Rich Pound Cake

photo:tasteandseefood.com

Just in case your wife isn’t a chocolate fan, try this simple but oh-so-delicious pound cake. Serve with fresh berries and a dollop of whipped cream. This is a dessert that is much better when made dairy but if that is a problem use margarine instead of butter and soy milk or nondairy creamer instead of the regular milk.

1 pound butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs until well combined. Combine flour and baking powder and add to mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and end with the dry ingredients. Stir in almond extract and vanilla and pour into greased 10-inch tube pan. Bake for about 1-1/2 hours. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and finish cooling on wire rack.

Peanut Chicken Stir Fry

photo: flickr

Don’t let the list of ingredients intimidate you; this is an easy weeknight dinner.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 heaping teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup snow peas
1 cup broccoli (you can use the frozen)
1 (4 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 (4 ounce) can bamboo shoots, drained
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon ginger
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1 cup roasted peanuts (if you have allergies, throw in cashews instead or omit the nuts altogether!)

In a wok, heat peanut or grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until most of pink is gone. Add garlic and vegetables and continue to stir-fry. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, corn starch, ginger, broth, soy sauce and peanut butter (this can also be done with a hand immersion blender). Pour over chicken mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Throw in peanuts and serve over long-grain or basmati rice.

Fudge Tartlets

photo: minibitescookies.com

½ cup margarine, softened
3 ounces tofutti cream cheese
1 cup flour
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting:
¼ cup margarine, softened
¼ cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons nondairy creamer or soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat together margarine and tofutti cream cheese. On low speed add flour until completely combined. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about 1 hour. Shape dough into 24 balls and press each ball along the bottom and up the sides of ungreased muffin cups.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt together chocolate chips and margarine and stir until smooth. Stir in sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix well. Spoon 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons filling into each pastry-lined muffin cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes – filling with puff up but will settle down again upon cooling. Cool in pans for 5 minutes; carefully remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

When tarts are cool, make frosting. Beat together all frosting ingredients until smooth. Pipe or spoon frosting onto tartlets. Mom will be so impressed!

Curried Apple Soup

photo: veggiesyarnsandtails

A break from the heavy soups of winter.

4 tablespoons margarine
1 onion, chopped
4 Granny Smith apples, chopped
2 teaspoons curry
1 teaspoon sugar
8 cups chicken stock or 2 (32 ounce) boxes pareve chicken broth
½ cup uncooked rice
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup nondairy creamer or soy milk
¼ cup chopped cilantro (optional)

In a large stockpot, melt the margarine over a medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft. Add the apples, curry and sugar and continue to sauté – about 5 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Using hand immersion blender, purée soup until smooth. Stir in pepper and nondairy creamer or soy milk. Reheat and serve. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Tofutti-Cream Cheese Frosting

photo: blogspot

I have probably already let the cat out of the bag that I like ginger and gingerbread in almost all its forms – and these cupcakes are no exception!

½ cup sugar
½ cup margarine, softened
½ cup molasses
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¾ cup water

Icing:
1 (8 ounce) package tofutti cream cheese
¼ cup margarine, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons nondairy creamer or soy milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat together sugar, margarine, molasses and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients and pour into 18 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Cool briefly in pans; then remove to wire racks to finish cooling. When completely cool, make icing.

Beat together tofutti cream cheese, margarine, cinnamon and vanilla. On low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar and the nondairy creamer. Pipe onto cupcakes or just spread with a spoon. Store in the refrigerator.

Not Your Mother’s Potato Salad

4 pounds ( 6 to 8 ) red or white potatoes, peeled, cubed, cooked and cooled)
4 hot house tomatoes, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 papaya, cut into cubes
½ red onion, minced

Dressing:
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup vinegar
1/4 cup mango chutney
1 jalapeno, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate container, combine all dressing ingredients and shake well. Pour over salad and toss to make sure it is all covered. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Ambrosia

2 (8 ounce) containers Rich’s whip
2 pints strawberries, sliced or 1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries, defrosted
1 (19 ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained
2 (4 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
½ cup coconut, toasted

Beat whip until stiff peaks form. Mix with fruit and refrigerate until ready to serve. Spoon into martini or champagne glasses. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Variation: Feel free to add other fruit if you desire. Some people add maraschino cherries or grapes. Some even add miniature marshmallows (Yes, I know, those don’t count as a fruit!)

Mother’s Day Goat Cheese and Spinach Omelette

2 big handfuls baby spinach
2 tablespoons butter
8 pieces sun-dried tomato packed in oil, drained and finely chopped (alternatively, use ¼ cup sliced shitake mushrooms)
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 large eggs
2 ounces goat cheese (1/2 a small log), cut into thin slices (or use Alouette or Boursin cheese)
Wash and dry the spinach then chop it coarsely.
Heat the butter in a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Stir in the sun-dried tomato and scallion and cook, stirring, until the scallion is wilted, about 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted and all liquid is evaporated, about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with salt and pepper to taste.
Lower the heat to medium. Pour in the eggs and let them sit a few seconds until they start to set around the edges. Using a plastic spatula push a piece of the set edge gently toward the center. Tilt the pan and let some of the unset egg from the top fill the little gap you just made. Keep going around the edge of the pan like this, until there is no more unset egg on top.
Scatter the goat cheese slices over the top of the omelet. Sprinkle the sliced basil over the goat cheese. Put the skillet under the broiler and leave the oven door open, cook just until the top of the omelet is set and puffed, about 2 minutes.

Chocolate Pistachio Bread

photo: chocolatjuice.com

2/3 cup sugar
½ cup margarine, melted
¾ cup soy milk or regular milk if you want it to be dairy
1 egg
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped pistachios
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together sugar, margarine, milk and egg. On low speed, beat in remaining ingredients. Pour into greased 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove onto wire rack to finish cooling.

Ice Blended Coffee Malted

Adapted from original recipe by the Hungry Girl

2 teaspoons malted milk powder (find it with the cocoa powder at the market)
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules or instant espresso granules
1 – 3 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Splenda or Truvia) or 3 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
1/4 cup light vanilla soymilk
1 tablespoon half and half or whole milk
5 – 8 ice cubes or 1 cup crushed ice
Whipped cream for the top

Put all dry ingredients in a tall glass. Add 2 oz. (1/4 cup) hot water, and stir until ingredients have completely dissolved. Add 5 oz. cold water.

Add soymilk, half and half, and ice, and stir well. Top with real whipped cream and a straw.

MAKES 1 SERVING

Schlissel Challah

Here’s how I know that the Almighty has a sense of humor. On the Shabbos after Passover, just when you think you may never want to see the inside of a kitchen again, there is a particular custom to bake schlissel challah. For those whose Yiddish is a little rusty, schlissel means key – and baking a key inside the challah is meant to be a propitious sign for livelihood. That’s the humor. We all want a decent livelihood so how can we ignore this opportunity? Here’s one of our favorite challah recipes to make your forced return to the kitchen especially delicious. If this doesn’t open up the gates of income, I don’t know what will!


Perfect Challah with Sweet Crumble Topping
This is the most delicious challah ever – promise. The only “complaint” expressed is about starting the meal with dessert!

4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 cups warm water
2 cups sugar
2 cups oil
8 eggs
2 tablespoons salt
12-14 cups bread flour (hi-gluten flour)

In a large bowl pour water over yeast. As it is proofing (bubbling), add sugar. After yeast has tripled in size and is no longer bubbling (about 5 to 10 minutes), add oil, eggs and salt. Whisk everything together. Then begin stirring in flour, 3-4 cups at a time. Continue until it is no longer possible to stir in anymore. Take dough out of the bowl and on a clean work surface, knead dough until it is elastic, about 5 minutes. If it is sticky, add more flour. Sprinkle oil around bowl and roll dough in oil to keep it moist. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise for 2 hours in a warm place. Punch dough down, braid and place in greased pans. Cover again and let braided challahs rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle loaves with streusel topping. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Optional Streusel Topping:
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
½ cup margarine, cut into pieces (alternatively, you can use ½ canola oil)

Mix sugar, flour, and margarine with fork or in food processor to form a crumble. Sprinkle on top of challah before baking. (I usually double it and just keep remainder in the freezer to use week after week)

Purim Seudah

Here are some menu ideas to make your Purim extra festive!
Asian Lamb Chops

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Indian Cauliflower and Potatoes

Vegetable Samosas – New Hamatashen from Shalom Bombay
Yellow Cake Mix Hamantashen
More Hamantashen Recipes from our readers
Beer and Barbeque Minute Steak

Tequila-Lime Chicken

Penne Vodka with Herbed Chicken

Grasshopper Pie

Smoked Trout Dip
Cilantro-Garlic Dip
Sticks of Fresh Vegetables – Carrots, Celery, Jicama, Radish, Baby Corn
Assortment of Crackers
Smoked Salmon on Wontons
Spicy Chili
White Rice
Spinach with Coconut
Sweet Potato with Granola
Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart with Chocolate Drizzle

Asian Lamb Chops




15 (3 ounce) lamb chops


2 teaspoons minced garlic


2 tablespoons sugar


2 tablespoons lime juice


2 tablespoonsoy sauce


¼ cup olive oil


1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Place the lamb chops in a roasting pan and season with garlic and sugar. Whisk together lime juice, soy sauce and olive oil and drizzle over chops. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes. (I do 30 minutes because I like meat, especially lamb, well done). Garnish with cilantro.

Leftover Candy Chocolate Bark

1 pound bittersweet chocolate chips
3 (2.1-ounce) Butterfinger candy bars cut into irregular 1-inch pieces, or other candy bar of choice
3 (1.4-ounce) heath toffee candy bars, cut into irregular ½ inch pieces or other candy of choice
8 (.55 ounce) peanut butter cups, each cut into 8 wedges, or other candy bar of choice
¼ cup honey-roasted peanuts
3 ounces high quality white chocolate, chopped
Reese’s Pieces and/or M & M’s

Line baking sheet with foil. Stir chocolate chips in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and warm (not hot) to touch. Pour chocolate onto foil, spread to ¼ inch thickness (about 12 x 10 inch rectangle). Sprinkle with Butterfinger candy, toffee, peanut butter cups, and nuts, making sure all pieces touch melted chocolate to adhere (or use whatever candy you have leftover).

Put white chocolate in heavy small saucepan. Stir constantly over very low heat until chocolate is melted and warm (not hot) to touch. Remove from heat. Dip spoon into chocolate, wave from side to side over bark, creating zigzag lines. Scatter Reese’s Pieces and M&M’s over, making sure candy touches melted chocolate.

Chill bark until firm, 30 minutes. Slide foil with candy onto work surface. Peel off foil and cut bark into irregular pieces.

Vegetable Samosas (The “New” Hamantashen)


By Chef Vijay Jagtiani, Shalom Bombay, Glatt Kosher Indian Cuisine NYC and Teaneck

For 16 Samosas

For the filling:
6 potatoes with skin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 inches peeled fresh ginger
2 chopped green chilies
½ chopped onion
1 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
½ tablespoon turmeric powder
¼ tablespoon coriander powder
½ tablespoon salt
¼ tablespoon chili powder

Boil potatoes, remove skin, mash and set aside.

In a non-stick pan heat oil. Add cumin seeds, ginger, green chilies and onion and brown. Add peas. Cook 2-3 minutes and add mashed potatoes.

Mix cilantro, turmeric, coriander and chili powder together. Mix into the potato mixture and let cool for 15 minutes in fridge

For the dough:
¼ cup of white flour
¼ cup of vegetable oil
½ tablespoon of salt

Mix all of the ingredients together until they form a hard dough. Make lemon size balls of dough. Place the balls on a flat surface and press with a rolling pin to get an average thickness. Cut to make a half circle. Take one of the half circles. Dip your forefinger in water and line the edges of half circle with the wet finger. Then give it a shape of cone. Stuff it with about 1 tbsp of prepared filling and seal it firmly. Deep fry. Serve with sweet chutney and enjoy.

Sweet Chutney:
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups ketchup
1 pear, peeled
1 pound red seedless grapes
2 bananas
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
½ tablespoon chili powder
Pinch of orange/red food color powder

Grind vinegar, ketchup, pear, grapes and bananas together in food processer. Add salt according to taste; then cumin, chili and food color. Mix and enjoy.

Yellow Cake Mix Hamantashen

This recipe was submitted by GKC friend and fan, Yael Seruya.

Dough:
1 box Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix
1 cup flour
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons water, approximately

Filling Suggestions: Favorite Jams, poppy seed or prune filling (from can), chocolate morsels, white chocolate chunks, colored sugars, chocolate and rainbow sprinkles, marshmallows, chopped candy bars, gummy bears, candy hearts, or any other fun treat you dare to try!

Coat two cookie sheets with shortening or vegetable spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, combine cake mix, flour, beaten eggs, and water until batter is well moistened, and holds together. If dough is dry and crumbly, add water a few drops at a time. (Hint: After starting with a fork, I used my hands to finish mixing and added one teaspoon more water.) On flour surface, roll out dough to one-eighth thickness. Cut circles with four inch round and/or two and one-half inch round cookie cutter or cup, to make both large and small hamantashen. Place circles on prepared cookies sheets and spoon fillings or candies in center of each. (Hint: the more you put in the center, the trickier it is to get folded corners to hold together during baking-but we do it anyway!)
Fold into triangles by pinching tops together first, then bottom. Make sure top corners of triangle lean inward over filling so they won’t come apart during baking. If dough is dry, moisten hands with a few drops of water while working or spray dough sparingly with water mister. After folding, sprinkle edges with more toppings or chocolates, as desired.
Bake for 5-7 minutes, until slightly golden. Do not over bake. Smaller hamantaschen take less time. Remove from tray to cool.
Servings: 10 four-inch, and 17 two-and-one-half inch from one batch.
Serving Suggestions: Eat and share all day on Purim!

Crunchy Nutty Caramel Popcorn


3 quarts freshly popped popcorn
1 cup cashews (or other nut of choice), unsalted and roasted
1 cup salted and roasted macadamia nuts
1 cup whole almonds or pecans
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup margarine
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray a large roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine the popped corn and nuts in the pan, mixing well. Place in the heating oven while preparing the glaze.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, margarine, orange zest and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until l the sugar dissolves. Boil for 4 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and mix in the vanilla and baking soda. Gradually pour the glaze over the popped corn mixture, stirring to coat well.

Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven. Using a metal spatula, free the popcorn from the bottom of the pan. Let cool completely in the pan.

Break into clumps. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Easy Chocolate Marshmallow Fudge

Although it is not common to send a Purim gift that is dairy, this fudge is just too good not to post. If it’s PC in your community to send dairy items, try it and wrap each piece individually in tissue with decorative ribbons on both ends. If dairy Shaloch Manot are not for you, save this one to your recipe box and make it for Shavuos.

Makes 8 dozen pieces

12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups toasted walnut, pecan, macadamia, or other nuts, chopped, optional
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
20 large marshmallows
4 cups sugar
2 (5-ounce) cans evaporated milk

Combine the chocolate pieces, nuts (if using), butter, and vanilla in a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.

Place the marshmallows, sugar, and evaporated milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Continuing to stir, boil for exactly 6 minutes.

Remove from the heat and immediately pour the marshmallow mixture into the chocolate mixture; beat constantly until creamy. Quickly pour into the prepared pan or platter, pushing slightly with the back of a wooden spoon to spread the fudge evenly.

Cool for at least 1 hour before cutting into pieces. Serve at room temperature.

Vodka

If you don’t want to make your own flavored vodka, the stores are full of options. A few new ones from me oko were recently sent our way. They are definitely unusual and sparked interest and conversation among our guests. We sampled the ginger-infused, the strawberry-infused and the jalapeno-infused. I liked the jalapeno one the best; it has a real kick! We tried them straight – ice cold from the freezer but the company also suggests some cocktail options. These are not for the faint of heart!

Ginger Snap
1 part me oko ginger vodka
½ part Amaretto

Combine with ice and serve in a shot glass.

Hot and Sour Martini
1-1/2 parts me oko jalapeno vodka
3 parts grapefruit juice

Blend over ice and serve in a chilled glass.

Bloody Mary
(Make a big pitcher!)
2 parts jalapeno vodka
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 dash fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon horseradish
4 parts tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix

Shake over ice and strain into a tall glass of ice. Garnish with sprig of celery and wedge of lime.

Bottoms up!

Grasshopper Pie


This is an adult dessert as it contains alcohol. It is green and vibrant and perfect for Purim!

Crust:
28 chocolate creme filled sandwich cookies (recommended: Pareve Oreo)
2 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or 1/4 cup chips)
3 tablespoons soft unsalted margarine

Filling:
3 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup pareve milk
1/4 cup Crème de Menthe (kosher brand is Leroux)
1/4 cup Crème de Cacao Blanc (kosher brand is DeKuyper)
1-1/2 cups pareve whipping cream
Few spots or drops green food coloring, optional (I use it)
1 loose-bottomed 10-inch fluted tart pan, 2 inches deep

Set aside 1 cookie for later use. Process the remaining cookies and chocolate in a food processor until they form a crumb mixture. Add the margarine and process until the mixture starts to clump together.

Press the mixture into a high-sided fluted tart pan, making a smooth base and sides with your hands or the back of a spoon. Put it into the refrigerator to chill and harden.

Melt the marshmallows in a saucepan over low gentle heat along with the pareve milk. Once the pareve milk starts to foam (not boil), take off the heat and keep stirring until the marshmallows blend into the pareve milk to make a smooth mixture.

Pour the mixture out of the saucepan into a heatproof bowl, then whisk in the creme de menthe and creme de cacao. Leave until cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk the pareve cream until it starts to hold soft peaks then, still whisking, add the cooled marshmallow mixture. This filling should be thick but still soft, not stiff or dry, so that it will eventually drop easily out of the bowl into the chilled pie crust.

When the marshmallow mixture and pareve cream are combined, whisk in a few drops of food coloring, if desired.

Spread the filling into the chilled base, swirling it about with an icing spatula or silicone spatula to fill evenly. Put the pie in the refrigerator, covered, to chill overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours until firm.

Crush the remaining cookie and sprinkle it over the top of the pie before serving.

Make Ahead Note:

The pie can be made 1 to 2 days ahead. When chilled and firm, tent with aluminum foil (try not to touch surface with foil as it will leave marks) and store in the refrigerator. Decorate just before serving. The pie will keep 3 to 4 days total.

Freeze Note:

The pie can be frozen for up to 3 months. Open-freeze undecorated pie just until solid, then wrap the pie (still in its tart pan) in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil. To thaw, unwrap the pie and tent with foil (try not to touch surface with foil as it will leave marks), then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Decorate before serving.

Potato Chip Chocolate Toffee

2 sticks unsalted margarine
5 cups thick cut potato chips
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set 1 cup potato chips aside. Break the remaining chips in half if they are large.

Combine the margarine, sugar, vanilla extract and vinegar in a saucepan over medium high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is light amber and a candy thermometer registers 320 degrees, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the 4 cups chips, then immediately pour onto the baking sheet and spread in a thin layer. Gently press the reserved 1 cup chips on tops of the toffee and let cool.

Put about ¾ of the chocolate in a microwave safe glass bowl and microwave 30 seconds. Stir, then continue to microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until smooth, about 4 minutes. Drizzle the chocolate over the toffee. Set aside to harden, about 20 minutes. Break the toffee into pieces.

Penne Vodka with Herbed Chicken

1 pound penne pasta
2 cups homemade marinara sauce or 1 (23-1/2-ounce) container refrigerated marinara sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
½ head roasted garlic
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup vodka
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3 pieces grilled chicken or 2 cups leftover roasted chicken, skinned, and cut into 1-inch cubes

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently. Drain. Return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat marinara sauce, tomatoes with juices, roasted garlic, basil, vodka and crushed red pepper in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Add cubed chicken and stir until heated through.

Add sauce to pasta and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl.

Mixed Nut Brittle

2 cups sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup unsalted margarine
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 cup pine nuts
1 cup sliced almonds

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray.

Mix sugar and corn syrup in large heavy saucepan. Add margarine and corn syrup. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and margarine melts. Attach a candy thermometer to pan side. Increase heat, and cook without stirring until mixture is deep golden brown, bubbling thickly and thermometer registers 350 degrees, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove thermometer. Using large wooden spoon, stir in salt and then all nuts.

Turn mixture out onto the prepared sheet. Using large offset spatula, spread to ¼ inch thickness. Cool completely. Break into pieces of desired size. Can be made 2 weeks ahead and store in airtight container at room temperature.