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Browse all recipes on In Good Cents for more ways to save at home or view the recipes below in the order they were released.

The grill tends to bring our family closer together during the summer and makes cooking so much more fun.

Cooking in our wide-open backyard while the kids play squealing and our dogs run around it such a different experience than cooking in our small kitchen during the cold winters. The smells and sounds are invigorating, plus I can cook while practicing cartwheels with my 7-year-old, watching my 5-year-old’s swing performance, and playing baseball with my 3-year-old.

Tonight, before we all piled on one couch with popsicles in hand (the best summer treat) to watch the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies, we headed outside to create a traditional summer family dinner with pork ribs, corn on the cob, zucchini, and baked beans – all on the grill.

I broke out my new Barbecue! Bible, which I love, because it breaks down all the different types of flavorings for meat and how to use them in detail. Since I can’t do anything by-the-book, I slightly altered a recipe for a rub. Plus,  I found a simple sauce to flavor the vegetables that I wasn’t even looking for, but couldn’t pass up.

Our meal took an unexpected turn when we realized I may have added too much Cayenne Pepper to the rub. Suddenly it became a challenge to see who could go the longest without the relief of a drink of milk after taking a bite of their pork rib. Embarrassingly enough, my 3-year-old son got the Gold Medal in this event.

What brings your family closer together for meal times? And how did your family get ready to cheer on this year’s U.S. Olympic Team?

Ragin’ Cajun Rub Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Paprika
  • 3 TBSP Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 TBSP Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 TBSP Dried Thyme
  • 1 TBSP Diced Onions
  • 1 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 1 TBSP Honey Barbecue Sauce

Directions

Mix all ingredients together until blended well. Place your meat in a freezer bag. Pour in the Ragin’ Cajun Rub. Shake until the meat is covered and refrigerate at least 8-24 hours before cooking your meat on the grill or bake in the oven.

This rub works well with chicken, pork, or turkey.

Garlic Butter Vegetable Baste Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 TBSP Butter
  • 3 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 TBSP Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions

Melt butter, then mix in other ingredients until well blended.  Add to vegetables before cooking or while cooking as a baste.

In Good Cents is a Table Talk Contributor, sponsored by the  Indiana Family of Farmers. While I was not compensated for this post, I was provided with tools to enjoy some delicious summer food for inspiration. For more information, please read our terms & conditions and disclosure policy.

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I used to live in this little town (seriously, only three stoplights) in Ohio. And there was a wonderful little privately owned pizza place in town that made the BEST Taco Pizza EVER!!!! It was our family tradition to order pizza once a month and when it was my turn to pick what we ordered it was always Taco Pizza from Hungry Howies. The crust was crispy, the taco meat with beans was delish, and the towering toppings of lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, and sour cream was so heavenly that my mouth waters just writing about it.

But sadly, I moved away from that little town when I was 14 and haven’t tasted a bite of Taco Pizza since then (until I recreated it myself). Actually, everyone I have ever asked, had never even heard of Taco Pizza! So while this isn’t exactly the wackiest on my list of Wacky Wednesday ideas, since it seems no one outside of my sleepy little childhood town has even heard of Taco Pizza, I  just have to share my recreation of this delicious marriage of two of my favorite foods, Pizza and Tacos! Now, I know what you are probably thinking, and it is probably pretty close to my husbands reaction, “taco?…..pizza?…..That sounds really gross but if you must……” But I assure you, give it a shot and your family will have a taste-bud explosion and it will soon become a family favorite like it has in our house.

And it is so versatile, cut small squares and it can be an appetizer at a casual party or larger slices and it’s dinner, you choose!

What you need:

1 Pizza Crust (store bought or homemade, it doesn’t matter but crispy is the key!)
1 lb. Hamburger
1 Taco Seasoning Packet
1/2 can of re-fried beans
8 oz. Taco Blend shredded cheese
1/2 head of lettuce
2 small tomatoes
Black Olives
Taco sauce
(any other taco toppings that your family prefers)

How to make this simple taste-bud masterpiece:

Roll out your pizza crust to get it as thin as possible without tearing onto a greased cookie sheet or pizza pan. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat until just browned, drain well and add taco seasoning mix and 1/3 c. of water until well mixed as if you are making traditional tacos.

Spread a thin layer of re-fried beans over your pizza crust (not to much, we don’t want to overpower the meat). Even if you don’t care for re-fried beans, this is a necessity, it isn’t true taco pizza without it! Top this with the prepared taco meat, and drizzle with desired amount of taco sauce. I used about 1 cup for my pizza. All that is left to do for this part is to top with cheese! Cover the pizza with the entire bag of cheese and pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or the cooking time recommended for the crust that you use. Since everything is already cooked except for the crust, the goal is to just get the crust cooked through and melt the cheese.

 

While your pizza is in the oven, shred your lettuce to bite size strips, dice the tomato, and open the olives so you are all ready to add your toppings and eat!

After your pizza comes out of the oven, immediately top with shredded lettuce (don’t be afraid to really pile it on!) The crunchy chill of the lettuce contrasts so nicely with the warm gooey-ness of the taco meat, cheese and beans. Now top with diced tomatoes and black olives and any remaining ingredients you would like to add! Cut into squares, not triangle slices, this pizza works better with squares. It could be because that was how Hungry Howies always cut their pizza but it could also be because the toppings are loose and will fall all over the place if it isn’t in small easy to manage pieces. The last step is to add a dollop of sour cream to each piece and enjoy!

As you can see this is just like any other pizza so you can add or subtract ingredients to suit your families tastes. My recommendation is to NOT take away are the refried beans, taco meat, and lettuce! Those make it the best EVER!

Let me know what you think, just scroll down a little and leave a comment in the box below and give it to me straight, is it just me or is this the best pizza ever!?!?!?

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I find myself using Pinterest more and more to search for anything I need.  Here are my favorites from Pinterest this week.

This week’s top 10 things on Pinterest:

CLICK HERE to see this week’s best pins!

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If you’ve been on Pinterest recently, you’ve probably run across the beautiful photos of ice pops that have been making the rounds recently.  With fresh fruit popping out of the sides, they look healthy and delicious, so I started clicking to get some recipes.  Every one mentioned getting your our Zoku.  Since I’m always up on the latest cool gadgets, I Googled “What is a Zoku?” and found out it’s an “instant” ice pop maker.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m susceptible to advertising and beautiful pictures, so I immediately wanted one…. the I did the research.

Pictured - Left: Fruit Punch with bananas, grapes, and pear slices. Right: Strawberry Creamsicle with pear slices.

The single Zoku makes one ice pop in 8-10 minutes and cost about $26.  Now yes, that’s instantly frozen, so that’s quick, but I had visions of my 2 other kids screaming for the 8-10 minutes while I made theirs or me attempting to make a dozen to keep in the freezer.  It didn’t sound fun.  There’s also a Zoku duo ($36.99) and a Zoku ($49.95) that makes 3 ice pops at a time.  And then there is the tool kit ($19.99), extra sticks ($11.99), storage case ($19.99), and character kit ($14.99).  When all said and done, I figured the first three ice pops I made would be some pretty expensive ice pops and we all know I’m cheap frugal.  Now there is a less expensive version from Hamilton Beach for only $32, but it has horrible reviews across the internet.

I also found out that you can’t use the Zoku to make sugar-free ice pops.  And, even though it makes one ice pop in 8-10 minutes, you have to freeze the entire Zoku in your freezer for 24 hours before using it, plus refrozen between batches if you take too much time making them pretty.

I got it into my head that I could make those beautiful fruit ice pops without a Zoku.  The tricky part was getting the fruit to stick to the side of the ice pop mold and getting it to stay there while I poured in the juice, but I’m happy to say I succeeded!

My hodge podge of ingredients. I didn't use them all, but I wanted to see what I had to have some fun with, before I started.

What you’ll need:

  • Popsicle Molds
  • Cutting Board
  • Lemon Juice
  • Small Knifes and/or Cookie Cutters
  • Ingredients (juices, liquids, yogurt, pudding, honey, fresh fruit, etc…)

How to get started:

If you plan to use fruit, which is completely optional, the first thing you’ll need to do is pour a little water into each slot of the ice pop molds and then pour it out.  Next, set them on their side in the freezer while you cut the fruit.  Put the side you plan to put the fruit on down.

The goal here isn’t to get them soaked, but to create a very thin layer of ice along one wall that will act as an adhesive to the fruit.  Even if you can’t see the water, there are droplets that will work perfectly.

Make sure your final pieces will fit into your molds!

While your thin layer of ice freezes, start getting creative with your fruit.  Cut the fruit into thin (very thin) layers.  Use a cookie cutter or small knife to cut them into shapes for the ice pops.  Make sure to place them on the cutting board, since you’ll have to press hard on cookie cutters to cut through thicker fruits like pears.  Of course, help small children.  My 5 year old *thinks* she’s old enough to use a knife herself, but gets a bit too wild creative if not guided.

While you get creative, place the cut pieces of fruit in a small bowl of lemon juice to soak, so the don’t turn brown.  Plus, the lemon juice ads a light layer of liquid to the fruit to help it stick to the thin layer of ice currently freezing in the molds.

It’s time to get creative once again.  Pull the mold out of the freezer and place it on it’s side the same way you had it in the freezer.  Slide your fruit in the molds.  Lay them flat against the side that’s down.  You can create designs, like my daughter did, or simply lay them in there, like I did.  Put them back in the freezer, fruit-side down, while you whip up your ice pop bases.

Mixing up Cookies & Cream Ice Pops (They were AMAZING!)

Since this entire thing is really about creativity, it’s time to get creative again.  The best part about whipping up ice pop bases is that you get to taste them.  In fact, I encourage it, because the way they taste now is exactly the way they’ll taste when they are frozen, just a bit colder.  So, you can decide now if they need more vanilla or orange juice.  Remember, less is more.  You can always add more ingredients, but it’s a bit harder to fix if you add too much of one.

Here’s a few recipes we loved from our batch:

CLICK HERE to get the rest of this delicious recipe!

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Okay, I am going to be honest, this is by far the most disgusting and yet fun thing I have done in a long time. We have done plenty of Jell-O Molds, Knox Blox and the like in our time, but Jell-O Worms? I wasn’t too sure, but I had two little boys in my house who were absolutely sure that this was THE thing to do for Wacky Wednesday.

So I embarked on a journey to create worms! Now you can too!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 boxes (1.4 oz) Jell-O or Flavored Gelatin (raspberry or grape if you want brown worms)
  • 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 5 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cup Cool Whip
  • green food coloring, (if you want brown worms)
  • 100+ plastic straws with bendable necks

How to get started:

Find a tall thin container for making your worms. If you have a 1/2 gallon or carton of milk or orange juice, trim off the top and that will work perfectly. I used a thermos that we had laying around (fail!). Thermos’ are insulated to keep the cold stuff cold and the hot stuff hot. SO with now thinking ahead planning on my part, running the water over a thermos to loosen the Jell-O from the sides, doesn’t work very well. So learn from my mistake and just chop off the top of your orange juice container, rinse it out and consider yourself warned.

What ever you do decide to use, make sure it can hold about 6 cups of liquid and that it is straight up and down to hold your straws erect. Now fill it with straws, this was my son’s favorite part, because not only did he get to ‘grow’ the straws (extending out the bendy section), but he got to put them in and practice his counting skills. Place all your extended straws into your container with the bendy part facing down and make sure that the end of the straws are sitting flush to the bottom of your container. Pack the straws in tightly to get a nice snug fit, a rubber band around the top of the straws will help pull them together when you pour in the Jell-O mixture.

Now it is time to make the Jell-O mixture. In a medium bowl, stir together the plain and the unflavored gelatin, then add the boiling water over the gelatin powder. Stir until the powder is dissolved. If you would like to make multi-colored worms, you can! Just use 1 box of flavored gelatin and 2 packets of unflavored gelatin instead and dissolve it with 2 1/2 cups boiling water. At this point let your bowl (or bowls) of gelatin cool down for about 20 minutes, not set but slightly warm, then add in the Cool Whip. If you are making one color worms, put in the entire 1 1/2 cup, use 3/4 cup if you are planning on using two separate colors. My plan was to make orange and red, but I didn’t wait for the orange to set enough before adding my red so they came out one color. We didn’t opt for the brown worms, because my stomach couldn’t handle that, but this is the point where you would add the green food coloring to turn your worms a natural brown color.

Put your container of straws on a cookie sheet or inside a larger bowl, like I did because there will be spills!! Now that your mixture is ready to go, slowly pour the Jell-O over the straws. Some of the Jell-O mixture will seep up the sides, but no worries, your straws should be filling up. If you are using two different colors, pour in the first color and allow it set for about 30 minutes or more in the refrigerator. Then pour the other color on top. You can see that mine turned all red, because I didn’t allow my first color to set long enough, but it was still very disgustingly delish! I also used a clean lid for the extra Jell-O mix since I ran out of room in my thermos of straws.

Chill your Jell-O filled straws in the fridge overnight. After the Jell-O has set, it’s time for the messes of all messes! Run your container under warm water until you can pull the entire Jell-O/straw blob out easily. (This is also the part where you thank me for stopping you from using a thermos for your straws! This part was next to impossible and I wound up hacking away at the sides with a butter knife while my friend and the two excited boys tried to pull this mess out.) After about 15 minutes of hacking and pulling we finally managed to get the straws out. (this would have been much easier had I thought ahead and NOT used a thermos, even if it was pink!)

Now onto removing your worms, on all the websites I read, they said to “tightly squeeze and slide your thumb and finger down the length of the straw and the worm will be pushed out of the bottom”. I must not have very strong fingers because after about 5 very broken and quickly devoured worms were “squeezed” out I was just about done! The two little boys I spoke of earlier were about this close to missing out on Jell-O worms because I just couldn’t squeeze any more Jell-O from these straws.

So I ran some hot water back into the now empty thermos, gave each straw a quick dip in the hot water bath and they slid right out with ease. Make sure you don’t leave them in the hot water for too long, or you will experience the slimy mess falling out in the water, in the sink, on the counter and just about anywhere else, EXCEPT where you want them to go. Once they are all out of the straws, place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and put them back in the fridge until ready to serve, if they make it that long!

Even though ours turned out red, and not at all appearing like real earthworms, when you pop one in your mouth, it does FEEL like you would imagine a real worm does, so if you have a weak stomach leave these for the kiddos!

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Ready for the easiest and best recipe you’ll ever have?  I have a young boy toddler who loves yogurt, but can’t eat it without getting it into his hair, clothes, the table, the chairs, and pretty much everything within a 1/2 mile radius of where he eats it.  I know yogurt is healthy for breakfast and since he loves it and it’s so affordable, I’d love to let him eat it for every breakfast.  However, when we’re on the go, I have to either plan for a long clean up afterwards or skip it.

This is the perfect solution!  Not only that, but it also got my daughters eating more yogurt.  Even the Greek yogurt they couldn’t stand taste delicious as Yogurt Bites!

What you’ll need:

  1. (1) single-serving container of yogurt (any brand, flavor!)
  2. (1) sandwich baggie
  3. (1) cookie tray with Reynold’s wrap or wax paper covering it
  4. (1) freezer
  5. (1) container for storage

First, stir the yogurt up to blend it together and make it smooth.  Any yogurt will work, except whipped, so mix it up.  Try yogurt with fruit in it or the yogurt with the candy in it for a sweet treat.

Spoon the yogurt into the sandwich baggie and push the air out, then seal.  Cut one of the bottom corners off.  The closer to the tip you cut the sandwich baggie, the smaller the yogurt bites will be.  You can make them any size.  Just make sure they are bite-size or they’ll be messy to eat.

Squeeze all the yogurt to the end of the baggie towards the cut tip to make it look like you are piping icing.

Squeeze the bite-size drops onto the tray. Make sure they aren’t touching.  One container of yogurt makes about one tray of yogurt bites.  Next, place the entire tray uncovered into the freezer to freeze.

Since they are so small, they freeze quickly.   It may take up to 20 minutes or less.  Pull them out and you can easily lift the Reynold’s wrap or wax paper, then use your finger to pop off each one into a container for storage.

Enjoy them immediately, or place them into the freezer to enjoy later.  They store in the freezer for about 1-2 weeks.  Make sure your container is air tight to avoid freezer burn.  Give your young kids a few at a time, because unlike M&M’s these do melt in your mouth and your hands!  They are absolutely delicious!

Change it up!

Try dipping fruit in yogurt and freezing for a new and delicious taste!

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Recipe Credit: Yogurt Bites found on Pinterest and Fruit Covered Yogurt on We Love It.

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