Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hormel Foods, LLC. for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Rotini pasta tossed in a ranch sauce along with chicken, cherry tomatoes, and bacon - the perfect side dish to your next picnic or BBQ!

I've always been a pasta salad fanatic. Potato salad, too. I know usually with the guys, the grilled meats are the hit, but in our family the girls tend to gravitate towards the salads! 

My mom has always made a KILLER potato salad, one that no one would even attempt to top or recreate. But I have to say over the years, we've tried various different versions of pasta salad and all were... meh. Boring, I suppose would be the word to describe them!

Just in our immediate family along, with our husbands and kids, we already have 11 people together pretty much every weekend during the summer. Dad usually grills burgers and hot dogs, and my mom, sister, and I are left with figuring out the rest of the spread that my mom usually lays out on her kitchen island. 

I can guarantee that this Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad will become a HIT at our next weekend BBQ together! The bacon and the tomato really POP with flavor against the pasta and ranch sauce. And the chicken just takes it over the top. You really have to try this! 

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
  • 16 oz rotini pasta, cooked and cooled under running water
  • 8 slices Hormel BLACK LABEL Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 10 oz can Hormel Chunk Chicken, drained
Cooking Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and rinse under cold water. In a separate bowl, mix together bacon, mayo, ranch dressing mix, tomatoes, and chicken.
  2. Pour over pasta in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Keep refrigerated before serving.

I love using Hormel Chunk Chicken in recipes, it's just so easy and adds great-tasting protein to meals and side dishes. And of course Hormel Black Label Bacon is always exceptional quality, it comes in traditional bacon varieties, fully cooked bacon, thicken cut bacon, & Canadian bacon. Something for every recipe!

Be sure to check out the Hormel Foods website for more information on their products and their Easy Recipe Ideas site. You can also sign up for the Hormel Newsletter to be delivered directly to your email inbox! They also share tons of recipes on their social media Facebook and Pinterest pages as well.

Here are some more of my favorite picnic recipes:

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mocha Cappuccino Cooler

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SunsOutSpoonsOut #CollectiveBias

A delicious way to use up the cold coffee in the pot! Blended with chocolate ice cream and chocolate syrup, this is one of the best iced coffees I've ever had!
#SunsOutSpoonsOut #CollectiveBias

I finally did it.

You guys, seriously. I finally did it. I figured out a way to use up the last of the coffee left in the pot from the morning! Ok, ok maybe you DON'T have any coffee left in the pot from the morning - but we definitely do!

Ever since we've had the newer Keurig model that brews pots, we never drink the whole thing. Well I probably would drink the whole thing if I could actually finish one cup without it going cold. 

Now I KNOW most of you have that problem, too!

We have one more week left of school for Silas and I'm excited to get my mornings back! I'm definitely one of those moms who, in the beginning of the year, had him get all his homework and word practice done in the afternoon that he brought the assignment home. Now that it's the end of the year, I panic 20 minutes before he's out the door that we probably forgot to have him do something.

I think I need summer break just as much as he does!

Basically, what I'm saying is, DO NOT dump the rest of the coffee. Put it in the fridge for when the kids are eating their ice cream that night and whip this Mocha Cappuccino Cooler up for yourself. Yum!!

Mocha Cappuccino Cooler
Makes 2 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups Blue Bunny chocolate ice cream, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups cold coffee
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • ice
  • whipped cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Place ice cream, coffee, and chocolate syrup in a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice in cups and pour drink over ice. Top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.

I would call this drink a cross between an iced coffee and a frappe. It's SO good!

Blue Bunny ice cream is one of our favorite treats to have in the freezer when the temperature rises in the summer! The boys and I headed to Walmart this past Saturday and attended a Blue Bunny demo with yummy vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit. 

Notice the chubby hand about to grab MULTIPLE samples. These kids are ice cream crazy, I tell you!

It was the perfect way to get through our boring grocery shopping. They will be holding another demo in Walmart June 4-7 featuring Blue Bunny ice cream sandwiches and Wet Ones, a perfect combination if you ask me! Be sure to follow Blue Bunny on Pinterest and Facebook for more great ideas for summer!

Here are some more of my favorite drinks to cool you off this summer:

Mint Cookies N Cream Frappe

Strawberry Lemonade Slurpee

I'd love to hear your favorite ice cream flavor! Leave your answer in the comments below!

Don't miss another Mostly Homemade Mom recipe! Click here to have recipes delivered by email. Or, you can follow along via FacebookPinterestTwitterInstagram, or Google+ - I'd love to connect with you!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bacon & Kale Minestrone

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sargento. The opinions and text are all mine.

This delicious soup is incredibly healthy and packed with flavor! Bacon, stewed tomatoes, white beans, garlic, kale, and cheddar - the perfect way to get some healthy veggies and protein into your family's diet!

You guys, I was so excited about this post. I LOVE that show Chopped on TV and my favorite cheese brand Sargento® is having a Chopped at Home contest - and I was asked to participate!

If you're not familiar with the show, contestants are given a basket filled with a few choice ingredients and they have to quickly come up with a delicious dish that incorporates all the ingredients. I'll admit, I had a bit of time to come up with my dish - but this was SO FUN. 

Wanna know what my Chopped at Home ingredients were? I thought so! 

Along with bacon, I had:

Oyster crackers.

Kale. (so pretty)

And Sargento Chef Blends 4 State Cheddar (a mixture of sharp Wisconsin cheddar, sharp Vermont cheddar, sharp New York cheddar, and mild California cheddar).

At first I was leaning towards a salad, but I settled on some kind of a soup because I LOVE oyster crackers piled on top. It's a little bit embarrassing how much I pile them on, ha! I honestly don't think I'd do well with the time constraints of the ordinary competition, though - I need time to get my creative juices flowing. And I have to say, I totally hit it out of the park, if I do say so myself!

This is a wonderful soup that is ready is under 30 minutes from stove to table. We love soup so much we eat it year round - no complaints here! It's a great way to get delicious nutrition to your family, and with all the great deals at farmer's markets lately you really can't go wrong!

Bacon & Kale Minestrone

  • 8 slices bacon, chopped
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 15 oz can stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 15 oz can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups fresh kale, chopped
  • 1 cup miniature penne or shell pasta
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Sargento Chef Blends 4 State Cheddar
  • 2 cups oyster crackers
Cooking Directions
  1. In a soup pot, saute chopped bacon over medium high heat until cooked through. Carefully add chicken broth (it WILL splatter at first!), chopped stewed tomatoes with juice, garlic, beans, cale, pasta, and Italian seasoning.
  2. Scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen all the yummy bacon bits and drippings. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes or until pasta is done.
  3. Serve with a generous helping of cheddar and sprinkling of oyster crackers.

So fresh and delicious!!

You can get in on all the fun too... for a chance to win $10,000 courtesy of Sargento! Be sure to click here to enter and find out all the details on the Chopped at Home contest. And of course Sargento has TONS more recipe ideas on their Pinterest page, so be sure to follow along!

Here are some more of my favorite soup recipes:

Broccoli Cheddar Chowder

Green Enchilada Chicken Soup

Available in 30 versatile varieties, unique blends and distinct cuts, Sargento Shredded Cheese is always cut from blocks of 100% real, natural cheese. For more inspiration, check out the Sargento Pinterest page or visit for more information. The Chopped at Home Challenge gives viewers a chance to create their best recipe using the selected basket ingredients, including Sargento Shredded Cheese, for a chance to win $10,000!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sargento. The opinions and text are all mine.

Don't miss another Mostly Homemade Mom recipe! Click here to have recipes delivered by email. Or, you can follow along via FacebookPinterestTwitterInstagram, or Google+ - I'd love to connect with you!

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