Mealtime Mama: Something sweet for Valentine’s Day


We’ve shared this Sunshine Cake recipe before, but it’s worth repeating in case you’d like to make something extra sweet for Valentine’s Day dessert.

It’s pretty and delicious!

{You are my} Sunshine Cake

vintage valentine's day card1 Yellow cake mix

3 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, trust us!

Happy baking!

Mealtime Mama: On the Bayou Pasta & Chicken


I’ve been in a spicy mood lately, so I went through my cookbook and pulled out this recipe for bayou pasta.

I (Shannon) can’t remember where I got the recipe, but it’s a printed copy that I have stuck in one of my favorite cookbooks.

Hope you like it!

You’ll need:

  • roma tomatoes12 ounces of penne pasta
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or shrimp, if you prefer!)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cajun spice blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions: Boil the penne pasta according to the package (be sure to add salt!). Melt the butter of medium heat, then add flour and stir. Add half-and-half and continue stirring until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and add Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.

Next, place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin until they’re about half an inch thick. Rub cajun spice and cayenne over the chicken. Next, cook the chicken in the oil until it’s no longer pink. In a bowl, toss the pasta with the sauce you’ve set aside. Top with sliced chicken and diced tomatoes before serving.

Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Happy, spicy new year in the kitchen!

Mealtime Mama: Ham & Cheese egg cups to make ahead for breakfast

egg cups

We saw a recipe in the December 2015 edition of Redbook for make-ahead breakfasts and thought we’d give ‘em a try.

Turns out it’s very good! And so easy to heat up the next few days without having to pull out the skillet and make omelets or scrambled eggs. Maybe make these for Christmas morning breakfast after you’ve snacked on candy from the kids’ stockings?

We changed the recipe up and you could no doubt add your own twist, depending on what your family likes. Here’s our version:

Ham & Cheese Egg Cups

  • Cooking spray
  • mealtime1 large croissant
  • 3 oz of your fave ham
  • 1 cup of of your fave cheese
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Directions: Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spritz a 12-cup muffin pan with the cooking spray. Next, mix up five eggs, 2 tablespoons of milk and some salt in a separate bowl. Dice up the croissant and divide it among the muffin cups on the bottom. Next, divide the ham and cheese among the cups. Now, pour some of the egg mixture over each and sprinkle with pepper. Bake until puffed and golden, probably 20 minutes. Serve immediately or let them cool completely and put them in an airtight container to refrigerate for up to three days. They reheat really well!

Also, in that same section of Redbook, there was an egg cup recipe that called for low-fat cream cheese, fresh dill and smoked salmon to be divided up among the muffin pan.

Basically, you can make the egg base of 5 eggs, 2 tablespoons of milk and salt and add whatever extra ingredients you like.

Good stuff! Enjoy!

Mealtime Mama: Kelly Ripa’s pumpkin cheesecake recipe

Kelly Ripa, fellow mama of 3, is my FAVORITE person to watch on TV — so smart, funny and down-to-earth at the same time. (She is pictured here on the kelly ripa instagram walk of fameright with her family shortly after receiving a much-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame earlier this year.)

Years ago on her talkshow, she shared a recipe for her Pumpkin Cheesecake and I downloaded it from the show’s website. I’ve been using it ever since as part of our Thanksgiving feast, and it’s one of the things we look forward to the most. If you’re looking for something new (and easy) to add to this year’s lineup of Thanksgiving desserts, I can highly recommend this one.

Happy baking!


  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • pumpkin cheesecake3501/4 cp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pumpkin Layer:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15-oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Dash of salt


  • Preheat the oven to 325 F
  • In a bowl, mix 8 oz cream cheese with 1/4 cp sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1 egg
  • Once well combined, blend using a blender and set aside
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine all “Pumpkin Layer” ingredients until well blended and set aside
  • In a frozen pie crust, add the cream cheese mix, followed by the “Pumpkin Layer” mix
  • Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes

Mealtime Mama: Make-ahead salads to take to work or eat on the run

 Salad shot, beverly's weekly salads

Our friend, Beverly, and her new husband, Robert, usually end their weekend putting together make-ahead salads in Mason jars to take to work the next week.

They stay fresh all week and what a time-saver!

They make their own dressing by mixing: 1 Tbsp Olive Oil + 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar + Salt/Pepper to taste.

“I love to add baby red, orange, yellow peppers. They’re sold all together in one bag at the grocery store,” she said, adding that tomatoes seem have a short shelf life, possibly due to refrigeration, so she doesn’t always use those.

Beverly said you can make everything go faster if you buy vegetables pre-sliced and she warned that you must purchase WIDE MOUTH mason jars for easy stuffing.

Assembly of the make-ahead salads from the bottom up:

  • Oil and Vinegar Dressing
  • Red Onion
  • Baby Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Mushrooms
  • Lettuce
  • Baby Peppers

In the jars pictured above, they’ve added: Oil and vinegar, salt & pepper to taste, red onion, carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce and peppers.

Beverly was inspired by this post on PopSugar, so pop over and read that for more inspiration/instructions. The post says to wait on adding the dressing until you’re ready to eat the salad, but Beverly has found it tastes great when she uses the oil and vinegar version.