Thursday, July 7, 2011

Meet the Contributors: Windy Aphayrath

I'd like to preface my intro with a very firm, I'm not the greatest cook in the world. I'm not even the greatest cook in our house. Husband is far more skilled than I could ever imagine to be. But that's a story for anther time.

For now, just know I'm getting better every day and I like to be in the kitchen far more than I used to, especially since I now know how to do more than just the dishes after a meal. :o) My cooking leans toward the more simple, measurements by eye, and most of the time pretty kid-friendly. The reason for this comes a lot from growing up with two full-time working parents and siblings a lot younger than me that I had to care for. (My sister's 11 years younger than me, my brother a year younger than her.) Similar to the main character of one of my wips, who's left to fend for both herself and her significantly younger sister oftentimes, learning to cook was more a necessity than anything else.

Now, being a full-time working mom with two young kids, a husband who, while he's the better cook, also works graveyards so cooking is often left to me, and a spastic dog that sometimes gets into everything, I just don't want cooking to be another chore. I'm not great at making up recipes, but more often than not, I like taking a recipe and giving it my own spin.

So let me share with you a super quick and easy, family friendly recipe that is a big hit if you have guests as well, since you can totally dress it up and make it look even more fancy!

Garlic Pasta with Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

1 lb angel hair pasta
4-6 garlic cloves (depending on size and how much you like garlic)
12 oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes
6 large button mushrooms - chopped
olive oil (if you get the sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, you can omit this)
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1) Boil your pasta per directions. I nearly always use angel hair pasta, but really, spaghetti or any noodley pasta will work. My family just prefers angel hair.

2) While your pasta's cooking, chop your mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.

3) And crush your garlic. Okay, so I'm not really huge on kitchen contraptions. I come from a family of immigrants who've learned to live with very little, so I've got a certain level of cynicism around kitchen gadgetry, but I do have to say, Pampered Chef, how I do love my garlic press.

Yes, that's an entire unpeeled clove I just dropped in there.
That's 6 cloves of crushed garlic and my hands don't smell garlicky AT ALL! We love our garlic in this family. So, umm, this may not be the best meal to have on a first date ... just saying.

4) Your noodles should be done now, so go ahead and drain them.

5) Over medium heat, put about a tablespoon of olive oil - or use the olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes- into a pan and sautee up your mushrooms for about 5-7 minutes, or until they're soft. Adding a dash of salt and pepper. Toss in the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic and turn off the heat.

6) Add the pasta and toss it all together.

7) Serve it up with a sprinkle of grated parmesan and some chopped fresh parsley. And a fork.

Then eat it on up!!

My favorite thing about this recipe? Here's a few other variations I've done with it this--
feta cheese with sun-dried tomatoes
feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers
sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, onions
sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh grape tomatoes

Hope you enjoy it!


  1. Yay for garlic! I love it--even the smell on my fingers. So, even though I have a garlic press, I seldom use it. It's too much fun to chop!

  2. This looks very good. I can't wait to try it!

  3. Jonathan - I used to think that too ... but the smell NEVER comes out!

    Laci - Have fun with it! I hope you enjoy :)

  4. The combination of mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic is one of my favorites. I'll definitely try this one!

    Oh, I think lemon juice on your hands gets rid of the garlic smell? That or rubbing your hands on the faucet, something about the metal neutralizing the smell. :)

  5. I make a recipe really similar to that and add shellfish. Love it! So delicious!

    Oh, about garlic smell on your hands, you can rub your hands on any stainless steel surface afterward and it will take away the stinkies.

  6. Oh yum! My kids also love any dish that incorporates pasta, so I will have to try this one!

  7. I know this will be a big hit in my house too! I'm all for creative cooking kids will like.

  8. Ok this blog is going to make me very hungry! It all looks delicious!

  9. That looks so YUMMY! I can't wait to make this! I'm so lazy, I don't own a garlic press, I just buy a big jar of it diced up and ready to spoon. Hehe.

  10. Ansha - this was actually a new combo for the family. I throw in veggies based on what I know the kiddies will eat! Turned out Deee-lish!

    Sarah - thanks for the stinkies tip!

    Kate - my kids love it, and I'm partial to cooking things the kiddies will eat!

    Cole - it is YUM!

    Aubrey - Agreed :)

    Cari - I know, right?? Every new recipe that shows up makes me hungry!

    Amanda - that stuff is NOT as good as the freshly pressed stuff. It has a weird smell to it, I think. But it could just be me ... Lol!

  11. I'm so loving this blog. This is awesome. I also like how you put your not the best cook in the house. This dish would as in the item you were making...not some reference to me.;^)