Mealtime Mama: Easy penne pasta with chicken and bacon

mealtime

Sometimes don’t you just crave carbs?

I know we can’t have pasta all the time, but when the mood strikes, nothing else will do. Of course, my favorite pasta is this dish, but I also like a new concoction we tried recently that includes penne pasta, chicken and bacon. And it’s got a little kick. Yes, please!

Perfect Penne Pasta

Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

penne pasta slider1 box penne pasta

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups half and half

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts

6 pieces of bacon (cooked)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

Directions: Cook chicken thoroughly in a pan, adding the cayenne (or Cajun seasoning) to taste. Cook the penne according to package directions (add salt to the water!). To make the sauce, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour, stir, then add half-and-half until it’s thickened (maybe six minutes?). Remove from heat and add Parmesan (plus a little salt and pepper, to taste). Cover.

In a bowl, toss pasta with the creamy sauce. Top with chicken slices, crumbled bacon and tomatoes (very pretty).

This is decadent, yes, but we’re betting your family with love it!

Mealtime Mama: Mason jar desserts you’ll adore

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While I was cruising Facebook recently, a friend posted a video about how to make a cake in a Mason jar. I was intrigued.

I jumped over, watched the video and was inspired to make these for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. These fun cakes can be refrigerated for up to a week if you put the top on the jar.

You can just enjoy them immediately, of course, or gift them to friends and family.

fruit in jars

The recipe is easy and the ingredients are few. Adorable, portable cakes in a jar:

  • 1 1/2 cups pitted cherries (or your favorite seasonal fruit)
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries (ditto)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (If you want to make your own whipped topping, that is.)

CLICK HERE to watch a video of how to make the cakes. Super easy and inexpensive. Can’t wait to try them!

Mealtime Mama: Aunt Carrie shares her orange cookies recipe + instant spiced tea

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Our thanks to Carrie Chastain of Siloam Springs for the sweet recipes below. Mrs. Chastain, an outgoing grandmother of eight, says the cookie recipe goes back so far in the family’s history that she has no idea where it really came from.

The orange cookies were originally baked on a wood stove and the ingredients list had to be adapted to modern measurements.

Aunt Carrie’s Orange Cookies:

sugar2 cups sugar

1 cup butter (salted is preferred)

2 eggs

1 cup sour milk or 1 cup milk and 2 teaspoons vinegar

1 orange, juice and grated rind (I put about a half teaspoon orange flavoring in also)

1 teaspoon soda

4 and ½ cups sifted flour

Cream sugar and butter, add juice and rind of orange, then eggs, add milk and flour. Stir soda in last ¼ cup milk. Add to mixture.

Drop by teaspoons on buttered pans. Bake at 350 degrees until brown. (This is a very old recipe, but I found it takes about 12 minutes.)

Icing:

1 box powdered sugar

1 orange, juice and grated rind

2 T butter

A little milk

Melt butter and add small amount of sugar, cream well, add orange juice and ring and remaining sugar.

Makes about 128 “good-sized” cookies. Can make half recipe for fewer cookies.

Instant Spiced Tea:

1 cup instant tea

1 ½ cups Tang or similar orange drink mix

cinnamon1 package lemon Kool-aid

½ T ginger

2 T cinnamon

1 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients well and store in covered container. Add 2 rounded teaspoons of mixture to a cup of hot water.

If you’re too busy to cook this week, visit Ozark Natural Food’s cafe for some healthy, delicious food to eat there — or to go. They have a hot bar, sandwiches, soups, pizza… Even a breakfast bar! Click here to visit A la Carte.

Note from the mamas: These recipes originally published in 2009.

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Mealtime Mama: ‘Sunshine on a Cloudy Day’ Cake

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I recently discovered a cake over the Thanksgiving holiday and my whole family loved it.

If you want a pretty, delicious cake to bring to a Christmas party, this is a good one.

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day Cake

1 Yellow cake mix

eggs brown3 eggs

1 can mandarin oranges (don’t drain)

1 large can crushed pineapple (don’t drain)

1 box instant vanilla pudding

1 container of whipped topping

Directions: Blend these ingredients together well: the yellow cake mix, three eggs and mandarin oranges, including the juice. I put my batter into two round pans to make a layer cake. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (or until it springs when you press it). Let the cakes cool thoroughly. Thoroughly, mamas! If you don’t, you’ll end up with melty icing. Speaking of icing, you make it by hand mixing together the box of instant pudding (just the powder), the can of crushed pineapple with juice and a container of whipped topping.

This is an awesome treat, I assure you.

Happy baking!

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Mealtime Mama: Cranberry Relish

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We love finding new ideas for dinner (and great, natural products) on the Ozark Natural Foods website.

Below is a recipe for cranberry relish that would be beautiful on a holiday table.

Cranberry Relish

onf recipes2 cups fresh cranberries
2 granny smith apples, cored
1 large orange, peeled
1-1&1/2 cups turbinado sugar

Directions: Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, then blend together in a food processor. Use the lighter settings so it doesn’t look like mush but more of a coarse blend, chill and serve. Add more or less sugar depending on your taste preferences (I prefer tart flavors over sweet so I use less sugar). You can also substitute the sugar with dates or try adding other fruits like mangoes, pomegranate seeds, or even pineapple.

Recipe from Pauline Thiessen, Produce Manager

If you’d like to see more ONF healthy cooking recipes, click here. If you’re thinking about holiday gifts, they have gift cards available for purchase on the website. Click here to buy a gift card for the person who’s really hard to buy for, but loves all things fresh, natural and organic! They can also use the gift cards for lattes and lunch in the cafe :)

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