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    Check out more EATS- DIY- LIFE posts from Marina Makes or find her on Facebook & Instagram!

    Hi friend(s)! I’m Marina from marinamakesblog.com and I’m so happy you’ll be enjoying a night at home. I’m here to further elevate your experience with some seasonal eats and sips.


    When I was younger, my Yiayia (grandma) would tell me millions of stories, including tales about her childhood in Greece, her voyage to America and falling in love with my Papou. Yiayia was the best story teller. She’s the reason I love to reminisce and hold onto memories.


    To me, there’s nothing better than remembering your favorite moments with your spouse, family and friends while eating good food. The recipes I’ve prepared for you this month are meant to be enjoyed while recalling memories and pastimes that contribute to who you are today. I hope they bring you lots of comfort as you walk down memory lane. Cheers!



    We would LOVE for you to share pictures enjoying your dinner!

    Tag #datenightinbox & #marinamakeseats

    We understand that your TIME is valuable! If you choose to make any of the recipes below you can print out a complete

    shopping list! Enjoy!

  • Beverages

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    Limoncello Cranberry Spritzer


    • Shot of limoncello
    • Shot of cranberry juice
    • 1/2 cup of club soda
    • Ice
    • Lemon slice


    Pour a couple of ice cubes in a glass and add a shot of limoncello and cranberry juice. Pour 1/2 cup of club soda and top with a slice of lemon.

  • Appetizer

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    Ricotta, Walnut and Honey Crostini


    • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
    • 4 slices of a baguette (GF option: gluten free artisan bread or baguette)
    • 1/4 cup of canola oil
    • Salt
    • 4 oz of whole milk ricotta (vegan option: tofu ricotta which is sold in stores)
    • 1/8-1/4 cup of pure honey


    Set a medium frying pan over medium-high heat and toast the walnuts until fragrant and slightly browned. Set aside.

    Set a griddle or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Place canola oil and a couple of pinches of salt in a bowl and stir with a basting brush. Brush both sides of all of the bread generously with oil. Wait for the pan or grill to get hot before putting the bread on. Place on the grill for 3-5 minutes, or until charred, and flip, doing the same to the other side.

    While the bread is grilling, place ricotta in a medium sized bowl and sprinkle with a couple of pinches of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon). Whisk together until combined. Set aside.

    Once the bread is done grilling, take off the grill or griddle and being spooning 1-2 generous tablespoons of ricotta to each slice, topping with 3-4 walnut pieces. Repeat with each slice. Once all of the bread is topped with ricotta and walnuts, set the crostini on a serving platter and drizzle with honey.

  • Main Course

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    Baked Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce


    • 23-25 oz jar of marinara sauce
    • 1 shot of vodka
    • 1/2 cup of heavy cream (vegan option: cashew cream – 2 parts water to one part cashew)
    • Salt
    • 12 oz of penne pasta (GF option: brown rice penne or rotini)
    • 1 1/2 cups of shredded fontina cheese (vegan option: vegan shredded mozzarella)
    • 1 cup of shredded provolone cheese (vegan option: vegan shredded mozzarella)
    • 1 1/2 cups of parmigiano reggiano (vegan option: vegan parmesan)
    • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil



    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


    Place sauce in a medium pot over medium-high heat and cook until it starts to boil, stirring occasionally. When the sauce comes to a boil, add the shot of vodka and stir to combine. Lower the heat and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. Add the heavy cream and stir to combine, cooking for another minute or so. Remove from the heat and set aside.

    While the sauce is cooking, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. When the water comes to a boil, season with a tablespoon or two of salt. Place the pasta in the pot and cook it four minutes less than what’s listed as “al dente” cooking time on the box (about six minutes). Drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. Pour half of the sauce on top of the pasta and stir to coat.


    Place all of the shredded cheese in a bowl and mix to combine.

    When the oven is preheated, start assembling the pasta in a 9X9 (a little bigger or small will do too) ungreased glass or ceramic baking dish. Place a few heaping tablespoons of sauce on the bottom and add a layer of pasta. Next, add half of the cheese mixture. Repeat with one more layer of pasta, sauce and cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. When finished, top with fresh basil. Let the pasta bake cool for five minutes before serving.


    Please note, you may have extra sauce left. Feel free to serve on the side