Monday, July 4, 2022

Pepperoni & Cheese Pasta Salad

If you're looking for a no-mayonnaise side dish, this Pepperoni and Cheese Pasta Salad is very good, comes together quickly, and you can make any additions or subtractions desired. The recipe is basically just a guideline, and a variation of a deli pasta salad. I just happened to have some pepperoni in the fridge, so this became lunch, it's good stuff:@) My pepperoni came pre-sliced, if I went shopping specifically to make this salad, I'd buy a stick and cut it into rounds, then fourths, like I cut the cucumber. I didn't use scallions, just some regular onion and chives for color. And obviously, any pasta shape you have on hand would work, but I will say the spirals are easy to get on the fork... Don't hesitate to whip some up folks, you really can't go wrong!

Pepperoni & Cheese Macaroni Salad-from Taste of Home
2 C dry spiral tri-color pasta, cooked, run under cold water, and drained well
1 C cubed cheddar cheese
1 C cubed cucumber
1 small tomato, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
28 pepperoni slices
1/2 C zesty Italian salad dressing-or just eye it
~Mix everything in bowl, cover and store in fridge until serving. Mix, drizzle with more dressing if needed.

Eat well and have a happy day:@)

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Skillet Summer Squash with Bacon & Raised Bed Garden Update

I'm pleased to report that my zucchini and crookneck squash have been very happy in the new raised bed garden this year. I've been picking enough to share, and that makes ~me~ very happy too! What to do with all that goodness that Mother Nature is gifting? Well, I'm always looking for more ideas to add to my Zucchini Pinterest Board, so I decided to keep things super simple and make some Skillet Summer Squash with Bacon. I'm making it on the stove so everyone can try it, but it would also work in a disposable foil pan on the grill. Three ingredients, squash, bacon and onion... And the kids might just find that they like squash after all, might just:@)

Let's talk about summer squash for a minute...
I ~love~ zucchini, it's meaty, extremely versatile and can be used raw or cooked.
Crookneck squash on the other hand, seems to have very little flesh and lots of seeds.
This also means it gets very soft, very quickly.
A little softer than to my liking...

The squash corner of my garden early morning 6/26/22:
Zukes on left, crookneck on right.
The crookneck, while beautiful
is shading the pepper plants and growing into the cucumbers.

I decided either the plant had to go, 
or I'd experiment with extremely cutting the leaves back.
So it got a heavy trimming,
only the main stem and vertical leaves remain.
We'll see how that affects it, so far, so good.
And yes, next year the squash does get it's own garden bed.

Overall, the garden is still doing very well at this time:@)
I've picked 24 squash so far, and enough string beans for dinner.
6 cucumbers, and they are just getting started.

Skillet Summer Squash with Bacon
All estimates:
1-2 slices bacon for each 6"-ish squash, any combination zucchini and yellow squash
Onion, sliced, as much as you'd like, but I suggest... lots:@)
Squash, washed, dried, ends removed, sliced a ~hearty~ 1/4", half the circles if large
  1. Cook bacon to your desired doneness (crispy for us), remove to paper towels.
  2. Add onion to bacon fat, cook for a few minutes, until it starts to become translucent.
  3. Add squash to pan, stir to cover in fat. Cook for a few minutes, until it becomes heated through, and to your desired level of doneness. We like to have a little bite, some folks like for it to get completely soft-you know your crowd.
  4. Crumble bacon, add back to pan.
  5. Sprinkle with S&P to taste. 
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

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Friday, July 1, 2022

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Red, White & Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Shooters or Pops

These Red, White and Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Shooters or Pops are a healthier summer treat and a breeze to make. We like that here at Pig In Mud:@) Start with a red berry yogurt, I had strawberry on-hand. Stir in some blueberries, spoon into molds, freeze-done. Holiday treats don't need to be fancy to be fun folks, and both kids and adults will enjoy these cool, simple, ice cream pops this 4th of July weekend! 

I got about 3 pops per single serving size yogurt using my vintage Tupperware molds.
The most important thing to remember is,
you need to warm the outside up with your hands for the ice cream to slip out of the cup or mold.

The red solo cup shot glasses can be found at Walmart and Dollar Tree.
I had the blue spoons in my stash,
but you can still get pretty silver ones at Dollar Tree in the wedding isle, 
they'd work great too:@)

Red, White and Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Pops
  1. Gently stir strawberry fruit on the bottom yogurt to mix, go easy to not break-up the berries.
  2. Add a handful of blueberries, either fresh or frozen. Gently stir into yogurt.
  3. Optional: Extra small diced fresh strawberries if you have them. I just used the berries in the yogurt.
  4. Spoon into shot glasses or ice pop molds.
  5. Freeze for 4-6 hours, or overnight is even better.
  6. Heat outside with hands, unmold and enjoy!
Snack well and have a happy day:@)

Monday, June 27, 2022

Skillet Tacos -With Six Serving Options

I've been going through a bit of a taco seasoning phase, trying to use it in different and new (to me) ways... One of the things I made was this Skillet Taco Meal, think of it as deconstructed tacos. What I like best is the serving options: It can be served in the skillet by stirring in cut or torn tortillas, in bowls as pictured, or with a Fritos crunchy topping, spooned into hard taco shells, wrapped in flour tortillas, or as a dip with chips. It also freezes beautifully, making it perfect for work lunches or a quick appetizer for unexpected guests. Use whatever beans you would like or have on hand. I chose the recipe I started with simply because I happened to have a can of tomato soup in the closet, it worked out well. Don't hesitate to try this folks, I think it will appeal to most:@)

~Zucchini Season~
Have a zucchini to use up?
Small dice and add it right in.
My only suggestion, 
you may want to use a low sodium taco seasoning if that's better for your diet.

One Skillet Taco Meal-adapted from Kroll's Korner
1 lb ground turkey-I used ground beef
2 Tblsp olive oil-I omitted
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 1/2 C salsa
15 oz can beans-black, kidney, pinto, etc, drained and rinsed
10 oz can tomato soup
5-10 tortillas, either torn for stirring into meat, or whole for wrapping the meat
Alternate: hard taco shells, tortilla chips for dipping, or Frito type corn chips as a crunchy topping
Taco toppers: cheese, lettuce, black olives, pickled jalapenos, sour cream, etc, for serving
  1. Brown meat in olive oil if using, drain any excess fat.
  2. Add onion cook for a few minutes, add garlic, cook for a couple more minutes.
  3. Add taco seasoning, salsa, beans and soup, mix well. Heat through for 10 minutes.
  4. At this point, depending upon how you'd like to serve this, you can stir in the tortillas. But I suggest folks do that at the table. That way, leftovers stay nice. Maybe some want to save a few calories and omit the tortillas, serve in bowl topped with lettuce, etc.
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

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Saturday, June 25, 2022

ReView: Red, White and Blue Pasta Salad & 4th of July Barbie Crafts

It's hard to believe, but 4th of July Weekend is almost here. This year is flying by! How about adding a little pizzazz to your macaroni salad for the BBQ... This Red, White and Blue Pasta Salad is super easy, but a small touch that will tickle the kids and get folks talking:@) And if you're looking for more ideas, especially for different coleslaws, you can find my Side Salads Pinterest Board here. It has 105 posts as of this time.

And over in Barbie's World...
Well, honestly,
things have been a little quiet this spring and early summer.
~But~ it's only a little break,
we'll be back at it soon:@)
Here are a couple quick no-sew holiday crafts from the archives:

Happy holiday planning, and have a great weekend:@)

Friday, June 24, 2022

Inspirational Friday


Have a great weekend:@)

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Cold Barbequed Bean Salad -From dry or canned pinto beans

I was curious to try this Cold Barbequed Bean Salad guessing it would be perfect for picnics and grill-outs... And it is:@) I know it sounds odd, a cold side salad that has a BBQ sauce type flavor profile? But I promise it will appeal to most in the crowd! The recipe makes a ton, it's easily cut in half, and even half will go a ~long~ way. My only suggestion is, don't skimp on the green and red bell peppers, they really add a nice bite. Don't hesitate to give this a try folks, especially if you're looking for something different to bring to the 4th of July BBQ!
 I did start with dry pintos, 
no soak, and used my Instant Pot for 28 minutes, natural release.
Use extra 1 minute increments if needed.
Don't see why we can't sub canned beans, 15 oz = approximately 1 1/2 C of rinsed beans. 

Barbequed Bean Salad-from Taste of Home
16 oz dried pinto beans, sorted, rinsed, and cooked
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
15 oz can corn, drained-I used frozen corn cooked in microwave for a minute
1/4 C ketchup
1/4 C cider vinegar
1/4 C olive oil
3 Tblsp brown sugar
1 Tblsp Worcestershire
1 Tblsp chili powder
5 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Cook beans your favorite way, drain. Or rinse canned beans, drain well.
  2. Add all veggies to large bowl.
  3. Bring all dressing ingredients to boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let dressing cool for a bit.
  5. Pour over veggies, mix well.
  6. Store in fridge until serving time.
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

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Monday, June 20, 2022

Grilled Zucchini Chunks with Balsamic Vinegar & Fresh Basil

Grilled Zucchini Chunks with Balsamic Vinegar and Fresh Basil, this was my favorite bite this weekend folks. Yep, zucchini... Super simple and very tasty:@) I had a couple 8"+ squash from the garden and made my slices thick, at least 1/2" and probably thicker, and then sliced them into four chucks. Thicker slices helps them maintain some bite, that's important. The biggest complaint most people have about summer squash is, it's soggy. Add a little grilled char, some sweet/tangy vinegar, a pungent herb, and you have a very nice side dish!

My son said:
I'm all for anything that turns a vegetable I don't care for,
into something enjoyable...
And nope, not one chunk left:@)

I know times are tight right now,
I'm feeling it too.
But, if you're looking for a special foodie treat...
Not being morbid, just trying to share a ~very~ nice treat:@)

Truly special:@)

Grilled Zucchini Chunks with Balsamic Vinegar & Fresh Basil
Zucchini, washed, dried, very thickly sliced, and each circle cut into fourths
Onion, chunked. Rough estimate, at least one hearty chunk for each bite of squash. Or easier, once you think you have enough, add more:@)
Italian Salad Dressing, enough to thoroughly coat the vegetables
Hearty pinch of salt
Good balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil, very thinly sliced
  1. Heat grill pan to high.
  2. As pan heats up, mix zucchini and onion with Italian dressing.
  3. Once grill is ready, add sprinkle of salt to veggies, stir well. Add squash to pan in single layer, reduce heat to medium.
  4. Allow to sit for a few minutes, stir, get some color on the other side of squash too. Cook for maybe 8 minutes total. Or until squash is your desired level of doneness.
  5. Pour onto serving platter, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with basil.
  6. Add salt if desired.
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

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