4th of July Line Up!!

What are you doing for the 4th of July?! Not sure yet? Well, here are some recipes to get your creative juices flowing. Chances are that you are either throwing, or going to a barbecue. So here are some awesome dishes and sides for a barbecue. Not to mention some super yummy patriotic desserts 😉 Hope this gets you thinking, and will have more 4th of July recipe’s to come in the next week!! (Please forgive the quality in some of the pictures. Some are from when I started the blog, but I wanted to include them cause I still absolutely love the recipe.)

Barbecue Dishes & Sides
Jack Daniel’s Glazed Ribs

Frog Eye Salad
Creamy Pasta Salad
The Man-Burger (Favorite Burger Recipe of All Time!!)
Cranberry Broccoli Salad
Rich ‘n’ Cheesy Macaroni
Patriotic Desserts
Root Beer Float Cupcakes
S’mores Stuffed Brownies
Death By Oreo Cupcakes
Fireworks Cupcake Towers

Cheese and Chicken Shells

Happy Monday!! I know what your thinking, “Monday”… Blah!! I agree. I have a thousand and one things that I have put off all weekend to get to, but I’m trying to be optimistic. Especially cause the girls in my family, and a couple old friends, are going on a girls trip this weekend!! Which means I have to have my house completely in order so I can leave, but in being optimistic, I’m so excited for the trip!! We are off to Hollywood for a weekend of giggling, fun, and my sister got us into The Price Is Right!! Ah!! Should be so fun! I will let you guys know if by some stroke of fate, I actually get chosen.

Should be a fun weekend, but I wanted to really quickly post this super easy scrumptious meal before diving into my mountains of “Monday” work. This recipe is so yummy, and low calorie!! Gotta try! Enjoy 😉

Cheese and Chicken Shells
     12 jumbo pasta shells
     1 1/2 cups pasta sauce
     2 large egg whites, gently beaten
     1 1/2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
     4 ounces chicken, cooked and diced
     1 cup frozen spinach (chopped) thawed (drain all excess water)
     2 teaspoons garlic powder
     1 tablespoon oregano
     1 tablespoon chopped basil
     3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
     1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook shells in boiling water according to the directions on box. Rinse with cold water and set aside for later use.

Lightly spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray and spread 1/2 cup of pasta sauce evenly over the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

For Filling: Stir together egg whites, ricotta, chicken, spinach, garlic powder, basil, and seasoning. Stir in 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.

Fill each shell with mixture and place filled shells in the baking dish on top of sauce.

Spread remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. Bake for 30 minutes.

Printable Recipe

Recipe from weightwatchers.com

Witch’s Cauldron Pasta with Breadstick Broomsticks

Usually I like to post before 9am, but my sister and a friend had their babies yesterday so I’ve been at the hospital ogling over adorable newborns. I wanted to quickly post this recipe for today though. My kids loved this. I wasn’t totally in love with all the spinach, but it was good, just not great. If you aren’t a big spinach eater either, I was thinking after making this that as an alternative you could also just make the Alfredo sauce and add food coloring to make it green. My most favorite Alfredo recipe ever is one I posted a while ago from OliveGarden.com. To view recipe click here. Seriously, best Alfredo sauce of all time!! Then just add food coloring to make it green, or even purple would be so fun. If you like spinach though, give this recipe at try. Enjoy!!

Witch’s Cauldron Pasta

  • 1 pound uncooked rotini or cavatappi pasta
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) Alfredo pasta sauce
  • Breadstick Broomsticks (recipe follows)
    Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Meanwhile, combine spinach, cream cheese and nutmeg in blender or food processor; blend until smooth. Combine spinach mixture and Alfredo sauce in medium saucepan over low heat; cook and stir until heated through. Toss hot cooked pasta with sauce in large serving bowl until evenly coated. Serve with Breadstick Broomsticks.
    Breadstick Broomsticks
    • 1 package (11 ounces) refrigerated breadstick dough

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll dough and divide along perforations. For each broomstick, shape breadstick into 8 x 1 1/2-inch strip; twist one end for handle. Cut five or six slits, about 2 inches long, into opposite end; separate dough at slits. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.

    Makes 4 to 6 servings.

    Printable Recipe

    Recipe from Pil Cook Books Halloween Food, Fun & Crafts

    Bruschetta Chicken Pasta

    This recipe is so amazingly delicious!! One of my absolute favorites! I don’t know if anyone has ever had this at TGI Fridays, but this recipe taste exactly like the original. It takes a little bit of time with the marinade and everything, but it’s so worth it, however I wouldn’t recommend this recipe to anyone who doesn’t like balsamic vinegar. Although you could add less of the glaze too so it didn’t taste so strongly like the vinegar. Also I followed the directions a little differently. It didn’t make sense to make the Balsamic Glaze and the Bruschetta Marinara first, and then to have to make the marinade for the chicken then wait an hour doing nothing. So I first make the marinade for the chicken, and got it soaking, then made the glaze and marinara. That way I was occupied while I waited for the chicken to marinade. Seriously so yummy!! Enjoy!

    Estimated Cooking Time: About 1 hour and 45 minutes. 1 hour is needed to marinade the chicken.

    Balsamic Glaze

    • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon molasses
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    Bruschetta Marinara
    • 2 cups diced tomatoes (about 4 medium tomatoes)
    • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
    • 1/4 cup chopped basil
    • 1/4 olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    Chicken Marinade
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
    • 1 pound skinless chicken breasts (about 3 breasts)
    • Olive oil
    • Ground black pepper
    • 1/2 pound uncooked angel hair pasta (1/2 of a box)
    For Finishing The Dish
    • 8 teaspoons olive oil
    • 8 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
    • 4 teaspoons minced parsley
    Make the balsamic glaze by combining the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, and salt in a small saucepan. Place over medium/low heat and heat the mixture until bubbling, then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

    Make the bruschetta marinara by combining the tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, olive oil, white vinegar, garlic, pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.

    Marinate the chicken by combining the water, salt, paprika, and liquid smoke in a medium bowl. Pound the chicken breasts until about 3/4 inch thick, then add to the marinade, cover, and chill for exactly 1 hour.

    Preheat a grill to high heat. When the chicken has marinated, remove the breast from the brine, rinse each under cold water, and blot dry. Rub each breast with oil and sprinkle with a little ground black pepper. Grill the chicken for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked.

    Break the pasta in half and cook it for 4 minutes in a large saucepan of boiling water. Strain.

    To prepare each serving, preheat a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan and one quarter of the cooked angel hair pasta. Add 1/2 cup of the bruschetta marinara and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese and toss with tongs until hot. Turn out the pasta onto the center of a plate and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Slice the chicken breasts and arrange one quarter of the chicken around the pasta, then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of minced parsley. Repeat for the remaining servings.

    Serves 4.

    Recipe from Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3

    Smoked Sausage Rigatoni Bake

    My kids have been having swim lessons every morning, so it’s been tricky to find the time to post right before I leave. But I wanted to quickly post another dinner recipe, especially since this is such a yummy and easy meal!! You just cook the noodles, cut up the sausage, throw it all together in a casserole dish and bake it. Super simple and super delicious!! Enjoy 🙂 (Makes enough for about 4 adults)

    Estimated Cooking Time: About 50 minutes.


    • 8 ounces (3 cups) uncooked dried rigatoni pasta
    • 1 (14- to 16-ounce) package cooked smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
    • 1 (14- to 15-oune) jar pizza sauce*
    • 1/4 cup whipping cream**
    • 1 (2.25-ounce) can (1/2 cup) sliced ripe olives, drained
    • 4 ounces (1 cup) Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
    *Substitute 1 1/2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce.
    **Substitute 3 tablespoons milk and 1 tablespoon melted butter.
    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions (Tip: Pasta shapes can be substituted as long as you choose another that is similar in shape and size. Mostaccioli, penne or ziti are great substitutes for rigatoni. Because pasta will continue to cook when used in baked recipes, cook it the minimum amount of time listed on the package). Drain; set aside.
    Combine all ingredients except cheese in greased 3 quart casserole. Cover; bake for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Continue baking, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until rigatoni mixture is heated through and cheese is melted.
    Recipe from Land O’ Lakes Recipe Collection Baking and More

    Frog Eye Salad

    K, let me first of all say, that this doesn’t really have frog eyes in it, so don’t be deterred by the name. I don’t really know where the name came from, but this recipe is awesome! My family has been making it for family get togethers for as long as I can remember, and usually it’s the first thing to run out. This is a super yummy, creamy, pasta/fruit salad. This is one of those recipes that you need to read through before you start though. Otherwise, it’s just really frustrating. The first time I made this, I drained the juice of my fruit into the sink and had to make a grocery store run at like 10pm at night. So read through the directions before starting. I won’t be adding an estimated cooking time on this recipe because you are suppose to refrigerate overnight, so just know it’s something that you would start on the day before you actually wanted it. But this recipe is so worth it and is something that everyone will love. Enjoy!!


    • 2 cups uncooked Acini Pepe pasta
    • 1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple
    • 1 20 ounce can pineapple tidbits
    • 2 cans mandarin orange segments
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
    • 1 8 ounce container cool whip
    • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
    Cook pasta as per directions on box. Rinse pasta and Cool.
    Drain juice from canned pinapples and mandarin orange segments into a bowl. Set aside. In a seperate bowl, mix flour and sugar. Add beaten eggs and blend. Stir in 2 cups of saved juice, if needed add water to juice to make 2 cups. Place in a sauce pan and over medium heat, cook stirring until thickened. Cool until only slightly warm and add marshmallows. Cool then add cooled cooked pasta. Stir well. Refrigerate overnight.
    The next day mix together the cool whip and cream cheese in separate bowl. Add to pasta mixture. Fold in fruit. Mix well. Refrigerate until serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

    Tortellini with Peas and Prosciutto

    Tried this recipe the other day, and I gotta be honest, I’ve never tried proscuitto so I was a little bit apprehensive, but I loved this. Just goes to show that I need to start trying new things more often. The proscuitto has a little bit of a different texture, kind of rough, but it worked well with the noodles and peas. And the flavor all together was great! It’s not like a spaghetti where you have extra sauce. The sauce just coats the noodles and that’s it. Which was different for me cause I tend to want that extra sauce, but here the lack of sauce works well cause everything else doesn’t get overpowered and you get the extra moisture from the filling in the tortellini. Overall, super yummy and different!


    • Kosher salt
    • 1 pound meat-filled tortellini
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 4 ounces prosciutto or pancetta, finely chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook as the label directs.

    Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and prosciutto and cook until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Ladle in about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and simmer until reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes.

    Add the cream and simmer until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes

    About 2 minutes befor the tortellini are done, add the peas to the boiling water and cook until just tender. Drain the tortellini and peas and add to the skillet, tossing to coat with the sauce. Stir in the parsley. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

    Recipe from food networks Great Easy Meals