Simple Recipes

Crockpot Mac & Cheese

High schools across the country look to parents to stock their concession stands during sporting events! As a parent of two student athletes, I know it can be hard to find recipes that SELL at the high school concession stand! Well, this recipe for Crockpot Mac & Cheese is a sure-fire, big seller! All that creamy goodness. The recipe comes from – be sure to check his site out for great recipes! I doubled the recipe and adjusted some of the spices!


Crockpot Mac & Cheese
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Creamy Mac & Cheese goodness in the crockpot (NOT from a box!). This is a large batch, but don't worry - it will go quick! This is perfect for large parties and for sports concession stands!
Recipe type: Crockpot
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16 servings
  • 4 cups elbow macaroni pasta, cooked for about 6 minutes and drained (yes, I undercook it!)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 cups shredded cheese (I used a combo of sharp and mild cheddar)
  • 8 T butter
  • 2 10¾ oz can cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 t salt (or to taste)
  • 1 t pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 t dry mustard
  • ¼ to ½ t Cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. In a large crockpot/slow cooker, combine the undercooked macaroni and all the remaining ingredients.
  2. Stir until well combined.
  3. Cover and set on low for approximately 2 hours.
  4. Stir every 30 minutes to ensure the cheese does not burn.
  5. Enjoy!

 SSD Crockpot Mac Cheese

A Few Concession Stand Tips:

Making hot dogs for the stand? Don’t worry about grilling them – use your crockpot! Open your packages of hotdogs and empty them into the crockpot (adding whatever liquid is in the package, but no more!). To save room, stand the hot dogs up on one end to allow for large batches of hot dogs! Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, or low for 4 hours. So simple!

Provide Simple, Healthy Alternatives! When people are stuck all day or evening at an event, they would like a little healthy stuff thrown in! Cheese sticks, bananas, granola bars are always a welcome choice!

Have No Clue How To Run A School Concession Stand? Check out this terrific tutorial on the basics of a school concession stand from!

SSD Concession Stand Tips

Sweet Chili Snack Mix

This recipe is handy for tailgating or as a snack – it is a perfect blend of salty, sweet, and it packs a nice protein punch!

snack w logo2


  • ¼ Cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 large egg white
  • ¾ Cup Corn Chex
  • ¾ Cup almonds **
  • ¾ Cup cashews **
  • ¾ Cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) **

** If you use nuts that are already salted, you don’t need to add salt. If they are not salted, feel free to add ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)

snack w logo 1


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cumin, chili powder and chipotle chili powder – stir to combine (If adding salt, add it in here).

In a larger bowl, whisk the egg white until it is frothy. To that, add the Chex and the nuts; stir to coat all ingredients. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the nut mixture, stirring to coat.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then spread the mixture in the pan. Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove fro oven and stir, then place back into the oven. Shut oven off and let sit in warm oven for 15 more minutes. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

SSD Snack Mix

Blistered Corn Salad

This is a wonderful salad to serve at a BBQ or a tailgate party! I call it a sturdy salad because it can hold up to a little time outside on a warm day. Why? No mayo! Full of flavor and freshness!


  • 1/3 Cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 8 Ears of corn
  • 1 Tablespoon jalapenos, chopped (or for milder version, substitute ¼ cup mild, chopped green chilies)
  • ½ Cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 Cup chopped cherry tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)
  • ¼ Cup of mixture of chopped fresh herbs (I used chives, cilantro and basil)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Husk the corn, removing all corn silk. Brush with olive oil and grill 10-15 minutes, turning frequently, until the corn is lightly charred on the outside. Using a knife, remove the corn kernels and place in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whish together the Dijon mustard and the rice wine vinegar. Slowly whish in the olive oil. Add to the corn kernels (this tastes even better when the kernels are still warm!).

Stir in the remaining ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste, cover, and set aside to allow the flavors to blend together (I left mine out for an hour).

Serve at room temperature.

Refrigerate any leftovers!

Close-up of Blistered Corn Salad
Close-up of Blistered Corn Salad


Blistered Corn Salad

How To Make The New Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

Fall is coming, and nothing heralds the start of fall like Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte! It hits the stores this year as early as September 4th, but with a reworked recipe that includes real pumpkin!

Now, if you want to enjoy this treat at home, try making this large batch recipe – it is the perfect recipe hack for this delectable drink (and it includes real pumpkin)!

SSD Pumpkin Spice Latte

Large Batch Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte


  • 1 Cup pureed or canned pumpkin
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk, warmed and frothed, per serving (I used 2 percent milk in this recipe)
  • 1-2 shots espresso per serving
  • Whipped Cream


To Make The Pumpkin Spice Base: Combine pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and black pepper in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes (until it is hot and smells great!). Add sugar and continue cooking until it looks like apple butter – pretty darned thick!

Remove from heat and add in the vanilla and stir. It should have consistency of apple sauce. Cool and refrigerate (stores well for a week).

The Pumpkin Spice Base, before adding the vanilla - pretty thick!
The Pumpkin Spice Base, before adding the vanilla – pretty thick!
The Pumpkin Spice Base AFTER you add vanilla. Looks kind of like dark apple sauce!
The Pumpkin Spice Base AFTER you add vanilla. Looks kind of like dark apple sauce!







To Make One Serving – Hot: In a saucepan, heat and froth one cup milk (you can froth by using a hand held or regular blender); add 1/3 cup pumpkin spice base and blend; add 1-2 shots espresso and blend. Pour into mug, top with whipped cream and a light dusting of pumpkin pie spice (optional).

To Make One Serving – Cold: In a blender, add one cup cold milk and blend until frothy. Add 1/3 cup pumpkin spice base and 1-2 shots espresso and blend. Pour over ice and serve with or with out whipped cream!


Need an easy way to make a large batch of espresso? Check out this recipe that is perfect for iced coffee from the Pioneer Woman – Click Here!

SSD Pumpkin Latte

This yummy recipe is adapted from one I found on!

Simple Ways To Make The First Day Of School Easier

SSD BTS Breakfast TipsThe first day of school is rapidly approaching for students, and the Simple Solutions Diva has some great Back-To-School breakfast ideas and helpful tips to get the kids ready for school!

Give Them A Great Breakfast!

Fuel those little brains with good, healthy breakfasts they will like and they will greet the day full & happy! Here are some easy breakfast ideas that are packed with protein:

Waffle Breakfast Sundae


Healthy Waffle Sundae for Breakfast, From
Healthy Waffle Sundae for Breakfast, From

No, this is not a super sweet sundae for breakfast, but one made with a whole wheat (or gluten free) waffle of your choice (toasted), topped with greek yogurt, sliced fruits (I used strawberries and bananas,) and you can sprinkle some granola on top (optional) for a yummy treat! The greek yogurt is high in protein, the fruit gives them the natural sugar and the granola is crunchy good!

For video instructions, view HERE!

Almond Cereal Bars

Almond Cereal Bars (Photo: Travis Rathbone for
Almond Cereal Bars (Photo: Travis Rathbone for

These are a great way to have cereal on the go – have a bar and glass of milk and you are set! And you know exactly what is in the cereal bar (and don’t tell the kids there’s bran in it – they don’t have to know!).


  • 2/3 cup almond butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 4 cups bran cereal flakes
  • 4 cups Cheerios cereal
  • 4 tablespoons chopped, dried cherries
  • 4 tablespoons chopped almonds (optional)


Spray bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the almond butter and honey. Microwave on high for 30-45 seconds – stir to combine.

In another, larger microwave-safe bowl, combine the cereals and the cherries (and almonds, if using) and microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until the cereal mixture is warm.

Stir the almond-honey mixture over the cereal mixture. Be sure to stir until all cereal is thoroughly coated. Pour into greased pan and press mixture into the bottom of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars and serve, or save bars in plastic bags for later. Makes approximately 20 bars.

Adapted from

Southwest Breakfast Wraps

Southwest Breakfast Wrap, from
Southwest Breakfast Wrap, from

These are a great grab & go breakfast for the kids!


  • Tortilla Wrap (can use whole wheat wraps if desired)
  • 1 egg, scrambled – You can cook the egg in the microwave (in microwave safe cup!) on high for 1.5 minutes! (See video instructions HERE)
  • 2 teaspoons black beans, rinsed
  • Cheese
  • Salsa
  • 2-3 Spinach leaves, washed
  • Sour cream (if desired)


Place tortilla on a microwave-safe plate. Top with cooked egg, cheese, beans, and salsa. Microwave on high for 30-45 seconds, or until tortilla is warm. Add sour cream and spinach leaves, then roll tortilla up!  Wrap them in tin foil and serve warm!

Breakfast Smoothie Ideas:

Click For These Breakfast Smoothie Recipes: (The Superfood, The Tropical, and The Strawberry & Banana)

Get Them To Bed Early!

clockDuring the summer, sleep schedules are crazy! Get them back on track by having them get to bed a little early every day for a week. Reduce the time in front of a TV or computer screen in the evening. Start the process by reading to them in bed (or have the children read to themselves), getting in bed 10 minutes earlier every day for the week leading up to school.


Calm The Nerves!

Many kids get worried about the start of school, or going to a new school or grade. The transition from middle school to high school (or elementary to middle) can be scary, so take advantage of the school orientations. Get a map of the school and highlight where the child’s classes will be (and what period) so they know exactly where they need to go. Talk to them about what they are excited about for school, and then find out if they are nervous about anything. Sometimes just hearing that everything will be OK from mom or dad can make things easier. For the little ones, leaving mom and dad is scary – Give them a laminated photo of the family that they can carry with them at school.


Chill Out With Cold Drinks This Summer

SSD Summer Drinks


The Heat is on this summer, and we all are looking to cool things down a little. The Simple Solutions Diva has a few icy beverage recipes & ideas (all non-alcoholic), perfect to chill out with this summer!

Fruit Kicks Up Drinks To The Next Level  

Put the fruits of the season to work! If you have strawberries, peaches or raspberries, and they are about to become overripe, puree them in a blender and freeze the puree in ice cube trays – pop a few cubes into a glass to add a refreshing, fresh flavor to any lemonade or iced tea!

Fruit Puree Recipe:

  • 2 Cups Fruit (Wash and remove stems – like strawberries – or peel fruit – like mangos or peaches – first)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar – I used 1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon


Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour puree into ice molds, cover with plastic wrap and freeze 24 hours. Pop out and serve immediately in favorite beverage like iced tea or lemonade. Save remaining in freezer bag, removing as much air as possible from the baggie!

Perfect Iced Coffee

This is a bit of a process, but so worth the effort! Start it in the early morning (or the night before!), so you have it in the late afternoon! This will make a large batch for the week. Plus, you can freeze any leftovers in ice cube trays to add to your future iced coffee the next week (and the coffee ice cubes won’t water down your coffee)! Best Review From The Biggest Critic – My husband says:

This iced coffee maintains its integrity as the ice melts!

This large-batch recipe is from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond – you just can’t improve on perfection with this recipe! She has two types – regular iced coffee and vietnamese iced coffee – both are YUMMY! Click HERE to go to her fantastic recipe!

Crank Up The Heat To Chill Out

Sometimes it takes adding a little heat to get you to cool down! The theory is, if you sweat a little, it is your body’s way to cool you off! This Jalapeño Watermelon Limeade is a perfectly tasty way to cool you off – just enough of a kick, balanced with sweetness!

Jalapeño Watermelon Limeade


  • 4 cups watermelon, pureed in blender
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 5 limes)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-3 pinches of sea salt (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Jalapeño Simple Syrup (see recipe below) in each serving glass. Use this amount as a guide-add more or less to taste!

Jalapeño Simple Syrup Directions: In a saucepan, cook 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeños-I used canned, but you can use fresh- boil for five minutes, Set aside and allow to cool; strain through a sieve, store in air tight container in fridge for up to 1 month)


Combine the watermelon, lime juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and water in blender and blend! Serve in ice-filled glasses, stirring in 1/2 teaspoon Jalapeño Simple Syrup (more or less to taste!). Garnish with a slice of lime and a wedge of watermelon!


Five Minute Cake In A Mug!


When you are in a hurry for a decadent dessert, who doesn’t like chocolate? Here’s a recipe that is perfect to make and eat with the kids! Warning – this serving was so big, one mug (an oversized mug!) would have been plenty for two people!


  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 Tablespoons chocolate chips, optional (really, if you are making cake, GO FOR IT!) 😉
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Add the dry ingredients to a large, microwave-safe coffee mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly, being sure to scrape the sides and the bottom well to incorporate the mixture. Add the chocolate chips and vanilla and mix.

Place mug in microwave and cook for 3 minutes. The cake will rise and will peek out over the top of the mug, so don’t worry and think that it will explode!

Cake right out of the microwave - looks a little spongy and it is oh, so good!
Cake right out of the microwave – looks a little spongy and it is oh, so good!

Allow to cool, add some vanilla ice cream (why not!?!) and enjoy! So good you don’t need frosting!

Thank you so much to my assistants in today’s video, Dylan and Kingston! They were a big help AND they did a great job!

SSD Cake in mug

Baked Mozzarella Mini Bites


This recipe is fun to make with the kids and is a healthy alternative to fried mozzarella sticks. These little mini-bites of gooey deliciousness are baked, not fried, so you can feel good about enjoying them – and MAYBE even share with the kids! This recipe is a snack size; double or triple the recipe for more than 2 people.

Baked Mozzarella Mini Bites


  • 3 Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, sliced into thirds (about one inch in length)
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/3 cup egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • cooking spray


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Toast the panko crumbs over medium heat in a pan (no oil or grease). Stir continuously until the crumbs are a light golden brown. Place the crumbs on a plate.

Pour the egg substitute into a small bowl.

Dredge the cheese stick pieces in the egg, then in the panko crumbs, and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. (Make sure to cover all sides of the cheese with the panko crumbs, or else the cheese will melt and lose shape – as you can see in the video!)

Place in oven and cook until the cheese has started to melt (but not spread all over the place!) — approximately 3 minutes. Remove from oven, place on serving plate and serve immediately with warm marinara sauce.

SSD Mozzarella Mini Bites

Walking Tacos – A Favorite For Kids and Adults!

This recipe couldn’t be easier! I discovered the Walking Taco when I helped at my daughter’s high school sports concession stand. As i was happily pushing my Crockpot Ropa Vieja (find recipe HERE), more and more people were ordering this Walking Taco!  It is a favorite at sports concession stands, and kids and adults love them!  It is also a great way to serve up tacos for a bunch of kids at a party. I’ve also heard that it is a great way to do tacos while camping!

Walking Tacos (AKA Tacos In A Bag)


  • 1 pound of your favorite taco meat recipe, cooked
  • Individual sized bags of your favorite flavored Doritos® or Fritos®
  • Favorite Taco Toppings (suggestions: cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, corn, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.)
  • Plastic spoons


Crush the chips in their bag. Gently open the top of bag, being careful not to rip it from top to bottom.

Add meat and popping of your choice into the bag. Close bag and gently “mush” the ingredients around. Open the bag and walk around, eating the awesome “Walking Tacos”!



SSD Walking Tacos

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