Saturday, January 28, 2012


Fresh lime juice is the best when you want fresh margaritas, but sometimes you just cannot get your hands on that many limes! In a pinch, here is a recipe that I like to use for Margaritas:

  • 1 can of frozen Minute Maid Limeade
  • 3 cans of water
  • 200 mL of tequila (~1 cup)
  • 100 mL of tripplesec (~1/2 cup)

And voilĂ , a yummy pitcher of margaritas.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gnocchi for Six

Handmade gnocchi is a lot of fun to make, but I am always afraid of it clumping during boiling. (I had one disastrous experiment when I tried a variation of my recipe and I ended up with a mashed mush.) I wanted to make gnocchi with my Pals so I doubled the normal standard recipe, keeping my fingers crossed that I would be able to fit them all in one pot.

To set the stage for dinner, I steamed broccoli and placed it in the bowls. Cream and broccoli go so well together, don't they?

Before dropping the gnocchi in the water, I set up the creamy pesto sauce (discussed in the previous post) to simmer. I put the dumplings directly in the sauce after they floated so that way they would not stick together.

I was so lucky that there was no clumping! It was a bit stressful dropping so many gnocchi into the pot at once (trying not to compress them as I put them into the water) but it ended up even better than I could have hoped.

With any yummy sauce, you need to have some bread to wipe up what is left! I whipped up some bread machine pizza dough and twisted them into breadsticks. The dough was brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt before baking.

I am very lucky to have great friends to share wonderful food with. Especially when those friends decide to come out to Evanston to visit. Anyone else want to come to dinner? :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Growing up, I was not a huge fan of pesto. Keith has always loved it, and after meeting him my appreciation grew. We frequently have gnocchi in a creamy pesto sauce, but the best I had ever had was from our cooking class where everything was made fresh. Since we were going to have friends come to town, I thought it would be fun to make gnocchi from scratch with creamy pesto sauce, but I wanted to pre-make the pesto.

This a nut free pesto since one of our friends has an allergy. It contained:

  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1.5 cup olive oil

Of course we had to test the sauce out to make sure it would be suitable for company. I heated the pesto up in a 1:1 ratio with heavy cream and served on pasta with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


It is no secret that Keith and I really like Lasagna. It is easy, fun to make, and there are plenty of leftovers. Now that I have a pasta press, it seems silly to me to purchase dry lasagna noodles (I still have to write up my post on my first lasagna from scratch.) Instead, I decided to make a faux lasagna with layers of pasta.

I love caramelized onions, and putting some into baked pasta dishes gives them a wonderful sweet twist. In the pictures above, I am caramelizing two whole onions because I wanted to save some for another dish I would make later this week. I wish that I had used a little less butter, not because of taste but because of health and there was plenty of liquid.

Keith loves garlic bread, and sometimes I'll make it from scratch. Today, I decided to just make some fresh bread to dip in the leftover tomato sauce.

The Francesco Rinaldi Chunky Garden tomato sauce is my favorite. I have no idea why I love it so much, but it really holds up well with a lot of cheese, so it is perfect for baked pasta dishes.

I cooked the pasta for 8 minutes, not the 10-12 recommended on the package because I knew it would cook more in the oven. I layered sauce, noodles and the cheeses. I used whole milk ricotta cheese (yes, I am bad), shredded mozzarella, and some spices.

The caramelized onions were sprinkled on top under the final layer of mozzarella. I only cooked it at 350 for 10-15 minutes since I just wanted to warm things up and let the cheeses melt.

I think the fauxagna was a complete success. Keith had 3 helpings!