Kitchen Ambitions

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Maybe Hump Day’s not the most exciting day of the week, it’s definitely not typically a day for me to strive for many accomplishments. Since this is a week of firsts for me, I ambitiously planned not one, but TWO culinary extravaganzas. Here I will outline the first.

Much to my boyfriend’s dismay, I planned a healthy dessert (well, a healthy FAT dessert – see, avocado) to follow a healthy dish (here comes the bigger shocker . . .) & then, I actually made both of them. Though, I will say, I had to stop at the grocery store on the way home to pick up a pasta just in case. He was fully resigned to hating it.

He loved it. 

Here’s the recipe (please note: I modified the recipe a bit, but the link to the original is on the Trader Joe’s website) & a step by step in pictures below (because, I’m admittedly a spaghetti squash newbie).

1. Milk, english peas, light cream cheese, & parmesan 2. Slicing that squash was not easy, but all my digits are intact  3. You can really scrape all the way out to the skin, so waste not! 4. Spaghetti Squash is no longer daunting, it practically falls apart with no pressure. 5. BACON 6. The sauce with peas, great thickness to it that I wasn't expecting 7. Finished product 8. Happy (Empty) Plate!

1. Milk, english peas, light cream cheese, & parmesan 2. Slicing that squash was HARD, but all my digits are intact 3. Scrape all the way out to the skin 4. Spaghetti Squash is no longer daunting, it practically falls apart with no pressure 5. BACON!!! 6. The sauce with peas, has a great thickness to it that I wasn’t expecting 7. The finished product 8. Happy (Empty) Plate!

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara via Trader Joe’s (with my modifications, serves 4-6)

– Large Spaghetti Squash
– 6 slices TJ’s Applewood Smoked Bacon, chopped
– 4 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1 cup of light cream cheese, cubed
– 1 cup Fresh English Peas
– 1 1/2 cups of Low-fat Milk
– 1/3 cup of grated fresh Parmesan Reggiano

Cook the squash: Use a sharp knife to cut squash in half lengthwise. Use a large table spoon to scrape out the seeds and string (this had that old pumpkin smell to it, I put it down the disposal rather quickly). Season with salt and pepper, place cut side up in a microwave safe dish and add about an inch of water to the bottom of the dish. Cover dish with cling wrap and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes. (I had to do each half of the squash separately) Allow to cool enough to handle before unwrapping. Use a table fork to scrape squash from top to bottom to separate flesh into strands of “spaghetti.” Prepare Sauce: Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove from skillet with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Pour off bacon drippings. Add garlic to pan and sauté until opaque, about 1 minute. Add milk, cream cheese and peas; simmer over very low heat until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well blended and heated through (you can add more milk if too thick). Add squash and bacon; toss to coat. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese and serve right away.

Verdict: Absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to try more spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta. Obviously, it’s much healthier, & I would be lying to you if I felt good about myself while saying “I couldn’t even tell the difference”. Because really, what kind of asshole who can’t tell the difference between a squash and a delicious carb? Well, I promise you, I couldn’t (or didn’t) notice.

Now, onto dessert!

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