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Pizza Pasta Dinner Delight!

Who can resist this pin? I mean really. Lots of cheese, fatty meats—awesome! It’s one of those delectable looking not-heart-healthy creations that we all fill our boards with. (If only we could be half as inspired by broccoli!!)

Crockpot pizza pasta. The recipe is from the Cooking with Joey blog.

Usually when I go for using my crockpot, I’m one of those gals who likes recipes that just let you throw all the ingredients in the pot in the morning, and when you come home, your house smells like heaven and it’s time to eat.

This is definitely not one of those recipes. It requires you to chop multiple vegetables, shred cheese (I don’t buy pre-shredded to save some bucks), cook two different meats, and layer stuff, all before you even turn the thing on. Here’s a little preview of the mess you will create.

But after all the cooking and chopping, the layering starts, and you start getting really ready to eat this stuff. I could barely keep the family from drooling all over it. Here’s a couple pics during the layering.

I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be enough ingredients to take up the room in my very large crockpot. But, it actually filled it up almost to the top

Within an hour, my house did smell like heaven. I could barely keep my daughter away from the crockpot. The pin says to cook it five or six hours. I checked at three and a half hours, and it was done.

While it did take some time, I give this recipe a big thumbs-up for taste, and so does my daughter. Even after she was full, she kept saying, “It’s so good; I just want to eat a little more.” Here’s how it looks after it’s been cooked and served. See those layers? Yum!

We can eat for days, and probably still have leftovers to freeze. I like to freeze leftovers in individual serving size plastic containers. Then, when the cupboards are bare, we’re in a hurry, or I need something quick to take in my work lunch, we have ready-made “homemade frozen dinners.”

This recipe would also be great for potlucks. I can assure you that your dish would be the belle of the buffet.

A little note on some minor modifications I made: I hate mushrooms, so I left them out. My daughter can be picky about large chunks of veggies. So, though it called for more coarsely chopped onions and peppers, I diced them to make them more kid friendly. Also, instead of tomato sauce, I just used the two jars of spaghetti sauce I had on hand (and had gotten a great deal on at the store!).

If you try this recipe, let me know how it works or suggest another recipe pin that I should try.

Until next time, happy pinning!


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A Day at the Beach Cupcakes

We were looking for a treat to remind us of summer since the weather has turned chilly here in Ohio. I came upon this pin of adorable beach themed cupcakes.

Day at the Beach Cupcake Pin

But, it’s one of those dreaded pins with no instructions. You know the kind—click through and all you get is another photo.

But we were not deterred, daring Pinners that we are. So we dove in. (Get it?… dove in, the beach?… OK. Cheesy.)

We gathered our supplies.

I decided we were too busy today to deal with cake from scratch, so I got one of my favorite cake mixes—Duncan Hines. I really like the Devil’s Food. So fluffy and good flavor.

And, I couldn’t find Fruit Stripe gum, which it looks like they used to create the beach chairs. I was disappointed because it reminds me of being a kid. Back then we loved it. Take a piece, chew for ten minutes until it runs out of flavor and grab the next piece. The whole pack was gone in about an hour. (Now days, of course, I would yell at my kids for doing that.)

So Juicy Fruit was our substitute. Not as pretty as the stripes, but the yellow was cheerful.

I figured out quickly that just molding the gum into a chair shape was not going to work, because it flattened out quickly. So, I let them lay on their sides for 24 hours to harden. That worked OK, but they still sagged after a while, and I would suggest letting them harden longer.

After baking the cupcakes and letting them cool, I iced them about three-quarters with white icing. Then I rolled them on a small plate covered in brown sugar.

Next, add the blue icing to the remaining top. Slap on a gum chair, a pretty umbrella, and a gumball beach ball, and Voila! An adorable day at the beach cupcake.

My daughter joined me in the fun. She thought it was something she could easily master, and she loved the look. Here are our final products.

They were a hit. I successfully conquered a no directions pin. I’m on top of the world! And on a beach.

Until next time, happy pinning!


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