Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas cookies

Jake and I had our third annual christmas cookie baking this weekend, with some mixed results.

Being that we're still in my "temporary" kitchen from the summer internship situation, we didn't have any cookie cutters.

Also, because of my big love for red velvet cakes and cupcakes, I had a ton of blue, green and yellow food coloring, but no red. So, mostly, we've just been icing them white or green as we get hungry.

 So, some of our cookies are holiday-festive shapes, such as the attempted freehand gingerbread men, the gift boxes, and some are just kind of weird odd shapes. Oh well.

We also had a great pasta dinner tonight, recipe below. Sadly, I forgot to grab a picture of it before we boxed up the leftovers for lunches!

This made a TON. Very excited about the left overs!!

Creamy ham and spinach pasta
1 box gemeli or rotini -- something with grooves to catch the sauce
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of all liquid
3 cloves garlic, minced (or about 2 heaping tsp)
1/3-1/2 c onion, minced (to your liking)
3/4 c sliced ham (I used deli ham, cut into ribbons - you could use pancetta if you wanted to get fancy)
black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
splash of white wine (optional)
olive oil
3 TBS butter
3-5 TBS flour
1 pint half and half, plus a few TBS milk (opt)
1/3-1/2 c shredded or grated parmesan
2-3 TBS mozzarella (optional) for melting

Boil pasta to al dente (don't over cook) in salted water

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute garlic, onion and ham in the olive oil. Season with pepper, chilli flakes and nutmeg. Mix in white wine and allow to reduce.

Melt butter into the mix, and flour lightly. Combine until thickens slightly. Mix in spinach, half and half and cheese. Add more flour if needed.

Reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Toss pasta directly into the sauce and stir to coat. Mix in shredded mozzarella if using. Serve with fresh cracked pepper and parsley to garnish.

Dreaming? of Kitchenaid mixers - so many of which can be found on major christmas sales, $100 or more off the list price. Alas, it would not radically change the way I cook, I do not have $200 for a mixer, nor have I any where to store it. Maybe next year. :)

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