Rosa Marina Salad or Orzo Fruit Salad

Rosa Marina Salad or Orzo Fruit Salad 

This recipe was one of the first given to me by my old friend, Olive Grant, when I was a newlywed. She taught me so many tricks of the kitchen trade I will always be grateful. She was a little old lady about 30 years older than me at the time….. She told me once, “I won’t be around forever to cook the suppers at church, so you need to learn how to do it for when I’m gone.” She was a master of all kitchen gadgets (some I’d never seen before!)  and she was a wonderful, wondrous cook. 

Ingredients for Orzo Fruit Salad 
The Rosa Marina macaroni is very hard to find. It looks like fat pieces of rice in pasta form. But Orzo pasta is a good substitute and easier to find in most markets. But I like Rosa Marina better. It plumps up to a nice oval shape and it feels fun in your mouth. So if you find it, buy up bags of them up!  Anyway, I used orzo for this recipe, so you can too. 

Custard mix for Rosa Marina Fruit Salad
You are basically making a sweet custard to mix with cool whip and the macaroni is a base for this sweet, fruit salad. It makes a huge bowl so I love bringing it to a family supper or a church pot luck. The Maraschino cherries make it so pretty and it will feed an army, like 12 to 14 as a side dish. 

  • 1 box (1 pound box or bag) Rosa Marina pasta, OR orzo pasta
  • 1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple
  • 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple tidbits
  • 1 jar (8 ounces) maraschino cherries
  • 2 cans (11 ounces) mandarin oranges
  • 3  eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 container (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Heat a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the salt, then add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool. 

cooked Orzo pasta….for Rosa Marina Fruit Salad
Meanwhile, drain all of the fruit, reserving the juices,  (except cherry juice).  Add the eggs, flour, sugar, lemon juice and the mixed fruit juices in a heavy pan and cook over medium heat until custard mixture thickens like gravy. Pour into a bowl and cool mixture in fridge.

Here is the thickened, cooked Orzo Fruit Salad custard…..only takes 5 minutes…..
Drain the pasta when cooked, then let cool. Place the cooled pasta into a bowl and add the cooled fruit sauce custard mixture and the crushed pineapple. Mix. 

 Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. Refrigerate the fruit separately in a bowl.

This was before I mixed in the fruit…. how beautiful it looks after the  pineapple, oranges and cherries are added. It is so colorful and pretty in a glass or crockery bowl.

When mixture sets up, add the mandarin oranges and tidbit pineapple and cool whip to the pasta and custard mixture. Pull the stems off Maraschino cherries and add a handful into the salad, reserve 8 for the top of salad. Set in fridge until ready to serve. 

 Here is the finished Rosa Marina Fruit Salad….it looks good….and it IS YUMMY!  

Place them in a circle on top of the salad just for looks. I like to use a pretty glass bowl so the pineapple, oranges and cherries show through the sides. But this was a new orange crockery bowl I just bought and wanted to try out. 

I ALWAYS get compliments on Rosa Marina fruit salad. 

                      You will too!  I promise!  

Zuchini Sausuage Casserole

Here is a great way to use up your garden zucchini that has been multiplying.  It’s great for a side dish and doesn’t take too many ingredients. You can even eat it as a main dish.  It is delicious and whips up very quickly.

I’ve tried shredding the Zucchini for the Zucchini Sausage Bake but it is NOT as good….chunks are much better.

Zucchini Sausage Bake


  • 4 medium zucchinis, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup buttermilk baking mix (like Bisquick)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup grated cheese (jack,  mozzarella or cheddar-save for top)
  • 3/4 cup browned sausage diced up (I like the Jimmy Dean chub)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
      • 4 eggs, beaten

  • 1/4 cup of milk  
  • Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes depending on your oven

Jimmy Dean Sausage Chub looks like this.
I think I used a sweet Vidalia onion for Zuchini Sausage Casserole, and it turned out great! I have also added red peppers before and they are great too. 

Spray a 9 x 9 pan with Cooking Spray. Layer the zucchini sliced and quartered in the pan. (remove seeds if you are using a giant zucchini). Then mix the other ingredients and pour over the top. Save cheese and top last of all. Bake at 350 for about 30 to 40 minutes until it looks golden on top and the inside middle is fully cooked. 


Here’s the Zucchini Sausage Bake…it’s delicious with or without the sausage…

It’s a great thing to do with all those gazillions of zuchinis that are growing out your ears from the garden. 

My Black Berries from my garden along with some cherries are a great summer side dish. I love those summer fruits, don’t you? Yum. 
BBQ Chicken hot off the grill! Thanks uncle Rob! Isn‘t he the best BBQ King ever?
Sometimes I have added some red pepper or mushrooms if I have some leftover and it just adds to the flavor. Try to cook it in one of those stone brownie pans that come in the 9 x 9 size. Occasionally the middle takes longer to bake and you don’t want it to be mushy in the middle.
Chocolate cake (check it out) for dessert!  I know, I went overboard. No wonder I’m a chub. But oh Heavenly Yum!  This dinner was so delish for a foodie. Are you a foodie too? 

Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans

I made this salad the other night for my husband’s birthday. But I did not really add the recipe. So here it is!
My daughter used her Cricut Machine to do the letters “PARTY” for my Party drink tub….
Here she is with her cute girls…
Party tub for our canned drinks….Isn’t it so cute?

Thanks Tiff!  

Dressing ingredients
  • 1/3 cup  red wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/6 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil (or canola oil)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • Lawry’s Season Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix up slowly in the blender then blend on high for one minute. Taste test it. If it needs a bit more sweet add a bit more sugar. If it is bland, add a dash more of the vinegar. It should be sweet and tart with a dark pink hue. 

If you are not into making your own dressing, which is VERY economical, I do love the Lighthouse dressings or many of the Kraft vinaigrette dressings are good, especially House Italian (hard to find sometimes) and Catalina. But making your own just simply tastes better. Especially making your own buttermilk ranch.

Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans  Recipe
Salad Ingredients

  • 1 package of  baby spinach, add mixed greens if desired 
  • 1 10.5-ounce can mandarin orange drained OR
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries or fresh sliced strawberries (choose your fruit)
Once I was out of all fruit so I added dried apricots and got tons of compliments on that salad.  I made the dressing with apricot jam in place of the raspberries but everything else was the same. It was also a real yummy salad!
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds or pecans, lightly toasted with regular sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh diced avocado
  • thin slices of red onion if desired (I don’t love onions but my family does)
  • sometimes I toss in some dried cherries or cranberries too. I just got some real nice fat dried cherries from the farmers market so I would add those.
  • occasionally if I have fresh mushrooms I will add 4 thinly sliced and halved.
Toast the almonds or pecans in a fry pan with a few tablespoons of regular sugar. Cut up all the veggies and add into the baby spinach mix. Toss with dressing just before serving. Top with the candied nuts passed around in a separate bowl at the table.
Spinach Salad.and Candied Pecans..sometimes I add mushrooms, sometimes I add dried cranberries or cherries…
But I really prefer fresh strawberries in season….and a little bit of sliced avacado….and of course the purple onion….
I usually make up a cup of CANDIED PECANS at a time and then keep them in
a zip lock baggie for later spinach salad attacks. Just toast up 1 cup pecans with 1/4 cup white sugar and
wait until it melts and “coats” the pecans….then cool on a plate or cookie sheet….Easy! 

A good dressing if you are in a time crunch is Kraft light raspberry vinaigrette. It is sweet and yummy and only 50 calories a serving. Spinach salad is always a light and healthy summer salad that everybody loves eating.   

Zuchini Casserole

Do you sometimes wonder what in the heck to do with all of those zuchinis and tomatoes erupting in your garden? I have a fabulous and easy casserole recipe that my family loves to chow down.

My zuchini plants are doing well….Zuchini Casserole is a great recipe to use!

Yellow squash is almost ready to pick…Yummy in my zuchini casserole.

The ingredients are really simple;
2 tomatoes
2 small zuchini (or yellow squash or a mix)
1/2 a large red onion sliced in medium thin rings
4-6 strips of bacon
1/2 Cup (or more)grated cheddar cheese

Spray a glass casserole dish with Pam. I use the smaller 9 x 9 or a round glass. But you could double the recipe and use a 9 x 13.
Layer sliced onion cut into rings, then the slices of zuchini and/or squash, then bacon, tomatoes. Then season the top with salt, pepper and a little lemon pepper. Then add grated cheese over the top.

I used zuchini and yellow squash in this Zuchini Casserole…The bacon and cheese make this meal!  

Bake covered with foil for about 45 minutes at 350 or until the squash is tender and the bacon is done. You can pre-microwave the bacon for 1/2  minute if you like it crispier but I don’t. It is cheesy and bacony and an  oniony hot mess. I love it. It’s a great summer side dish to use up your garden loot. Everybody seems to love it.  😀

It’s a really yummy summer Zuchini Side Dish using zuchini and yellow squash!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Fresh tomatoes for my Black Bean and Corn Salsa…

I’m  making and some black bean and corn (frozen of Green Giant Niblets can) and avocado salsa for my husband’s birthday party this weekend. The recipe is HERE  but I always doctor it up a bit. 

This yummy Black Bean and Corn Salsa  is made from black eyed peas, black beans, corn, green pepper,
avocado, tomato, cilantro and purple onion, with a few dashes of lime and Italian Salad Dressing.


I added some diced cucumber and avocado and Kraft Tuscan House Italian dressing to taste, and just a few squirts of lime. Then I always add some fresh tomato and cilantro from my garden. The tomatoes turned out a little tiny so far this year, but this is still just my first crop.
  I bought these new Pretzel style Ritz Crackers  to go with the salsa that are super crunchy and yummy. The black Bean Salsa With Triscuits or Wheat Thins or Tostitos chips, It’s all delicious and good.

This Black Bean and Corn Salsa is SOOOO much better than bottled Salsa of any kind!

It’s really fresh tasting with the cilantro and kind of filling and addictive with the beans, but it’s also healthy and  good for you.  And with Triscuits or the Pretzel crackers it’s not too high in calories for a yummy healthy, filling summer snack. And hey, you can use up your garden veggies! mmmmhmmmm….