Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ham and Cheese Bowties


When I found this recipe I was looking for a good dinner that would use some of my leftover ham from Easter. It looked really similar in nature to the mac and cheese recipe I love, so it was a winner in my book. I found that this recipe was really easy to make and it tasted really good as well. We used Ronzoni Garden Delight  Penne Rigati (which I love because it adds a full serving of veggies to your pasta meal without adding anything extra) instead of bow tie pasta, but that was really the only change we made. Rob had the idea that it might be good if we added some broccoli next time we made the dish. Overall it was a great meal that Rob and I both really liked. 






Ham and Cheese Bowties


  • 8 ounces farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Colby cheese
  • 4 ounces cooked ham, julienned
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Saute garlic 30 seconds. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until smooth. Pour in milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Stir in mustard and Colby. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and stir in pasta and ham.
  4. Pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
  5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until bubbly and golden.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Martini Week- Day 7 Flirtini

I had fun doing these posts and sharing my favorite martini recipes for the week. Hope you enjoyed them as well!

1 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Champagne

2 oz. Pineapple Juice
Combine Vodka, Champagne, and Pineapple Juice in a highball or collins glass filled with ice

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our cat, Baby, loves catnip so this year I decided to grow some fresh catnip for her. She loves it when I bring a few fresh leaves in for her to eat, but I have huge plants now so I am working on drying it. Below you will see the instructions I followed when drying Baby's catnip. 


How to Dry Catnip   (from http://www.wikihow.com/Dry-Fresh-Grown-Catnip)

  1. Wait until the plant is at least five inches tall. Then, taking scissors, gently cut the plant at the base so you have long stalks of catnip. Be aware that you will want to cut more than you think you need, because the plant is going to dry up and it will turn out to be less than it was originally.
  2. Once you have all the stalks you need, secure the catnip together with either yarn or heavy thread.
  3. Find a dark area (the linen closet is always the best, but any closet will do). Keep in mind that the plant must be hanging upside down and the door must be closed most of the time for the herbs to dry properly. Also, the catnip will lose potency if exposed to light.
  4. Stick a tack to the inside of the door, and tie your catnip around it. Keep it closed and let the drying begin!
  5. Within four to eight weeks (or more depending on how dry your house is, how little sunlight you expose the herbs to etc.) you will have completely dry catnip! Enjoy the smell and watch your cats go wild for the favorite treat!     

I also tried the microwave method for some of the catnip.
Microwave Drying: Microwave drying is a quick and easy way to dry catnip. You’ll want to remove the leaves and flowers from the stems and place them on a paper towel. Cover the leaves with a second paper towel. Microwave them on high for 1 or 2 minutes on high. Let the leaves cool, if they are not dry enough (they should be brittle); microwave them for an additional 30 seconds. Repeat as needed until they are dry, but make sure you don’t scorch them.

    Martini Week- Day 6 Cranberry Martini

    1 oz vodka
    1/2 oz Cointreau orange liqueur
    3 oz cranberry juice
    chopped ice
    lemon slice, for zing and garnish

    Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
    Add ice so that the shaker is about a third full (ice plus ingredients).
    Shake for 20 seconds.
    Strain into a cocktail glass.
    Squeeze a couple of drops from the lemon slice into the glass, then garnish the side of the cocktail glass with the slice of lemon.

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Martini Week- Day 5 Strawberry Martini

    60ml (or approx 2 oz) Vodka
    7.5ml (or approx 1/4 oz) frais de bois (optional)
    7.5ml (or approx 1/4 oz) sugar syrup, or to taste
    5 strawberries (fresh is best)
    8 ice cubes

    In a cocktail shaker, crush 4 strawberries using a barspoon or muddler.
    Add Vodka, frais de bois (optional) and sugar syrup.
    Add ice.
    Shake well.
    Pour and strain into a frosted martini glass.
    Garnish the rim of the martini glass with the remaining strawberry. 

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Martini Week- Day 4 Blue Martini


    Blue Martini Ingredients

    60ml (or approx 2 oz) Bombay Sapphire Gin
    30ml (or approx 1 oz) Blue Curacao Liqueur
    twist of lemon
    6 ice blocks/cubes

    Blue Martini Directions

    Into a cocktail shaker, pour the Gin and Curacao.
    Add ice.
    Shake well.
    Strain and pour into a martini glass.
    Finish by arranging a twist of lemon on the edge of the martini glass.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Martini Week- Day 3 Chocolate Martini

    Chocolate Martini Deluxe Ingredients

    30ml (or approx 1 oz) Vodka
    30ml (or approx 1 oz) Brown Crème de Cacao
    30ml (or approx 1 oz) Bailey's Irish Cream
    1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
    6 ice cubes
    extra couple of drops of either the Bailey's or the Crème de Cacao

    Chocolate Martini Deluxe Directions

    Into a cocktail shaker, pour the Vodka, Brown Crème de Cacao, Bailey's Irish Crème and the chocolate syrup.
    Add the ice cubes.
    Shake well.
    Rub rim of glass with Brown Crème de Cacao then dip into a shallow dish of cocoa.
    Strain and pour contents of cocktail shaker into a martini glass. 

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Martini Week Day 2- Pomegranate Martini

    1 oz vodka (or citrus vodka, if you have it)
    1/2 oz Cointreau orange liqueur
    3 oz pomegranate juice
    chopped ice
    1/4 teaspoon lemon juice, for garnish
    sugar, for garnish

    Wet the rim of the cocktail glass with the lemon juice.
    Place sugar in a saucer and dip the rim of the cocktail glass into the saucer, to produce a ring of sugar stuck to the lemon juice as a decorative rim around the glass.
    Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
    Add ice so that the shaker is about a third full (ice plus ingredients).
    Shake for 20 seconds.
    Strain into a cocktail glass.

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Martini Week- Day One Apple Martini

     To celebrate summer I decided to dedicate a week of my blog  to my favorite martini recipes. I am always up for trying a new martini flavor. The recipes I am sharing are from martinirecipe.net. Enjoy!!

    Apple Martini Recipe 


    30ml (or approx 1 oz) Smirnoff Apple Vodka
    30ml (or approx 1 oz) Apple Schnapps
    30ml (or approx 1 oz) Midori
    30ml (or approx 1 oz) apple juice
    1 slice of green apple

    Apple Martini Recipe Directions

    Into a cocktail shaker, pour the Smirnoff Apple Vodka, Apple Schnapps, Midori and apple juice.
    Add a few ice cubes.
    Shake well.
    Strain and pour into a martini glass.
    To finish, garnish the rim of the martini glass with the slice of green apple.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Easy Peanut Butter Pie

    This peanut butter pie is really good and super super easy to make. This recipe is the one my mom always used. It is a great pie to take to a cookout or party as your dish to pass because you can make it the night ahead of time. Clean up is a breeze as well since you just use a large mixing bowl, hand mixer, and a rubber scraper. Enjoy!

    Easy Peanut Butter Pie

    1 c. powdered sugar
    8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese (softened)
    1c. peanut butter
    8 oz. Cool Whip
    Graham cracker crust
    Mix softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and peanut butter together. Beat until smooth. Add Cool Whip and gently fold in. Pour into ready made graham cracker crust. Chill. Ready to serve in one hour. Add topping such as chocolate or graham cracker crumbs. This can also be done in a ready made Oreo pie crust.

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip

    This recipe came from kraft recipes. I LOVE their recipes. I have made this cheesy spinach and artichoke dip many times and it always turns out wonderful! It is so easy to pop into the oven right before guests come. It makes a wonderful dip that can get pared with veggies, crackers, tortilla chips, and/or french bread. 

    Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip


    1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, finely chopped
    1 pkg.  (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
    3/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
    3/4 cup  KRAFT Light Mayo Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
    1/2 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
    1/2 tsp.  garlic powder

    Make It

    HEAT oven to 350°F.
    MIX ingredients; spoon into 9-inch quiche dish or pie plate.
    BAKE 20 min. or until heated through.
    SERVE with TRISCUIT Reduced Fat Crackers and assorted cut-up fresh vegetables. 


    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Candied Apple Pie Cheesecake

    I got this recipe from kraft recipes. Their recipes are amazing. It is a great recipe and really easy to make. I actually made this for Thanksgiving when we had Rob's family at our house. Everyone said they really enjoyed it. I plan on making this again sometime soon! Enjoy

    Candied Apple Pie Cheesecake


    1 cup crushed NABISCO Ginger Snaps
    3 Tbsp.  butter, melted
    1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
    2 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
    2 tsp. vanilla
    1/2 cup  BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
    2 eggs
    1 cup  apple pie filling, divided
    1/2 cup PLANTERS Walnut Pieces, divided
    1/2 cup  toffee bits, divided

    Make It

    HEAT oven to 325°F.
    MIX crumbs, butter and 2 Tbsp. sugar; press onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate.
    BEAT cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each. Stir in 1/2 each pie filling, nuts and toffee. Pour into crust.
    BAKE 35 min. or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 4 hours. Top with remaining pie filling, nuts and toffee before serving.