Saturday, October 16, 2010

Our date night in...

Jon and I had been wanting to spend some more quality time together after our awesome trip to Wilmington, so I starting planning a very special date night IN for us.

I planned out the whole menu, wine, the music and set my plan in motion. Cassie was babysitting for a friend and Jason was at a sleepover. We had planned to make Jack something easy and let him go watch a movie in his room while we had our dinner but in the end, we let him in our our little 'date night' and he thought it was awesome!

Since you all know how much I like to take pictures of food - I know you'll appreciate these! I'll also include the recipes in case anything strikes your fancy and you wanna try and be all romantic with your significant other as well.

Tonight's dinner is:

Tomato and Mozzarella Bites

"You won't be single for long" Vodka Cream Pasta (No worries there!)
Rosemary Garlic Bread


Our 'spread'.  Don't you love how I have Guiness bottles as my candlesticks? Can you believe I absolutely have NO tall candlestick holders?!? I'd like to thank Josh (of Josh and JB that is) for leaving his empties at our house a few days before. Without you, we'd be sitting in the dark.

The Vodka Cream Pasta - DELISH!!!!!

Tomato Mozzarella Bites  - YUMMMMM!!

Jack loved that we turned off all the lights and had all the candles lit.

Sadly, I don't have a picture of our cannoli's. But here's one I found off the net so you have an idea what it is, in case you..well...don't.

We had a perfect little date night, even with Jack there!

Now, on to the recipes!

These are the only two I actually 'made'. The bread and cannoli I let the professionals take care of.

Tomato Mozzarella Bites

  • 20 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 20 fresh basil leaves
  • 20 small balls fresh mozzarella cheese (often labeled bocconcini)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 20 toothpicks


  1. Using a toothpick, spear a half of a tomato, a piece of basil, a mozzarella ball, and another half of a tomato. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Place on a serving dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix the vinegar and oil together in a small bowl to serve as a dipping sauce.

"You won't be single" for long Vodka Cream Pasta

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 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 oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan, 3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.
Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.

BTW - The pasta is DELISH the next day! I mixed it up with some shredded mozzarella, threw it in the oven and baked until nice and bubbly. SOOOOO GOOOOOOOOD!

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  1. Thanks for sharing!! What a great idea, I will have to "borrow" this idea, and recipes from you when my husband returns from Iraq. I love the bottles also, they do fit in with a "fun" date night in!