover everything, so don't be shy. Add pepper. Mix.
  6. Serve.

This is what the tuna and mayonnaise is supposed to look like.

I love to snack on the pasta while I’m cooling it down.

Minestrone Soup

There are two ways to make this soup. One in a crock pot, and the other on the stove. I prefer to make it on the stove, but it tastes just as good if you make it in a crock pot. This recipe was originally a crock pot recipe that I converted to a stove top recipe. I’ll post the crock pot instructions in a later post.

Minestrone Soup


  • 1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 t parsley
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t garlic salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1 small head of cabbage, sliced thin
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can of kidney beans
  • 1/2 C noodles


  1. Cook garlic, onion, celery, tomatoes, parsley, salt, garlic salt and pepper in EVOO.
  2. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  3. Add cabbage, carrots, and whole tomatoes.
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add kidney beans and noodles.
  6. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Chicken Noodle Soup

I was talking with one of my wonderful friends tonight and turns out we both make our own chicken stock. It’s really a great thing. She told this story about how one of her friends is only going to have chicken bouillon for her food storage because she is going to grow the rest in her garden. I thought it was great.

So, I promised my chicken noodle soup recipe, and here it is. I came up with this one on my own. It was the beginning of me creating my own recipes. I did a lot of research for this one. I read a lot of other chicken noodle soup recipes that were already out there, and I asked a lot of people how they made theirs. This recipe is what I came up with, and it is really delicious.

Chicken Noodle Soup


  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • Thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock
  • 8 oz of egg noodles
  • 1 lb of diced chicken, cooked


  1. Cook onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper in EVOO.
  2. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  3. Add noodles and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add chicken and simmer for 15 minutes.


I use a tiny little grater to grate my garlic into the pot.
I chop a bunch of baby carrots into fourths, so I don’t have to buy baby carrots and regular carrots.
I just add noodles by the handful until I think there’s enough.
I cut my chicken using cooking scissors to speed things up.

Using the Whole Chicken

My grandma Shelton is amazing at this. My brother and I spent a week at my grandparent’s when our parent’s were in Hawaii. The first night, we had a wonderful turkey dinner. Then turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, turkey every day of the week. It was really cool. So, this week, I’m doing something similar. Tonight for dinner we had roasted chicken per the instructions in Everyday Food’s May 2012 edition. Then I pulled all of the meat off, which I plan to use for Teriyaki Chicken and Rice (this is the Teriyaki sauce I make) and Chicken Noodle Soup.

I put all of the bones and skin in my big pot, filled it to the top with water, and added two halved celery stalks, a handful of baby carrots, and a whole onion sliced in sixths. I let it come to a boil, and then turned the stove top down to medium-low and let it simmer for about two hours, covered. When it was done, I pulled the big pieces out with one of those spoons with holes to let the stock drain out. Then I balanced my strainer on my largest tupperware bowl and poured the stock through to catch all the smaller pieces. I had so much stock that I had to bring out my second largest tupperware bowl for the rest of the stock. The celery, carrots, and onion that I put in were totally lifeless. They had a very dull color and were completely tasteless, so I have very high hopes for this stock. I will use it for Chicken Noodle Soup and Zuppa Toscana, and if I have enough, Minestrone Soup.

I found the whole chickens at Costco for $.99/lb. My chicken was about 5 lbs, so for spending $5, I got Sunday dinner, enough stock for three soups, and left over chicken for two other meals. It’s definitely worth it to use the whole chicken.

Chicken Noodle Soup and Minestrone Soup recipes to come later this week.

Four New Wonderful Recipes

Last night, for Easter dinner, I made Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary Balsamic and Orange Sauce, Skillet Bacon Mac and Cheese, Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto, and for dessert, Crock Pot Cheesecake.  My mom made a salad to go with it, because that was a lot of meat.  Overall, the meal was delicious, though I overcooked the pork, which is sadly very easy to do.  Pork, like chicken and fish, doesn’t need very long to cook at all.  I will definitely make the mac and cheese again, and since I still have some prosciutto left, I’ll probably make the asparagus again.  I may even try to make the pork again, however pork tenderloin is expensive.

The whole meal took three and a half hours to complete!  I will probably never make all of these things at the same time again, but it was totally worth it.  I started with the Crock Pot Cheesecake, because it took two and a half hours to cook in the crock pot, and then about another hour to cool down.  Then I started working on the Skillet Bacon Mac and Cheese.  This dish probably took the longest amount of time, because there are a lot of steps involved.  I, also, used glassware instead of a skillet to cook it in the oven, and I cooked it at 350°F so that I could leave it in the oven longer, while I worked on everything else.

Next I made the Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin, which I should have marinated while we were at church, but I totally forgot.  It got at least 20 minutes to marinate, though, so it had good flavor.  The sauce was not as thick as I thought it was going to be, and I’m not sure if that’s because I used cranberry juice (not the cocktail) instead of red wine, or because it’s just not a very thick sauce, but it still tasted amazing.  Despite being overcooked, the pork tasted good, because of the marinade and the sauce.

The Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto was amazing.  I wish that I had made more.  The prosciutto was just a little crispy, and the asparagus was tender and moist.  I could have easily eaten more of this.  It was really easy to put together, too.  I probably could have made this without the sauce, and it would have been even faster.

All in all, this Easter dinner was delicious.  I had fun making it, and we all enjoyed eating it.  I might do it again next year, but that seriously depends on what’s going on in our life at the time.

No Sugar, No Artificial Sweeteners

On January 30, 2012, my sister-in-law and I started three months of no sugar and no artificial sweeteners, though honey is okay in moderation.  We both get what we call “sugar sickness,” which is where we physically feel ill when we eat too much sugar, and we have yet to find an artificial sweetener that doesn’t have some kind of ill effect on us as well.  Basically we want to detox from eating too many sweets so that come May, we can start anew with the resolve to simply cut back on sugar.

This is a huge feat that we are trying to accomplish, so we decided to help each other out by doing it together.  Also, we didn’t want to set ourselves up for failure, so we gave ourselves a few treats to help us stay strong in tempting situations when we are otherwise doing very well.

The first thing to address was cold treats, like ice cream.  She loves Red Mango, so that is her cold treat and reward for avoiding everything else.  I found plain frozen yogurt at Yogurt Bliss, so that is my cold treat and reward.  Both of these are had in moderation, because eating them every day would basically defeat the purpose of even trying this.

She is allowing herself 70% cocoa to curb the chocolate cravings.  There is some pretty amazing 70% cocoa out there, and she is finding it.  I drink 100% juice, while she avoids it, because the natural sugars are too concentrated for her body.  She eats Greek yogurt, because of its benefits and the great flavors, while I just eat plain yogurt, because I don’t really like the added sugar in flavored yogurts.

When family events come around where sugar will obviously be present, we try to bring fruit or some dessert without sugar so that we don’t slip up.  I made a chocolate cake with applesauce as the sweetener when our aunt had a birthday.  It wasn’t the most amazing cake, but it gave us something to eat while everyone else was eating some really awesome looking cake.

I hope this inspires others to give this a try.  Don’t set yourself up for failure, and get a buddy to hold yourself accountable to.

Check out my sister-in-laws blog here.

Super Easy Crock Pot Chicken

I have learned a new recipe for my 101 goals in 1001 days!  I found it on Pinterest, the wonderful site of sharing everything good in the world.  It originally comes from The Larson Lingo.  Michael really loves this, and I think it’s very tasty.  On top of that, it’s a crock pot recipe, so it’s super easy to make.

4-6 frozen chicken breasts
1 – 8 oz package of cream cheese (full fat)
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of corn, drained
8-12 oz of salsa
Salt (optional)

Place the frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot.  Put the cream cheese on top.  Add the black beans, corn, and salsa.  And add as much salt as you think is necessary.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Shred the chicken and let sit for about 30 minutes.  Serve over rice or in soft taco shells.

Originally this recipe doesn’t have salt, but we found it necessary to add some to bring out all the delicious flavors.  When I make this, I take my 1 pound container of salt and just pour some over all the food.  I suggest making this first without the salt to determine if you really want to add that much salt.  It is easily added after you serve.  I was worried about the chicken being hard to shred, but after cooking for so long, it was super easy.  The only thing remotely challenging was finding the chicken in the soupy mess.

I don’t have a name for this yet, so if anyone wants to suggest one, I’ll take the best name that comes.