Friday, May 10, 2013

Foodie Fridays: Quinoa With Creamy Vodka Sauce

I love cooking.  I know, I know, sometimes it’s more a chore than an opportunity for artistic expression, but from time to time I do get to experiment in the kitchen and create something healthy, gourmet, and delicious.  Last week I experienced such a moment.
Found this in the pantry....

The rainy, cold weather kept us from venturing out to either the grocery store or a restaurant for dinner one evening so I decided to make something from ingredients I found in my fridge and cabinets.  Sounds easy, peasy, right?  You betcha….

I looked around and found a box of quinoa macaroni, some canned tomatoes, a couple cloves of fresh garlic, milk, and artichoke hearts (yes, actually, I do always have jars of artichoke hearts on hand.  I buy them at Sam’s and they add an extra-special touch to anything from dips to pizzas to, of course, pasta dishes).

Everyone should have one of these in the fridge.
And an extra one in the pantry.

You know what sounded good to me that night?  Pasta with creamy vodka sauce.  Unfortunately I didn’t have any jars of pasta sauce on hand so I did what most home cooks these days do:  I searched the Internet for recipe ideas.  And I found this yummy, easy-to-follow recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  Except of course I had to improvise a bit because, as I mentioned before, I could only use the ingredients I had on hand.  And it was absolutely delicious.  We’re talking no-leftovers-amazing here, people.  Instead of canned tomato puree, I tossed a can of diced tomatoes into the Magic Bullet and pureed away.  Also, no heavy cream in the fridge so, yes, I used whole milk (but, please, don’t tell The Pioneer Woman.  I don’t want her to ban me from her site for future stalking recipe searches. I just added some extra butter at the end and, voila!  Delicious!)  I also didn't have any vodka, but I found one of those little airplane bottles hiding out in the liquor cabinet (no, I have no idea why it was there or how it got there but, hey, whatever....)  So, go ahead, give it a try.  The quinoa, as I’ve mentioned before, is a satisfying, gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly substitute for traditional pasta.  Lastly, I added some dried basil to the sauce while it simmered.  Awesome!

For point of reference, on the left is a Magic Bullet cup.
On the right is the stowaway vodka bottle....

Try it for yourself one night - and then let me know how you liked it!

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