Pasta=Life

Yellow Pasta Beside Onions

Whether you like your pasta with heavy, meaty sauces like spaghetti with meatballs or merely creamy and light just like carbonara, learning how to cook pasta is always a must for a new cook. It is easy to prepare and is almost always a fantastic dish to serve at dinners or at parties – even kids will appreciate it!

3/4 kilogram medium-sized pasta
4 slices bacon
1 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, cook bacon in a pan until crispy. Place peas, milk, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder in the pan and cook on low heat until mixture is smooth, well-blended and heated through. Place cooked pasta in a large bowl, pour cream cheese sauce over pasta and top with bacon.
What you need:

Two boneless and skinless chicken breast halves, chopped
4 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup angel hair pasta
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup sliced black olives
2 teaspoons garlic and herb seasoning blend
Olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling lightly salted water until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Season chicken breast halves with garlic and herb seasoning blend and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in olives and mushrooms and continue cooking until chicken is golden brown. Remove chicken juices in the pan and reduce heat. Add tomatoes to the mix, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Toss chicken and pasta mixture together. Top with Parmesan cheese before serving.
Easy Cold Artichoke Pasta

What you need:

1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup salad macaroni
1 cup pitted black olives
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and place on a large bowl. Add artichoke hearts, garlic, olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, Critter controlparsley, oregano and basil into the bowl. Toss to combine ingredients well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Season with salt and pepper before serving.
Enjoy your first cooking escapades with these quick yet delicious pasta recipes!

Do You Like Artichokes?

Free stock photo of plant, blur, leaves, flower

The globe artichoke is a variety of the thistle family which has been cultivated as a food. The edible portion comprises the flower bud before it comes into bloom. They shouldn’t be confused with the Jerusalem artichoke, which has nothing to do with Jerusalem or is even a part of the artichoke family. Nutritious, fat-free and lo-cal, artichokes are so versatile they can be added to salads, mixed with pasta, mixed into casseroles,stuffed, chopped up and contained in cheese spreads, grilled or appreciated just plain boiled with melted butter or garlic mayo. With their gentle, slightly nutty taste, they make a wonderful addition to so many dishes, cold or hot.

The French enjoy boiled fresh artichokes dipped in dijon mustard (what else?) With a bit of balsamic vinegar. Italians savor stuffed artichokes with a spicy breadcrumb mixture, as part of their favorite antipasto plates or added to risotto and pasta. Spanish cuisine is brimming with artichoke recipes, since this vegetable is at the top of Spain’s hit parade. They use them in many of ways, such as tapas (little tasting dishes), sauced, marinated, and added to rice dishes and stews. Big fans of grilling and stir frying, Thai cooks serve the artichoke in its basic form with spicy dipping sauces and noodles. Chinese prefer a tuber-like vegetable often called a Chinese or Japan artichoke but in fact isn’t related in any respect.

Artichokes arrived in America in the late nineteenth century with Italian immigrants, sadly too late for foodie president Thomas Jefferson to enjoy. But one could be sure he would have been a big fan and tried to grow them in his mansion gardens. They hold an annual Festival in the month of May, in peak season, where hundreds of delectable variations can be peeled, such as grilled, Centurian Wildlife, sauteed, baked, fried, marinated, pickled, fresh, in soups, and of course cupcakes and ice cream. (Would I make that up?) Western farmers began producing the vegetable commercially in the 1920’s and sent them across the country.

Egypt, Spain and Argentina also top the list for artichoke production, together with the U.S. ranking ninth (only 10% of Italy’s production). But Americans love this vegetable like no other country, in some of their most popular variations:

Just Roasted or Boiled, dipped in butter or mayo

Artichokes are a relative newcomer to the U.S. but have been adopted by one and all. At times they might be somewhat pricey but can be enjoyed year ’round canned or frozen. For the lowest price and the freshest available, they should be bought at peak season, which begins in the month of March. If you like them simply boiled they take a half hour to cook, less time using a pressure cooker (which isn’t for the kitchen coward). But if you need a fast fix or want to add them to a dish, then the canned hearts work just fine. So why not expand your vegetable world a little and take an artichoke to lunch. You’ll get all choked up for certain.