I had a dinner date with my cats last night (Recipe Included!)

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Newsflash: I'm a crazy cat lady. Growing up we never had pets and my Mom had a fairly strong disdain toward cats. When I was 21ish I started working at a Cat Clinic in Destin, Florida. Within three months I adopted my first cat, Big Sexy, who still lives at home with my parents. Over the years I've acquired a few more cats and two more entered my life when I married Travis. When I ran my first marathon I raised $750 for the Pensacola Humane Society. That was one of the most amazing experiences!

My heart hurts too much to volunteer in person at shelters but I always do what I can to donate time or food.

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Salem - Most of you know the story of Salem. Short story: he and his brother were found in an alley around 7 months old. They tested positive for FIV (Feline HIV.) The vet tech who found them put an ad in the paper and in the two weeks it ran I was the only person to call about them! Salem's brother Prince was the sweetest little cat I've ever met. He passed away just shy of two years old from complications of his FIV. So far Salem is going strong at almost 9 years old!

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Rudy - Travis found Rudy hanging out by a dumpster by a vet clinic. The vet said someone had dropped him off and he had been there for a few days. When they found out Travis was willing to provide a good home they vaccinated him for free and said he was about a year old. Travis was 21 when he adopted him so he's at least 14 years old now. 3weekend1

Smokey - When Travis was about 25 he was working at the Post Office when he was hit with a major case of food poisoning at work one day. His Mom had to come pick him up and on the way home she asked if he needed anything. His response? "Yes, a kitten." So they picked one up on the way home!

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Rachael Ray Nutrish believes that everyone — even your dog or cat — should be able to enjoy meals made with simple natural ingredients like real meat and wholesome veggies. Since mealtime is better when you share it with someone you love, they've paired some of Rachael's favorite recipes with their companion Nutrish recipes.

MOMMY KITTY DINNER DATE!

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Pasta Puttanesca 

Ingredients:

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  • 1 head of garlic
  • 12-14 roma or plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh marjoram or oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 cup pitted oil-cured olives (I just used black)
  • 6 flat anchovy fillets (I omitted this!)
  • 3 T. drained capers
  • 1 small Fresno chili pepper or Italian red cherry pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped (I used jarred jalapeno)
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1/2 cup flat lease parsley

Directions:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375°F
  • Arrange a cooling rack over a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet for easy cleanup.  Cut the ends off the entire head of garlic to expose all of the cloves. Season the garlic with a little salt, some black pepper and a drizzle of EVOO, then wrap in foil. Cut the ends off the entire head of garlic to expose all of the cloves. Season the garlic with a little salt, some black pepper and a drizzle of EVOO, then wrap in foil. Cut the tomatoes in half and place in a bowl. Lightly dress the tomatoes by drizzling with EVOO. Season the tomatoes with salt, pepper and marjoram, and arrange on the baking sheet cut-side down. Bake the tomatoes for 20-25 minutes, then flip the tomatoes and roast for 20 minutes more. Roast the garlic for 45-50 minutes alongside the tomatoes.

  • Place about 2/3 of the tomatoes in a food processor. Coarsely chop the remainder of the tomatoes and reserve. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin and add to the food processor, pulsing until smooth. Add the mixture to a Dutch oven and add the olives, anchovies, capers and chili pepper. Cook for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Transfer to a small container for a make-ahead meal and refrigerate, or transfer to a serving bowl. Store the chopped tomatoes separately, or add to the serving bowl.

  • To serve, bring water to a boil, salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Reheat the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce for 1 minute, to coat. Serve in shallow bowls with lots of parsley, and drizzle with more EVOO.

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Unsurprisingly this dish was AMAZING. I served my boys the Chicken & Shrimp Pawttensca at the same time. We were all in food heaven.

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Rachael Ray Nutrish is hosting an awesome sweepstakes: Cook, Share and Win

  • Cook one of the delicious recipes provided (or one of your own) and share a Nutrish product with your pet.
  • Share a pic of you and your pet enjoying mealtime using #ChefTails on Instagram or Twitter for a chance to win.
  • Win an all-expense paid trip to NYC where you can enjoy a day in the studio audience of the Rachael Ray Show.

How adorable is that? They have a ton of other recipes on the website that correspond with cat (and dog) meals. Be sure to follow Rachael Ray Nutrish on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Are you a rescue Mom or Dad?

Ever have a dinner date with your pets, or am I totally weird?