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Posts tagged as “pasta”

KitchenAid stand mixer attachments: The good, bad and ugly

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This is not a sponsored post or endorsement made in coordination with the brands or products mentioned here. 

Remember my story about how I used to religiously watch the FoodTV Network as a kid? (and still love to...)

Growing up, the KitchenAid (KA) stand mixer was one of those kitchen "toys" that the chefs always had on the FoodTV Network (aka the Food Network, as we all know it.)

One year for Christmas, I think I may have been 8 or 9 years old, my grandparents, together with my mom, decided to buy me a stand mixer as a Christmas/birthday present. My mom said she picked it up from Macy's, which I'm sure was at the height of the Christmas shopping rush, and lugged it through the store to her car.

I don't remember how I reacted to receiving the mixer for the holiday that year but to this day, it was probably one of the best gifts I've ever received.

Since we have Dave's KA mixer, mine is still at my mom's house, but it has served me well over the last two decades. It feels so strange to say that it has been "two decades" of using that machine. I couldn't tell you how many things I've made in it or hours I've put on it and it still runs great (knock wood.)

On the flip-side, I think some of the attachments for the KA mixer are gimmicky. Based on my experiences, here is a quick run-down of the good, bad, and ugly of the KA mixer attachments to watch out for if you are doing any holiday shopping for yourself or friends and family members that love cooking.

Finally crossing off a food “bucket list” item: Homemade pasta

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This is not a sponsored post or endorsement made in coordination with or paid by any of the brands or individuals mentioned here. 

You may remember that for a few consecutive years, I made a list of 3-5 goals that I called "Foodie Resolutions." It seemed like a fun idea at the time, but I tried and for the most part failed to complete them all within the course of the year.

I guess getting laid off and looking for a job while completing an MBA, then finding a job, then going back to my old job may have had something to do with it. (That, of course, is just a brief recap. Yikes. Reflecting on that time makes me think, "what a long, strange trip it's been," to quote Jerry Garcia.)

The overachiever perfectionist living inside of me was heartbroken. As much as I like setting goals and making lists—with color-coding and symbols for emphasis, Post-Its on the page added for extra notes about the lists, and all—I love crossing things off my lists more.

That's why writing this recap...

My final foodie goals verdict for 2016 was 2 for 5, and the two that I knocked off my list were making homemade kombucha and aioli. Pasta was a big ol' fail, though—I didn't get to it in time.

...which I updated just over three years ago, August 2017, kind of sucked. At the time, I also set a few goals for the remainder of 2017 that I wanted to try to accomplish. With four months left in the year at that point, that was also a big "F" for me. Womp, womp.

Today, I'm happy to say that, although I'm several years late, a quarantine task that Dave and I completed this year was to finally make homemade pasta!

It's true—it finally happened! And we made it again recently, too—with photos and video to prove it!

Pantry Raid: Baked Penne with Vodka Sauce

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Fact: Anything homemade is always better. Sauces, especially.

"Alternative" (ha, ha...) Fact: There are days when ain't nobody got time for that.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no shame in opening up a good boxed, canned jarred, or otherwise pre-made sauce from time to time. I've used many -- Italian marinaras and vodka sauces, Indian and Thai simmer sauces... -- for the makings of a quick, easy, and tasty meal on nights when the last thing that I want to do is stand by the stove and cook dinner and take-out isn't the greatest option either.

It's true that many pre-made sauces have extra preservatives and salt added to them, which are usually essential in the commercial canning process to ensure taste is consistent over time or from batch to batch. I often check the labels and find the ones with the fewest ingredients (where possible). 9 out of 10 times, these ingredients are also things that I can also easily pronounce. ;)

This baked pasta dish is an alternative to a traditional baked ziti with marinara sauce. It starts off very similar to another baked pasta dish that I posted about in the past and recently tweaked to include an easy Alfredo sauce in place of the jarred sauce (although it's perfectly fine to still use jarred in the recipe.) Onions and garlic, an essential foundation of anything that's bound to taste great IMHO, are cooked along with frozen spinach and sun dried tomatoes. A quality vodka sauce (I used Victoria) and cheese are added to cooked pasta in a large skillet, then the whole thing is topped with more cheese and baked.

So, clearly the message here is this: baked pasta is extremely versatile and can never be bad. ;) Easy to make ahead and freeze or make the same day, a delicious meal is on the table in just an under an hour.

Taste Testing: Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

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Move over, cat videos. Tasty videos are the new online obsession.

We've all seen these posted on Facebook from Buzzfeed Food and others. These videos feature a person making a recipe, all filmed from his or her point of view. Some are narrated and others just feature catchy music and captions to go along with the video. The end result is often a delicious and mouthwatering dish that we're lead to believe (because we just saw whole the process) is a cinch to make.

Tasty videos are always entertaining to watch, but there are some recipes I see and my immediate reaction is, Really? Looks like a hot mess to me...

About a month ago, one really caught my eye as something that could just be crazy enough to work: Chicken Bacon Ranch pasta, posted by Twisted Food on Facebook.