One Year Anniversary Dinner


Sunday May 17th marks the one year wedding anniversary for my husband and me.  Below are the recipes for the exact dinner that I will be cooking for him this weekend.  Just remember, the best part about cooking (besides eating your delicious creations) is the time you take out of your hectic lives to have fun and enjoy what you are making.

* All of the following recipes can be found on Rachel Ray’s website.

Step 1: Beverage

Sparkling Sangria

  • 1/4 cup orange flavored liqueur (such as Triple Sec or Grand Marnier)
  • 1/4 cup almond liqueur (such as Amaretto)
  • 12 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 bottle Spanish sparkling wine (such as Frexinet Cordon Negro)
  • 4 seedless grapes


Combine liqueurs and fruit in the bottom of a medium pitcher and lightly muddle. Fill pitcher with sparkling wine. Place a single grape in the bottom of each glass. The yeast on the grape skin will help retain some fizz in your drink. Spoon a bit of muddled berry from the pitcher into each Champagne glass then pour in the liquid. Serve immediately. Cheers!

Step 2:  Main Course

You Won’t Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), once around the pan in a slow stream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
  • Crusty bread, for passing


Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the EVOO, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently sauté the shallots for 3-5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add the vodka to the pan three turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce the vodka by half, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While the pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir the cream into the sauce. When the sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from the heat. Drain the pasta. Toss the hot pasta with the sauce and the basil leaves. Pass the pasta with crusty bread.

Step 3:  Dessert

Stuffed Roasted Strawberries

  • 12 extra-large strawberries (the bigger the better!)
  • 1-2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • Whipped cream, from a canister
  • Cocoa powder, for garnish


Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Slice the tops of the berries off just below the stem. Cut the tips off (about 1/4-inch), so that the berries will sit upright. Next, use a small spoon or a melon baller to hollow out the strawberries, working from their tops, in order to create a cavity in each one. Stuff some chocolate into the cavity of each strawberry and place them upright in a baking dish. Lightly sprinkle the berries with sugar, if desired.

Roast the berries until soft and the chocolate is melted, about 10-12 minutes.

To serve, place three strawberries on a dessert plate in a triangle. If the berries have given off liquid in the baking dish, spoon it over them. Spray a small mound of cream in the center of the berries, and top each berry with a rosette of cream. Sift a little cocoa powder over the plate and enjoy!


3 responses »

  1. Hey Everyone,

    The meal was a huge success.

    The Sparkling Sangria was not my favorite, but Will absolutely loved it. I would say if you are a big liqueur fan you will enjoy it. Next time I might try it without the liquor and just use Prosseco. Even though I didn’t drink it the pitcher looked beautiful with all of the colorful fruit.

    The pasta was great as usual (we actually like it better heated up the next day). I bought some aged asiago snd shaved it while the pasta was cooking. Any cheese will add to the meal, but we enjoy the strong flavor of asiago with the other flavors in the pasta.

    I was very nervous about the strawberries, but they turned out great. I used organic soy whip cream and Cinnamon sugar instead of cocoa powder. Clean up was super easy because I placed parchment paper down before hand (I definitely recommend this because the strawberries tend to fall over and ooze).

    If you try any of these recipes out please let me know what you think.

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