Recipe – Peachy Iced Tea

peach tea recipe at - looks delicious and easy!

Looking for a delicious drink to serve at your next summer cookout with friends?


Seriously, you will THANK me for this recipe – it’s that good.  I promise.

peach tea recipe 1peach tea recipe 2peach tea recipe 3Step 1 – Pick up some Crystal Light Peach Flavor Iced Tea Mix.

Step 2 – Pour 1 packet into a pitcher and add 5 cups of cold water and 1 cup of orange juice.

Step 3 – Stir until mix is dissolved completely.

Step 4 (optional) – If you want to be super glamorous, add some sliced fresh peaches, raspberries, and blueberries.

Step 5 – Serve on ice.

I’m in New Jersey this week with the boys and my family!  We are having a lot of fun – although no one is really doing a lot of sleeping, which led to an unfortunate meltdown at the arcade on the boardwalk yesterday afternoon.

We had a big dinner the other night with my Oma and cousins and Aunt and Uncle and sister-in-love and brother and their kids and my parents – phew!  It was heaven getting to be reunited with everyone!

They all pitched in to help me take photos for this post.

{{In case you were wondering why I suddenly got man-hands, that is my dad pouring the orange juice into the pitcher.}}

And below is my lovely sister-in-love.peach tea recipe 5peach tea recipe 6The family really liked this drink.  My dad even commented how, “refreshing” it was.

I hope you will enjoy it too.

Happy Peachy Iced Tea-ing! :-)

*I originally found this recipe over at Kraft.

Recipe – Mediterranean Beef and Pasta

mediterranean beef at happyhomefairy.comI was at the store the other day trying to figure out something to get to make for dinner and I thought of this yumminess.  So, I went to Happy Home Fairy to remind myself of the ingredient list and after searching and searching, I was so surprised to find that I have never posted this recipe!

This is one of those meals that I love to serve because both of my boys eat it without a fuss.


{{Knuckle bumps}}

Mediterranean Beef and Pasta

Ingredients –

  • 1 lb beef stew meat (or 1 lb ground beef, browned and drained)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 jar (4.5 oz) sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar (I like to use Paul Newman’s Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing)
  • 1 T drained capers
  • 1 T dried, minced garlic
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked penne pasta
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions –

  • Spray 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In cooker, mix all ingredients except pasta, oil, pepper and cheese.
  • Cover; cook on Low heat setting 7 to 9 hours.*
  • About 15 minutes before serving, make pasta as directed on package. Stir pasta, oil and pepper into beef mixture. Serve with cheese.

*When I am short on time (what I really mean is when I don’t plan ahead), I use the ground beef version and cook it in a big covered pan for about 30 minutes – still delicious!


Happy Mediterranean Beef-ing! :-)

A Delicious Easter Feast

the best recipes for Easter dinner at happyhomefairy.comI keep turning around and being surprised by how fast the weeks are flying.

Happy Buddy said to me on Sunday that next week was Palm Sunday and I was like, “That’s ridiculous, no it’s not.”

And sure enough – it is.

The Easter season is here!  I have a BIG printable for you that I am hopefully going to get to work on this weekend if I give my kids a bag of pretzels and put them in a cage.

But today I have been thinking about some of the yummy recipes I have on this site and I wanted to share what, in my humble opinion, would be the perfect Easter feast – a delicious combination of flavors that is sure to make everyone’s tummies sing right along with their mouths after belting, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” at church.

honeybaked ham

Image Source –

First, buy a ham from Honeybaked.  You’re welcome.

potato casserole at - perfect dish for potlucks - never any leftovers and SO easy!!!Next, make THIS amazing potato casserole.

the best salad EVER.jpgThen make THIS salad (it is my most-requested, most popular recipe EVER).

The-BEST-Banana-BreadBake a batch of banana bread – (you can find this recipe at chef-in-training).

IMG_0329Serve up a side of THIS applesauce Jell-O.

lemon bars2And for dessert, enjoy THESE lemon cheese bars.

I promise that everyone will be in hog heaven (quite literally, if you are eating ham).

I’d love to know if you plan to use any of these recipes with your families this year!  Feel free to leave a comment below or drop me an email.  It always warms my heart to know how this site is helping you build a happy home – and stomach, for that matter.

Happy Easter Feast-ing! :-)

Recipe – Favorite Baked Macaroni and Cheese

favorite baked macaroni and cheese at happy home fairy - yum!

Well, I apologize if your one word for the New Year is ‘HEALTHY’ because this recipe is going to cause a conflict of interest in that endeavor.

I have shared about the hubs’ passion for homemade mac and cheese a couple of times before.  His mom made it from scratch when he was growing up so I knew that if our marriage was going to last that I would be wise to learn the art of making this dish myself.

If you have ever made a boxed macaroni and cheese, you will find that this recipe is a bit more labor intensive, but the flavor and payoff and the letting out of your pants will be worth it.

Favorite Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients –

  • 8 oz package elbow noodles
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 1/8 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups (plus extra) shredded cheddar cheese (for optimum taste, I buy the blocks of cheese and freshly shred it myself – makes a BIG difference)

Directions –

  • Cook pasta for 9 minutes.  Drain, cover, and set aside.
  • In medium saucepan, melt butter.  Blend in flour, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  • Cook until mixture is smooth and bubbly; gradually add milk.
  • Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils; simmer 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Gradually mix in cheese.  Stir over low heat until cheese is melted.
  • Add pasta; mix together lightly.  Pour into a 2-quart casserole.
  • Sprinkle top with more shredded cheddar.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (we like to bake it until the top browns nicely).

Winter comfort food at its best.

Happy Homemade Mac and Cheese-ing! :-)

Recipe – Prize-Winning Chili

prize-winning chili - the perfect recipe for fall!

 I am planning to make this on Halloween for our family to enjoy after a crisp, fall afternoon of Trick or Treating in 80-degree South Florida.


Prize-Winning Chili


1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

28 oz. can diced tomatoes

29 oz. can tomato sauce

2 cubes beef bouillon

2 (1 1/4 oz) pkgs. chili seasoning mix

7 oz. can diced green chiles

16 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

16 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Garnish: shredded Cheddar, cheese, sour cream, minced onion


Step 1 – Brown beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat; drain.

Step 2 – Mix remaining ingredients together and add to beef.

Step 3 – Cover and cook on low heat for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Step 4 – Top servings with shredded cheese, sour cream, and minced onion.

amazing chiliIn case you are wondering, I didn’t win the prize for this delicious chili recipe.

Some lady named Jan from one of my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks did.

I think you will find that the prize was, indeed, well deserved. :-)

Happy Chili-ing!

*This chili tastes EXCELLENT alongside my famous cheese biscuits!  Recipe HERE!*

How to Make Homemade Applesauce With Your Preschooler

how to make homemade applesauce with your preschooler

I love celebrating apples with my students during the month of September because Johnny Appleseed’s birthday is on the 26th.

One of the brave things I chose to do this month with my preschool class was to make homemade applesauce in the crock pot.

It was kind of hectic and the end result probably had Hepatitis A, B, and C in it, but the kids had SO much fun.

And that makes all the chaos worth it!

Here is what you will need –

applesauce 1A large crockpot

8-10 apples (we used Golden Delicious), peeled and chopped

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp cinnamon

What we did –

Every morning when my students walk in the classroom we have Table Time.

I knew that the applesauce needed several hours to cook, so I had all the ingredients set out on the table when they arrived.

I put a trashcan next to the table and began peeling the apples in front of the children (I would NOT recommend letting a preschooler use a peeler).

So that the children stayed involved, I asked them to peel the stickers off the apples, wash the apples in our sink, and help pick up any peels that missed the trashcan (I may have ‘accidentally’ missed the garbage more than I actually got the peels in – lol!).

Next, I showed the kids how an apple corer works.

They were completely fascinated (I think I went ahead and peeled an extra apple at this point because I did not take into account what hungry vultures my students could become at the site of neatly sliced apples).

Then we dumped the apples in the crock pot.

I opened the cinnamon and let the children each get a chance to smell this comforting spice.

We measured 1/4 tsp and one student sprinkled it in.

We did this with the brown sugar and water as well.

applesauce 2Then we covered the crock pot and I set it in a safe spot on HIGH.

One of the best things about making applesauce is how lovely it makes your room smell, which is always an added bonus when working with 2 year olds and one has a bad poop.

The applesauce smell kind of cancels out that sewage smell.

Around noon, I opened the lid and spent a few minutes stirring and mashing the apples.

applesauce 3Then I spooned a small portion in little bowls for each of my students.

Be prepared that your preschooler might bypass the spoon and just go for it – possibly even head first.

applesauce 4It was a hit!

I’m glad I took the risk and did this with my preschoolers.

I’m also glad I fed it to them right before they went home so that I didn’t have to deal with the aftermath of a 1/2 cup of brown sugar.


Happy Homemade Applesauce-ing!

Recipe – Super Easy Crockpot Lasagna

crockpot lasagna - SO easy! PErfECt for fall!

 On the first week back to school I came home admittedly feeling quite pleased with myself because I had actually put a meal in the crockpot before leaving for work.

I was seriously ready to give myself a gold medal for being so prepared in spite of a total life change.

I may have even said out loud,

“Work full-time?  Psh.  I got this.”

But fast forward 4 weeks and I am fairly certain my children don’t even know what a home cooked meal is.

If you happen to be better planned than me, then I know this recipe will be a blessing for you in the back to school rush.

crockpot lasagna 1crockpot lasagna 3crockpot lasagna 2crockpot lasagna 4crockpot lasagna 5crockpot lasagna 6crockpot lasagna 7crockpot lasagna 8

Crockpot Lasagna

Ingredients –

1 lb cottage cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 (26 oz) jars marinara sauce

2 lbs lean ground beef, browned and drained of fat (not shown in above ingredient photo)

1 (9 oz) pkg lasagna noodles

Directions –

 1. Place cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese in a medium bowl and stir to combine.

2. Add a thin layer of pasta sauce to the bottom of slow cooker.

3. Add a thin layer of cooked beef and a layer of noodles, breaking the noodles to make them fit.

4. Add a layer of cheese mixture.

5. Repeat until all of the ingredients are used, ending with sauce.

6. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.crockpot lasagna 9


Happy Crockpot Lasagna-ing! :-)

*You can check out some of my other favorite slow cooker recipes HERE.*