Why this blog??

Why this blog?? I often find myself stressing over what to make for my family for dinner. We live a busy life and some meals need time to prep, cook and let's not forget shopping for everything you need. I love cookbooks and websites, but there are so many recipe's at times it is overwhelming. The recipe's I will be posting are things I actually made. I will tell you if they are easy or more time consuming. I will also tell you if they are good. Most of these are recipe's I have made for years and continue to make because they are easy or quick and my family loves them and i know yours will too! I will also try to at least once in a whlie try a new recipe I've found on line or in a book and honestly rate it. I always encourage others to send me their favorite recipe's as well! I am a mom... not a chef. But I am a mom who enjoys cooking for her family and making a somewhat healthy meal (some days more healthy than others:) ) In each recipe I will share how I recommend serving it, any substitutions I can think of that are also good, or ways to prepare ahead of time to make the cooking part seem quicker! I am not a photographer, as you can see... most of these pictures are taken from my phone camera, so may not be the best! I love to hear from others who have made these recipes and what they have done to change the recipe... please post comments! Thank you! To "like" me on facebook, go to this link... It's What's Cookin

Friday, January 20, 2012

Spiked Pasta (Spaghetti in a Vodka Cream Sauce)

This recipe freaking rules! I loved it! I love creamy, cheesy pasta and since this one is much healthier, what's not to love??!! This originated from Cooking Light magazine, but I found the recipe on pinterest. Here is the blog I got it from. This recipe was very simple, the hardest part (which isn't hard, just time consuming if you don't have hand held) was you need to use a hand held blender to puree sauce. If you don't have one, you'll have to transfer sauce to a blender, blend well, and then transfer back to pan.

I served these with my parmesan-garlic rolls and a side salad. The whole family loved it and my almost 5 year old daughter told me it was the best spaghetti she'd ever had and I should make it every night:) I left the basil at the end off hers. This recipe serves 3-4 people. Next time I may double the recipe so I have more for left overs:)

* 1/2 pound dry thin spaghetti pasta
* 1T olive oil
* 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (I used one large shallot- I love the flavor of a shallot)
* 3/4 tsp salt, divided (I use coarse kosher salt)
* 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper (Just enough to give some flavor, but not enough to make too spicy for kids)
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1/2 cup plain vodka (use a medium grade... not the super cheap kind but not your most expensive either. I used Smirnoff)
* 1/4 cup chicken broth (you could also use vegetable broth if making vegetarian)
* 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained- (I highly recommend using the Muir Glen Organic kind with Italian Herbs. I buy generic brand tomatoes for stews, roasts and chili, but this is the base of your whole sauce and where it really gets the flavor from. This is an awesome brand and since you only use one can, it's really worth the extra few cents!!)
* 1/4 cup whipping cream
* 3T thinly sliced fresh basil
* shaved or grated parmesan cheese to garnish (I used parmigiano-reggiano)


1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 4 mins or until tender. Add 1/4 tsp salt, red pepper, and your garlic and saute another minute or so.

2. Add vodka and bring to a boil (careful not to let it catch fire). Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3 minutes or until liquid reduces by half. (I think I did around 5 minutes).

3. Stir in rest of salt, broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. After simmers, remove from heat and let cool slightly.

4. While your sauce above is simmering for the 15 minutes, cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm.

5. If you have a stick blender (I show in picture below), you can now puree the sauce right in the pan. If you don't, place tomato mixture in conventional blender. Remove center piece of blender lid to allow steam to escape, and secure the lid on blender. Place clean towel over opening in blender lit to avoid splatters and process until smooth. Return tomato mixture back to pan.

6. Mix in cream, then cook sauce for 2 mins over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked pasta. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

7. Serve immediately. I toped mine with the basil and my cheese. YUM!
here are most of my ingredients... I highly recommend this tomato brand for this meal. I think next time I will try this recipe using whole grain pasta. 
shredded basil and chopped shallot

sauteing the onion in olive oil

add your vodka and bring to a boil. Then simmer for 3-5 minutes till liquid reduces by half

added tomatoes, broth and some salt and pepper

Boil noodles per package instructions

Using my hand blender to puree the sauce in the pan till smooth and creamy

adding the whipping cream. Stir well and heat another 2 mins

Add your pasta...

Serve with basil and parm cheese. 


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