Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Wow, this soup was great! The seasoning was perfect! I wouldn’t change a thing (except maybe double the recipe so I could eat it for lunch during the week!).

rating: 9.8

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup



3 14.5-ounce cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth (I used vegetarian chicken broth)
6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
1 cup Parmesan cheese



1. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar to the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours.
2. After the 4 hours, add in the chopped basil leaves.
3. Using either an immersion blender or a stand blender, blend soup until smooth.
4. If you used a stand blender, return your soup to the slow cooker.
5. After blended, add in the milk and parmesan cheese.
6. Stir to combine.
7. Cook for 30 more minutes.
8. Serve and enjoy.

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Coconut Rice

I am really into bowls now, but the rice I use has been kind of bland. This recipe is easy, and the coconut taste is very subtle. I did have to use about 1 cup more of water than the recipe calls for. My rice wasn’t quite done so I had to add more water and cook it a few minutes more. My 7 year old ate the rice plain and said it was awesome. The rest of us had it in our bowl (with seasoned black beans, Gardein veggie chicken, and avocado). This was a nice change from plain rice!

rating: 8.5

Coconut Rice



2 cups jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups water (I added 1 more cup water)
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt



Rinse and drain rice in cold water. Place in a saucepan with water, coconut milk, and salt. Place the pot over high heat and, bring the liquid to a boil. Stir and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and cover the pot tightly with the lid. Continue cooking for 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let stand 10 minutes, covered. Fluff with fork and serve.


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Copy Cat Recipe – Olive Garden Five-Cheese Ziti Al Forno

Need a dinner recipe that is super easy, doesn’t take a lot of time, and is really good? This is the one! This really couldn’t be easier, and it tastes like you spent a lot of time on it. This makes a huge dish of pasta, so I ate on it all week!

rating: 9

Copy Cat Recipe – Olive Garden Five-Cheese Ziti Al Forno



1 pound of pasta – cooked
1 (15 oz) Jar of Alfredo Sauce
1 (24 oz) Jar of Marinara Sauce
2 Cups of Mozzarella Cheese
¼ Cup of Fontina cheese
1 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
½ Cup of Ricotta Cheese



Over medium heat place in a large stock pot the following – alfredo sauce, marinara sauce, 1 cup mozzerella cheese, fontina, ½ cup of parmesan, and ricotta
Preheat the oven to 375 – grease a 9×13 casserole dish
Once the sauce is bubbling add the pasta – stir for 30 seconds
Transfer pasta to the casserole dish – top with the rest of the parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes

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Product Review: Deutsche Kuche Chocolate & Raspberry Strudel

We have recently gotten on the Aldi bandwagon, and we are constantly discovering new items we love! This is one of them! I have only seen two flavors of this strudel, but there may be more. This is the first one we tried. You get two to a package, and I went ahead and made both at the same time. You bake this for a few minutes and voila! A hot, flaky, flavorful strudel! I served this with some vanilla ice cream on the side. Delicious!

rating: 9

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Homemade Italian Dressing

This dressing was really easy, but it didn’t wow me. It was good but I didn’t love it.

rating: 6

Homemade Italian Dressing



1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil OR neutral vegetable oil, such as canola or safflower
1/4 cup white wine vinegar OR red wine vinegar OR a combo of the two
2 tablespoons water
1 to 2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 teaspoon dried parsley
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste



Measure all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well-blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. (Alternatively, you may whisk ingredients together in a bowl, process ingredients in a mini food processor, or blend them in a blender.) Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator; allow to come to room temperature and shake well before using.

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Crock Pot Mac-N-Cheese

Man, this was some good mac-n-cheese! It was super cheesy, and we all liked it (especially me). Low calorie and low fat this is not! 😉 But this is some comfort food for sure.

rating: 9.8

Crock Pot Mac-N-Cheese


2 c. cooked, al dente elbow macaroni
2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded provolone cheese
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayo
4 oz. cream cheese
14 oz. can of evaporated milk
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1/2 t. dry mustard


1. With cooking spray, spray a large 5-6 qt. crock pot.
2. In a pot cook the macaroni according to directions, leaving al dente, about 3-4 minutes shy of being done. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place the macaroni in the crock pot.
3. Add in the cheeses, sour cream, cream cheese, mayo and seasonings, stirring to combine.
4. Pour the evaporated milk over top the mixture.
5. Cook on low for 2 hours, stirring once half way through.
6. Serve hot.

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3-Ingredient Creamy Tomato Angel Hair Pasta

This recipe is great when you are short on time. Sometimes you just have to make pasta with jarred pasta sauce, and this recipe jazzes that up a little. It comes together really fast, and was good!

rating: 9

3-Ingredient Creamy Tomato Angel Hair Pasta

makes 2-3 servings


9 oz. refrigerated angel hair pasta
1 1/2 cups pasta sauce
3 oz. light cream cheese, softened

For serving (optional):
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil
Lemon wedges


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Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add angel hair and cook according to package instructions, usually 1-2 minutes.

Meanwhile, add pasta sauce to a separate smaller pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer, covered. Stir in cream cheese until smooth.

Once pasta is cooked, toss with sauce. Scoop servings onto individual plates. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan and basil, and serve with lemon wedges (lemon really amps up the tomato flavor.)

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