Monday, March 28, 2011

Pasta Primavera and White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Last week I went grocery shopping at my favorite SuperTarget. I came home and realized (after I had started making the dish) that I had left three bags of produce at the store. Needless to say, I was salty and we didn't have this yummy dish that night. But good things are worth the wait, right? This was amazing last night, and I'm glad we waited, because we made a few tweaks that really made it shine.
Pasta Primavera
12 oz short pasta (we used wide egg noodles, but you could use fusilli or rotini)
1/2 lb sugar snap peas, halved
2 carrots, shredded
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced super thin
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese
4 oz cream cheese, cut into small cubies

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Watch the clock, because you're going to add the sugar snap peas, carrot and bell pepper to the water for the last two minutes of cooking, and you don't want your pasta to already be done when you put the veggies in. You'll get squishy pasta that way. When you go to drain it, reserve 1/2 C of pasta water before you dump it out. Return the pasta and veggies to the pot or a really big bowl.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil and add the garlic, cooking until just golden. Don't burn it! Then it'll be gross.
Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and a tsp of salt. Cook until the tomatoes wilt, two-ish minutes. Stir in the pasta water and pour over the veggie-pasta mix.
Add the parmesan and cream cheese and toss. Serve immediately while hot!
If you're a cream cheese fiend, you can definitely add more. But don't do too much or it'll coat the pasta too much and overpower the other tasty flavors. Same goes with red pepper flakes.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
For this one, I changed some things up too. It called for a full tablespoon of vanilla, which seemed like way too much to me. So I reduced it by half and added a teaspoon of almond extract to it. I must say, I think the almond flavor makes these cookies, but if you hate almond flavoring, just leave it out! I also thought it called for too many chocolate chips, and not enough cranberries. I'll give you the amounts I used, and you can tweak it, depending on what you like most. Remember, they're just cookies! I wouldn't mess with the flour/egg/soda/salt proportions, but the mix-ins can be played with, as long as you don't overload the dough with too much of them.

1 C butter, room temp or softened in microwave
1 C brown sugar
3/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 T vanilla
1 t almond extract
1 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
3 C flour
1 C dried cranberries
1 C white choc. chips

Heat your oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until they look fluffy and pale-ish. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, not as large, mix the flour, salt and soda. Add to the butter/egg/sugar mixture a third at a time until it's all combined. Add cranberries, and chocolate chips. Scoop onto greased baking sheets and bake for 9-11 minutes. These cookies don't spread out a whole bunch, so size them pretty close to what you want the finished cookie to be.
These little treats are sweet and tart, soft and crunchy. I would even go so far as to say they were a good breakfast cookie, like my Merm's oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are. Oh, what? Those haven't made it to InThreeMinutes yet? Hmm. I'll have to change that! Or maybe I'll keep that one a secret, since they are so amazing.
Enjoy your cookies asap! They will go fast, even though this recipe makes 5 dozen :)


Christina said...

I've made a version of this cookie, but mine has pistachios in them. These sound great!