Welcome to Sarah's Adventures in Culinary Experimentation

This blog is for posting recipes I've experimented with while teaching myself to cook. Some I have taken from my favorite recipe books, others are purely my own experimentations. My audience is usually just my husband, my toddler daughter, and I and we are living on a tight budget. Sometimes you might find a splurge.

Hopefully you'll find something here that you like!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hearty Veggie, Bacon, Mac n' Cheese Bake

Hearty Veggie, Bacon, Mac n' Cheese Bake
Serves 4-6

  • 1 lb large elbow macaroni
  • 1 can Progresso Recipe Starters Cooking Sauce Creamy Three Cheese
  • 7.5 oz Sargento 4 State Cheddar Blend
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small orange bell pepper, diced
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cheddar mozzarella & cheddar cheese sticks
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 cup of  Panko Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs (with 2 TBSP butter)

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the macaroni. Cook until al dente. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven and cook the bacon until crispy and brown. Drain, pat off, and set aside to chop up into medium chunks.
  3. In a sauce pan, add the butter, onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Saute on Medium to Medium High until onions are translucent.
  4. Add in the Progresso Cheese Sauce Starter, the Turmeric Powder, and the Paprika. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Once it is simmering, add in the frozen vegetables, cheese blend, Parmesan cheese, and the two cheese sticks. Cook until the cheese is melted and combined. About 5 minutes.
  6. While the sauce is simmering, get a 13x16 baking dish and butter bottom and sides of the dish. Sprinkle in the breadcrumbs so that they cover all sides of the pan.
  7. In the pot that the pasta was cooked in, return the pasta to the pot and pour in the cheese sauce. Stir and combine.
  8. Pour in 3/4s of the bacon and mix through. Then add the mixture to the baking dish. 
  9. Sprinkle the remaining bacon on top.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Funfetti Cookies

Funfetti Cookies
About 20 cookies

This recipe was bopping around on Pinterest and I snagged up the repin. I made these as an incentive treat for Friday Freewrite Nummy Snack for my students. The cookies were easy and I could make a bunch quickly. When I made them, I tripled the recipe so that I would have enough cookies for everyone, plus co-workers, and my daughter and husband. They went over really well.

  • 1 box of Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  1. Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Spray a baking sheet with Non-Stick Spray.
  4. Roll into about 1-inch balls and place on the baking sheet. About 10-12 per baking sheet.
  5. Bake for amount 8 minutes or until starting to brown around the edges. 
  6. Place on a cooling rack. Store in a sealed container or Ziploc bag.

Note: By my last batch of cookies, they were baking faster, so just keep an eye on them.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Easy Tomato, Basil, & Mozzarella Pasta

Easy Tomato, Basil, & Mozzarella Pasta
Serves 4

  • 1lb Rigatoni 
  • 1 packed pearl mozzarella balls
  • 2 packages cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

  1. Bring a pot of water with salt to a boil. Cook the Rigatoni to preferred texture, drain, rinse, and refrigerate.
  2. Halve the cherry tomatoes, chop the fresh basil and combine in a large bowl with the mozzarella.
  3. In the large bowl, add the Olive Oil, salt, and pepper and stir with the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.
  4. Finally, add the pasta and thoroughly mix all the ingredients. Shake if you have a top to the bowl.