Cucumber Pasta Salad

This cucumber salad recipe is light and refreshing. By letting the cucumber and onion sit in the vinegar, they get to absorb some of the tartness. However, paired with the pasta and other dressings, you end up with a flavorful and balanced side. It’s also very easy to make and you can easily double or triple it for your next cookout! It even tastes great the next day. I used 1 cup diced cucumbers, 1/4 cup shallots/onion, and 2 cups uncooked rotini.

  1. Dice up 2 small cucumbers, and 2 shallots. Add 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar, stir and set aside.
  2. Bring water in a large sauce pan to a boil. Add 16 oz rotini and cook for 15 minutes. Strain and rinse with cold water.
  3. Add pasta to cucumbers and onion. Add 1 1/4 cup mayo, 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, and 2 Tbsp Italian dressing. Stir and serve.

One-pan Cheeseburger Mac From Boxed Mac and Cheese

If you’ve been following me for a while, this recipe may seem familiar. I made this about three months ago, however I had altered it since then. I’ve been able to alter the recipe and make this dish a one pan meal! I’ve also doubled my boxed mac and cheese to help distribute the meat better and to make a dish that would be great for a big family. For my original recipe, you can click here.

This is a homemade version of hamburger helper that just needs boxed mac and cheese. When cooking, you can choose to drain off the fat or not. Fats do add some flavor to dishes, however this dish doesn’t need that flavor to make a tasty dish. I also used 1/2 of a frozen diced onion. I just find it easier to dice and freeze my onions in bulk. I used a standard beef bouillon, but you can also use 4 cups low sodium stock in place of some water or powdered bouillon. And finally, I used Weis brand mac & cheese. You can try other types like Kraft or shells, but that’s what I had on hand. Remember to taste your food before serving, and add additional garlic, mustard powder, or ketchup as you desire.

  1. In a large dutch oven, brown and break up one pound of ground beef. Dice up 1/2 cup of onion and cook until translucent. Drain off any excess fat if you desire.
  2. Add 7 cups of water and 4 beef bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add 2 boxes of mac and cheese pasta. Stir regularly. Boil 3-4 minutes longer than recommended by the box, until most water has boiled off.
  3. Add your cheese packets and any other ingredients instructed by the box. Stir. Add 8 Tbsp ketchup, 3 Tbsp mustard, and 2 Tbsp garlic powder. Combine together and serve. Makes 9 adult portions. If you desire, excess can be frozen. To reheat, add a splash of milk and microwave 1-2 minutes, or 5-7 minutes if frozen.

Ground Beef Lo Mein

If you don’t have steak, this is a great option for some tasty lo mein. First, I used spaghetti for this dish instead of lo mein noodles. You can use either, but I usually keep lots of spaghetti on hand, so I used that. I used mushrooms and green beans for my veggies, but you can use many other veggies such as bok choy, carrots, peas, or radishes. Sesame oil is one of the biggest elements to this dish. The flavor and richness it brings to the sauce is important. I also used part worcestershire sauce and part soy sauce, because the worcestershire sauce has extra flavoring like added ginger, garlic and onion. You can, however, use just soy sauce to get the same great flavor. Finally, this recipe serves a lot! We had six generous sized portions with this recipe. The recipe also holds it’s heat well, but it also doesn’t need any time to cool before serving.

  1. Begin by boiling 16 oz of spaghetti until al dente. Strain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven or wok, begin browning 1 pound of ground beef and crumbling it. Add 1/2 cup diced onion and cook until translucent.
  3. Once browned, add 1 can strained sliced mushrooms. Add 1 Tbsp ground ginger and 1 Tbsp garlic powder. Add 2 tsp sesame oil, 3 Tbsp soy sauce, and 3 Tbsp worcestershire sauce. Stir until mushrooms where heated through.
  4. Strain a can of green beans, add to beef mixture. Then add strained spaghetti. Carefully stir and keep over heat until everything is heated through. Remove from heat and immediately serve.

Butter Ramen Noodles

This was one of my favorite college foods. Ramens are delicious dry, and are tasty as a soup, but if it’s hot out or you need a quick meal, this is a great choice. I made this as a side for me and my husband, and it’s a great option as a side dish if you also have a family. The salty flavor of the ramen is complimented by the oil, and the oil helps distribute the flavoring evenly through the noodles. If you want, you can add an additional 2 Tbsp of water, if you’d prefer a thinner sauce. But this is a meal ready in minutes!

  1. Boil 2 packets of chicken ramen noodles in water for 5 minutes. Strain your noodles.
  2. Add 1/4 cup coconut oil to the pot, 1 Tbsp butter, and both packets of chicken flavoring from your ramen. Stir the mixture until the butter and oil melt. Return the noodles to the pot and toss until fully and evenly covered. Place in a bowl and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Goulash

Goulash is a favorite of mine. You can make a lot and is will last for several days. This weekend was very long, so I made this for dinner before this coming week and we’ve been eating it for several days now. You can also easily divide this and freeze some of it, assuming the noodles are still al dente. I left my pot on for 2 hours, and the noodles were almost completely mushy. However, I have a hotter pot than some, and I wasn’t able to check on it, since I wasn’t home. On low, it would have been much better to cook for half an hour less.

  1. In a large frying pan, begin browning and breaking up 1 lb of ground beef.
  2. In the bowl of a slow cooker, add 1 quart of diced tomatoes, 1 jar of spaghetti sauce, 1 tsp cumin, 2 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1 Tbsp garlic powder.
  3. Once the beef is fully cooked, add to slow cooker. Using the same pan, melt 1 Tbsp butter. Dice 1 small onion (1 cup) and place onion into frying pan with butter. Fry until translucent.
  4. Once cooked add onion to slow cooker. In the frying pan, add 4 cups of water, and 3 beef bouillon cubes. Heat until cubes dissolve, then add to slow cooker.
  5. Finally, add 2 cups of macaroni to the slow cooker. Stir and turn to low. Let it cook on low and it will be ready in 1 1/2 hour.