Monday, February 27, 2017

Pasta Half and Half

When I was younger, and growing up in the greater Houston area, there was a lovely Italian restaurant that my family would frequent and my absolute most favorite dish was "Spaghetti Half and Half". Every now and then I get a craving for this dish, and, like so many other meals I get cravings for, I do my best to just make it myself! Now, you can always just make a tomato cream sauce, it's practically the same thing, but isn't this just so pretty? And, I love that you can take bites of each individual flavor and mix them up at your pleasure. Oh, and as you can see, I didn't use spaghetti pasta this time around, I was just in the mood for something else, so feel free to use any pasta that you would like! A big plus to making this meal is that it takes less than 30 minutes so it's perfect for those crazy busy nights! You just need to do a little multi-tasking, I like to begin on the tomato sauce first and once I have that simmering I start on the Alfredo sauce, and while both sauces simmer I cook the pasta. I did use ground beef in this marinara recipe but feel free to leave it out, this dish is wonderful without meat or you could add chicken, it's all up to you!

Marinara Sauce:
1 lb ground meat (optional) - brown and drain the meat first
15oz can tomato sauce
*14.5oz can Italian stewed or diced tomatoes
1-2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried basil

1. In a medium saucepan combine all of your ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer. Taste occasionally and adjust seasonings to your liking.

*I blend the tomatoes in a food processor first so there aren't huge chunks of tomato in my sauce.

Alfredo Sauce:
4 Tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 C flour
2 C heavy cream
1-2 C milk
1 C grated parmesan
1 Tbsp dried parsley

1. In a medium pot melt the butter on medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant and beginning to brown (1-2 minutes), add the flour and whisk in. Slowly whisk in the cream, be sure that it's smooth and there aren't any lumps of flour.
2. Add 1 cup of the milk, parsley, salt, and pepper. Continue to stir and raise the heat to medium-high, bring to a low boil, whisking continually. Lower heat to medium-low, add the cheese, and if the sauce begins to get too thick add the remaining milk a little at a time. Let the sauce simmer until thickened (about 10 minutes)

***Now, cook your pasta as directed, drain, and serve by spooning each sauce over half then top it off with a little grated parmesan to bring it all together!***

Inside Out Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh man, you guys, seriously, these are AMAZING cookies! I was having a major cookie craving yesterday and the only chips I had were white chocolate chips, so I did a little experimenting and created these lovelies. They are just barely crisp around the edges, soft and chewy, and have just the right amount of chocolate chips - the cookie-to-chip ratio is perfect. You simply must give these a try, I promise you won't regret it in the slightest.

Inside Out Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp hot water
1/3 C cocoa powder
1 C flour
3/4 C white chocolate chips (I prefer Ghiradelli)

-Preheat your oven to *375 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

1. In a medium mixing bowl whip together the butter and sugars until smooth a creamy.
2. Add the egg and vanilla, beat in.
3. Add the salt and baking soda (mix the baking soda and hot water together first then add), and mix in.
4. Mix in the cocoa until incorporated. Use a spoon to stir in the flour and white chocolate chips.
5. Drop dough onto prepared baking sheet by the spoonful (yields about 24 cookies). Bake 10-12 minutes, until cookies are starting to crinkle and the edges are looking cooked. Let them sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool. Serve and enjoy!

*I live at high altitude so I often have to bake at different temperatures, if you're living at a lower altitude you may want to bake your cookies at 350 F.*

I am a big fan of your usual chocolate chip cookies but oh man, these are are incredible and I will definitely be making them often! Oh, and try your hardest to not eat the dough, once you start it's soooo hard to stop!