Christmas Pasta

Christmas is by far my favorite time of year.

Around Christmastime I’ll never complain about the cold and the snow.

The snow is the perfect backdrop to sparkling lights!

Christmas is sneaking up on us quickly, so I'd say it's time for some Christmas-themed pasta to warm our bellies on these cold nights.

The red sauce is simple but deeply "tomato-y"--and only takes minutes to make.

It starts with slowly simmering tangy olive oil and garlic until their flavors fuse together...

...And ends with tomato paste and canned tomatoes for a rich, but bright flavor.

And because we all know that you can't have the red without the green at Christmastime, we'll also whip up a green sauce with a Basil Pesto base.

To the traditional pesto, we'll add avocado and lemon--creating a creamy and colorful sauce that's the perfect counterpart.

Each is good on its own, but together they're incredible!


Christmas Pasta

servings: 6 Servings


  • 1 pound rotini pasta
  • ¼ cup olive oil + a splash
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • One 14.5-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ cup Basil Pesto
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ¼ cup toasted breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley


  1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat for cooking the pasta. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook until al dente according to the package directions—or about 10 minutes. Then drain, toss with a splash of olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking together, and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the ¼ cup of olive oil and the garlic and cook until the oil has become infused with the garlic and the garlic is translucent and golden, but not browned—about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Then add the diced tomatoes, salt, and chili flakes. Simmer the sauce until it thickens slightly and comes together— about 10 minutes.
  3. While the tomato sauce simmers, cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and use a soupspoon to scoop half of the flesh into the bowl of a food processor (reserve the other half for another use). Then add the Basil Pesto and lemon juice and puree this mixture until smooth.
  4. Transfer the basil mixture to a large bowl and toss it with half of the pasta. Toss the other half of the pasta in a separate bowl with the tomato sauce. To serve, place both the green and red pasta on each plate and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and parsley.
: @NikkiDinki

: @NikkiDinkiCooking

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Gingersnap Cookies with White Chocolate

My sister, Gina, is an incredible baker.

She makes desserts that are the epitome of #craveworthy.

They always satisfy that inner child in you who craves something rich, moist, and slightly over-the-top.

For Christmas she makes loads of cookies, packs them in her suitcase, and flies them to Buffalo where we all converge to celebrate the holiday season.

And when she arrives, she kicks me out of the kitchen and does her best to cover every inch of it in flour--making even more cookies and treats.

Gina is the Yin to my Yang, always taking on the desserts and leaving me to what I really do best.

Together, our foods are perfect complements, and so come Christmas it’s a bit of a Sweet vs. Savory Showdown.

And at the end of this fight, everyone is a winner.

Gingersnap Cookies with White Chocolate

servings: 3 dozen cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1¼ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1¼ teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup granulated or turbinado sugar, for coating cookie dough balls


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Then line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Then beat in the molasses, canola oil, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, vanilla, salt, and ginger. Mix these ingredients until well combined.
  3. Next, add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture until smooth. Slowly stir in the flour, then stir in the white chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls, roll them in the granulated or turbinado sugar, and place them on the lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until they are set up and firm in the center—8-10 minutes; they will still be soft but will harden more as they cool.
  5. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring then to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
: @NikkiDinki

: @NikkiDinkiCooking

Original recipe from Two Peas + Their Pod


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Dill Hummus

Poor dill.

I used to say that mint was an underappreciated herb, but dill, he might just take the cake on that one.

What do I really use dill in? There is creamy dill dip! Now that’s delicious. My sister brings one over every Christmas Eve and with some pumpernickel bread it sure does hit that Christmas eve spot in my tummy.

I always think of this dill dip fondly as it starts off the festivities. And of course it makes sure there is a little cushion in my stomach for my second favorite thing on that day...Christmas Eve wine ;) 

What else has dill??

Cucumbers and Dill! It's delightfully refreshing thats true, but  where do we go from there??

Well, why not hummus...yes, a dill flavored hummus with accents of coriander and cumin to round out the dills bright notes. Hmmmm, a new dill dish staple perhaps??? You tell me…


1 15oz can Garbanzo beans (aka Chickpeas)

¼ cup Tahini

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp Salt

¼ cup dill

3 garlic cloves

1 lemon (juice)

1/8-1/4 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor.  Drizzle in olive oil until it’s the consistency that you want. Serve and ENJOY!


  • If you want to use less oil and have a thinner hummus just add a little water
  • The longer the hummus sits the more the flavors come out, especially the dill
  • The Tahini can be optional but you will find it in most big grocery stores in the international isle.


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