Category Archives: Pasta
No doubt you have had this dish at any one of thousands of Italian restaurants around the world. It really is quite simple once you have prepared the sauce. You can use canned tomatoes, but in this case I used 2 larger fresh tomatoes, NOT plum. I simply chopped them up. One thing of note – do NOT use more than 3 – 4 tablespoons of vodka, as it will leave the dish bitter…
Penne alla Vodka
- 28 oz. whole plum tomatoes, undrained OR 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 3-4 Tablespoons vodka
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons cold butter
- Salt/Pepper, to taste
- 1 lb. Penne
- Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Puree the tomatoes in a blender, food mill, or an immersion blender and set aside. You can decide how chunky or uniform you’d like the tomatoes to be. I simply chopped them up!
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and the basil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and softened.
Turn off the heat.
Add the vodka to the pan and let it sizzle. Turn the heat back to medium and reduce the vodka until there is about a Tablespoon left.
Add the pureed tomatoes and let it simmer for 45 minutes or so, allowing it to reduce and become quite thick.
During the last 12 minutes or so, cook the penne according to package instructions. For saucier pasta, use ¾ lb. instead of the full pound. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.
Add the heavy cream and the red pepper flakes to the sauce.
Add 2 Tablespoons cold butter to the sauce, along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Stir to combine.
Season with salt/pepper if desired.
Add in the drained pasta.
Garnish with roughly chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!
What to do without Costco? I have had a bag of turkey meatballs in the freezer for awhile. The truth is we didn’t really like them! Not to waste I found this slow cooker recipe for Swedish meatballs and I got the chance to use them all up, never to buy again. If you have been following for sometime you will know that I had previously made meatballs for use with pasta. This recipe called for frozen ones. Et voila! Actually they tasted awesome…great for a buffet table.
Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs
1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup, low sodium*
1 can beef broth, low sodium*
1 packet dry onion soup mix
2 tbsp. A1 steak sauce
1 (2 lb.) bag frozen meatballs
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream (1 cup)
1 (16 oz.) package egg noodles
sliced mushrooms (optional)
In a 5-6 quart slow cooker, mix undiluted soup with beef broth, onion soup mix and steak sauce. Stir well.
Then add in frozen meatballs.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high 3-5 hours. (My slow cooker is always faster than the recipe calls for, in this case they were done in about 4 1/2 hours.
After meatball mixture is almost cooked, add in the sliced mushrooms and stir in sour cream.
At this time, put a pot of water on the oven to boil for your egg noodles (make according to package directions.) Drain noodles well when done.
Mix noodles and meatballs together. Or serve meatballs on top of noodles.
Note: Low sodium is my personal preference for this to keep it from being too salty. If I’m serving for a crowd, I will mix together noodles and meatballs and keep my crock pot on the ‘warm’ or ‘buffet’ setting. But when it’s just my family, everyone can serve themselves and grab as many meatballs, noodles and sauce as they like.
Eureka! Shrimp in the freezer. What to do? Checked the ingredients I had on hand and found this recipe for dinner. The worst part is cleaning the shrimp, so just cheat and buy them already cleaned and deveined…LOL. Substitute whatever protein you have available. As always, my changes are in red lettering.
Shrimp, Tomato and Spinach Pasta
- 5 medium tomatoes, fresh, chopped into large cubes ( one can of diced with juice depending on how much you like tomatoes)
- 1 cup cooked spinach
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 or 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 small lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more)
- 10 oz fettuccine pasta
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving
- Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until melted. Add fresh shrimp and half the minced garlic. Make sure shrimp is not crowded. Cook for 1 minute on one side until pink on that side. While it’s cooking, generously sprinkle paprika and salt over uncooked side of the shrimp. Flip the shrimp over and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes until pink on the other side.
- To the skillet with shrimp, add chopped fresh tomatoes, cooked spinach, and remaining amount of minced garlic. Add 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more). Mix everything well, remove from heat while you cook pasta.
- In the mean time cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to prevent pasta from cooking and getting mushy.
- Add pasta to the skillet with shrimp and vegetables with 1 or 2 tablespoons of butter. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice (depending on the juiciness of your lemon, it could be 1/4 of small lemon or 1/2 lemon). Don’t add too much lemon juice. Season with salt and more crushed red pepper. Warm it up on medium heat until shrimp is cooked through, and all ingredients are heated through.
- To serve, top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Costco strikes again! I bought the double package of tortellini when I really only needed one for a previous recipe. What to do? Find a recipe on Pinterest to use the one that was left. Eureka! Pinterest! Not only did it look yummy, it was…
Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup
Author: Karina – Cafe Delites Serves: 10
- 500 grams | 1 pound ground Italian sausage (or ground chicken, turkey or beef), browned*
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoon beef bouillon powder (or chicken)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups beef broth (or chicken or vegetable broth — I use low sodium)
- ¼ cup cornstarch mixed and dissolved in ¼ cup water
- 3x 340 gram | 12-ounce cans full fat evaporated milk or half and half
- 1x 340 gram | 12 ounce packet three cheese tortellini (I used one of Costco’s, remember)
- 5 cups fresh baby spinach (whatever amount works for you)
- 1 cup milk
- Place the browned sausage, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning, beef bouillon powder, salt, and broth in a 6-quart / liter slow cooker bowl. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours.
- Uncover and skim any fat that is sitting on the top of the soup with a spoon; discard. Stir in the cornstarch mixture with the evaporated milk (or half and half or cream). Add the tortellini and mix well. Cover again and cook on HIGH heat setting for a further 45 minutes until the soup has thickened, and the tortellini is soft and cooked through.
- Add in the spinach, pressing the leaves down to completely submerse into the liquid. Cover again for a further 5-10 minutes until the leaves have wilted.
- Pour in milk in ⅓ cup increments, as needed, to reach your desired thickness and consistency (I needed 1 cup); taste test and season with extra salt ONLY if needed, and pepper to suit your tastes.
- Serve with crusty warmed bread
First had this at one of our favourite restaurants in nearby Merida – Il Caffe Italiano. Had to try and duplicate this subtle dish. Et voila as the French say. PINTEREST as I say…LOL. I would highly recommend it for your Christmas Eve or New Years dinner. Suggestion is to serve it with grilled asparagus spears…I chose not to…
Ravioli with White Wine Butter Sauce (and Asparagus – optional)
- One 9 ounce package chilled fresh ravioli
- One bunch asparagus (about 15-20 spears), trimmed and cut into two inch pieces. You can use just the tips or if you like lots of asparagus, use the stems as well! OPTIONAL
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 leeks carefully washed and chopped into 1/4 inch slices. Dont use the dark green parts!
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
- ¾ cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme, plus more for garnish
- Shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and olive oil, and then asparagus. Cook asparagus until just crisp-tender, about 2 minutes, and remove asparagus with a slotted spoon, leaving the water boiling. OPTIONAL – just boil some water for the ravioli !
- Add one tablespoon of butter to a medium size skillet and melt over medium high heat. Add leeks and garlic and stir until soft, 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes. Now add butter, cube by cube, stirring until each one is melted into the sauce.
- While the sauce is cooking, add the ravioli gently to the boiling (asparagus*) water (I like to lower them in with a slotted spoon) and cook according to package directions until just done, about 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and put in a single layer on a plate until the sauce is finished.
- When all the butter is melted, stir in the chopped thyme.
- Divide the ravioli between two plates, (and tuck the asparagus tips in between the ravioli – OPTIONAL). Drizzle a generous portion of sauce over each serving, garnish with fresh thyme and shaved Parmesan and serve at once!
Sorry,no recipe this week, but in their place I came across some useful charts with info about cutting recipe equivalents in half, what sauces to serve with what pastas and converting cooking times with your slow cooker recipes from high to low. Hope you will find this useful as the holidays approach! Its amazing what you can find on Pinterest sites…
Canadians…Are you tired of turkey already? Try this easy one for something different.
Skillet Italian Sausage and Peppers with Penne
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes
This comforting Italian sausage and pepper penne pasta is cooked in one skillet and comes together in 30 minutes or less for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
- 12 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta
- 1 pound Italian sausage links (1 package)
- 1 small green pepper, sliced
- 1 small red pepper, sliced
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
- ½ cup red wine (merlot or pinot noir)
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 12 ounces water
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Parmesan Cheese for finishing
- In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Reserve starchy cooking water.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Brown sausages on all sides, until almost cooked through, remove and cut into ¼ inch slices. You don’t have to worry about cooking them all the way through, they will finish cooking while the sauce simmers.
- In the same pan drizzle another teaspoon or so of olive oil and sauté the peppers and onions until slightly softened, about five minutes.
- Return sausage back to the pan and deglaze with red wine.
- Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, Italian seasoning, sugar and salt. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for ten minutes.
- Add penne to the skillet, toss with sauce. If needed add starchy pasta water to loosen the sauce up.
- Season with salt and pepper and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.
No oven, no worries. Pinterest to the rescue again! This has to be one of the best recipes I have ever found and it goes together fairly quickly. Your guests will rave about it as did ours. This recipe would be great for any potluck you get invited to. Be sure to follow the link at the end of the recipe for more great recipes.
Lazy Crock Pot Lasagna Serves: 8 servings
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 large jar (45 oz.) high quality pasta sauce (I used one of the two large jars of Prego that I bought at Costco)
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 large package (25-30 oz.) cheese & spinach filled ravioli (uncooked) (also Costco, my large cooker used 36 pieces of the stuffed ravioli – Pasta Prima brand)
- Brown ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
- Stir in Italian seasoning and pasta sauce. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.
- Spray the inside of a 6-7 quart crock pot with cooking spray. Layer meat sauce, ravioli and cheese.
- Repeat layers ending with cheese. (I ended up with two layers.) Cover and cook on low 3 hours and reduce heat to WARM.
Follow Spend With Pennies on Pinterest for more great recipes!
Good use of leftover pork loin roast!
Sesame Noodles with Pork by Stacey Snacks
- 1/2 box linguine (8 oz.)
- leftover cooked pork tenderloin (I used half a tenderloin, about 1/2 lb.), shredded
- handful of cilantro
- 1 carrot, cut into ribbons w/ a vegetable peeler
- handful of chopped scallion or chives
- sesame seeds
- canola oil for the frying pan
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/8 tsp or squirt of Sriracha sauce (or hot chili sauce)
In a large heavy skillet, heat the canola oil and cook your garlic only 2 minutes until fragrant and transfer to a bowl.
Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the garlic and whisk together. Set aside.
Cook your pasta and drain. Add the pasta back into the skillet (you may need to add some more canola oil) and toss around with tongs.
Add the leftover pork and pour the sauce over the noodles and pork to combine, tossing to heat thru.
Empty the contents into a big bowl and add the carrots, cilantro, green onions and sesame seeds and mix together. You can refrigerate and serve cold, but we liked it warm like Lo Mein noodles.
Tired of turkey yet?
One day I am going to do a cookbook for Costco…LOL. This time we bought a bag of 10 little eggplants there but it was my intent to either grill them or make eggplant Parmesan. I chose the latter. This is a perfect dish for your vegan friends as long as they still do cheeses.
Pinterest to the rescue again. Thanks to Like Mother Like Daughter for this recipe with some changes.
Eggplant Parmesan (LMLDFood@gmail.com)
• 1-2 large eggplant or 5 small ones
• 2-3 eggs, whipped
• ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
• ⅛ cup Parmesan cheese
• ½ TBS oregano
• ½ TBS basil
• 3-4 cups tomato sauce (or 1 can of chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup salsa)
• 4-8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded (I used all Parmesan)
• 8-16 oz. cooked pasta noodles optional
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Peel eggplant skin off. Cut into slices, about ½ inch thick.
3. Dip eggplant slices into egg and then breadcrumbs. Cover evenly.
4. Place on a sprayed baking sheet in one layer.
5. Cook for 8-10 minutes and then flip. Cook 8-10 minutes on second side.
6. Pour about half of your sauce into a baking pan.
7. Lay eggplant in sauce. Top with cheese. Cover with additional sauce. (Do 2 layers of egg plant if necessary)
8. Cover with foil and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.
9. Remove foil and cook for another 5 minutes.
10. Serve eggplant on top of prepared pasta.
11. Top with additional Parmesan or mozzarella cheese if desired.
We were thinking if you skipped the pasta, you could easily serve this with some nice pork chops for your carnivore friends!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! PROSPERO ANO NUEVO!