“Everything but the Kitchen Sink” Pasta Salad

Springtime is coming and ‘tis the season for pasta salads and outdoor picnics!!! This is my favorite pasta salad recipe in the whole world, and it’s very simple. You can use pretty much anything in your fridge to make it, and all of the measurements can be totally flexible. Have extra bacon? Add extra bacon! Hence the name: “everything but the kitchen sink” pasta salad.


  • 1 lb pasta: rotini, shells, or elbows work well – but use what you have! Cooked, drained, and cooled.
  • 8-12 slices of bacon: cooked, cooled, and chopped
  • 1 c. shredded carrots, loosely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 c. green onion, diced
  • 1-2 c. fancy shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix mayonnaise, milk, salt & pepper together in small bowl.

Mix all other ingredients (pasta, bacon, cheese, chopped vegetables) in a large bowl. Add mayo mixture and stir thoroughly. Enjoy!

You can add in ranch dressing mix or other spices to the mayo mixture and give it a bit more pizzaz. Also feel free to mix in any veggies you have in your fridge. This is a great “clean out the fridge” pasta salad!!

Instant Pot creme Brûlée

Creme Brûlée is my favorite dessert of all time. I am pretty sure it’s one of the top reasons why I married my husband (I kid, I kid), because he makes it for me.

There are several methods for making creme brûlée, and my husband has always made it for me using a water bath in the oven. I discovered that you can make it in the instant pot, and while it has a more eggy flavor, I find it to be delicious and much more accessible for your average home chef (me)! I’ll break down both methods here, but the recipe remains the same!

Creme Brûlée

Serves 6

7 egg yolks
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 quart heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla (or 4 vanilla bean pods, scraped)

Directions for creme:
Beat egg yolks with granulated sugar, mix in heavy cream and vanilla (editors note: some recipes call for you to heat up the cream and temper it in, we do not do that for the instant pot version, but my husband does when he cooks his in the water bath).

Instant Pot Cooking Process:

Pour creme mixture into ramekins. Cover each ramekin tightly with aluminum foil. Place rack in bottom of instant pot and fill with 1 c. of water. Stack ramekins inside of instant pot (you’ll have 3 on the bottom layer and 3 on the top). Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes, let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, followed by a quick release to release any remaining pressure. Remove from pressure cooker and let cool. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Brûlée with kitchen torch or under the broiler in your stove.

Water bath Cooking Process:

Preheat oven to 325. Place ramekins in a water bath and pour creme into each one. Once oven is preheated, cook ramekins in the water bath for 75 minutes. Once set, remove ramekins from the water bath (this is the complicated part because the water is hot!) and let cool. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Brûlée with kitchen torch or under the broiler in your stove.

Tip: if you use the water bath cooking method, this contraption from Amazon will help you get your ramekins out of the water bath with ease!

I’ve partnered with Heilala vanilla for this post. Heilala is a women-operated, New Zealand-based company that has become the world’s most awarded vanilla. It started as an aid project after a cyclone ravaged the Kingdom of Tonga. A New Zealand family partnered with the community of Utungake to establish a small vanilla plantation that now provides employment and infrastructure across a number of communities, continuing to make a significant impact on the Tongan economy. New Zealand will always have a special place in our heart, so I was excited to make creme brûlée with this vanilla!

Pieces of Cake was gifted this product in exchange for this post. This post contains affiliate links.

Broccoli Ham Ring

This is probably my favorite recipe of all time – a super simple dinner that the whole family can eat. My mom made it for us as kids, and it was always my favorite dinner! I would get seriously so hyped every time she said she was making it. I have adapted the recipe over time, so here is how I make it these days.

Also, this is not a food blog and I’ll never pretend this is a food blog but please indulge me here. I’m telling you, this is my favorite dinner. We eat it appx. once a week now.


  • 3/4 c. chopped broccoli (thawed from frozen)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. (or 6 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c. mayo
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. Horseradish
  • 1/2 tbsp. Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. Black pepper
  • 3/4 c. Sliced deli ham, chopped
  • 2 tubes crescent roll dough

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix first 9 ingredients. Mixture should be moist but not soupy. Take crescent roll dough and separate them into triangles, forming a ring. Fill ring with filling mixture and fold over each triangle point into the center of the ring, covering the filling. You may have extra filling. I usually have a little bit extra. Bake ring for 15-20 minutes, or until Golden brown on the outside. Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite dinner from childhood that you still make today?