Things this weekend didn't quite go as planned. D and I found ourselves at work more than at home (and quite relieved to be forced to spend so much time indoors as the heat index rose to 110 degrees +). Saturday night I caved and requested a late night restaurant run for a less than healthy dinner--and a totally regretful Sunday morning of tummy troubles. Sometimes it's these little reminders that I need to kick start some inspirations in the kitchen and remember why I do what I do so well--improvise around the house.
I'm planning to kick off a series that focuses on pantry (and fridge/freezer) staples that I always keep on hand to transform into any week night (or in this case, weekend) dinner for two or for twenty in a reasonable amount of time. Sure you can buy those prepackaged frozen skillet meals, but for a fraction of the cost, fat and sodium, you can get at least double the quantity, flavor and nutrients in the same amount of time.
Pantry Pickin's pasta is a quick nod to an alfredo sauce using skim milk, just a little butter some deli sliced ham and some frozen peas.
Pantry Pickin's Pasta
(serves 2 with leftovers)
- 1/2 box of pasta (any kind on hand will do)
- ~1 cup frozen peas
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- ~1 cup diced/sliced ham (or bacon or even part of a ham steak)
- 2 1/2 cups milk (any kind will do here, too)
- ~2 cups shredded parmesean cheese
Chop your ham (or bacon) and add it to a dry, medium sauce pan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes to crisp it up, stirring occasionally. Remove the meat from the pan and reserve for later.
Grate the garlic cloves into the pan, still over medium heat. Add the butter and stir until melted. Whisk in the flour and allow to bubble and cook for about a minute. Slowly whisk in the milk until all combined. Allow the milk to heat and lightly bubble while occasionally whisking (it should start to thicken at this point).
Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the cheese (reserve about a tablespoon for garnish) until it's all melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.