Quick and Easy Pumpkin Pie

I’ve been making this pumpkin pie for YEARS! It’s a family favorite and very easy to make.


Ingredients:

  • 15 oz canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Keebler Ready Crust Graham Pie Crust 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Mix everything except pie crust in a bowl. Mix the filling well. 
  3. Pour the filling in the graham pie crust. 
  4. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for another 50 minutes at 350 degrees. 
  5. Pie is ready when you stick a knife in the middle and it comes out clean!
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Triple Cheese Meatloaf


In my house, anything stuffed with cheese is a hit. I’m a major “cheeseaholic” who could probably never live without cheese. What’s great about this recipe is that it is very easy to make! You could also substitute one cheese type for another.

Ingredients:

FOR THE MEATLOAF MIX:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground sausage (if you cannot find ground sausage, use 1 lb sweet Italian sausage and remove casings)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

OTHERS:

  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 firm medium tomato, sliced
  • 1 scallion (green onions), sliced
  • a dash of ground black pepper
  • several teaspoons worth of grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all the ingredients from the Meatloaf Mix list. Mix well. Divide this mix into two pieces.
  3. You will need either a round baking dish or a 8″ square baking dish pan. Spray this with some olive oil. Place 1/2 of the meatloaf mix in the pan and flatten it out.
  4. Add the three different types of cheese. Make sure you leave at least 1″ border around the dish so the cheese doesn’t ooze out that much when it’s in the oven.
  5. Sprinkle the sliced scallions on top of the cheese.
  6. Then add the other half of the meatloaf mix on top. Make sure this top layer covers EVERYTHING (cover the cheese, scallions, et cetera).
  7. Bake in the 350 degrees oven for 50 minutes.
  8. Add sliced tomatoes on top of meatloaf after it’s out of the oven.
  9. Sprinkle some ground black pepper and parmesan cheese on top of tomatoes and bake again for another 10 minutes.

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Rica’s Pasta Salad

This pasta salad never lasts long in my house. Everyone goes for a second helping, a third and a fourth. Before I know it, it’s alllll gone! This dish is a hit and a must have for BBQ’S get together parties. It’s really easy and a great dish loved by many. 


Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 1 box (12 oz) tricolor rotini pasta
  • 1 large red bell pepper (or you can use two small ones), diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 lb pepperoni slices diced
  • 1 small or medium red onion, diced
  • Between 1/3 to 1/2 cup of sliced black olives (amount depends on your personal preference)

For the dressing:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil 
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta to instructions on box. Drain. Run under cold water to stop it from cooking and drain again. 
  2. Mix all other ingredients in with the pasta in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and pour into the salad. 
  4. Mix well. 
  5. Use Saran Wrap to cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours. The more it sits there, the more time it has to “marinate”. It tastes better that way. 

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Quick Salsa Chicken

This recipe is quick, easy and cheap to make. It actually costs under $10 and it feeds a family of 4. You could serve this over some white rice or actually use this in burritos or enchiladas. 


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 jar (16 oz) salsa 
  • 1 can (15 to 16oz) black beans, drained and washed
  • 1 can (15 to 16oz) corn, drained and washed
  • 1 to 2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Add bite sized chicken pieces to the pan. Drizzle a little olive oil over it. Cook over high heat until the chicken is fully cooked. 
  2. Add in black beans, corn and salsa. Stir and let it cook for another 1-2 minutes to make sure everything is warmed up nicely. 
  3. Add in between 1 to 2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese. The exact amount to use depends on how cheesy you prefer your dish to be. Stir until melted. 
  4. Serve over white rice or use in burritos, enchiladas, etc. 

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Italian Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Potatoes Bake

This is an easy dish to make. It does make a great dish to bring to parties. 


Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs sweet Italian sausage, cut into half
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into chunky pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 2 green peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 2 large onions, sliced into wedges (I used sweet Vidalia onions)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Cook sliced Italian sausage with little olive oil in a pan. Make sure the outside is browned all over before moving it to a baking dish. Don’t worry if it isn’t fully cooked inside, it will finish cooking in the oven. 
  3. When the sausage is moved, throw in sliced potatoes in the pan. Add more olive oil if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Stir once in a while. Let it cook for approximately 10 minutes. Then move to the baking dish. 
  4. Add peppers and onions to the pan. Add more olive oil if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. You can add in some minced garlic or garlic powder or even garlic salt at this point. I do that sometimes. 
  5. Move peppers and onions to the baking dish. Add in chicken broth, Italian seasoning and the white wine. Mix well. 
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Tips: you could easily replace the Italian sausage with turkey sausage or kielbasa. You could also add in baby carrots or sliced mushrooms if you want to add more vegetables to the baking dish. 

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Baked Chicken Roll Ups with Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese

Nom nom! This is easy to make and it never fails my family. And what’s to love?! The cheese! I *LOVE* anything that has cheese in it!


Ingredients:

  • 5 oz baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese 
  • 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
  • 3 eggs, beaten (divided)
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • between 1 1/2 to 2 lbs of thin chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce (it can be any kind, I personally use mariana sauce for this one)
  • 3 to 4 oz of Mozzarella cheese, sliced (I bought the ball kind but you could probably use the shredded kind if you prefer 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
  2. Place the chopped spinach leaves in a large pan. Add in the minced garlic and drizzle olive oil over it. Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes. The spinach leaves will wilt and shrink in size. 
  3. Place the spinach mixture in a bowl. Add Ricotta cheese, 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg and season with salt and pepper. Mix all of this together well. 
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk two eggs. 
  5. In another bowl, mix 3/4 cup of Italian bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. 
  6. Grease a 13″ by 9″ glass baking dish with olive oil spray and set aside. 
  7. Lay your chicken breast flat and start with the smaller end. Scoop a small amount of filling and roll towards the bigger end of the chicken breast. Take the rolled up piece and dip into the egg bowl then dip into the bread crumb mix. You’ll want to make sure it’s fully coated before placing it seam down in the baking dish. 
  8. Bake in the oven at 450 degrees for between 20 to 25 minutes. 
  9. Take dish out of the oven and pour tomato sauce on top of the roll ups. 
  10. Place the sliced Mozzarella pieces on top of the chicken roll ups and bake again for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts. 

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Miso Soup! 

I can never get sick of miso soup. It’s one of my favorites. For this recipe, you can save a lot of time by using instant Dashi. It’s like the Japanese version of chicken bouillon except it isn’t chicken. Traditional Dashi is actually made with kombu and bonito flakes. If you’re not sure what kombu is, it’s an edible kelp aka seaweed. Bonito flakes are dried, fermented, and smoked young bonito (type of tuna fish – similar to skipjack tuna). Using instant Dashi will save you time and I do also go for Shiro Miso because it’s lighter and less salty. 


Anyway, here’s a picture of the ingredients I used to make this soup. I’m sure some of you guys will appreciate a photo reference since some of these products are found in Asian food stores. I bought these ingredients from an amazing Japanese supermarket called Mitsuwa and it’s in Edgewater, NJ! Make sure you go visit if you’ve never been there before. It’s AMAZING. 


Ingredients:

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon instant Dashi (I used the HonDashi brand – it does say Bonito Soup Stock on the label)
  • 1/4 cup miso paste (I used Honzukuri’s Shinshu Shiro Miso)
  • 1 tablespoon dried seaweed (soak in a bowl of cold water so it can expand) 
  • 1/2 cup soft tofu (I used 1/2 of a 14oz package)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions/scallions

Directions:

  1. Pour 8 cups of water in a soup pot. Bring to a boil. 
  2. Add the instant Dashi to the pot and whisk to dissolve. 
  3. Turn heat to medium-low. Add in tofu and drained seaweed. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Turn the heat off. Put miso paste in a small bowl and pour 1/2 cup of soup broth from the pot into the bowl. Whisk the miso paste/soup mixture until it’s smooth. 
  5. Pour this miso paste mixture back into the pot. Stir well. Taste the soup and see if it tastes fine to your liking. You can add 1 or 2 tablespoons of miso paste if you feel like the soup needs more. 
  6. Ladle in bowls and serve with chopped green onions on top. 

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