According to tradition, when a Marshall’s birthday rolls around, that individual gets the pleasure of coming up with a birthday menu for the day (or at least one meal). I’m not exactly a Marshall any more, but thankfully this is a tradition that only expands with marriage (i.e. new husbands get the benefits too).
I’ve had many years to dream up the most delectable and decadent menus, and sometimes even insisted on cooking all the meals myself. Bacon cream cheese chicken bake has graced the menu before, as well as ham, creamed rice, eggs Florentine and crab casserole; and of course Krispey Kreme doughnuts, pizza, and sour cream and onion chips have all had their place. The food aspect of my birthday is one of the chief things I look forward to.
This year I decided on the following menu:
- Vodka pasta
- spinach with goat cheese
- fresh peaches
- white Merlot
- chocolate raspberry cheesecake
Choosing between all of the options in Mom’s mouth-watering, picture-laden cheesecake cookbook was pure agony, but I think the one I chose was decadent enough and went well with the rest of the menu.
In order to have these recipes handy for my future reference, and so that you can fall in love with them too, here are Mom’s recipes for Vodka pasta and for spinach:
1/4 c olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2+ t dried red pepper flakes
2 t sea salt
28 oz can tomatoes, chopped
1 lb pasta twists
2 1/2 T Vodka
1 c heavy cream
1/2 lb cooked Italian sausage, cut up
1/4 c parsley, snipped
In cold skillet combine oil, garlic, peppers, and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat with oil and cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, stir, and simmer uncovered for 15 min. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Add remaining salt to the tomatoes. Drain pasta, add to sauce, and toss. Add Vodka and toss. Add cream and sausage; toss. Cover and simmer on low 1-2 min. so pasta can absorb sauce. Add parsley, toss, and serve immediately.
Spinach with Goat Cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag fresh spinach
3 oz. goat cheese
Coat the bottom of a saucepan with olive oil and saute the garlic over medium-low heat for a couple of minutes. Wash and drain the spinach and add it to the pot. Cover with lid and let the spinach wilt and cook down for a couple of minutes. Tip out some of the excess liquid (so the final product will not be too soupy). Crumble in the goat cheese and stir until the cheese begins to melt.
Oh, and in case you’re feeling guilty for not wishing me happy birthday yet, we had this menu early, since Eric and I will have moved by the time the actual day arrives. So you still have time.