Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday night dinner

Last night we had my sister-in-law and her boyfriend over for dinner. For the main course - Penne with Pink Vodka sauce. Now I apologize for the picture upfront since it looked better on my camera screen - the sauce was a bit pinker in person. I got the recipe from but I've moderated it to be a bit healthier (i.e. half and half instead of heavy cream), added some chicken, etc.

As a side I wanted to try making homemade biscuits (from They weren't bad....but I'll be honest that I totally prefer the Pilsbury doughboy's version. I'll probably make these again and in the meantime, before I do, hopefully I will find a way to up the taste factor a bit. On the bright side between the 4 of us we ate all 13 of them (the recipe is supposed to make 14) so I guess they weren't that bad! On a side note, I got to break out my bread basket with warming stone for the first time (just got it as a Secret Santa gift) because of these biscuits...woohoo!

Lastly was dessert (duh!) - chocolate molten cakes. After the 4 of us finished our dessert, my husband promptly inquired "Are there anymore?" Unfortunately the recipe only makes 4 Chocolate Molten cakes at a time so my answer was no! But this recipe is a definite keeper, I'll be making them again! I'm bummed I didn't think to take a picture of them opened up with the fudge-y middle oozing out (yum!) but we were so busy enjoying them it never crossed my mind.

Penne with Pink Vodka Sauce

1 (16 ounce) package dry penne pasta
3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2/3 cup vodka
2 chicken breasts cooked and diced
1 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (I used no salt added)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 pint half and half

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

In a large skillet, saute garlic in the butter. Add vodka and salt. Cook for 3 minutes. Pour in tomatoes, chicken, and cheese; stir until cheese melts. Stir in half and half and heat thoroughly. Pour sauce over hot pasta and serve.

Homemade Biscuits

1/4 cup shortening
2 cups self-rising flour*
2/3 cup milk

Cut shortening into flour with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 3 or 4 times. Pat or roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with a 2-inch round cutter, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake at 475° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

*To make your own self-rising flour (as I had to do) for each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt*

Chocolate Molten Cakes

4 squares Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 Tbsp. flour
Thawed Whipped Topping

Preheat oven to 425°F. Butter four 3/4-cup custard cups or soufflĂ© dishes. Place on baking sheet.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min. or until butter is melted. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar until well blended. Blend in eggs and egg yolks with wire whisk. Stir in flour. Divide batter among prepared custard cups.

Bake 13 to 14 min. or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 min. Carefully run small knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto dessert dishes. Serve immediately with whipped topping.

(Batter can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time – just cover each custard cup with plastic wrap before refrigerating and bring up to room temperature for 1 hour before baking. Or do what I did - prepare in the morning and use the leftover egg whites to make a small omelet for breakfast hahaha).

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