Recipe: Vodka Penne with a Cream Sauce

So, I apologize  for how long it has been since I’ve posted a recipe.  I’ve been going through quite a lot of life recently – I went to Chicago for a wedding, worked every weekend, and have gone through a period of small change culminating in starting a new job.  Needless to say, I thank every single one of my fantastic contributors who have been keeping Dinners With Dan up and running!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve also run into a slight problem – I’ll make something, but completely fail to write down what I did or take pictures!  My close friend Meg had a barbecue at her place a couple weeks ago and I brought some chicken I marinated overnight.  I never wrote down what I did, as I honestly just looked around my kitchen and pulled a marinade together (I’m pretty sure it was a combination of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, oregano, and Italian seasonings, but I honestly don’t remember), but after it was on the grill, that chicken just turned out magnificently.  I also still have pictures and need to post the recipe I promised everyone (a strawberry-stuffed French Toast) – and I meant to do that during the “International Week,” and I just never got the chance.  I plan on doing a breakfast-themed Dinners With Dan post soon instead.

However, for my first recipe back from my hiatus, a short while ago, two of my friends, Alix and Lauren, came over for dinner.  I didn’t know what I was going to make until I got to Trader Joe’s.  And even then, as Lauren can attest, I picked up quite a few things before setting them down again and going for something completely different.

I decided to make a Vodka Penne with a Cream Sauce.  I looked up a few recipes and then promptly ignored almost all of their advice and just went for it.  I don’t have any pictures of the final result because I wasn’t thinking about it (I just wanted to eat!), so you’re just going to have to take my word that this was absolutely fantastic =).  Enjoy!

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Recipe: James’ Junk Salad

Today’s recipe is brought to you by James, one of Dinners With Dan‘s new featured contributors!  He is sharing one of his go-to meals and it looks absolutely delicious, so keep reading!

James' Junk Salad

The following recipe is my twist on a pasta salad resulting from far too many leftovers, a desire for something simple yet delicious and a love of pasta. It’s a recipe that came from my own taste buds and those of my friends and family.

This recipe originally came about from my need of a food source that would get me through engineering exams I had 24 hours to complete and that usually took between 12 and 18 hours of solid work. There were therefore a few requirements that had to be met:

1)    It had to be something simple, containable and not messy. I wanted something I could snack on without it getting all over my books, notes or computer, yet was easy to make and versatile enough that I could substitute a variety of ingredients, without compromising taste. I was terrified I would finish a design, only to see it covered with pasta sauce, so I had to think of an alternative.

2)    There had to be a steady supply. Although taking a break during a long exam period is highly suggested, you don’t want to be forced to take a break and perhaps spend 20-30 minutes cooking a meal. You should have the flexibility to take a break when your BRAIN needs one, not when your stomach needs filling!

3)    It had to be something I wouldn’t tire of. Obviously I would have other snacks and meals planned, but when I got a hankering for food, I wanted to be able to turn to something that I knew I would enjoy time in and time out. As you will find out, I am a huge fan of pasta.

In the end pasta salad seemed like the only reasonable choice.

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Recipe: Garlic & Tomato Spaghetti

Garlic Tomato Spaghetti

When I got off work today, I felt like coming home and having something fairly light and fresh.  I had a craving for tomatoes, but I didn’t know quite what I wanted to make.  I started looking around to see what I had available.  Garlic? Ok, that’s always a good start.  Pasta? Now we’re getting somewhere…  An idea hit me and after a quick run to the store, I came back and made a Garlic & Tomato Spaghetti.

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