Pasta Carbonara

I don’t remember how I discovered this delicious dish.  I never had it growing up and we’ve never ordered it in a restaurant.  The first recipe I tried used all of my favorite foods:  butter, bacon, wine, cheese, eggs, spaghetti, and onions.  It’s always a little scary cooking something you’ve never eaten before.. you don’t know what it’s supposed to look like.. or taste like.  But, it was amazing!!  An instant favorite.

I’ve since simplified the recipe, drastically.  Here is my super-simple Pasta Carbonara recipe:

Pasta Carbonara


1/2 pound of bacon
1 box of spaghetti
4 eggs (2 whole, 2 yolks)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

  1. Cut bacon into 1-inch pieces.  In a skillet, fry bacon until crispy.  Note:  You can’t do it in the microwave or use precooked bacon because you’ll need to use the grease from cooking in the skillet.

  2. Boil spaghetti according to package instructions.
  3. Mix 2 whole eggs, 2 egg yolks, 1/2 cup of milk, and 1/4 cup of parmesan.  Whisk these ingredients until well mixed.

  4. Drain pasta and return to pot.  Add egg mixture to pot.  Stir immediately and mix well.  Note:  Yes, raw eggs.  The heat from the noodles is enough to cook the eggs and the heat from the pot is some added insurance.

  5. Add bacon and grease to pot.  Stir until well mixed and serve with extra parmesan or toasted bread crumbs on top.

Voila!  Enjoy!

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freezer cooking, recipes

Fill Your Freezer: Potatoes

I LOVE MY NEW KITCHEN SINK!!  I could never have washed and diced 10 lbs of potatoes on my old countertop.  I am so blessed to have a handy dad (and father-in-law) to help out!
Today’s menu includes diced potatoes & twice-baked potatoes:
Most families would probably prefer homemade french fries, but we could eat homemade home fries 7 nights a week!  Sometimes I fry them in infused oil to add some favors, other times I just fry them plain.
Most of my freezer cooking is done to make meal prep easier and faster.  This method, however, probably takes longer than just making the fries normally.  That brings up another great benefit of freezer cooking:  You can cook large amounts of cheap food that would have spoiled otherwise!  I can buy 10 lbs of potatoes at a really good price and I don’t have to worry about where I will keep them (cool, dark place) or how long it will take to use them up!
Freezing potatoes raw can sometimes turn them funny colors.  To stop that from happening, I cut the potatoes (in whatever shape you like, french fries, home fries, curly fries, wedges, etc.) and toss them in boiling water for 10 minutes (or until tender).
Then, rinse them with cold water to stop them from cooking.  Space the potatoes out on baking sheets and pop them in the freezer to flash freeze.  Once frozen, transfer the potatoes to freezer bags in portions that work for your family.
While my husband would love it if I made 10 lbs of diced potatoes, I decided to use the other 5 lbs to make twice-baked potatoes.  I loved these as a kid — butter-flavored only!!  They are the very first thing I learned to make-ahead and freeze.
According to the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book (everyone should own this), you can bake four potatoes by microwaving them for 10-15 minutes.  I nuke four potatoes at-a-time and let them cool down.  Then I scoop the insides into my KitchenAid and I add a ton of butter.  I baked 12 potatoes today and used almost a whole stick of butter (but I could have used more!! Yummmmm…).  I mix it on a low speed for a minute or two, then slowly add milk until it’s mashed-potato-consistency.  Scoop that into your empty shells, cram them on another baking sheet, and flash freeze!  Again, once frozen, transfer to freezer bag or individually wrap.
I have to admit that my family is a little disappointed that there isn’t room in the freezer for ice cream right now!  I’m sure they’ll be thankful in a week or two when the baby is screaming, we’re all exhausted, and we still have yummy home-cooked food to eat for dinner!!
If you’re interested in how I will use my {almost} fully stocked freezer during my postpartum weeks, make sure you subscribe!

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Linked at: Beautiful Thursdays Consider the Lilies Laura Williams' Musings  
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error, recipes

Trial & ERROR: The “Sandwich” Setting

This is what my kitchen looks like right now.  But, I still wanted to be productive today so I planned to make more Sandwich Bread.  I got it in the bread machine before my son left for school.. I also used up the rest of the wheat flour I had in the pantry.

Oops.  What happened?  Well… I mixed it up without even looking at the recipe – but I’m almost positive I got the ingredients all correct!  My guess is that I shouldn’t use the sandwich bread recipe AND the sandwich bread setting at the same time.
After the first knead/rise cycle, I restarted the machine like I always do with this recipe.  Except, this time I decided to try the sandwich bread setting.  Don’t do that.  If you use the sandwich setting, just trust the machine to make good sandwich bread.  Don’t try to out smart it by adding a knead/rise cycle.  Lesson learned!!
I froze the bread anyway and will use it to make bread crumbs for our favorite chicken parmigiana recipe.
Pictures of the new kitchen sink & countertop coming soon!!
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dinner, freezer cooking, recipes

Fill Your Freezer: Chicken Cordon Bleu, Rosemary Porkchops, Sloppy Joes

I’m getting more adventurous in my freezer cooking sessions!  Today I made 2 pans of Chicken Cordon Bleu (one for tomorrow, and one to freeze), 3 recipes of Rosemary Porkchops, and 3 recipes of Sloppy Joes.

The Chicken Cordon Bleu was really easy.  I didn’t use nearly as much cream of chicken soup as it called for.  The bigger pan went into the fridge for tomorrow’s dinner and this week’s lunches.  The pie pan went into the freezer (once frozen it will go in a ziploc).

I had two big trays of porkchops that were taking up room in the deep-freeze, so I turned them into Rosemary Porkchops!!  This is my mom’s recipe and my husband LOVES it.

Rosemary Porkchops 

In a Ziploc bag, place:
4 boneless porkchops
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dried rosemary

Shake bag to mix. [Here is where I freeze it.]
Marinate in fridge for 3 hours [Or, let thaw overnight in fridge]
Place in baking dish and cook for 30-35 minutes at 250 degrees.

Yes, when I’m running out of soy sauce, I cheat and use the packets from the Chinese take-out place.  Just FYI, fourteen packets get me the 1/2-cup of soy sauce that I need for this recipe!!  I also don’t use all the rosemary this recipe calls for because it seems like a lot to me.  I usually throw everything into the crockpot (frozen) before I go to work.  But if I’m not working, I cook it per the original instructions.

I browned 3 pounds of ground beef for the triple-recipe of lasagna casserole that I plan to make.  I also browned 6 pounds for a triple recipe of these sloppy joes.

That means I only have 6 pounds of ground beef left to use!!  Should I use the rest tripling this Pizza Casserole recipe?  Or do you have a favorite ground beef recipe I should try?

Next up?  Pizza Casserole & More Taco Meat

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menu, recipes

Menu for March 19 – 25

I didn’t do such a great job sticking to my menu last week, but I learned a very valuable lesson.  I was in a small car accident on Tuesday and my husband talked me into dinner at a restaurant after such a crazy day.  Sometimes, it’s important to plan your menu and budget your grocery trips.  Sometimes those things are very important.  But, sometimes, you just need to relax, spent time with your family, and thank God for your blessings.  I’m 7 months pregnant, so a major car accident could have been tragic for us.  I walked away without a scratch and my car has chipped paint on the bumper.  We are very blessed.

I’m still sticking to my grocery budget and going another week without shopping (only buying milk).  This week, I’m planning to cook the following:

Monday:  BBQ ribs in the crockpot with tatertots or fried potatoes
Tuesday:  Artichoke Chicken (Pampered Chef Recipe) with egg noodles
Wednesday:  TGIFriday’s Bruschetta Chicken
Thursday:  Hamburger Helper
Friday:  Chicken & Gravy over waffles
Saturday:  Banquet at Church
Sunday:  Salisbury Steak

I am really excited to try the Bruschetta Chicken recipe.  It’s my favorite dish from TGIFriday’s and I have been craving it soooo badly!!  I was so excited to see that I had all of the ingredients on hand.  At first, I didn’t have any tomatoes, but my boss just brought us all tomatoes from her vacation in Florida.  I did promise my (very-picky-eater) husband that if he does not like it, I will cook him spaghetti and meatballs on Sunday so he can get his pasta fix.  Maybe I’ll post a tutorial if the recipe is a hit!

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