About Toni

Family meals are important. Iʼll show you easy ways to spend less time and money at the grocery store, less time in the kitchen and more time with your family.

Author Archive | Toni

Tips for Making Neon Pasta.. or Why You Should Make Neon Pasta

Neon Pasta

I first posted these photos in 2012 as a fun tribute to the opening of Disney’s the Lorax. This answers the question of why I originally wanted to make neon pasta. Yes, the broccoli was meant to represent the trees from the movie and the blue alfredo sauce- the river.  But after my neon pasta photo was listed as a Pinterest favorite photo of the day and has been shared thousands of times, I figured that maybe more than Lorax fans would want to cook up some neon pasta of their own.  Here’s my tips to making your pasta pop (we’ll answer the “why” later):

The Lorax Pasta

Toni’s Tips for Making Neon Pasta

Tip #1:  Choose A Fun Shape

Bowtie, penne, elbow, or my favorite- cavatappi pasta…. the purpose behind making neon pasta should undoubtedly determine its shape. Having a rainbow-themed party? Elbow. Want to bring the 80’s to dinner? Linguine.  And, for a formal affair, use bowtie, of course.

Tip #2:  Use Premium Food Dye

You can use an entire bottle of a cheap grocery store food dye and it still won’t give you the bright colors a professional food dye can (can you say “Pinterest fail”?). My favorite dyes are Wilton and Duff, which can both be found in Michaels or Walmart. In fact, Duff has a special line of neon colors like “Electric Pink” and “Electric Purple”.

Tip 3:  Don’t Toss Your Gold (your pasta water, that is)

If you follow any of my tips, you’ll want to follow this one. I call my pasta water liquid gold because I save it to the side for when my pasta gets dry and dehydrated, I simply splash some pasta water over the pasta to get it shiny again.  Take a glass measuring cup and scoop out the water before draining the pasta, one cup for every half pound of pasta.

scoop out pasta water

Tip #4:  Don’t Mix Your Water

Yes, you will have to boil each color individually (I know, duh). I start with my lightest color first and work my way up to the darkest colors. This makes saving your pasta water to rehydrate the pasta even more critical. The alternative is to get out three or four pots and boil them at the same time in separate pots, but personally, I only like to wash one pot.


Why You Want to Make Neon Pasta (come on, you know you want to)

I know you’re probably searching your brain for a reason to make neon pasta by now, right? The truth is that it’s just a fun touch to a party. Here are my reasons:

Reason #1:  80’s Themed Party

A few years ago I threw an 80’s themed party for my niece and thought a nice addition to some pizza would be a big bowl of neon spaghetti with their choice of marinara or alfredo sauce to top. It turned out to be one of the biggest hits of the party when I only thought it would be just a nice added touch. The girls talked about it all night.  You can read more about it here:

80s party

Reason #2:  Beach Themed Party

Okay, I might have gone a bit too far with this one. A friend was having beach-themed party for her daughter and needed some help so I made some “Surf’s Up Pasta” (blue cavatappi pasta for the waves) with a choice of Shark Attack Sauce (marinara) or “Sunset Sauce” (alfredo).  Yep.  Big hit.

Surfs Up Pasta


Reason 3#:  Because It’s Fun

Do you really need a reason to make neon pasta?  If you do, please refer to reasons 2 & 3 above.

Share Your Neon Pasta Photo #OrganizedCook

If you decide that neon pasta should be served at your next party and decide to take a photo, please tag me at @OrganizedCook on Instagram or Twitter, or post a photo to my Facebook.  Would love to share it with the rest of our readers!


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St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast Idea “Shamrock Eggs”

Healthy St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast

Bring Green (not food coloring) To Your St. Patty’s Day Breakfast Table.  My family never gets tired of this St. Patty’s Day breakfast.  In the past we’ve had green pancakes with green milk (yay food coloring) and have even stopped by Dunkin Donuts for some green donuts (yay sugar).  I’ve even served green scrambled eggs to show our Irish spirit, which didn’t go over too well.  This simple recipe for Shamrock Eggs is all natural and takes just minutes.


Shamrock Eggs Ingredients

Shamrock Eggs Ingredients


Shamrock Eggs Recipe

Shamrock Eggs


  • large green bell pepper- sliced
  • eggs, small
  • butter or oil
  • Parmesan cheese


  1. slice bell pepper into 1/2-inch whole slices lengthwise
  2. place in heated skillet with melted butter or oil
  3. crack egg in the center of bell pepper slice and cook until set, approximately 1 minute
  4. flip and cook on other side until achieved desired consistency
  5. garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese
  6. serve with fruit like green apples and grapes, and toast


I’ll always remember the first time I made Shamrock Eggs because my Aunt Peggy was in town visiting my cousin and stopped by my house that quiet weekday morning on her way back home.  “Perfect timing” I said as I set the table to try out this new simple recipe on her.  Looking back on my food photos I’ll always remember our unexpected breakfast as I snapped the camera before we ate.  Then again, my friends and family are used to being my test subjects for new recipes anytime they stop by my house.




St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

Still wondering what’s for dinner?  Try out these simple St. Patty’s Day recipes like Roasted Corned Beef, Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard.


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Lemon Basil Chicken Bake

Lemon Basil Chicken Bake

Lemon Basil Chicken Bake


  • penne pasta- 1 lb
  • cooked chicken, chopped (perfect with leftover chicken from Lemon-Braised Chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • fresh basil- 2 cups, chopped
  • Asiago cheese- 16 oz. (2 cups), shredded (or a blend of Asiago and Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • Parmesan cheese- 8 oz. (1 cup), shredded or grated
  • milk- 1 cup
  • butter- 2 tablespoons
  • bread crumbs


  1. Cook pasta in salted water until tender then drain and return pasta to pan
  2. Heat oven to 375⁰
  3. Add to pasta: chicken, juice squeezed from lemon, basil, milk and Asiago cheese or cheese blend; mix
  4. Transfer pasta mixture to oven-safe casserole or baking dish
  5. Melt butter in bowl in microwave
  6. Add Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs to melted butter and mix well
  7. Using hands sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over the top of pasta
  8. Bake until pasta begins to brown on top, approximately 15-20 minutes


Reincarnate The Leftover

Lemon Basil Chicken Bake is the perfect recipe to make with leftover chicken from Lemon-Braised Chicken:

braised chicken recipe

Lemon-Braised Chicken


Meal Planning For Busy Families

Weekly Meal Plan

Weekly Meal Plan

Weekly Meal Planning

Lemon Basil Chicken Bake is part of our Weekly Meal Plan “Bright Dinner Ideas” from The Organized Cook.  To purchase this meal plan individually or shop other Weekly Meal Plans from The Organized Cook visit our store.

weekly meal plan

Purchase Weekly Meal Plan


Subscribe To The Organized Cook

Save money by becoming a subscriber to The Organized Cook Weekly Meal Plan System for only $12.99 per month (that’s over 50% savings from purchasing the meal plans individually).  Cancel at any time.  Subscribe now.

weekly meal plan

Subscribe now for $12.99

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Beet Cucumber Radish Salad

The Perfect Summer Salad in Reds & Greens

Cucumber Beet Radish Salad

Cucumber Beet Radish Salad


  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1 bundle of radishes, trimmed
  • 3 beets, trimmed and peeled
  • red leaf lettuce- 1 bundle, washed and chopped
  • For the salad dressing:
  • Steakhouse Vinaigrette Recipe


  1. place chopped lettuce into salad bowl
  2. slice cucumber into 1/2-inch slices
  3. stack cucumber slices into piles of four at a time, then dice into matchsticks
  4. slice the radishes and beets into matchstick shapes similar to cucumbers
  5. top lettuce with cucumber, radishes and beets
  6. drizzle with Steakhouse Vinaigrette
  7. toss



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