Category Archives: Cooking

Emily’s Fail Safe Dinner for 2

August 26, 2013

The other day I was at a loss of what to cook for dinner and I made the critical mistake of wandering around Safeway hoping to find inspiration.

Up and down the aisles I searched for something to spark my interest. Even though I was starving and running out of time, nothing looked appetizing. (Please tell me you know what I am talking about!)

I was about to give up and pick up greek food next door when I remembered Emily’s blog post about an easy to make dinner that is a “guaranteed winner.”

After buying the ingredients I didn’t have at home, I was able to make dinner in the amount of time it took to cook the pasta. It was easy, tasty, and no way I could mess it up.

If you are out of ideas or in a hurry, I too recommend: (But
switched the orrechiette with farfelle pasta… I’m a sucker for a bow!)

Orrechiette with Sausage and Greens:

  • 1 lb orrechiette pasta
  • 1 lb turkey or pork Italian sausage, casings removed
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cups fresh spinach or 2 cups fresh chopped swiss chard or kale
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add orrechiette and cook according to package instructions. Drain in a colander reserving 1 cup of cooking water. Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so until fragrant. Add sausage and cook, breaking apart with a fork, until heated through. Add greens and red pepper flakes and combine until greens are wilted. Add pasta and parmesan and stir to combine, adding cooking water by the ¼ cup until the desired saucy consistency is reached. Serve with parmesan cheese and a light red wine like Sangiovese.

I love a good theme party which is why June’s family dinner was Fiesta de MexiJune. (name courtesy of my analyst at work).

I didn’t make my friends wear ponchos or mustaches (although I should have) but focused the theme on the food we ate.

This month’s menu included:

  • White Chicken Enchiladas (recipe from Bread & Wine)
  • Chips, Salsa & Guacamole
  • Spinach salad
  • Raspberry Beer Cocktail (recipe from Sangria Diaries)

My table wasn’t nearly as filled this month as it normally is but I loved the intimate group I had. Old faces and new came together over a meal I was able to prep the night before which made this month a lot less stressful.







April Family Dinner

May 1, 2013

Family dinner is easily my favorite night of the month… it even tops Dessert for Dinner! This month especially may have been my favorite yet because of the delicious (and EASY) food and the amazing group that joined.


Jennifer Burgart & Megan Montplaisir


Vik Rajagopal and Ashley Rajagopal


Pear & Prosciutto Pizza


Michael Bambaurer

Elyse, my roommate, and I hosted a pizza night, made easy by Trader Joe’s, that took all of the pressure that I self impose on myself when cooking.

The plan was originally to have friends show up and build their own pizza but as prep time came prior to their arrival I nixed the idea. Instead, Elyse, Jenn (her twin) and I made seven artisan pizzas ranging from basic to superb:

  • Cheese
  • Pepperoni
  • Pepperoni & Pineapple
  • Spicy Coppa & Salami
  • Spicy Coppa, Salami, Red Peppers & Black Olives
  • Veggie (Broccoli, Green Peppers & Red Onion)
  • Prosciutto, Pear & Toscano Cheese
The standout winner and most eaten pizza was the prosciutto/pear and although I was happy that my mad creation did well, I was disappointed that there were no left overs for me the next day.
Also a win? The group was so large this week that it was finally time to add the insert to our community table to fit all of us. Oh the things that delight me!
As I plan my May Family Dinner, what should my menu be? Remember…. keep it easy!





Another month of family dinner, another month that I didn’t practice the recipe prior to making it for guests. My mother would so disapprove. But one thing she did instill in me is: you won’t learn to be a good host until you start hosting.

This month I made an Indian dish of chicken biryani and served it with naan, zucchini and Whitehaven sauvignon blanc. The flavor was good but a little over cooked. Although the main course may have been a bit dry no one walked away with salmonella so we are calling this month a win. Thankfully, Elyse saved the night with crumble berry bars and ice cream.

I have no pictures of the food as you can see. Normally, I would be so disappointed by this miss but it was only because I forgot. Company and conversation were so enjoyable that time flew by before it even came on my radar.

Until next month….

Jam from Bear Flagg Farms





For January’s Community Dinner I wanted to try something a little different and have a Saturday brunch instead. Inspired by Pinterest recipes, I made scones with jam from Mary’s wedding in Bear Flagg Farms, baked eggs with a hashbrown crust, slow-cooked oatmeal, yogurt parfaits, Coava coffee, mimosas, and store bought donuts. Only one cheat from the whole menu!

I foolishly did not test a single recipe prior to serving, breaking a cardinal rule for having guests over for dinner, but I didn’t have the time to try! Luckily, each piece turned out delicious and was made even better by the friends that joined.

We were especially treated this month as my mom made a surprise visit by rerouting a business trip flight to Seattle.

I have started planning and brainstorming February’s Community Dinner and I am torn between a soup or pasta centered meal. I want to get a few comfort dinner’s in while the winter vegetables are still in prime season. If you have better ideas, please share!

Until next dinner…