Hello Again! – Vodka Pasta

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You guys, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything!  I’ve still been cooking, I just haven’t had a whole lot of time (or, I suppose, desire) to do any writing outside of school.  However, I am back after a nearly two month hiatus so you can expect lots of posts.

About a month ago, I started Weight Watchers so there will probably be more healthy recipes on here.  We’ve been dealing with some pretty stressful health issues in my family, and I decided that I realllly didn’t want to be facing the same stuff in 30 years so I needed to kick it into gear.  I’ve only lost about 5 pounds since I started the program, but I’ve lost over 20 since the last time I tried it a couple years ago. So, I’m pretty proud of that.  I am a little sad that when Jennifer Hudson and I are singing a quartet with our old selves in a WW ad, those first 20 won’t count, but what can you do?  Also, I heard that after Jessica Simpson has her baby, she’s going to be a WW spokesperson.  Maybe then we can do a sextet with our old selves.  It will be epic.  I know that people, including myself, overuse the word “epic.” But truly… it will be epic.  I feel like all my years of singing in the car have been preparing me to sing with Jessica Simpson.

Throughout this whole process, I’ve discovered that I actually really like exercising.  I’ve been going to Jazzercise 5-6 days a week and I’m loving it.  It’s pretty much the only place I can hear Pit Bull in a song and not want to hunt him down and do bad things to him.  And when I say “bad” I don’t mean “dirty,” I’m talking about the kinds of things that will land you on death row.  I guess what Elle Woods says is true, “Exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy.  Happy people don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”  I’ve also decided to start running as soon as I find a place that can sell me a cord for my 2nd Generation iPod Shuffle for less than an actual iPod Shuffle.  I’ve made it my goal to run at least the 5k in the A’Ror’N Days Fun Run, which also happens to be my birthday weekend.  I figure it’s good to have a goal that isn’t directly related to the scale.  I have a feeling this is going to be a very interesting project.  I found a plan that starts out as intervals of 1 minute running followed by 2 minutes of walking (which, to be completely honest, sounds a lot like my approach to running in P.E., so starting out should be easy) then gradually adds more running and takes away the walking.  I’ve never really had an interest in running, but one of my favorite hobbies is making playlists, so… at least I have that going for me.  This whole journey is exciting to me.  After a month, I already feel a lot better and my clothes fit a lot better, so hopefully it will start showing up on the scale more.

Anyway… On to the food!

I found this recipe in the April issue of Cooking Light.  Vodka Pasta is one of my favorite meals, and I’ve been looking for a good recipe for years.  There was a Rachael Ray recipe that I kept trying so hard to make work, but it was just lacking something… like flavor.  One time I made it and didn’t let the vodka reduce enough. I should also note that I accidentally doubled the vodka and used really, really cheap  (we’re talking Bartons) vodka.  Not only did it taste awful, but people got tipsy.  However, I was so pleased with this Cooking Light recipe.  The flavoring was amazing and the consistency of the sauce was perfect.  Also, it’s HEALTHY.  Or, at least, it’s not unhealthy.  I made it with chicken instead of shrimp since I’m kind of a hoarder when it comes to chicken breasts.  I’m not kidding, every time I go home, I end up taking a few Schwans chicken breasts back with me.  My freezer looks like one of those milk commercials, only with chicken.

I think this recipe is pretty straight forward.  It’s one of those crazy recipes where when it says it only takes 18 minutes, it actually takes 18 minutes.  I also had Spinach with raspberries, blueberries, and a light raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Shrimp Vodka Pasta

From Cooking Light, April 2012 

9 ounces refrigerated fettuccine

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

12 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/3 cup vodka

1 1/3 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Marinara sauce, no salt added)

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, divided

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.  Cook pasta per directions.  Drain.

2. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp; saute for 4 minutes or until done.  Remove shrimp from pan.

3. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and garlic to pan; saute 1 minute.  Carefully add vodka (side note: Every time Paula Dean cooks with alcohol she turns off the burner when she pours it into the pan.  I think this is a good idea for people with gas burners.  Especially if you’re as accident prone as I am); cook 1 minute.  Add marinara, 1/4 cup basil, cream, salt, and pepper; bring to a simmer.  Stir in pasta and shrimp.  Sprinkle with remaining basil.

Bon Appetit!

Nutritional info:

Serves 4 (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

CALORIES 427; FAT 12.6g (sat 4.9g, mono 4.8g, poly 1.4g); PROTEIN 24.6 g; CARB 60.1 g; FIBER 2.4g; CHOL 184mg; IRON 2.2 mg; SODIUM 632mg; CALC 65 mg; Weight Watchers Points Plus 12

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5 thoughts on “Hello Again! – Vodka Pasta

  1. Sally, can I just say that this post made me laugh not once, not twice, but several times. 🙂 Miss your sense of humor! And that pasta looks amazing. I might have to Pin this to remind myself to make it next month!

  2. Sally, you are so funny! I love it! I’m pretty proud that I took you to see Jessica Simpson in concert when she opened for 98 Degrees. Man, we were SO cool. Also, I’ll totally run the 5k with you. And I’ll look around my house to see if I have an extra shuffle cord. Love ya!!

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