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This Caesar Basil Pasta Salad is a unique but simple recipe. Made with rotini pasta, a caesar basil pesto dressing, cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella!

CAESAR BASIL PASTA SALAD
Don’t you just love pasta salads? I don’t know what it is about them, but if I see one at a potluck, like this Caesar Basil Pasta Salad, I am on it faster than a fly on poop. Okay, uh, that wasn’t the best analogy. First rule of food blogging: Do not mention poop on a food blog.
VIDEO INCLUDED BELOW:

How to make: Caesar Basil Pasta Salad - YouTube

WHAT OTHER INGREDIENTS CAN I ADD TO PASTA SALAD?
Some other ingredient suggestions would be diced cucumbers or sliced black olives! Marinated mozzarella is also a delicious option. Pasta just seems to call to that basic part of us that wants to be nourished. This recipe does not disappoint. It is creamy without being heavy and the touch of basil brightens all the flavors and makes it so darn good! It is certainly my go-to pasta salad for all occasions. You can even make a HOMEMADE CAESAR DRESSING for this pasta salad!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
rotini pasta
grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion, diced (about 1/4 cup)
fresh mozzarella
shredded Parmesan cheese
basil pesto
creamy caesar dressing
house seasoning
HOW TO MAKE CAESAR BASIL PASTA SALAD
Cook and drain pasta according to package directions. Pour pasta into a medium-large bowl. Mix together Caesar dressing with Basil Pesto. Pour over pasta and the rest of the ingredients.
Stir well.
Cover and place into refrigerator until ready to eat.

 Enjoy!

Originally published: June 2011
Updated & republished: May 2019

Recipe Adapted from: MEL’S KITCHEN CAFE

CAESAR BASIL PASTA SALAD

This Caesar Basil Pasta Salad is a unique but simple recipe. Made with rotini pasta, a caesar basil pesto dressing, cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella!

  • 1 (16 oz) box Rotini Pasta (cooked)
  • 1 cup tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella (cubed)
  • ¼ cup basil pesto (fresh or jarred)
  • 1 cup creamy caesar dressing
  • 2 teaspoons house seasoning (equal parts salt, pepper and garlic powder)
  1. Cook and drain pasta according to package directions.
  2. Pour pasta into a medium-large bowl.
  3. Mix together Caesar dressing with Basil Pesto.
  4. Pour over warm pasta and coat throughly.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss.
  6. Cover and place into refrigerator until ready to eat.

Cover and place into refrigerator until ready to eat.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS? GIVE THESE A TRY!
CHICKEN BACON RANCH PASTA SALAD
PEPPERONI PIZZA PASTA SALAD
SUMMER SPAGHETTI SALAD
SAUSAGE PESTO PASTA

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The post CAESAR BASIL PASTA SALAD (+Video) appeared first on The Country Cook.

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Chocolate Brownie Cake is part chocolate cake and part brownie! Made with a boxed cake mix and chocolate pudding and topped with chocolate chips!

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE CAKE
I’m so thrilled to be doing another Gooseberry Patch cookbook review today. Many of you know that I am a huge fan of Gooseberry Patch cookbooks. They are full of recipes from everyday home cooks like us. You can flip through any one of their cookbooks and you are sure to find many recipes that your family will love.

So I was super giddy when I received the Rush-Hour Recipe Cookbook from Gooseberry Patch. This book is all about meals and desserts that can be made fairly quickly and with just a few ingredients. Perfect for those crazy-busy weeknights. There are even slow cooker meals in here.

So I flipped through and as I usually do, I immediately looked for something sweet. I always go to the dessert section first. Anyone else do that? And I came across this little gem of a recipe called Better than Brownies. It caught my eye because it uses a boxed cake mix, which we all know I love to use. 
This recipe is located in the section entitled “Speedy Potluck & Party Food.” I ended up calling this Brownie Cake because it’s really the best of both worlds!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
Cook and Serve chocolate pudding mix
milk
cake mix
semi-sweet chocolate chips
chopped nuts
VIDEO INCLUDED BELOW:

How to make: Easy Chocolate Brownie Cake - YouTube

Cook’s Notes: Make sure you get the Cook & Serve type pudding, not the instant kind.

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE BROWNIE CAKE:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. In a medium sauce pan, prepare dry pudding mix according to package directions.Cook until slightly thickened. (Not too thick, but enough to cover and stick to a spoon.)

Remove from heat. Stir in dry cake mix.

Stir until combined.

Spread batter into a greased (I use nonstick cooking spray) 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts (if using.)

Bake at 350F degrees for about 30 minutes (until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.)

Cool and cut into squares.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Cook’s Review: They are moist and chocolate-y and will satisfy any sweet tooth. The nuts are completely optional in this and you could also use different types of chocolate chips for variety.

Enjoy!

Updated to add: This post originally had a cookbook giveaway. That giveaway has now ended. 

Originally published: December 2011
Updated & republished: May 2019

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE CAKE

Brownie Cake is part chocolate cake and part brownie! Made with a boxed cake mix and chocolate pudding and topped with chocolate chips!

  • 1 (3.4 oz) box cook & serve chocolate pudding mix, (not instant)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 package chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, prepare dry pudding mix according to package directions.
  3. Cook until slightly thickened. (Not too thick, but enough to cover and stick to a spoon).
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in dry cake mix.
  6. Stir until combined.
  7. Spread batter into a greased (I use nonstick cooking spray) 13 x 9 baking pan.
  8. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts (if using).
  9. Bake at 350F degrees for about 30 minutes (until an inserted toothpick comes out clean).
  10. Cool and cut into squares.

CRAVING MORE CHOCOLATE RECIPES? YOU GOTTA TRY THESE!
ALMOND JOY CAKE
CARAMEL BROWNIE CAKE
CRACKER BARREL COCA COLA CAKE

The post EASY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE CAKE (+Video) appeared first on The Country Cook.

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Grilled Steak and Potato Packets (also called Hobo Packets) are stuffed full of meat and potatoes with tons of flavor and easy cleanup!

STEAK AND POTATO PACKETS
Folks have been making these for years as camping meals. Hence the name, Hobo Packets. You can pop your meat and veggie in a foil packet, cook it over a campfire and you got a delicious and easy meal. Add in onions and green peppers for a fun twist of flavor!
VIDEO INCLUDED BELOW:
How to make: Grilled Steak and Potato Packets (Hobo Packets) - YouTube
CAN YOU USE OTHER MEATS FOR HOBO PACKETS?

Absolutely! Chicken would work great as well as lean ground beef or even lean pork. I say lean meat because you don’t want the meat to produce too much grease while cooking.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
steaks (ribeye or flat iron steaks work well)
olive oil
onion
russet potatoes
garlic
salted butter
salt & pepper
your favorite steak seasoning
HOW TO MAKE STEAK AND POTATO PACKETS:
Tear off 4 large square sheets of aluminum foil. Drizzle all 4 foil aluminum square pieces with olive oil. Put 1 tbsp. of butter on each foil sheet. Dice potatoes into cubes (about 1-inch). Leaving the skin on. Divide up the cubed potatoes and place on top of the butter on each aluminum foil square.
Evenly sprinkle minced garlic and diced onion over each of the four servings. Then sprinkle with kosher salt & pepper. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil.
Put steak pieces on top of potatoes. Season with a bit more salt & pepper and your favorite steak seasoning. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and put another pat of butter on top. Also, another good tip to keep your meat from getting dried out while cooking is to add a large ice cube on top of the meat!
Fold up each of the sides to make a nice little bed for the potatoes, making a square, so none of the butter and oil can escape while cooking. Preheat grill to medium-high heat (or oven to 350F degrees.) Grill packets for about 35-45 minutes. Check periodically for doneness. Be careful when opening the packets because the steam is gonna come outta there fast and furious.

Originally published: July 2011
Updated & Republished: May 2019

GRILLED STEAK AND POTATO PACKETS

Grilled Steak and Potato Packets (also called Hobo Packets) are stuffed full of meat and potatoes with tons of flavor and easy cleanup!

  • 2-3 pounds steaks, cubed ((ribeye or flat iron steaks))
  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion, (diced or sliced)
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, (minced)
  • 8 tbsp salted butter
  • salt and pepper, (to taste)
  • steak seasoning, (optional)
  1. Tear off 4 large square sheets of aluminum foil.
  2. Drizzle all 4 foil aluminum square pieces with olive oil.
  3. Put 1 tbsp .of butter on each foil sheet.
  4. Dice potatoes into cubes (about 1-inch). Leaving the skin on.
  5. Divide up the cubed potatoes and place on top of the butter on each aluminum foil square.
  6. Evenly sprinkle minced garlic and diced onion over each of the four servings.
  7. Then sprinkle with kosher salt & pepper.
  8. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil.
  9. Put steak pieces on top of potatoes.
  10. Season with a bit more salt & pepper or your favorite steak seasoning.
  11. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and put another pat of butter on top.
  12. Also, another good tip to keep your meat from getting dried while cooking is to add a large ice cube on top of the meat.
  13. Fold up each of the sides to make a nice little bed for the potatoes, making a square.
  14. So none of the butter and oil can escape while cooking.
  15. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  16. Grill packets for about 35-45 minutes.
  17. Check periodically for doneness.

Be careful when opening the packets because the steam is gonna come outta there fast and furious.

WANT MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS? GIVE THESE A TRY!
THE BEST STEAK MARINADE WITH STEAKHOUSE GARLIC HERB BUTTER
CAMPFIRE HOT DOGS & POTATO PACKETS
CHICKEN & POTATO FOIL PACKS
CREAMY GARLIC POTATO PACKETS

The post STEAK AND POTATO PACKETS (HOBO PACKETS) appeared first on The Country Cook.

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FROSTED BANANA BARS

Our most popular recipe from the last WEEKEND POTLUCK were these scrumptious Frosted Banana Bars from Plowing Through Life! Our other featured recipes include: Crock Pot Chicken Tetrazzini from SouthernPlate, Parmesan Garlic Butter Red Potatoes from Norine’s Nest and Melissa is sharing her Snickers Apple Salad!

HOW DO I SEE THE FULL RECIPE? READ THIS!

Just click on any of the photos below to take you to the full recipes! When you scroll down to the bottom of this post, you’ll see a bunch of little thumbnail photos of recipes that your favorite food bloggers are sharing right now.

THE RECIPE WITH THE MOST VIEWS:

Frosted Banana Bars by Plowing Through Life

RECIPES THAT CAUGHT OUR ATTENTION:

Crock Pot Chicken Tetrazzini by Southern Plate

Parmesan Garlic Butter Red Potatoes by Norine’s Nest

FEATURED HOSTESS RECIPE:

Snickers Apple Salad by Served Up With Love

YOUR HOSTESSES:

Served Up With Love~ Melissa
The Country Cook~ Brandie
South Your Mouth~ Mandy
Sweet Little Bluebird~ Mary

The post FROSTED BANANA BARS – WEEKEND POTLUCK #377 appeared first on The Country Cook.

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The Best Broccoli Salad is a fresh, crunchy salad with a delicious creamy dressing. Fresh broccoli, bacon, raisins, onion, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts.

BROCCOLI SALAD WITH CREAMY DRESSING
I used to always buy this broccoli salad at my local deli. When I was working two jobs, there wasn’t much time for preparing food. So, I would always stop by the deli to grab this salad and a sandwich. It was my favorite. So, when I had time, I was determined to learn how to make it for myself and to have something a bit different to take to all those summer cookouts! If you like my AMAZING PASTA SALAD, then you’ll love this one!
VIDEO INCLUDED BELOW:

How to make: The Best Broccoli Salad with Creamy Dressing - YouTube

CAN I ADD CHEESE TO BROCCOLI SALAD?
You can add whatever you like to this versatile broccoli salad. Personally, I love it with bacon, raisins and sunflower seeds but you can add what you love. Craisins, mandarin oranges and cheese are all great additions to this recipe. Remove or add what you like!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
fresh broccoli
bacon
raisins
chopped walnuts
red onion
sunflower kernels
mayonnaise
sugar
vinegar
fresh black pepper
HOW TO MAKE BROCCOLI SALAD WITH CREAMY DRESSING:
Chop broccoli. I don’t usually use the stalks (but you can) in this salad, just the florets (the tops). I like to make sure I chop them up into manageable, bite-size pieces.
To save on time, you can purchase bags of fresh chopped broccoli florets. Most grocery stores carry the larger bags near where the bagged lettuces are located. In a large bowl, add broccoli, bacon, raisins, walnuts, chopped onions and sunflower kernels.
In a medium bowl, make the dressing. Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and black pepper until thoroughly combined.
 Pour dressing over salad ingredients.
Give it all a really good stir to combine.
This salad can be made a day ahead of time and should be kept stored in a bowl with an airtight lid in the refrigerator. Stir again just before serving.
Cook’s Note: You could use chopped green onion for a milder onion flavor if you prefer but I love the look of the red onion in this salad. It adds color and flavor. Also, try adding mandarin oranges to this – really good!

Originally published April 2012
Updated & Republished: May 2019

BROCCOLI SALAD WITH CREAMY DRESSING

Broccoli Salad is a fresh, crunchy salad with a delicious creamy dressing. Fresh broccoli, bacon, raisins, onion, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts.

  • 5 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 lb bacon, (cooked and crumbled)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup sunflower kernels
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  1. Chop broccoli. I don’t usually use the stalks in this salad, just the florets (top parts.)

  2. In a large bowl, add chopped broccoli, bacon, raisins, walnuts, chopped onions and sunflower kernels.
  3. In a medium bowl, make the dressing.
  4. Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and black pepper until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pour dressing over salad ingredients.
  6. Give it all a really good stir to combine.
  7. This salad can be made a day ahead of time and should be kept stored in a bowl with an airtight lid in the refrigerator.
  8. Stir again just before serving.

You could use chopped green onion for a milder onion flavor if you prefer but I love the look of the red onion in this salad. It adds color and flavor.

Want more favorite salads like this one? Try these!
CHICK-FIL-A SUPERFOOD SALAD
CARROT RAISIN SALAD
ASIAN RAMEN SALAD

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The post BEST BROCCOLI SALAD (+Video) appeared first on The Country Cook.

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Make the best steak with this Best Steak Marinade and Steakhouse Butter. Make a restaurant style meal at home! Plus, learn how to grill a perfect steak!

THE BEST STEAK MARINADE AND STEAKHOUSE BUTTER
Sometimes steaks need a little extra love. Just a small boost of flavor. Sometimes it’s because it’s a cheaper cut of meat and sometimes it’s because there isn’t a whole lot of fat on them (and fat = flavor!) So, when that is the case, I break out my special marinade.
MARINADE INGREDIENTS:
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
steak seasoning
minced garlic
kosher salt
pepper
bone-in (or boneless) NY strip steaks
gallon-size ziploc bag

Note: Use your preferred steak seasoning brand. Montreal Steak seasoning or 21 Seasoning Salute (from Trader Joes) are my two favorites. If you don’t have red wine vinegar, just go with a regular white, distilled vinegar. Also, I just use the store-bought minced garlic. It works great for this and is a time saver!

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST STEAK MARINADE:
Measure all the ingredients into the ziploc bag. Seal the bag and squish all the ingredients around until combine.Place both steaks into the bag and smooth it down to get most of the air out. Squish the steaks around in the marinade to make sure they are both fully coated. Pop the sealed bag into the fridge to marinade overnight or for at least an hour.

STEAKHOUSE GARLIC HERB BUTTER
Next up: Steakhouse Butter! It is full of fresh herbs and garlic. It not only works great on grilled steaks but it’s perfect for grilled chicken too! You slice a bit of it on a warm steak and it melts and then you can scoop up the flavor with each slice. So, so yummy!
STEAKHOUSE BUTTER INGREDIENTS:
salted butter, softened to room temp.
minced garlic
fresh chives
fresh thyme
lemon juice
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
HOW TO MAKE STEAKHOUSE BUTTER:
Chop up the thyme leaves (not the stem part) and the chives. (I recently planted some herbs and have them in pots just outside my kitchen. This is one of the many things I love about spring and summer – fresh herbs!) You want them diced finely. Mix together the softened butter with the fresh herbs.
Add in minced garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Stir really well.
Add butter mixture (the professionals call this a compound butter) onto some plastic wrap.
Wrap it up into a log. Then pop it into the fridge.
HOW TO GRILL THE PERFECT STEAK:
First, I put about 100 charcoal briquets (I like Kingsford brand) into a chimney starter. You don’t need any lighter fluid and it takes about 10-15 minutes for the coals to get ready.
Put a balled up piece of newspaper into the bottom of the chimney and then light the newspaper in several spots. The chimney and coals will do the rest. I have a half propane/half charcoal grill. So I use the gas side to light up my chimney. Once the fire reaches the top of the briquets, they are ready! This is a good time to prep your steaks. Take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature.
Carefully pour the coals onto one side of the grill (this will create two zones: one for direct cooking and one for indirect cooking.)

This two zone heating is perfect for any flareups (you can just move the meat over to get it off the high heat) but it also helps create those pretty grill marks!

Time to put the steaks on! Grill each side for about 2-3 minutes each. Then place them onto the opposite side of the grill where you didn’t place any coals.
At this point, I take the temperature of the steaks. 145F degrees is a medium-cooked steak. If you like them more well-done, then allow them to cook over the indirect heat for a few more minutes until the desired temperature is reached.
Take the steaks off the grill and allow them to rest for about 5 minutes. Pop a slice of your homemade steak butter on top and allow it to melt as the steak rests. Then serve it up with my favorite POTATO PACKETS and a CAESAR SALAD.
Enjoy!
Originally published: May 2016
Updated & republished: May 2019

THE BEST STEAK MARINADE

Take your steak to another level. A simple, fresh vinaigrette marinade with garlic is all it takes to make a steakhouse-style steak at home!

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp steak seasoning
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 lbs bone-in NY strip steaks
  • 1 gallon ziploc bag
  1. Measure all the ingredients into the ziplock bag.
  2. Seal the bag and squish all the ingredients around until combine.
  3. Place both steaks into the bag and smooth it down to get most of the air out.
  4. Squish the steaks around in the marinade to make sure they are both fully coated.
  5. Pop the sealed bag into the fridge to marinade overnight or for at least an hour.

STEAKHOUSE GARLIC HERB BUTTER

A deliciously easy recipe for Steakhouse Garlic Herb Butter that is full of fresh herbs, seasoning and garlic. Takes your steaks to a whole new level!

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter (softened to room temp.)
  • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Chop up the thyme leaves (not the stem part) and the chives.
  2. You want them diced finely.
  3. Mix together the softened butter with the fresh herbs.
  4. Add in minced garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper.

  5. Stir really well.
  6. Place butter mixture onto some plastic wrap.
  7. Wrap it up into a log.
  8. Then pop it into the fridge.

The post BEST STEAK MARINADE / STEAKHOUSE BUTTER appeared first on The Country Cook.

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Orange Fluff also called Orange Delight, Weight Watchers Dessert, or “The Orange Stuff.” Made with Cool Whip, Mandarin Oranges, Jell-O and marshmallows!

WEIGHT WATCHERS ORANGE FLUFF
Orange Fluff also called Orange Delight, Weight Watchers Dessert, or “The Orange Stuff.” Cool Whip, Mandarin Oranges, Jell-O and marshmallows! I know this orange fluff recipe a 3 points value on the Weight Watchers points scale. I don’t actually adhere to a Weight Watchers diet but I still gobble this stuff up! 
LIGHT AND EASY
Lots of folks know of this recipe so I’m sure it won’t be a new recipe for many of you. But for some of you, it might be a novel idea. If you’ve never eaten this, you really have to give it a try. I don’t think of it as a diet dessert at all. It is light, refreshing and it satisfies any sweet tooth.

How to make: Weight Watchers Orange Fluff - YouTube

DO I HAVE TO USE COTTAGE CHEESE IN ORANGE FLUFF?
Don’t let the list of ingredients deter you. I know lots of folks gag at the thought of cottage cheese being in this. Most folks don’t taste the cottage cheese as a separate ingredient in this. Unless they know it’s in there, a lot of people can’t really put their finger on what is different about this. It just blends together with the other flavors to create a slightly textured dessert – if that makes sense. But if you just absolutely cannot stand the thought of putting it in there – by all means, just leave it out.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
small-curd cottage cheese
orange Jell-O
can of mandarin oranges
whipped topping (COOL WHIP)
mini marshmallows
chopped pecans
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE ORANGE FLUFF:

Combine container of cottage cheese with the orange jell-o packet. Stir until well mixed. Add in the well-drained can of mandarin oranges and the tub of Cool Whip. Stir. Now stir in the marshmallows and pecans. Store in the refrigerator and allow to get nice and cool. If you were to eat it right away, it would taste grainy from the Jell-O. But give it at least a couple of hours and the flavors will really come together and blend nicely. This is definitely a dessert you can make the day before you need it.

 Enjoy!

Originally published March 2011
Updated and republished May 2019

Weight Watchers Orange Fluff

Orange Fluff also called Orange Delight, Weight Watchers Dessert, or "The Orange Stuff." Made with Cool Whip, Mandarin Oranges, Jell-O and marshmallows!

  • 1 (16 oz) container small-curd cottage cheese
  • 1 (3 oz) box orange Jell-O
  • 1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges (drained)
  • 1 (8 oz) tub whipped topping (COOL WHIP) (thawed)
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
  1. Combine container of cottage cheese with the orange jell-o packet.
  2. Stir until well mixed.
  3. Add in the well-drained can of mandarin oranges and the tub of Cool Whip.
  4. Stir.
  5. Now stir in the marshmallows and pecans.
  6. Store in the refrigerator and allow to get nice and cool.
  7. If you were to eat it right away, it would taste grainy from the Jell-O.
  8. But give it at least a couple of hours and the flavors will really come together and blend nicely.

This is definitely a dessert you can make the day before you need it. Weight Watchers Points: 3

IF YOU LOVE THIS FLUFF RECIPE, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THESE OTHER FLUFF RECIPES.
PISTACHIO FLUFF
PINEAPPLE FLUFF
CHERRY PIE FLUFF

The post WEIGHT WATCHERS ORANGE FLUFF (+Video) appeared first on The Country Cook.

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Southern Ambrosia Salad is a must-have at any gathering. Whipped topping, pineapple, grapes, mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries and coconut flakes!

SOUTHERN AMBROSIA FRUIT SALAD

Fruit salads really signal the beginning of summer to me. I start making them a lot! Some of my favorites are this Ambrosia Fruit Salad, ORANGE CREAMSICLE FRUIT SALAD, ORANGE FLUFF, HONEY LIME FRUIT SALAD or even an ORANGE CHICKEN PASTA SALAD. It’s the best time of year for all of these salads that are perfect to take to a cookout. Folks always love when they see a good fruit salad sitting on the table!

DO YOU TASTE THE SOUR CREAM IN THIS?

The answer is no. You really don’t. It does cut the overall sweetness so you don’t break a tooth – ha. But you don’t taste it as a separate ingredient. And yes, you can leave the coconut flakes out if you absolutely can’t stand coconut.

VIDEO INCLUDED BELOW:

How to make: Southern Ambrosia Salad - YouTube

CAN I USE SUGAR FREE OPTIONS FOR THIS FRUIT SALAD?

There are natural sugars in the fruits themselves. However, if you want to cut the sugar then try to find the canned fruit that is packed in sugar-free juice. You can also buy sugar free whipped topping.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
whipped topping (Cool Whip)
sour cream
pineapple tidbits
1mandarin orange segments
red or green seedless grapes
sweetened coconut flakes
mini marshmallows
maraschino cherry halves
chopped pecans
HOW TO MAKE AMBROSIA SALAD:
I like to cut the grapes and maraschino cherries in half. It makes everything bite-sized and easier to eat. But it’s totally optional if you are just trying to throw this together quickly. In a medium bowl, combine whipped topping and sour cream.
Add in coconut flakes and marshmallows and nuts (if using.)
Then gently fold in pineapple, mandarin oranges, grapes and maraschino cherries.
Once combined, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
Then dig in!
Enjoy!

Originally published: January 2012
Updated & republished: May 2019

SOUTHERN AMBROSIA FRUIT SALAD

Southern Ambrosia Fruit Salad is a must-have at any gathering. Whipped topping, pineapple, grapes, mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries and coconut flakes!

  • 1 (8 oz) tub of whipped topping (thawed)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 (20 oz) can pineapple tidbits, (drained well)
  • 1 (15 oz) can mandarin orange segments, (drained well)
  • 1 cup red or green seedless grapes, (sliced in half)
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 10 oz jar of maraschino cherry halves, (drained very well)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. In a medium bowl, combine whipped topping and sour cream.
  2. Add in coconut flakes and marshmallows.
  3. Then gently fold in pineapple, mandarin oranges, grapes and maraschino cherries and nuts (if using).
  4. Once combined, put some plastic wrap on it or put it in a bowl with a lid and refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

You can easily switch out most of these ingredients for sugar-free options.

WANT MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS? GIVE THESE A TRY!
SOUTHERN FRUIT COCKTAIL CAKE
CHERRY 7-UP FLUFF
PINEAPPLE FLUFF
PISTACHIO FLUFF

The post SOUTHERN AMBROSIA FRUIT SALAD (+Video) appeared first on The Country Cook.

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This Creamy Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad is truly amazing! Rotini pasta, bacon, onion and broccoli tossed in a super yummy sweet and sour creamy dressing.

CREAMY BACON BROCCOLI PASTA SALAD
Who doesn’t love a good pasta salad? They are usually pretty easy to make and not to mention filling. And let’s face it, they are great to take to potlucks or baby showers because the ladies love this stuff. I have got a fantastic new pasta salad to share with you today. It is so good. I mean, obviously it’s good or I wouldn’t share on here. But it is crazy good. Borderline addictive good. It is AMAZING good.
VIDEO INCLUDED BELOW:

How to Make: Amazing Pasta Salad - YouTube

WHAT OTHER INGREDIENTS CAN I ADD TO PASTA SALAD?

I really enjoy creamy pasta salads. They are my favorite. Probably because of the mayonnaise. I heart mayonnaise. Oh and bacon. I definitely heart bacon. It makes everything better. This pasta salad has a slightly sweet, slightly tangy thing going on that really adds to the overall flavor. You can change up the add-ins however you like. Use a different pasta or maybe you want to use green peppers or grapes or some toasted nuts. All that can be tailored to your tastes. But the creamy sauce really makes this salad something special.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
rotini pasta
fresh broccoli
red onion
bacon
mayonnaise
red wine vinegar
sugar
salt
freshly ground black pepper
HOW TO MAKE CREAMY BACON BROCCOLI PASTA SALAD:

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Chop broccoli, onion and bacon. Note: A quick word about how this broccoli should be chopped up. It’s helpful if you aren’t real familiar with chopping up fresh broccoli. We just want the top part of the broccoli here, the florets. So you need to chop off the thick stem. Maybe put those in your veggie stock or compost bin.

And then chop up the florets so that they are in smaller bite-size pieces.

I chopped up the bacon while I was doing my other chopping and then put it in a little baggie. I add the bacon in right before serving so that it will stay kinda crispy when ready to eat
 In a bowl, mix together mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.

 Once pasta is cooked, be sure to drain it well.

Then put it in a large bowl. Pour in mayonnaise mixture, chopped broccoli and diced onion (don’t add the bacon in yet, you want to add that in right before serving so it stays crunchy.) Stir well.
 Cover bowl and put in the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours.
Before serving, add crumbled bacon to salad.
 Then give it all a good stir and then serve.

Enjoy!

CREAMY BACON BROCCOLI PASTA SALAD

This Creamy Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad is truly amazing! Rotini pasta, bacon, onion and broccoli tossed in a super yummy sweet and sour creamy dressing.

  • 1 (16 oz) package rotini pasta
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli, (chopped (stems removed))
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 pound bacon, (cooked and crumbled)
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions
  2. Chop broccoli, onion and bacon.
  3. In a bowl, mix together mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
  4. Once pasta has been cooked and drained well, put it in a large bowl.
  5. Pour in mayonnaise mixture, chopped broccoli and diced onion (don’t add the bacon in yet, you want to add that in right before serving so it stays crunchy).
  6. Stir well.
  7. Cover bowl and put in the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours.
  8. Before serving, add crumbled bacon to salad and then give it all a good stir and then serve.

Some additional add-ins that would be delicious in this are some halved red grapes (1 1/2 cups) and chopped pecans (1 cup). Before serving, add crumbled bacon to salad and then give it all a good stir and then serve.

WANT MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS? CHECK THESE OUT!
SUMMER SPAGHETTI SALAD
FRITO CORN SALAD
CARROT RAISIN SALAD
BROCCOLI SALAD WITH CREAMY DRESSING

The post CREAMY BACON BROCCOLI PASTA SALAD appeared first on The Country Cook.

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This Pasta Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing is amazing! Full of fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese! The homemade dressing makes it special!

PASTA SALAD WITH SWEET BALSAMIC DRESSING
How many of y’all cook with balsamic vinegar? I have only recently started using it. I’ve had it in meals when I’ve eaten out but it wasn’t one of those ingredients that I kept in my own pantry, until now.
NAME THIS WHISK!
Ok here’s the other, more fun thing, I need your help with. This whisk below was given to me by a friend. I was letting her know that the Chicken Whisk she gave me will be making his debut on the blog. And she asked me if I had named it yet. I told her, that so far, I just call him Chicken Whisk but he really should have a name with pizzazz. I’m sure you can imagine the hilarious name game that ensued. We went back and forth with name ideas. These were just a few: Reggie, Chuck, Cluck, McNugget, General Tso, McLovin, Mother Clucker, Sir Pecks-a-lot, Biscuit and Attila the Hen.
VIDEO INCLUDED BELOW:

How to make: Pasta Salad with Sweet Balsamic Vinegar - YouTube

CAN I USE OTHER DRESSINGS?
Absolutely! I think you’ll love this balsamic dressing but you could certainly use an Italian or Greek dressing. Even Caesar dressing would work! Now, about this recipe. Oh goodness, I love me some pasta salad. I just adore this twist on it  The sweet balsamic dressing really makes this so different than your usual pasta salad recipes! I could still get the great taste of the Feta cheese and tomatoes and cucumbers and the dressing is just a nice, light accent flavor. Special thank you to Mary at SWEET LITTLE BLUEBIRD for this recipe!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
Rotini pasta
Feta cheese
cucumber
cherry tomatoes
red onion

Sweet Balsamic Dressing:
vegetable or canola oil
sugar
balsamic vinegar
dry mustard
black pepper

I’m using an English cucumber here. They do not need to be peeled because the peel on these are very tender and mild-flavored. Just give it a good rinse in water and then slice.
 
HOW TO MAKE PASTA SALAD WITH SWEET BALSAMIC VINEGAR:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse cooked pasta in colander with cold water (until pasta is cooled), drain well.
 Put drained pasta in a large bowl then top with cheese, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers.
 For the dressing, combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
Whisk well to combine ingredients thoroughly. This will take a few minutes for the oil and sugar to blend. Be patient, it will blend. Now, if you are serving this right away, go ahead and add all the dressing to the pasta, toss it together, then serve. If you are not serving right away, then wait to add dressing until right before serving (keep salad covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.)
Or, if you are going to eat this over the course of a couple of days, add the dressing as you eat it. This will keep the salad from soaking up all that yummy dressing while sitting in the fridge. Then dig in! Such a refreshing pasta salad and lots of ways you can make this your own. I love black olives and I think they would be amazing in this. Also, if you want to make it more of a meal, try adding some sliced, grilled chicken!
Enjoy!

Originally published: March 2014
Updated and republished: May 2019

PASTA SALAD WITH SWEET BALSAMIC DRESSING

This Pasta Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing is amazing! Full of fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese! The homemade dressing makes it special!

  • 1 lb box rotini pasta
  • 1 (8 oz) Feta cheese (crumbled)
  • 1 large cucumber (peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (sliced in halves)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Rinse cooked pasta in colander with cold water (until pasta is cooled), drain well.
  3. Put drained pasta in a large bowl then top with cheese, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers.
  4. For the dressing, combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. Whisk well to combine ingredients thoroughly.
  6. This will take a few minutes for the oil and sugar to blend. Be patient, it will blend.

If you are serving this right away, go ahead and add all the dressing to the pasta, toss it all together, then serve. If you are not serving right away, then wait to add dressing until right before serving (keep salad covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.) Or, if you are going to eat this over the course of a couple of days, add the dressing as you eat it. This will keep the salad from soaking up all that yummy dressing while sitting in the fridge.

Optional add-ins: Sliced olives or sliced grilled chicken

CRAVING MORE PASTA SALADS? TRY THESE!
CAESAR BASIL PASTA SALAD
AMAZING PASTA SALAD
BLT PASTA SALAD
PASTA WITH BROCCOLI WALNUT PESTO
MACARONI SALAD
SUMMER SPAGHETTI SALAD

The post PASTA SALAD WITH SWEET BALSAMIC DRESSING appeared first on The Country Cook.

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