Italian Wedding Soup

This Italian Wedding Soup is cozy and hearty, packed with delicious flavor.  It’s made with a luscious broth, veggies, meatballs and mini pasta like acini de pepe for a cozy combination of flavors. I used Jones Dairy Farm original pork sausage for the meatballs, and they worked out perfectly for this soup. 

Jones Dairy Farm is a 7th generation family owned and operated company for more than 130 years. They have been using real, natural ingredients, original recipes and time-honored traditions to create distinctive and timeless products including their All Natural Sausage, Naturally Smoked Hams, and Dry-Aged Bacon products, all free of binders, fillers and MSG and have stayed true to who they’ve been since the company started in 1889.  My family has been enjoying their products for years.

Ingredients for the meatballs:

  • 1 16 ounce package of Jones Original Pork Sausage.
  • 1 egg. 
  • ½ cup dry seasoned breadcrumbs.
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese.
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced.
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano.
  • 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.

Ingredients for the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped.
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped.
  • 1 cup celery, chopped.
  • ¾ cup acini de pepe pasta (or sub orzo or pearled couscous).
  • 8 cups full sodium chicken broth.
  • 5 ounces spinach (or sub escarole).
  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnish.

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, add the pork sausage and remaining ingredients.  Gently combine with your hands until mixture is well blending and form into 1 inch meatballs.  Place the meatballs on the parchment lined sheet pan and bake in the oven for 12 minutes until the meatballs are just cooked through.  Remove from oven and set aside while preparing the soup.

On the stove top in a large pot heat olive oil on medium high heat.  Add the onions, carrots, and celery.  Sauté until the veggies begin to soften then stir in the pasta.  Add the chicken broth, stir in the meatballs and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes until the pasta is cooked.  Once the pasta is cooked mix in the spinach or escarole until wilted.  Remove from heat and add to bowls.  Top with grated parmesan cheese and enjoy.  Makes 8-10 servings.  Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and reheated for up to a week.

Santa Fe Macaroni & Cheese

I’m not sure if I know anyone who doesn’t love Mac N Cheese!  This creamy macaroni and cheese is made with Jones Dairy Farm Canadian Bacon, cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and is topped with fresh Pico de Gallo and avocado for a delicious twist. I must say it’s probably the most delicious Mac N Cheese I’ve ever had and can easily be made on the stovetop  in less than 30 minutes. 

Jones Dairy Farm is a 7th generation family owned and operated company that has been around for more than 130 years. They use real, natural ingredients, original recipes and time-honored traditions to create distinctive and timeless products. The naturally smoked Canadian Bacon slices are certified gluten-free, packed with 10 grams of protein per serving, and smoked with real hickory chips for a rich and satisfying flavor, it truly complimented this creamy mac n cheese perfectly. Visit the Jones store locator to find their products near you.

Santa Fe Macaroni & Cheese


3/4 pound elbow macaroni.

3 T. butter

3 T. all -purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth or stock

1 ½ cups milk 

Pinch of ground nutmeg

1 T. dry mustard

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

1 package Jones Dairy Farm Canadian Bacon.

Salt & Pepper to taste.


On the stovetop bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the elbow macaroni and cook until slightly al dente.  Drain and set aside.

Cut each slice of the Canadian bacon into 4 pieces.  Heat a skillet to medium high heat.  Add the Canadian bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes until it just starts to brown and juices are released.  Remove to a plate and set aside.

In another large pot heat butter on medium heat, whisk in flour to form a roux and cook for one to two minutes until thickened.  Whisk in the stock and then milk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens.  Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and dry mustard.  Mix in the cheddar and parmesan cheeses and whisk until well blended and creamy. Add the Canadian bacon and blend well.

Mix in cooked elbow macaroni and blend well until evenly combined.  Add desired amount to a bowl and top with the fresh Pico de Gallo, avocado and pickled jalapeno.

Makes 6-8 servings.   

Fresh Pico de Gallo

1 plum tomato diced.

2 T. red onion chopped.

2 T. green bell pepper chopped.

Juice of a lime.

Fresh chopped cilantro. 

Salt & Pepper to taste.

Add all ingredients to a small bowl, mix well and adjust taste as necessary by adding more lime juice, salt, cilantro etc.

Tuna Nachos

These Tuna Nachos are a tasty snack for any fun gathering. I used @wildplanetfoods sustainable Wild Albacore Tuna to make them. Wild Planet’s canned Wild Albacore Tuna is 100% pole and line caught, made with only tuna and is not packed in water or oil so you get the best quality tasting tuna. They work hard everyday to ensure their practices and products are helping to keep our oceans wild and our planet protected for future generations.

To learn more about Wild Planet Foods and their sustainable practices click here.

Tuna Nachos


  • 8 – 10 ounces of tortilla chips.
  • 1 5 ounce can of Wild Albacore Tuna. (I used Wild Planet Foods)
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed.
  • 1 plum tomato diced.
  • 1/2 an avocado diced.
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 -1/2 cups sharp shredded cheddar cheese.
  • 1 sliced jalapeño
  • Lime wedges, sour cream, and chopped cilantro for garnish.

Arrange tortilla chips onto a 9 x 13 inch sheet pan and evenly layer with the black beans. Break up the tuna with a fork and top over the black bean mixture, then top with the sharp shredded cheddar cheese. Place into the oven and heat until the cheese melts. (approx.. 8 minutes). Top with diced tomatoes, avocado, red onion and jalapeños. Add sour cream if desired and garnish with lime and fresh chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Serves 4-6

Shrimp Marinara

Dip some crusty bread into this saucy Shrimp Marinara or serve it over pasta. Add some fresh oregano and crumbled feta cheese on top for a Mediterranean twist.  It’s easy to make on the grill or stovetop and always a crowd pleaser.  If tomato sauce gives you heartburn issues and you prefer a scampi style shrimp follow all the same steps but cut out half the butter, replace with olive oil and leave out the tomato sauce. Here’s how to make it:


– 1/2 pound jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined with tails left on.

– Two or three large cloves of garlic minced or finely chopped.

– 3 or 4 tablespoons salted butter.

– 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. 

– 1/2 cup dry white wine. 

– 2 cups plain store bought tomato sauce.

– Cracked black pepper.

– Fresh basil roughly chopped.


Heat pan on the grill (or stovetop, medium high heat) then add the butter to the heated pan until it melts and becomes bubbly. Add the garlic and shrimp and cook in the butter until the shrimp turns pink. Add the white wine and heat through until the wine is reduced. Mix in the tomato sauce and season with cracked black pepper. Let the shrimp simmer in the sauce for 3-4 minutes. Top with fresh basil, remove from heat and serve. 

Makes 2-3 Servings.

Summer Farro & Arugula Salad with Smoked Gouda

If you are looking for something different then the average grain or pasta salad this Summer Farro and Arugula Salad is the way to go! The smoky Gouda, crisp apples and juicy grapes give this summery no cook side salad sweet and savory goodness in every bite and the walnuts add a little nutty crunch. All tossed in a sweet and tangy dressing its the perfect accompaniment to a backyard BBQ. Personally I like to eat it as a small meal, along with grilled chicken or fish and paired with a chilled glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. If you are not a fan of farro and looking for a gluten free option you can sub with brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat groats or quinoa.

Makes 5-6 servings.

For the salad:


2 cups farro

3 cups water 

1 cup chopped red apple with skin

1 cup plump red seedless grapes cut in half

1 cup walnuts roughly chopped 

1 cup smoked Gouda cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

2 cups arugula 

1/2 cup chopped scallions

Bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil. Cook the farro (or choice of grain as directed on package). Once the farro is cooked set aside to cool. In a large bowl add the farro, red apple, red grapes, walnuts and smoked Gouda. Combine well. Toss in the scallions and arugula then season with salt and pepper.

For the dressing:


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white 

balsamic vinegar (sub apple cider vinegar)

Juice of one lime.

2 tablespoons raw honey 

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

In a small mason jar add the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, honey, garlic powder, salt and black pepper to a small.  Cover tightly and shake well until fully blended. Pour the dressing over the farro salad and combine well.

Arugula, Prosciutto di Parma & Grana Padano Salad with Hard Boiled Eggs

This post is sponsored by The Icon’s Of European Taste.

I’m feeling kind of fancy with this delectable salad made with Prosciutto di Parma a fine all natural dry-cured Italian ham and Grana Padano a full-bodied creamy, savory and nutty Italian cheese both produced Italy.  

Prosciutto di Parma can only be made in the hills around the Parma region which unique conditions make it possible to produce the highest quality hams. It’s 100% natural, containing no additives, preservatives or hormones. 

Grana Padano is a cheese originating in the Po river valley of Northern Italy. It’s produced with milk from free range cows and is aged for a minimum of 9 months. 

Both Prosciutto di Parma and Grana Padano are great additions to a charcuterie or cheese board, pasta dishes, sandwiches, salads and so much more! 

Here is how to make this delicious salad:


3 cups baby arugula.

Juice of a lemon divided.

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

4 thin slices of Prosciutto di Parma.

Shaved Grana Padano Cheese.

3 tablespoons chopped pistachios.

6-8 green olives.

2 hard boiled eggs.

Salt and pepper to taste.


Add the baby arugula to a bowl and toss with half the lemon juice and the extra virgin olive oil. Add the chopped pistachios, hard boiled eggs and green olives then add the Prosciutto di Parma and shaved Grana Padano cheese on top. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Add more lemon juice if desired.

Pancake Donuts with Maple Glaze & Coconut Bacon

I love to come up with quick and fun baking recipes to make with my kids with simple on hand ingredients and these Maple Glazed Pancake Donuts with Coconut Bacon made with Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix were a unique and tasty way to do it!  Imagine pancakes with bacon and syrup with just the right amount of sweet and savory in every decadent bite, it’s hard to just eat one.  

You can surely use pork or turkey bacon as a topping for these, but the coconut bacon keeps them vegetarian and has an extraordinary flavor, plus who doesn’t like a little coconut on their donuts. 

This content is sponsored by Krusteaz

Pancake Donuts with Maple Glaze & Coconut Bacon


2 cups Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix.

1 egg.

1 ¼ cups cold water.

1 teaspoon pure vanilla.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil.

Optional sweetener of choice to equal 1 tablespoon.


Preheat oven to 375 F Bake. Add the Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix to a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well with a large spoon.  Grease a non-stick donut pan generously with coconut oil.  Fill each donut hole with the batter evenly almost to the top. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. When the donuts are done remove from the oven and set aside to cool before removing from the donut pan to be sure they stay intact.  Once cooled carefully remove from the pan and place on a cooling rack.  Make in batches if needed. While the pancake donuts bake, prepare the coconut bacon. 

Coconut Bacon


2 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes.

2 tablespoons soy sauce or 2 ½ tablespoons coconut aminos.

1 teaspoon liquid smoke. (I used a hickory smoke flavor).

2 tablespoons maple syrup.

½ teaspoon salt.

½ teaspoon cracked black pepper.

Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper. In a medium sized bowl add the unsweetened coconut flakes.  Then add the soy sauce or coconut aminos, liquid smoke, maple syrup, salt and cracked black pepper. Gently toss together trying not to break up the coconut flakes.  Gently spread out onto the baking sheet as much as possible to get a full crisping effect.  Place in the 375 F oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven, give the coconut bacon a light toss and place back into the oven.  Bake an additional 4-6 minutes until the coconut bacon is golden and crispy.  This happens quickly so be sure to watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. Note, once the coconut bacon is out of the oven and cooled the natural sugars from the coconut and maple syrup become caramelized and crispy.  Prepare the maple glaze.

To prepare the Maple Glaze you will need:

2 cups of powdered sugar sifted.

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

¼ cup maple syrup (more if needed).

1 teaspoon pure vanilla.

½ cup milk.

Add powdered sugar to a shallow small bowl along with the cinnamon.  Slowly mix in the milk, vanilla and maple syrup until blended and creamy. Adjust flavor if needed by adding more maple syrup.

Dip the donuts into the glaze then place on a cooling rack so the glaze can set and the drippings fall onto the sheet pan underneath.  Top the donuts with as little or as much of the coconut bacon that you like. Makes approx. 10 donuts.

Spinach & Feta Waffles

Sponsored by Krusteaz

My savory loving taste buds have been a fan of savory waffles for a long time. Don’t get me wrong I love a good waffle with maple syrup and butter or topped with fruit and berries but the possibilities of good savory waffles are endless.

These Spinach & Feta Waffles with fresh herbs were made with Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix and filled with the flavors of a Spanakopita and the goodness of a buttermilk waffle in one!

Perfect served with Tzatziki sauce for a brunch, topped with a fried egg or as a yummy snack on its own. A fun and tasty way to bring a classic waffle to next level! 


2 ½ cups of Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix.

1 egg.

1 ½ cups cold water.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil.

1 cup cooked spinach (5 oz fresh cooked with water squeezed out or 1 cup frozen cooked thawed.)

½ cups crumbled feta cheese.

¼ cup chopped scallions.

¼ cup chopped fresh dill.

¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley.

1 teaspoon salt.

½ teaspoon ground black pepper.

½ teaspoon garlic powder.


Preheat your waffle iron to medium high heat. Add the Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix to a large bowl and form a well in the middle. Add the egg, water and vegetable oil. Mix well until smooth. Fold in the spinach, crumbled feta, scallions, dill, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic powder until all combined and the batter is slightly thick.

Lightly grease your heated waffle iron with vegetable oil. With a ladle spoon the batter into the center of the waffle iron leaving about 1 inch of space on around the sides. Close the waffle iron and cook for approximately 7 minutes per waffle. Serve with tzatziki sauce, eggs and salad on the side or as a tasty snack. Makes about five 6 inch round waffles or 6-8 square.

Mini Shrimp Parmesan Appetizers

As we all know during the holidays everyday life can get quite hectic.  From cooking and baking, holiday events and festivities, holiday decorating, shopping, and wrapping presents anything I can do to make my life easier is always a huge help.  It should not have to be complex when it comes to making appetizers because my time and efforts should be saved for the main courses and desserts.

I found these Gorton’s Frozen, Breaded Butterfly Shrimp at my local Target and whipped up these mini Shrimp Parmesan bites!  They were a huge hit with the family and I surely will be making them more often! Perfect for a simple and tasty appetizer at my next holiday gathering or get together.  Appetizers should not be complicated, these were made with just a few simple ingredients and took me less than 30 minutes to make. 

The only ingredients I used were:

. Gorton’s Frozen Breaded Butterfly Shrimp.

. Tomato Sauce canned or jarred with no added sugar.

. Mozzarella Cheese deli slices which I find easier to work with instead of shredded mozzarella because it stays put.

I also used shredded Parmesan cheese & Italian seasoning for some extra flavor but totally optional.

It does not get much simpler than that!

Gorton’s Frozen Breaded Butterfly Shrimp are a great freezer staple and preserved for freshness for whenever I need them as well as customizable. They are not only good as an appetizer, but also great for a quick afterschool snack for the kids. I also like to sometimes incorporate them into a meal or just to munch on during family movie night.

Gorton’s shrimp are a good source of protein, rich in vitamins and minerals, non-GMO, and immunity boosting.

With a fresh taste and a quick cook time, Gorton’s shrimp is an easy way to incorporate more seafood into my diet.


18 Gorton’s Frozen, Breaded Butterfly Shrimp

1 cup tomato sauce (canned or jarred)

2 slices deli Mozzarella Cheese


Preheat oven to 425 F.  Place the Gorton’s Frozen, Breaded Butterfly Shrimp at least one inch apart on a sheet pan. Bake in the oven for 18 – 20 minutes until the shrimp are lightly crispy and golden. Note: you can also air-fry the shrimp if preferred set to 400 for 10-12 minutes but I find it’s much easier to use the oven for this recipe. While the shrimp are cooking cut each slice of mozzarella into 4 squares then cut each square in half into small triangles. Once the shrimp are cooked remove from the oven and set the oven to broil. Top each shrimp with a teaspoon of tomato sauce. Sprinkle on some Italian seasoning and shredded parmesan if desired then top each prepared shrimp with a mozzarella triangle. Place the shrimp back into the oven and broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and starts to brown.  Immediately remove from oven and serve immediately. Each 18 x 13 baking sheet makes approximately 16 Mini Shrimp Parmesans.   

Garlic Butter Mushrooms


2 cups cremini mushrooms (baby bella) sliced.

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil.

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.

1 tablespoon salted butter.

Optional additions: dried oregano, fresh thyme, rosemary, chili flakes.


Heat olive oil in a small pan on the stove top until hot but not smoking. Add the sliced mushrooms and mix to absorb the olive oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes then mix in the garlic powder and black pepper and/or optional additions as noted above. Continue to cook for 2 or 3 more minutes until the mushrooms start to brown. Add the butter, let it melt and become bubbly tossing the mushrooms in the butter until golden. Serve on toast or along side a meal.

Spaghetti Squash Gratin


1 large spaghetti squash.

2 tablespoons Truly Grass Fed Naturally Creamy Salted Butter.

3/4 cup yellow onion finely chopped.

1 tablespoon minced garlic.

1 large egg.

1 1/2 cups Truly Grass Fed Natural Aged Cheddar Cheese shredded and divided.

1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream.

1 teaspoon dried thyme.

1 teaspoon salt.

1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 F. Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half with a sharp knife. Scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh from the center of the squash. Brush the flesh of the squash with olive oil. Place each half of the squash open side down onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes until the squash is tender. While the squash cooks heat and melt the butter on medium heat in a skillet on the stovetop. Add the onion and the garlic and saute until they become tender then transfer to a large bowl. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside to cool.

Once the squash is cooled use a fork to remove the flesh from the skin and place into the bowl with the onion and garlic mixture. Mix in 3/4 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese and the remaining ingredients reserving the additional 3/4 cup of shredded cheese for topping. Combine well and pour the squash mixture evenly into a 8 1/2 X 5 1/2 baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until hot, bubbly and golden. Serves 6-8  

Greek Chicken Avgolemono Soup

This blog post is sponsored by Eggland’s Best. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

There is nothing quite more comforting than a cozy, warm bowl of chicken soup on a chilly day or if you are feeling under the weather. This Greek Chicken Avgolemono Soup is what my grandmother always made me when I was growing up- it was the first way I ever knew how to make chicken soup. What makes this soup different from any ordinary chicken soup is the heartiness of the Eggland’s Best egg and the tanginess of the lemon, which also gives this soup a freshness no matter what time of year.

This recipe can be made two ways. My favorite way is to make it from scratch- the way my grandmother showed me how to do it, but that is not always the best option as times have changed!  Working full time with a family of five, sometimes quick and easy is the way to go.

Like any recipe, this Greek Chicken Avgolemono Soup can be customized to your liking. You can add more Eggland’s Best eggs for more heartiness or extra lemon for more tanginess. Compared to ordinary eggs, Eggland’s Best eggs are richer in a variety of micronutrients that can help support a healthy immune system. If you are looking for a low-carb option, I’ve also made this soup with riced cauliflower. Quinoa works well too for a higher protein content or for something a little different.

But what I love most about this soup is the great health benefits it provides because of the superior ingredients. The chicken is a good source of lean protein, the lemon adds a boost of vitamin C, the rich broth helps to promote hydration and the EB eggs are packed with vitamins and nutrients as well as an excellent source of omega 3’s.

I chose to use Eggland’s Best Cage Free Eggs for this recipe. Eggland’s Best (EB) is the #1 branded egg in the U.S. and is an excellent source of vitamins D, B12, E, B5 and riboflavin. Compared to ordinary eggs, EB eggs have six times more vitamin D, and vitamin D can help support a healthy immune system. EB eggs also contain more than double the Omega-3s and 10 times more vitamin E than ordinary eggs, which also benefit a healthy immune system. They also have 25% less saturated fat, and independent testing has also confirmed that Eggland’s Best eggs stay fresher longer than ordinary eggs.

Read more about Eggland’s Best superior nutrition here:

Thanks to the product’s superior taste, nutrition, freshness, and variety, Eggland’s Best eggs have won over 100 awards & honors. Eggland’s Best was voted “America’s Most Trusted Egg Brand” by American shoppers and has received numerous awards and honors from trusted publications, so I know I am getting the best quality and nutrition in my recipe for me and my family. 


10 cups of water.

2 Split chicken breast on bone w/ skin.

2 Tablespoons olive oil.

½ cup carrot finely chopped.

½ cup celery finely chopped.

 ½ cup white rice.

2 large Eggland’s Best Cage Free Eggs beaten.

Juice of two lemons.

Salt & Pepper to taste.


Quicker method to cut time to 30 minutes: Instead of making the broth from scratch, sub 10 cups of low sodium chicken broth and two cups of store-bought rotisserie chicken, with breast shredded, then skip to step 2.

Low carb tip: Sub white rice for riced cauliflower.

1) On the stovetop in a large pot, add the 10 cups of water along with the split chicken breast and bring to a boil. Slightly reduce heat, tightly cover and boil the chicken for 25-30 minutes until cooked through. Move the cooked chicken to a plate and let cool, reserving the broth to the side.

2) In a separate large pot on the stovetop, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the chopped carrot and celery and cook until the veggies begin to tender. Add the reserved chicken broth back into the pot with the carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Turn up the heat and bring the broth to a boil then add the rice. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer until the rice is tender.

3) While waiting for the rice to cook, separate the chicken from the breasts that have cooled and be sure to carefully remove all the skin and bones, then set aside. One large breast should yield approx. 2 cups and be enough chicken for the soup, so you can save the other cooked chicken breast for another use. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the chicken and continue to simmer to heat through while making the lemon-egg mixture.

4) In a medium bowl, whisk together the two eggs and the lemon juice. Very slowly whisk in two or three ladles of the hot broth into the lemon-egg mixture to temper the eggs so they do not turn into scrambled eggs. Once the lemon egg mixture is fully blended, stir the hot soup in and then immediately remove from the heat. Pour soup into individual bowls and garnish with fresh chopped dill, parsley and cracked black pepper. Serve with your favorite crusty bread!

Servings:  6

Cook time 30 – 60 minutes