Pasta Bar Birthday Party!


This past Saturday, we had a pasta bar birthday party for my daughter’s 30th birthday.  It was a fairly easy, inexpensive way to feed lots of people and, best of all, it was delicious!

I have some new recipes to post from the party which I will be doing this week and in this post I’ll tell you how we put it together.

My daughter lives about an hour and a half away.  She bought the perishables and I bought and packed up to her house the produce and a bunch of odds and ends.  I bought buffet pans to keep everything warm after cooking and we used crockpots.  Some things didn’t need to stay warm as well.

For starters we had tortellini with pesto, mushroom, onion, fontina bruschetta, spectacular bruschetta, and bacon wrapped pretzels.

We made 3 types of pasta but found it was too hard to eat spaghetti on your lap so almost all of that was leftover.  The farfalle and penne were gone.  We made sauce with meatballs and plain sauce and alfredo sauce.  Mr. Meat Eater grilled up chicken and sausage which we sliced so each could be added to the plain sauce or the alfredo.  I also sauteed up a big pan of mushrooms.

We had Greek salad and Caesar salad and Tuscan asparagus on the side.  I can’t forget the garlic bread either!

Pasta Bar 1

The starter bar ~ (left to right) tortellini with pesto, mushroom, onion, fontina bruschetta,  spectacular bruschetta, bacon wrapped pretzels.

Party 1

The Alfredo sauce is in the crockpot.  I’m not sure what the glass baking dish has in it ~ one of my daughter’s friends brought it ~ but it was delicious!

Pasta Bar 3

Chicken, sausage (hot and mild), and sauteed mushrooms.

Pasta Bar 4

Greek salad (left), my Mom’s meatballs with sauce (crockpot), Caesar salad.  The asparagus is behind the Greek salad.

Happy Birthday!

This was a fun party to do and I would do it again.  Recipes will be coming this week!

Happy Cooking!

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Fourth of July Cupcakes Rewind


These are so cute for the fourth!  I posted this recipe last July 4th and thought it was worth a repeat today.

Fourth of July Cupcakes

Fourth of July Cupcakes

18 1/4 ounces white cake mix
1 cup water (or as indicated on cake mix directions)
1/3 cup oil (or as indicated on cake mix directions)
3 eggs (or as indicated on cake mix directions)
1/2 teaspoon blue food coloring
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
1 (16 ounce) can vanilla frosting
red white and blue candy sprinkle

Prepare cake mix according to package directions.

In a small bowl, combine 1 1/3 cups batter with blue food coloring. In another small bowl, combine red food coloring with 1 1/3 cups batter. Leave the remaining batter plain.

Fill paper-lined muffin tins with 2 tablespoons red batter, 2 tablespoons plain batter, and 2 tablespoons blue batter. Do not swirl batter, leave it layered.

Bake at 350º for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes in pan and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost with vanilla frosting and decorate with sprinkles.

Makes about 18 cupcakes

Happy Cooking!

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Dill Dip

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Dill dip is one of my most favorite things in life.  I tried this new recipe and it was delish but made such a small amount.  The amount turned out to be perfect for this event  but it didn’t even fill up the green pepper I served it in.  Next time, I would double it.


Dill Dip

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp dill weed
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/4 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 large green bell pepper

Mix all ingredients, except green pepper, together in a bowl and cover and chill for at least 2 hours or the day before.

To serve, slice off the top of the green peper, gently remove ribs and seeds, spoon dip into pepper and sprinkle with fresh minced dill or chives. Place green pepper on serving platter and surround with cut-up veggies.

Makes 1 cup dip

Happy Cooking!


BBQ Beef Sandwiches (Crockpot)


There are loads of these recipes on the internet but I like this one because you make the barbecue sauce instead of using store bought.  It’s still easy to make.  This would be great for a party, potluck or tailgating.  I usually serve with my easy cole slaw and chips.

BBQ Beef Sandwiches

3 to 4 lb. beef chuck roast
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 (1 ounce) pkg. onion soup mix
1 tbsp. chili powder
3 tbsps vinegar (I use red wine vinegar)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsps. prepared mustard
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Kaiser rolls
Cheese slices, your choice (I use monterey jack)

Trim fat from beef and place in crockpot.

Stir together all remaining ingredients together ~ except rolls and cheese ~ and pour over meat in crockpot.

Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours, or until fork tender.

Skim off fat. Remove meat from crockpot and shred. Return meat to sauce in crockpot.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of meat on bottom of each roll and top with cheese. Place under broiler to melt cheese if desired.

Makes 6-8 sandwiches.

Happy Cooking!

Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars


DH is coming home from his business trip today, DD is coming home for a few days, and DS is already here so I decided that I better do some baking last night.  I chose one of my Pick A Chef recipes from Recipezaar and I am so glad that I did.  They are awesome ~ and that’s saying something because I am not a big fan of peanut butter.

They were fairly easy to make and smelled terrific baking in the oven.  They make a 13×9 pan full so they would be great for a potluck or a party.

Here’s the link to the recipe ~ Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Happy Cooking!