Penne with Vodka Sauce

I made this once before but never blogged about it, because I didn’t quite feel like I had the right proportions for the ingredients. So I did a little research and read lots of recipes. I  decided to use Giada’s recipe for Penne with Vodka sauce. It did not fail!

I used my sauce recipe instead of hers, which you can find here (minus the meat).


  • 1 quart Simple Tomato Sauce
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound penne


Simmer the tomato sauce and vodka in a heavy large skillet over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir the cream into the tomato and vodka sauce. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer it to the pan with the sauce, and toss to coat.

I added 2  shredded chicken breasts to the mix for a little extra protein. Next time I might throw in some broccoli or other veggies for a nice vegetarian version.


Smokey Pork Sholder

This pork is my best yet. Really it is all thanks to my spice blend rub and beer. I am sharing to make this world a better place =)

Spice Rub- 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon white cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon each of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, fennel seeds, salt and pepper.

I massaged the pork all over with the rub and let sit for about 30 minutes (the longer the better). I heated up my dutch oven on high and added a few tablespoons of olive oil. Then I browned all sided of the pork shoulder. After that, I added in 2 beers and 1 small container of beef broth. I turned the heat down to medium low and let cook for 6 hours. This would be awesome in a crockpot as a weekday meal!

First meal was BBQ Sandwiches. Success!

Meal 2- Pork enchiladas   You can never go wrong with enchiladas!

Blueberry Honey Pancakes

Happy Saturday! It has been a while (again) since I have posted, but we have been on spring break here in Georgia and cooking was pretty much non-existent. We took a little trip to Washington D.C. over the break and  had a blast! The weather was beautiful and we got to see the pretty cherry-blossom trees. We went to all the monuments, lots of museums, and just enjoyed our time together as a family.

Thursday was the first night I cooked in over a week. The girls went to the store with me to help me pick out some meals for the week. Thursday night it was baked shells, which was kind of like this recipe, but with only beef and mozzarella (no ricotta). Last night I made a roast chicken. Tonight I am making a new recipe for pork shoulder; I am planning on using this massive piece of meat a couple of ways, so be on the lookout!

This morning I made these scrumptious blueberry honey pancakes. I took a few different pancake recipes I have made along with some others I have found, and kinda did my own new thing. The girls gobbled them up with a little bit of some blueberry honey reduction sauce (see below).

 Blueberry Honey Pancakes


1 1/3 cups flour- you could use whole wheat
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 pint of fresh blueberries


In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt)and whisk together until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (oil, honey, milk, and egg).

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until combined. Don’t overwork the batter, though. A few lumps here and there are just fine.

Grease a large skillet or pan with butter or oil over medium heat.

Using an ice cream scoop or other easy to pour measuring device, pour about a tablespoon of batter on the griddle and top with blueberries. I usually use about 4-6 on each one, but it depends on how many you have and what size they are.

After about 2 minutes, you should start to see bubbles forming on the top of your pancakes. Turn them over and cook for about 2 minutes more.

You can serve with honey, butter (ohhhhh, honey butter!), syrup, jam, or this…

Blueberry Honey Reduction Sauce – 1/2 pint of blueberries, 1 tablespoon OJ, 1 tablespoon honey- let boil, then bring down on low and reduce for 10 minutes =)

Lemon Butter Salmon

Evening guys! I made this yummy salmon dish on Monday night. The hubby has never been a big salmon fan, but I am slowly convincing him that he actually does like salmon! The girls like most all fish and they ate most of their serving, but they are just not big lemon lovers yet. I am thinking some sort of sesame ginger glaze next time!

Lemon Butter Salmon

Ingredients- Serves about 4 adults plus a little leftover for a dog treat=)

2 pounds salmon
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the lemon juice and minced garlic, allow the lemon juice to reduce a bit. Add in 2 tablespoons of butter, remove pan from heat and stir until the butter starts to melt. Place the pan back on the heat for a few seconds. Repeat with second tablespoon of butter.

When butter is completely melted, remove sauce from stove.
Place the salmon filet in a piece of foil large enough to fold over and seal. Using a brush or spoon, brush the salmon with the garlic butter sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cover with foil so that all sides are properly closed so the sauce does not leak.
Bake the salmon for about 12 minutes or until firm. Open the foil and allow the fish to broil under the broiler for 2 minutes, keeping an eye on it so the fish does not burn. Remove from oven.

I served it with some whole wheat couscous and green beans. I added mine on top of a fresh salad.  Delish!


Steak and Veggie Stir Fry

It seems my blogging days are few and far between nowadays, but I am ok with that. I still LOVE cooking and sharing my recipes with you guys, so I will just blog when I can! Sunday night I made this yummy stir fry recipe. I usually make this with chicken, but I switched it up with some strip steak that was on sale and already thinly cut by the butcher.


I marinated the steak for 30 minutes in a combination of  grated ginger, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, and hoisin.

I chopped and cut up a variety of veggies- bok choy, broccoli, mushrooms, sweet peppers, and water chestnuts (other options- snap peas, bamboo shoots,  baby corn etc.)

I started by cooking all the veggies in a wok with some peanut oil (or veggie oil etc).  I added a bit more hoisin and sesame oil. Then once they started getting tender, I added the steak and cooked a few minutes until it was about medium rare. The noodles took all of 5 minutes to make. I added them to the steak and veggies and combined. Delicious!!!!



Cinnamon Sugar Pancakes

Happy weekend! We woke up late and made a yummy brunch! I hope you all have a great day full of fun!

Cinnamon Sugar Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Using a ladle (or spoon size of your choice) add a few scoops on your buttered griddle or pan.

Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Flip carefully and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

Continue adding more butter to the pan (I just rub the stick of butter on each time. and remaining batter. The size of your pancakes will determine how many you make; mine were on the larger size, so I had about 12.