We’ve entered the stomach; next stop, heart.

So as you know, on Sunday I made the boyfriend dinner. This was momentous for two reasons:

1. I had never done this before. For really anyone besides Emma. Definitely not for a boy.

2. I decided to cook his two favorite foods: penne a la vodka and cheesecake. (But not just ANY cheesecake; peanut butter cheesecake. That was the “super-secret dessert.”)

Cheesecake, I discovered, is easy enough once you manage to track down the right pan. (Which is also what led me to discover Cheap Charlies — that’s really what it’s called. It’s this garage sale-like store with crowded aisles and floor-to-ceiling shelves of pretty much everything. Including spring-form pans.) Here’s how it’s done:

Take 2 pounds of cream cheese. (Yes, you read that correctly. TWO. POUNDS.)
Add about a cup of peanut butter.
Mix in sugar, flour, and eggs. Blend until smooth.
Bake for about an hour and a half in a water bath. (Tricker than it sounds. Wrap the pan in foil to keep water from leaking in.)
After you turn the oven off, leave the cheesecake in for another hour or so to cook all the way through. Then refrigerate overnight, if possible. (Doesn't it look cute hiding in there?)

So that’s really it.

The tricky part was the vodka sauce. The boyfriend has always made it quite clear that homemade vodka sauce never matches up with the kind he can get at a restaurant. I’ve had his favorite restaurant version, and it is seriously tough competition for a non-professional chef. The trick is getting it to the right thickness.

So with this is mind, I did my typical nerdy thing and researched. My final recipe was a combination of two I found online. My secret? Don’t be stingy with the cream and butter. (This is CLEARLY a heart healthy meal, right?)

The final result?

Pretty, ain't it?
He's very patient with my photo-taking obsession. But look, he's happy!

He took one bite, looked at me suspiciously, and subtly accused me of trying to trick him with a restaurant version. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a WIN. Combine that with the mind-blowing that happened when he found out there was such a thing as peanut butter cheesecake, and I think I have officially redeemed myself for not cooking him dinner in six months.

Cheesecake, served.
That's his 'Please stop taking photos of me. Please.' face. I have no idea why he likes me.
Oh right. THAT'S why.

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