Saturday, July 13, 2013

Amanda's got herself a hobby

So, you might have noticed I have mentioned a charity that I am working with a few times on twitter. If you haven't noticed... screw you man, my tweets are serious business.
 Here is a little back story:
I met Lauren and Mark Teahen early this year through friends and they introduced me to Chrysalis. Good story, right? All joking aside, it's a great organization that helps people get out of abusive situations. They have so many resources and outlets for these families to rehabilitate them and secure their independence and safety. After talking with some of the people there I knew I wanted to help out some way.. so here I am keeping myself busy and helping people in our new community.
One thing that I am especially excited about is helping the shelter plan their charity event. Two days of drinking, eating, golfing with local athletes, and bidding on auction items... sounds like a fun time to me!
I will probably mention it a few more times as the planning continues, but that's just because I want all you guys to get involved with me.
I would love for you guys to donate, attend the events with me and Brandon, bid on items, or just get read along. :)

So, that's everything. Unless you want me to go on and on and on about various cleanses, workouts and gluten free foods I am eating :) no? not now? Ok, I will save that for another post (since my husband as banned me from cleanse talk on twitter)


Friday, July 12, 2013

Attempting to get better at this! Spaghetti squash casserole (spicy)

So I made this dish a few nights ago for a few baseball wives while we drank wine and watched the game.. Now, I am not sure if it was the wine or that the Dbacks won the game, but we were all in agreement that this was delish.
Now, I kinda just made this up after watching a youtube video teaching me how to prepare the squash. So, I think this is just the bones, ya'll could really change this how you like.

Preheat oven to 375

*Cut the squash vertical (long ways) and place it flesh side down on a baking dish
*Fill the dish with water about a knuckle deep (this is obviously very scientific)
* Cover the squash with foil and stick it in the oven for about 45 mins, after 45 mins stick a skewer in the squash and when it goes in the skin easily it is done
* Flip over the squash and continue to cook for about 15 mins without the foil
 *Depending on your squash size or your love of onions and garlic I would suggest ranging from a half of an onion to the full onion, and 1-3 cloves of garlic.
*Saute onions and garlic in a bit of EVOO
*Use a peeler (the one that makes the noodle strips) and peel a zucchini and place it in a bowl with the onions and garlic
* Once the squash is cool to touch gently spoon out the seeds (If you are not patient you can use tongs to hold the squash still while you scrap)
*Once the gunk is all out, use a fork and gently scrap the meat out
*Put all the "Noodles" in the bowl with the other ingredients
*Season with salt and pepper
* Mix a half a jar of pasta sauce (or use homemade, I used store bought Arrabbiata since I didn't have much time)
*If you like it spicy, like I do, you can sprinkle some red pepper flakes here (I used a lot)
*Top with mozzarella  a little goes a long way
*Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 mins or until all the cheese is melty and fantastic.

Cut, serve and enjoy... just a heads up- the leftovers are awesome too.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cooking with booze

I bet everyone is quite shocked and appalled that I would cook a meal using booze. It DOES go against everything I believe in!! :)
 In all seriousness this recipe for Penne alla Vodka  is very simple to make and is delicious.. Now before I give you the recipe I need to say where I get my recipes from: (I don't need someone yelling at me that I am stealing recipes) about 85% of the recipes that I use come from various Americas Test Kitchen books. I have a little obsession with these books, they make cooking a little less scary-

Now, this recipe says to try to avoid using cheaper vodka because the sauce will become to harsh. Also, to be careful when using it because it can get to "boozy" THOSE ARE NOT MY WORDS! Say first world problems about it calling for anything not in a plastic jug and I will throw my computer out the window!

Penne alla Vodka

Why this recipe works:
Splashes of vodka and cream can turn run-of-the-mill tomato sauce into luxurious restaurant fare—or a heavy, boozy mistake. Despite the limited number of ingredients—vodka, cream, red pepper flakes, and tomatoes—we found recipes for penne alla vodka with results that varied widely. Many were absurdly rich (with more cream than tomatoes) and others were too harsh from a heavy hand with the vodka. We wanted to fine-tune this modern classic to strike the right balance of sweet, tangy, spicy, and creamy. To achieve a sauce with the right consistency, we pureed half the tomatoes* (which helped the sauce cling nicely to the pasta) and cut the rest into chunks. For sweetness, we added sautéed minced onions; for depth of flavor, we used a bit of tomato paste. We found we needed a liberal amount of vodka to cut through the richness and add “zinginess” to the sauce, but we needed to add it to the tomatoes early on to allow the alcohol to mostly (but not completely) cook off and prevent a boozy flavor. Adding a little heavy cream to the sauce gave it a nice consistency, and we finished cooking the penne in the sauce to encourage cohesiveness.

Serves 4
So that the sauce and pasta finish cooking at the same time, drop the pasta into boiling water just after adding the vodka to the sauce. If possible, use premium vodka; inexpensive brands will taste harsh in this sauce. Pepper vodka imparts a pleasant flavor and can be substituted for plain.

1 pound penne pasta
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and liquid reserved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced onion
1 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper
1/3 cup vodka
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons minced fresh basil
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving

1. Start heating heavily salted water for pasta. Puree half of the tomatoes* in a food processor until smooth. Chop the remaining tomatoes into ½ inch pieces, discarding the cores. Combined the pureed and diced tomatoes in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Add reserved liquid to make 2 cups.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is light golden around the edges, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Stir in the tomatoes and ½ teaspoon salt. Remove pan from heat and add the vodka. Return the pan to medium high heat and simmer, stirring frequently for 10 minutes to cook off the vodka. (Lower heat to medium if simmering is too vigorous.) Stir in the cream and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until hot.

4. Right after you add the vodka cook the pasta according to package directions. Set aside ¼ cup of salted pasta water at the end of cooking time. (I save about a cup, often needing more than called for.) Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, add the sauce and cook over medium heat for 1 ½ minutes to make the sauce stick to the pasta a bit. Then turn off heat, add the pasta water, basil, a little salt and pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese as desired and serve.

*A little revision to the recipe (to make it faster) I am using crushed tomatoes and skipping the pureeing step it just cuts down on time
 Tonight I am adding chicken to it to add a little more protein for the hubs, and I will also post a picture of my dinner when it all done tonight...