Tuesday, June 22, 2010

tasty tuesday: pasta & cookie edition

I haven't blogged about food much lately... and I love food. The problem is I hate recipes. Almost every time I get all excited about a recipe and buy all the special ingredients and spend the time prepping & making... I'm always underwhelmed with the outcome. Which, of course, makes clean up even more fun. :)

So I'm going to talk about some recent food loves...

A couple years ago I tried baked chicken pastina. It was delicious. Seriously - I love this dish. Only deviation I would make is to add more chicken. I found Giada's calling for only a 1/2 cup was a little... too little.

We eat a lot of pasta because it's so easy. I did not grow up eating Italian food, my dad isn't a big fan so we just didn't eat a lot of it growing up. He's more of a meat & potatoes man. I don't make my own pasta sauce ::gasp:: I know... I know. I just don't have the time and to be perfectly & offensively (to some) honest - I find certain jarred sauces to be just as tasty, especially if you add a few of your own touches. Here are some of mine:
  • Buy some Italian sausage - mild or hot, it's up to  you. Remove the sausage from its casing. I do this as I drop it into the pan/pot. I just break it apart in my hand, and the end product comes out something like cheater-meatballs. Brown up the sausage, throw in a little diced onion & minced garlic and allow to cook until tender. This is a good time to add in any additional dried spices you like. I usually add in some red pepper flakes to get all groovy in the rendered fat & oils. I also deglaze the pan with a 1/4 - 1/3 cup white wine. I use whatever is in the fridge. When every thing is smelling splendid I pour in our jarred sauce of choice. I can't remember the brand, but we buy it at Sam's Club and it's organic (fancy).
  • pasta puttanesca - this is another trick up my sleeve. I have made this according to the recipe and it is Yum-O, as Rachael Ray would say. I have also just used some of the ingredients & methods and added our jarred sauce, again. If you use the olives, anchovies, & capers from the recipe then you will get something pretty darn close (and equally as yummy) to the recipe. This is my cheater-puttanesca.
 So those were a couple of my tricks. Also... last week I was sick with a head cold (actually it's still hanging around) and I had NO idea what to make for dinner. I ended up doing my cheater-puttanesca (see above), mixing it with the cooked pasta (slightly less than al dente), some chicken I quickly grilled up, and pouring it into a baking dish. Top with bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, & butter and you have a very yummy dish similar to the baked chicken pastina. This time I also topped it with some left over bleu cheese crumbles and it was surprisingly good. The bleu cheese added a little "pop" to the dish. I know it sounds strange... but it's cheese. And butter. And bread crumbs. Baked. How bad can it be?

Yesterday I discovered the easiest - and perhaps my favorite - peanut butter cookie recipe EVER. Seriously. Ok, so I love peanut butter cookies. The only thing I don't like about them is their tendency to be crispier than I like. I like soft, chewy, kinda-underbaked cookies. These cookies and perfectly simple and let the peanut butter really shine. LOVE.

1-2-3-4 Peanut Butter Cookies: http://bakeat350.blogspot.com/2008/06/cookies-for-soldiers-part-2_04.html

Make them. Love them. Share them. People will thank you.


Abri said...

I'm a crispy cookie person and so I can't make these cookies because I will burn myself inhaling them right from the oven. LOL :-)

I may have to give these a try! With all this free time I have, cooking is a great way to fill my days!