Orzo Pasta Fruit Salad

Rosa Marina Pasta 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/pasta 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. 

This is what the custard looks like when it is cooked and a bit thickened….you add the Cool Whip when it cools.

 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 the mixture sets up it is time to add the mandarin oranges, tidbit pineapple and Cool Whip to the pasta and custard mixture. Pull the stems off of the Maraschino cherries and add a whole small jar (minus the juice) into your salad. Reserve 8 for the top of the salad to make it look pretty. Put in fridge till ready to serve. 

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

Orzo or Rosa Marina Pasta Fruit Salad

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 this fruit salad. 

                      You will too!  I promise!  

Easy Cinnamon Buns or Monkey Bread

I LOVE Rhodes Rolls. There are so many things you can do with them. I use them each and every holiday for a breakfast treat.

Rhodes Rolls Cinnamon Sticky Buns are super easy, and the icing pack is inside the frozen bag! 

You can take these cinnamon rolls and doctor them up to make them richer and yummier. I usually add some butter and brown sugar boiled over the stove for a few minutes and poured over each roll.

I doctored mine up a bit with pecans, butter and brown sugar.

Then I add some chopped pecans because we all are nutty over here. We love nuts!

You can also cut the thawed cinnamon rolls into fourths and roll them in butter. Then roll them in cinnamon and sugar and put them in a monkey bread pan.
I bought one for my daughter and daughter-in-law for Christmas. It’s similar to an angel food cake pan or a bundt pan. In fact, if that is all you have you can use either for the pull-apart monkey bread.

If you really want to get fancy you can top the monkey bread with a package of butterscotch instant pudding, butter and nuts. It makes a really gooey topping for the rolls.
Then I always top with cream cheese icing. HERE at Justapinch is a good recipe using the butterscotch pudding mix.

Here was my Christmas morning cinnamon buns. They went nicely with my hash browns, egg and cheese and sausage casserole.

Here is the “BEFORE” picture of Sausage and Hash Brown Casserole…..

And here is the finished Sausage and Hash Brown Casserole….

Check it out HERE for Sausage-HashBrown-Egg Casserole. It was yummy too and the two of them make a nice holiday morning breakfast!

Ham and White Bean Soup

We had a ham last week. We’d done the ham sandwiches twice already so I used up the rest of the meat in a yummy Navy Bean Soup. I cheated and used canned white beans and canned butter beans. I wanted it done in 1 hour.

This ham and white bean soup is SO delicious and you can throw it together in 30 minutes.

So I started by cutting off the leftover meat into small chunks and letting that boil in about 2 cups of water. I had leftover chicken broth and added that as part of the 2 cups. Then I chopped up onion, carrots and celery into the pot with the ham pieces. While they were boiling on low for about 20 minutes I got down the cans and opened them.

White Bean and Ham soup is easy and delicious. You can also make it with leftover rotisserie chicken! Here’s a picture of it with the chicken. Delish!

Finally I added 1/4 cup of sour cream to make the broth a little more rich. And threw in the beans. Then I let it all simmer another 5 to 7 minutes. I sprinkled seasoning salt and pepper over the soup to taste. It was delicious!

1 1/2 cups of ham chunked up
2 carrots diced
3 stalks of celery chopped
1 small, sweet onion or 1/2 large Vidalia onion diced up
seasoning salt and pepper to taste
a few shakes of Tyme seasoning
1/4 cup sour cream (optional)

We got some fresh, crusty french bread from the market that was still warm! Yum. What a nice meal for the after shopping rush to come home to. It really hit the spot, I’m telling you!

You can also make this soup with chicken breasts and everything else the same. It’s yummy too!

Chicken Corn soup with Beans. I add a cup of frozen corn and a few shakes of parsley instead of the Tyme. But everything else is the same. 

We just had this soup last night. It hit the spot with the snow falling outside and all of us eating around the T.V. with our individual blankies and quilts. We are spoiled rotton this holiday time to have so much. I am very grateful to not have to be a UPS man today too! Merry Christmas all! 

Gingerbread House and Gingerbread Tree Decorating

We like to decorate cookies, gingerbread men, and gingerbread houses at holiday time. It’s something the little kids look forward to doing with grandma.

This one was Josie’s house….very cute! It was a mommy and me project we did at Thanksgiving time. 

I think this one was Marisa’s house…it was super pretty! She loves those sprinkles!

The little girls and Devin, Cait, Wendy and I decorated gingerbread houses and gingerbread cookies last Thanksgiving. This time we did sugar cookies. Both were really fun.
 Get Lots of different types of small candies and spread them out in cupcake tins or chip and dip bowls.

The kids can take some home afterwards in little baggies if you don’t use all the candies up too! (THEY LOVE THAT!)

 Use white icing tubs and mix them with green food coloring and use sugar cones for the trees. Just spread the green icing on the inverted cones on small colorful plates. Then let the magic begin. Even little 3 year old kiddos can do it.
I get everybody to bring different candies and I supply whatever I can find too. It’s an easy craft for school groups or family. 
I found these chip and dip plates at the Dollar Store one year. They are perfect for spreading out lots of candies. Every year I do the Gingerbread Trees or Houses in my classroom and in my family too.
Here are a few of the finished “gingerbread trees”. They are much easier than doing the houses but we do both some years. 
These turned out cute and yummy….Chocolate  Hat Cookies…..Made from Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Keebler shortbread striped cookies! 

Close up of a “gingerbread tree” made like a gingerbread house only much easier! No crying when the house caves in!

These little chocolate hats were to DIE FOR good!
And I ate a bunch of them…bad me….. I love the holiday decorating of edible sweets. It’s a fun family tradition we always enjoy at my house. 

Christmas Parties

My Friend Linda had a party the other night at her lovely home. I couldn’t help myself. I had to take some pictures of her decorating magic.

Pretty kitchen centerpieces on the beautiful granite island. 

My friend Linda, the hostess of the baby shower/Christmas party. 

I loved the blooming amaryllis plant and some of her other crystal Christmas plates and platters. 

The kitchen is so open and has great features. She changes out the decorative plates for each season. In the summer time it has navy and white and silver touches. For Christmas time she has red and white and silver. I loved all of her polka dot embellishments, candles and ribbons.

Christmas china was displayed in the pretty built in hutch in the kitchen….

The starfish is a really pretty addition to the baubles and ornaments in red and silver….

Pretty kitchen cabinetry and tiles looked so fresh in black and white and silver.  

I have a cake plate just like this one below that I never use. It just sits in my china cabinet. Now I’m going to pull it out and make something cute with it! I feel so inspired right now! (let’s see how I do on the weekend when I actually have time to work on the decor….)

Cake plate with silver and red and white ornaments looked adorable! 

What a pretty bunch of baubles! I bet anybody could make a glass jar look pretty. But these are really artistic.

So simple yet so beautiful…..silver and red…..

She was giving a shower for a friend at church who had adopted a cute little Asian baby boy. He is really adorable. They hadn’t arrived while I shot photos or I’d have a cute picture of them both!!

The theme of the shower had Asian-inspired foods like Chinese Chicken Salad, egg rolls, and homemade fortune cookies with the little boy’s name tucked inside them. These fortune cookies dipped in chocolate were made by another talented friend, Aimee Ferre of Olive Branch Design. Check out her latest design website called A Garnished Life. She is also a master of design. The little Asian panda bear cookies and candies were so cute as embellishments to the food table. Everything just sparkled and was set off by red polka dotted linens. And I bet she uses them at Valentines Day too! 
My latest purchase; a pretty pointsettia table runner covered with red sequins….I couldn’t resist when I saw it at Home Goods for $15.00. Gotta love a bargain! Woot! 

 I just bought a new red runner with sequins on it from Home Goods. (One of my fav stores for decor!) I needed it to go on my formal dining room table with some creme colored placemats with little red cardinal birds and holly berries.  But as you can see I haven’t done anything with it yet. I got a few cool light bulbs too and I just need to figure out what to do with them….hmmm…

I have a whole setting of these Snowmen plates from Kohls. My favorite color is red, you can tell. 

And I found this snowmen plate and cookie jar set that perfectly match my Christmas China from Kohls. But I got them from the thrift store for a $1 buck each! What a find! OK, back to the party!

There was a really pretty punch bowl with yummy punch in it as well as this decorated water dispenser with limes and cranberries. So creative! 
Pretty Silver punch bowl with a yummy slushy drink inside! Mmmm….My daughter bought me one of these last year. I loved it. Maybe I’ll get it out and use it this year. (gotta have a party!) 
These polka dotted candles were my very favorites. I didn’t get a good picture of them but they were so pretty lit up with the little glittery, red gems sprinkled close by. 

 On either side of the fireplace Linda had her nutcracker collection. I have another friend Laurie Rainey who collects nutcrackers too. She has more than 100 of them. She also lives down the street. We should all go talk nutcrackers sometime over lunch! lol. My collection is much smaller than either of these gals. But I do appreciate a cute collection!!

I wish I had taken some close ups of the darling tree. There were tiny square photos of all her grandchildren on the tree amidst silver and red baubles, pinecones, silvery glittered branches and snowflakes. It had a Diet Coke ornament on it too!! (I like this lady even more now!). So cute!! The gifts were all baby shower gifts. Christina, guest of honor, got like 10 times this amount. I snapped these shots before the party started. 
I LOVED the little missionary set of nutcrackers on the top right shelf. Super cute! I’d never seen missionary nutcrackers anywhere before! Gotta get a cute set like that!  I loved the polka dotted ribbons and bows. It added a touch of whimsy to a beautifully decorated tree.
This was her music room. I loved this room. Enough said there. Just stunning. 
Front entry hall with a giant wreath displayed where her big family picture usually hangs. Gorgeous! 
I loved this black cabinet that reminded me of an old player piano we used to have. It houses more pretty Christmas figurines and decor. 
Loved this Santa and his funny quote. Do you think if I had one it would guilt me into avoiding those Christmas candies and cookies? I think not……but it’s worth a try! (sounds of snickering)
This was my favorite fun thing she had in her kitchen. It is a candy station for when her grandchildren come over to visit. There were little scoops in each candy bin and a little container of Christmas bags to fill with our candy choices that she offered each of us before we left. Super cute. She changes out the candy to different kinds for each season. I popped a giant lime bubble gum ball in my mouth on the way out. Yum. 

It was a wonderful party. Thanks for opening your beautiful home to us all to ooohhh and ahhh over all of your pretty things. And we all are so happy for Christina and her new little guy.

Lemon Garlic Pasta with Turkey

I have been wanting to make a yummy pasta dish for a few days with my leftovers from Turkey day. How about some lemon garlic cream sauce to go on thin spaghetti pasta? Doesn’t that sound soooooo yummy?

I had purchased some cream (never go to the grocery store hungry) on my last shopping trip, thinking I’d look for some recipes that sounded good.  I perused about 6 of them using lemons, and then I experimented.

Lemon-garlic pasta with white turkey breast.

I liked how this turned out.  If I made it again I would maybe add some cayenne pepper or a few red pepper flakes for some heat. But it was tasty, as it was.  Here are the ingredients. 

1/2 cube real butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic or 2 garlic cloves crushed
1 Tablespoon flour (for thickening the sauce)
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon parsley flakes for garnish
1/3-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup chicken stock
2 T. lemon juice
turkey chunks
thin spaghetti pasta


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. While pasta is cooking cut up the turkey.
2. Put butter and garlic in a fry pan, mince up and saute. Add chicken stock, lemon and flour and mix up. Then add cream and spices. Add diced turkey to the sauce and coat for a few minutes. Add Parmesan cheese and parsley last. Add salt and pepper to taste. If it seems too runny, let it set for 10 minutes and the pasta will absorb the sauce. Serve with some crusty bread and a spinach salad with berries and pecans.

I added a spinach salad with red onion, mushrooms, sliced almonds, blackberries, and raspberry vinaigrette. It was a delicious side dish to the lemon-garlic pasta.

Here is a chart to help if you run out of garlic cloves and have to substitute minced garlic in a jar or garlic salt.  You can also make this recipe with shrimp. Just simmer the shrimp in the sauce for about 3 minutes per side till it turns pink on the edges.  Enjoy!  

1 small clove garlic = 1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced
1 medium-size clove garlic = 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons minced 
1 large clove garlic = 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons minced 
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic = 2 medium cloves