Back to School, CSA, and a Recipe for Rice-a-Roni from scratch

It is almost that time… Back to school for both the kiddos and myself.  In fact, as I write this, I am enjoying my last 2 days before I head back to college on Wednesday.  The kids have another few weeks, lucky ducks.  I am hoping to have a smooth transition this year though, since I will be taking classes while all 4 kids are in school.  Hard to believe my youngest will be starting Kindergarten.  Where has the time gone?

Since I will be starting school again here soon, I can’t promise very many posts but I will make an effort to post every week or two.  Between my 5 classes this semester, helping the kids with their homework, my normal wifely duties, and soccer this next month or so will be swamped.  Hopefully some time will open up once soccer is over in October.

Now for my CSA last week…. I did not get a picture 😦   What I did get was a bunch of basil, 4 more gigantic green peppers, 4 heirloom tomatoes, a bag of fingerling potatoes, a head of red lettuce, 1 Spanish onion, 1 red onion,1 large cucumber,  patty pan squash, and 8 peaches.



The peaches never even stood a chance.  My kids LOVE fruit, so any time we get some in our CSA its gone in a flash (not that I’m complaining).  The lettuce, red onion, and tomatoes got tossed into a salad we topped off with some of the Olive Garden salad dressing we got from Walmart (Soooo excited they bottled it and sell it now!!  I get to have the Olive Garden taste without worry of being cross contaminated!)  The rest I’m not sure what to do with…

Now for a recipe…  How about some Rice-a-Roni from scratch?!  I found a pin while surfing pinterest for the almost perfect recipe for me to use… After a few tweeks, this is what the end result is!!

Homemade Rice-a-Roni  (gluten free and reg) Serves 2

1 c rice (reg white rice, not the minute stuff)

1/4 lb of angel hair pasta broken into small pieces (I use Hodgson Mill gluten free angel hair pasta for mine)

2 T butter

1/8 t salt (more or less depending on your tastes)

1/8 t white pepper (more or less depending on your tastes- start with a pinch and go from there)

1/4 t paprika

1/4 t Italian seasoning

1 packet of Swanson chicken flavor boost

2 c Chicken broth (Make sure if you are making this gluten free that your broth is gluten free as well!!  Some are not!)


1.  Place butter, rice, and pasta pieces in a medium skillet.  Cook on medium heat until rice and pasta start to brown a little.

2.  Add in all remaining ingredients, stirring to make sure they are mixed well.

3.  Put the lid on and cook on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until rice is cooked  through and there is no liquid remaining.

That’s it!!  Simple and good, and as a bonus you know what’s in it!!  No extra added chemicals or preservatives!!

Sometimes, if I am in a hurry, I will mix up a big bunch of this and prepackage it for days I am in a hurry.  Just mix together the rice and pasta, place in a Ziploc bag with a smaller bag with the spices, and add the wet ingredients when you go to make it.

Easy peasy and so much better for you!!


Zuppa Toscana

Zuppa Toscana

One of our favorite restaurants to visit on date night is the Olive Garden. After my Celiac diagnosis, I was pretty upset at the thought of never being able to eat there again. After picking apart much of the menu, I stumbled across this little gem and gave it a try. It quickly became one of my favorite soups, but was sadly off limits to me at the restaurant. (Who knew chicken broth had wheat in it?!?!) After searching intently for the exact recipe, and failing many times, I finally think I have it down pat.

Now mind you, this is one of my most requested dinners and recipes, so be prepared to praised when you make it.

Zuppa Toscana

1 pound mild italian sausage (ground)
1/4 tsp cayanne pepper (or more depending on your taste)
4 slices of bacon cut into pieces
1 onion diced
1T (or 3-4 cloves) minced garlic
64 ounces chicken broth
8 potatoes peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup heavy cream
1/4-1/2 bunch Kale stems removed and chopped into small pieces

1. First cook italian sausage in large stock pot. While sausage is cooking sprinkle on the cayanne pepper. Drain and set aside.

2. Place bacon, onion, and garlic into stock pot and cook until it starts to brown. Add chicken broth, potatoes, and kale. Bring to a boil and cook til potatoes are tender.

3. Reduce heat and add cream and sausage. Heat through.

Thats about it. It seems like it takes forever but its fairly simple and quick. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!

Yours truly,
Ms. Me

Side note: If you are preparing this for someone who is gluten free, please make sure the chicken broth you use is gluten free. Some are not, but those that are will say gluten free on the container.