Easy Penne Pasta Recipe

Easy penne pasta recipe

This easy penne pasta recipe is one you’ll want to try. I have a fairly picky family. My husband wants meat in everything, but I’m good with just a nice pasta sauce on any kind of pasta. My son is more like myself, but he loves meat as well. One of my go to recipes that my family will eat every time is a simple, easy penne pasta recipe. It takes very little time to prep and prepare, so it’s perfect for any time, especially during the busy week days when time is limited and you’re probably not wanting to be in the kitchen very long. You can either prepare it as is, or add any kind of meat that you like. Beef, chicken, shrimp all work great. Of course, you can also alter the recipe by using a different kind of pasta or noodle. The base is so simple and goes well with spaghetti too.

Easy Penne Pasta Recipe

1 (8 ounce) package penne pasta
1 tablespoon basil oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Cook pasta in boiling water until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain.
Heat basil and olive oils in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook garlic in oil until soft. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in monterey jack, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. When cheese begins to melt, mix in cooked penne pasta. Season with fresh basil.

This easy penne pasta recipe feeds 4.

Easy penne pasta recipe

Some of the Best Diets for a Healthy Life

Best diets for a healthy life

Some of the Best Diets for a Healthy Life

January is typically the month when people start looking for the best diets for losing weight. However, the right diet can do more than lower numbers on your bathroom scale and make your clothes fit looser. It can also improve your health and with that, improve your longevity. Children follow the habits of their parents, so naturally, when they see their parents eating delicious, healthy food they will learn to do the same. While there are many dozens of diets you can follow, some of them are ranked higher than others when it comes to being better for your overall health and considered to be the best diets.


The DASH diet is one of the higher ranked diets when it comes to overall health because it can help keep your blood pressure down or bring it down if you already have higher than normal numbers.

Lowering your blood pressure can keep your heart healthier and prevent heart disease. The vitamins and minerals in the foods you eat work to keep your blood pressure lower naturally and the DASH diet is one that guides you toward those foods to provide you with a balanced diet.

Not only is the DASH diet one of the best diets that’s great for helping you lose weight and for keeping your blood pressure lower, but it also helps to prevent or control diabetes.

What you have to do first is to look at the DASH guide to see where you currently are with your age and how much physical exercise you get. The diet focuses on the amount of calories you’ll need based on that criteria.

You don’t have to eat any weird foods or outrageously expensive ones. You’re allowed to eat normal, wholesome foods that are readily available in your grocery store.

One of the big focuses of this diet is to watch your salt intake and there’s a good reason for that. Salt is one of those things that’s super unhealthy in large doses and most people get three to four times above the recommended cutoff for sodium consumption.

Too much salt intake will show up in your overall health and that’s one reason why you might be feeling the impact. Salt is well known to raise blood pressure because it makes you retain fluid and that fluid causes more pressure on your heart.

On this diet, you should keep your sodium intake to no more than about 1,500 mg. Less than that is unsafe. The gist of the diet focuses on increasing your servings of fruits and vegetables and making sure that your meat choices are lean.

It emphasizes meats like fish and poultry. The dairy that you consume should be low or fat free. As you replace the high calorie, high fat and high sodium foods with whole grains, lean meats, and fruits and vegetables, you’ll start to notice a weight loss and you’ll see a difference – not only in your blood pressure – but in your health overall.

What makes this eating plan popular and therefore one of the best diets is that there aren’t any off limits foods. It’s mostly just healthy eating with controlled portion sizes. It’s highly recommended that you develop an exercise plan along with following a DASH diet.

Even if you just walk 10 minutes a day at first, that will help you get started and ease you into a newer, healthier lifestyle.


There are some diets that can help you retain your cognitive function and can prevent age related issues with the memory and even certain age related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

The MIND diet is one of these. You can protect your brain function as well as your overall health by following the guidelines outlined in this diet. The diet is also focused on heart health, so it can help you lower your blood pressure as well.

Studies have shown that those who stick to the diet can lower their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by more than 50 percent. This diet is also good for helping to keep dementia at bay.

The MIND diet is actually a combination of two well known diets. What it does is it takes the best of both and looks at how the foods in those two diets can specifically benefit your brain.

The two diets that this one combines are the DASH diet as well as one called the Mediterranean diet. The focus of the MIND diet is found from eating foods that have been scientifically proven to help how your brain can hold onto its ability to function normally.

In this diet, you’ll eat plenty of vegetables, meats such as poultry or fish, whole grains and nuts. What people like about this diet is that it also focuses on making sure that wine is included with meals.

Wine has a lot of benefits when it comes to protecting the brain as well as the rest of the body. You will have to make some eating changes with this diet and some people find that hard.

But the key is to slowly do away with the wrong types of foods and you’ll discover that your body will come to crave this new, healthier way of eating. When on this diets, you’ll need to stay away from processed foods, fatty items like butter or margarine, unhealthy red meats, certain dairy items, junk food and foods that are cooked in unhealthy oils.

The good news about this diet is that it’s simple to follow and the food is delicious and following it can also lower your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
The basic outline of this diet is to make sure that you consume a specific amount of healthy foods and make sure that your eating plan has whole grains for each of your three meals.

And you should make sure you have a glass of wine every day. Snacks should consist of things like nuts and the oil or fats that you use should be mainly olive oil.

A lot of people think this is one of the best diets because if you follow the healthy foods recommended, it’s not as calorie restrictive as some of the other diets on the market. Read more

Ham and White Bean Soup Recipe

Ham and White Bean Soup

Ham and White Bean Soup recipe

Easy Ham and White Bean Soup Recipe

This is a recipe from my cookbook “Favorite Soup Recipes.” I love ham and beans, especially when there’s really good corn bread to have along with it. Hope you make this soup and enjoy it during the cold weather, or any time.


2 cups dried Great Northern beans

10 cups water

1 (1-1/2 pound) meaty ham bone

1 garlic clove, minced

1 small bay leaf

1 cup potato, peeled and chopped

1 cup minced onion

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1 cup chopped carrots

Salt and pepper to taste


Cover the beans with water in a large pot and let stand overnight. Drain and rinse the beans. Return to the pot and add 10 cups water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour. Return to low heat and add the ham bone, garlic and bay leaf. Cover and simmer on low, for 2 hours or until the beans are almost tender. Stir in the potato, onion, celery, carrots, salt and pepper. Cover and continue to simmer on low for 1 hour. Remove the ham bone. Chop the meat and add to the soup. Heat just to boiling, stirring often. Remove and throw away the bay leaf. Serves 8.

Easy Veggie Stir Fry

veggie stir fry


Make this Easy Veggie Stir Fry Recipe

Serves 4

2 tbsp sesame oil
1 chili, finely chopped
3 1/2 oz pine nuts
1 lb shitake mushrooms
1 onion, sliced
1 lb spinach
11 oz baby corn, halved lengthwise
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup fresh peas and green beans
3 ½ oz soy sauce

Sauté the chili, pine nuts and garlic in a wok for 30 seconds on high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, spinach, baby corn, peas, beans and red pepper and sauté for 4 minutes. Add the soy sauce and sauté for 1 minute. Serve.

How to Make a No Sew Blanket

You Can Make a Blanket Without Knowing How to Sew


While it would be difficult to make a quilt without sewing, you can make a nice, warm blanket without picking up a needle and thread. Fleece is one of the warmest materials that one can buy, and you don’t have to worry about it fraying. It’s easy to make an attractive fleece blanket without having to sew. Here are the instructions.


* 1 1/2 yards of patterned fleece
* 1 1/2 yards of fleece in a coordinating solid color
* Sturdy scissors
* Measuring tape
* Disappearing ink pen
* Lots of large, straight pins


1. Lay both pieces of fleece flat on a large surface, with the patterned piece on top of the solid one. Smooth the fleece out until there are no wrinkles and no bunching, making sure the edges are even with each other.

2. Pin the pieces of fleece together using the straight pins, placing them a few inches from the edges. It’s okay if one piece is a little larger than the other. You can trim it down after you’re done pinning.

3. Trim the selvage edges off, and even the pieces up to the same size if necessary. Smooth the fabric out once again.

4. Measure and mark a 4- to 5-inch square at each corner of the blanket. Cut these squares out.

5. Cut slits in the fabric at the same length as the squares, spacing them about 3/4 to 1 inch apart. Do this all the way around the blanket.

6. Starting at a corner, tie each strip from the patterned fabric to the strip of plain fabric behind it. Tie them in a double knot, but not too tight. Tie some fringes in each corner before doing the rest of them to help keep the fabric straight.

7. Tie the rest of the fringes together in the same manner.

8. Remove all straight pins. Your blanket is finished!

You can make this blanket in any size you like. You could do a smaller one to give as a baby gift, or adjust the size to fit a bed. And with all of the fleece patterns available, you can find something for anyone.

Don’t let your inability to sew stop you from giving a warm, cuddly handmade blanket as a gift. With this technique, anyone can whip up a blanket in no time.