Double Layer Orange Cream Salad

This one of those traditional (and tasty!) FAMILY favorites that everyone loves. It's a great combination of pudding and Jell-O, and super REFRESHING this time of year. Everyone thinks it tastes like a DREAMSICLE—you know, the orange popsicle with vanilla ice cream in the middle? YUM! The best part is that, just like the majority of the recipes on this blog, its SUPER easy!

Double Layer Orange Cream Salad

1 large box orange gelatin
1 small box Cook & Serve lemon pudding
3 (15-ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
1 small box instant lemon pudding
1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Make orange gelatin as directed on package and then set aside, but do not put in fridge to set. Make the Cook & Serve lemon pudding as directed on box. Gently stir liquid orange gelatin and cooked lemon pudding until smooth.

Place the mandarin oranges in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch glass dish (if you have an extra deep one use that!). Next pour the gelatin-pudding mixture over top and smooth with a spoon. Refrigerate overnight until set.

Make the instant pudding as directed. Fold the whipped topping into the pudding and then spread over the set gelatin-pudding mixture. Refrigerate 1–2 more hours before serving. Makes 12–14 servings.

TIP: Try using other combinations of the Cook & Serve puddings and Jell-Os to make your own unique dish! Vanilla pudding and raspberry Jell-O would be yummy with a layer of raspberries in the bottom!


Reese's Peanut Butter Bars

These have been FLOATING around Pinterest so I just had to try them. They are FABULOUS! The best part is that they really only take MINUTES to make. If you love peanut butter and CHOCOLATE like I do, these are a must-make!

Reese's Peanut Butter Bars
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
4 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Mix together the butter, cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and peanut butter until well blended. Spread in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter and spread over top. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours before cutting and serving.

TIP: I prefer creamy pb, but I'm sure crunchy works just fine too. Also, even though you refrigerate these before cutting, I enjoy eating them when they are room temperature. But you can decide which way you like it best!


Southwest Pasta Salad

We love TEX-MEX foods at our house, so this recipe really hits the SPOT. It's great to take to potlucks, or add some CHICKEN and have it for dinner. Either way, it's DELISH! (Sorry for the terrible picture! I really need a nice new camera . . . and maybe some cuter dishes!)

Southwest Pasta Salad
1 (16-ounce) box penne or rigatoni pasta, cooked according to directions
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3/4 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
1/2 cup roasted and salted pepitas (dark, small pumpkin seeds)
1 bottle Hidden Valley Farmhouse Southwest Chipotle dressing
1/4 to 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped

In a bowl, combine the pasta, beans, corn, peppers, cilantro, bacon, and pepitas. Stir in about 1 cup of the dressing and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. Just before serving, stir in the lettuce and more dressing to moisten. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

TIP: Add some cooked or grilled chopped chicken to make this a main course meal. Another great addition is some sort of cheese. I've added shredded taco blend cheese, and I think cubed pepper jack or cheddar would also be good. For tomato lovers, add tomato. And if anyone decides to add beef (shredded, ground), let me know how it turns out!


Hummus and Veggie Sandwich

I've recently become ADDICTED to hummus over the last few months, enough so that you might often find me standing by my fridge with a SPOON in hand as I sneak scoops out of the big container I bought from Costco. It's soooo GOOD! Anyway, I discovered this TASTY little sandwich that is very filling and great for someone trying to watch their CALORIE intake. I absolutely love it and hope you do too!

Hummus and Veggie Sandwich
Orowheat Sandwich Thin (or wheat bread)
1/4 to 1/3 cup hummus
Matchstick carrots
Sliced red and green bell pepper
Sliced purple onion
2 or 3 tablespoons finely shredded mozzarella cheese

Open up your sandwich thin (or place 2 slices of bread) on a work surface and spread the hummus over top of one side for a nice thick layer. Place a good amount of the carrots, peppers, and onion over top and press lightly into the hummus. Sprinkle the cheese over veggies and then place lettuce over top. Top with the other half of your sandwich thin and enjoy!

TIP: I've made this sandwich for my husband and added turkey to give him an extra boost of protein. He loved it even though he claims he does not like hummus! And as always, feel free to add your favorite veggies. Any variety would be great, I'm sure! :)


Baked Cheesy Taquitos

One night I was DREAMING up some recipes that would be good with GUACAMOLE (I had a huge avocado that needed to be used!). The hard part was that I needed it to be QUICK because we had a lot going on that day. Sooooo, these DELISH crunchy taquitos are the product of my "dreaming" session. Hope you like!

Baked Cheesy Taquitos
8 medium flour tortillas
Shredded cheddar cheese (I like to use Tillamook Medium)
Frozen corn, thawed
1 can diced green chiles

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.

Lay tortillas on a work surface and put desired amount of cheese, corn, and green chiles down the center of each (I say the more the better!). Roll up tightly and place seem side down on the prepared cookie sheet. Spray the tops with more nonstick spray and then stick in oven. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until nicely browned and toasted. Serve with some yummy guacamole (link to my recipe above) and salsa for dipping. 

TIP: You can obviously put whatever you want in these rolls of crunchy goodness! Feel free to throw in some shredded chicken or beef, or even rinsed black beans for some protein. Other veggies would be a great addition too. Just mix it up to your heart's content!


Buffalo Chicken Dip

This is one of my husbands go-to appetizers. He absolutely LOVES this dip, and I have to tell you, it is SUPER addictive. I got this recipe from a friend of a friend of a friend, or something like that, and adjusted it slightly to fit my family's tastes. It is in my cookbook, 101 Things To Do With Cheese. I do ADMIT it's not necessarily pretty to look at when all is said and done, but it really is DELICIOUS!

Buffalo Chicken Dip
1 large can chicken, drained (I use the Costco brand)
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 bottle buffalo sauce
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup ranch dressing 
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided

In a frying pan, saute the chicken, celery, and buffalo sauce until celery is tender. Stir in the cream cheese, ranch dressing, and 1 cup cheddar cheese until mixed well and cheeses have melted. Pour mixture into a 2-quart glass casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over top and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbling around the edges and cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, celery sticks, or whatever you think might be good!

TIP: Try sprinkling some Gorgonzola crumbles on top as well. It makes the whole "buffalo" experience a little more authentic. But be warned that blue cheese does not smell super appealing!

BONUS TIP: I've made this same dip but used it as a filling for wontons instead. I bake them and then we dip them in some chunky blue cheese dressing. YUM!