BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad in a white bowl with a green striped napkin

My love affair with keeping potato salads and pasta salads is still going strong this summer. Working at home, I like being able to scoop some with sandwiches for lunch. Of course, they are great for parties and BBQs too when life finally returns to normal!

I love a good BLT sandwich. So easy and just so delicious. I wanted to turn one of my favorite sandwiches into a pasta salad, but I was actually a little unsure of how the lettuce would be in a pasta salad, but it’s a salad so duh, of course it worked just fine!

close up shot of BLT Pasta Salad in a clear container

You can use any kind of pasta for this. I used rotini, but bowties or elbow macaroni works fine too! I tossed in some chopped cherry tomatoes, and cut up some hearts of romaine for the lettuce. If you’d rather use shredded iceberg lettuce, you can use that too, but I like the darker green pieces mixed in so prefer romaine.

As for the bacon, one of the reasons I like to add bacon (aside from the taste, of course) is the crispy texture it adds so I cook the bacon until its nice and crispy and then don’t mix it in until I’m ready to serve the pasta salad.

The dressing for the pasta salad is also very simple, all you need is some mayo and ranch dressing and some seasoning like garlic powder.

If you want to prep this in advance, you can certainly do that, but I would hold off on adding the lettuce until it’s time to eat it so it doesn’t get soggy. I do find that the lettuce stays in decent shape for about two days. As I said above, I also prefer to add the bacon at the last-minute so it stays crispy, but you can add it whenever!

BLT Pasta Salad in a white bowl with a green striped napkin

S’mores Cookies

S'mores Cookies on a white board with mini marshmallows

It’s August and I am now feeling that slight sense of panic since I’ve been totally horrible about posting much this summer and still have some summer recipes to share! It’s also grant writing season at work. Busy times! Let’s be honest though, it’s never too late for s’mores recipes, am I right?!

S’mores cookies are like the best of two worlds for me. I love s’mores and chocolate chip cookies are one of my most favorite desserts ever! I based these cookies off of my Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies that I have been making for many years.

The first time I made these cookies, it was actually disastrous. I wasn’t thinking and just mixed the marshmallows into the dough and of course, they completed melted while baking and the cookies were a total mess! The second time around, I stuck the marshmallows on after the cookies baked and they turned out a lot better, so that’s the key!

S'mores Cookies on a white board with mini marshmallows

In order to get that graham cracker flavor into the cookies, I replaced 1/2 cup of the flour with graham cracker crumbs. I also took some sheets of graham crackers, gave them a rough chop (or you can break them up with your hands) and stuck some of the pieces on top of the cookies when they were done baking.

Oh, and yes, you SHOULD chill the dough for at least an hour before baking. I do this with almost all of my cookie recipes and is a key step if you like thicker cookies!

This recipe also uses milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet chocolate. Another wonderful addition is to take some milk chocolate bars and cut smaller squares to stick on top at the end as well. So after baking the cookies, you will take them out of the oven and stick on some mini marshmallows, graham pieces, and a few tiny squares of milk chocolate bar. Yes, these are SO decadent and chocolately!

You can be totally done with these after this step, but if you are anything like me and desire for your marshmallows to be a little toasted, switch the oven to broil and stick the cookies back in for a minute or two until the marshmallows are lightly golden! I prefer to take this extra step (as pictured), but it’s totally not required!

S'mores Cookies on a white board with mini marshmallows

Avocado Chicken Salad

Avocado Chicken Salad in a white bowl with red onions, cilantro and lime

Chicken salad is one of my favorite things to have for lunch. It’s so yummy scooped on top of salads or on a sandwich. Now that I’ve been working at home, I’ve been mixing up a LOT of chicken salads for lunch lately!

I often use Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise or sub at least half the mayo for the yogurt to cut calories and unhealthy fats. Avocados are another fantastic substitute for mayonnaise in chicken salads for a nice dose of healthy fats and nutrients!

overhead shot of Avocado Chicken Salad in a white bowl with red onions, cilantro and lime

This chicken salad honestly could not be easier. You can use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and just shred that up. I used some leftover chicken I had made from the night before and diced that up.

For about 2-3 cups of diced chicken, I use one smaller avocado and find that the chicken salad is plenty creamy enough. If you have a larger avocado, you will want to start with using just about a half. You can always mix in more if it seems too dry.

Peach and Tomato Salad

Peach and Tomato Salad on a white plate with fresh basil leaves and a peach

Peach season is here and it’s truly one of my favorite things about summer! Whether I just bite straight into them or eat them as a dessert or other baked goods, peaches just make me happy!

I also love to use peaches in more savory recipes like my chicken, peach, and arugula quesadillas. I made this Peach and Tomato Salad a few weeks ago and was so in love, I have to share it here!

Peach and Tomato Salad in a large white bowl

No-Churn Chocolate Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

No-Churn Chocolate Cookies and Cream Ice Cream scooped in a bowl

It’s been getting pretty hot in the OC and my girls have been asking me to make some ice cream. Since I’m lazy and don’t feel like digging out my ice cream maker, I pretty much only make no-churn ice cream. They only require a base of two very simple ingredients – sweetened condensed milk and heavy whipping cream. The possibilities from there are truly endless!

Some of our favorites have been No-Churn Strawberry Ice Cream, No-Churn Cookie Dough Ice Cream (my personal fave!), and my No-Churn Blackberry Ice Cream. Maddie has recently discovered her love for all things cookies and cream so I decided that would be our newest creation!

No-Churn Chocolate Cookies and Cream Ice Cream scooped in a container

I cannot even tell you how decadent this ice cream is! The cocoa powder and cookie chunks just take it over the top and it is pure heaven! It’s pretty rich, which is a good thing because just a cup serving is more than enough!

To start, you will need about 25 chocolate sandwich cookies. You can add more or less, but 25 will give you plenty of cookie pieces to bite into. I like to add the cookies to a freezer bag and then use my rolling pin to sort of crumble and crush them up. You don’t want the mixture to be all crumbs, you will want to leave some chunkier pieces intact. If you want mostly larger chunks, then skip the freezer bag and just roughly chop them up on a cutting board.

No-Churn Chocolate Cookies and Cream Ice Cream scooped in a bowl

Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Creamy Tuscan Chicken on a blue plate\

Winner winner, chicken dinner! That’s the best way to describe this Creamy Tuscan Chicken! I threw this dinner together a few weeks ago and it was definitely love at first bite!

What’s not to love about tender chicken breast sautéed in a skillet and then tossed in a super simple and creamy sauce. To make this easy recipe, you will start out by sautéing some thinly sliced chicken breasts in a skillet. After about 15 minutes, you’ll remove the chicken breasts, but leave all of those pan drippings alone because they will add flavor to the sauce! Add in some heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, fresh spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes and dinner will be ready in about 25 minutes!

Creamy Tuscan Chicken in a skillet covered in creamy sauce, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes