June 20th, 2016
I’ve mentioned before that my son, Craig, is on a two-year mission in Italy. Here is a recent picture of him with some of his buddies. He’s the second one from the left wearing the aqua blue tie.
We get an e-mail from him every Monday, and we’re allowed to Skype with him for an hour on Christmas and Mother’s Day. I really miss him, but I know that he’s having a great time. He loves the food in Italy, and in one of his e-mails, he suggested that I try making some Pasta Carbonara. He explained that it has eggs in it and that they are cooked when mixed with the hot pasta. I had never had Pasta Carbonara before, but I decided to give it a try.
I started off with a recipe by Sunset Magazine which I thought was just mediocre, but I could tell that it had potential. What it needed was more of all the good stuff. More bacon. More cheese. More eggs. And a little bit of cream. They had actually removed the cream to make it less fattening. I added it back in. Along with more of all that other good stuff. And now. . . . . Well, NOW it’s REALLY GOOD, or as they would say in Italy. . . FANTASTICO!
You’re gonna like this! (Thanks, Craig!)
Recipe by Sunset Magazine/Heavily Adapted by Winner Dinners
Serves about 4
1/2 cup cream
5 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup Italian parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 pieces of bacon
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white cooking wine
1 pound of spaghetti
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and beat lightly. Add the cream, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the Italian parsley, and the pepper. Stir well and set aside.
Cut the uncooked bacon into 1/4-inch thick slices. Peel and chop the garlic. Put a large pot of water on to boil and add the salt.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until it’s almost done. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Slowly add the cooking wine and cook for about 3 minutes more or until the liquid has thickened slightly.
When the water boils, add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain well and imediately pour the pasta into the bowl with the egg mixture. Toss to thoroughly coat pasta with egg mixture (the heat from the pasta will partly cook the egg and melt the cheese). Pour the bacon mixture on top of the pasta and toss to combine thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over individual servings.
I have been making this quiche for a number of years, and it’s one of my favorite dinners, but it can also be served for breakfast. Swiss cheese and bacon are combined with an egg mixture.
And then it’s cooked in a pastry shell. Feel free to make your own pie shell, but I am partial to this one made by Marie Callender’s. It has a great taste that works perfectly with this recipe. I never use them for fruit pies, but I ALWAYS use them when I make this quiche. Having said that, I need to share something with you about Marie’s pie shells. Apparently it’s a rough trip going from the factory to the grocery store because a lot of them end up cracked. Sometimes they are all cracked except one. Your job is to find the one that isn’t cracked. If you have to, go through the whole stack until you find it, and then carefully put it in your cart with a big smile on your face. No need to feel guilty here. This is the way I do it every single time.
I think you’re gonna like this!
Recipe Adapted by Winner Dinners/Origin Unknown
Serves about 8
1/2 pound bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
2 cups (8 ounces) Swiss cheese, grated
2 tablespoons flour
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell (Marie Callender’s makes a good one, but find one that isn’t cracked!)
Cook the bacon and crumble or chop it into small pieces; set aside. Preheat the oven to 350. Grate the cheese and toss it with the flour; set aside. Combine the eggs, milk, salt, and cayenne; mix well. Add the cheese mixture and the bacon to the egg mixture. Pour into the pastry shell. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes or until set.
When my oldest daughter was in high school, she and some of her friends had each asked a date to the Sadie Hawkins dance, and they decided that they were going to cook a dinner together for their dates. Her contribution to the dinner was fried rice, and she got the recipe from a book called Teens Cook that I had given to my girls. After their dinner was over, I tasted some of the rice and thought it was really good. I didn’t have a recipe for fried rice, but I decided right then and there that I needed one. So I started with the recipe from Teens Cook and added more ingredients to it. It has become one of my family’s favorite dinners. This is the book I’m talking about.
It was written by two teen-aged girls, Megan and Jill Carle, with help from their mother, who is a professional cook book editor. The recipes have fewer ingredients than typical recipes, making them less intimidating to new cooks. Seasoned cooks would consider them to be a little on the bland side because they don’t use many spices, however my teenagers like the food. There is a photo of every recipe, and the authors have used humor (“Okay, I’m a wimp!”) that would appeal to teenagers. Teens Cook would make a great gift for any teenager with an interest in cooking.
The very first thing you need to do to make this Chinese Fried Rice is to cook the rice the day before you are going to serve it, and put it in the refrigerator. Even in the teen cook book, they tell you to do this. I’m going to go ahead and admit this so that you don’t make the same mistake. I skipped that step the first time thinking it couldn’t make that much difference. Wrong! It makes a huge difference. So just promise me right now that you will cook that rice a day ahead of time.
Recipe from Teens Cook/Adapted by Winner Dinners
Note: The rice needs to be cooked the day before!
4 cups cooked rice, refrigerated overnight (important!!)
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup cooked peas
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
6 tablespoons oil, divided
2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons soy sauce
Cook the rice ahead of time and refrigerate overnight. Beat the eggs with a whisk. Melt butter in a fry pan and cook the eggs without stirring much. When eggs are set, transfer to a cutting board and chop them up. Chop the onions, mushrooms, and green onions. Heat 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) oil and the salt in a wok or large saute pan. Add the rice and saute for about five minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the chopped eggs to the wok with the rice. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in the same fry pan that the eggs were cooked in. Saute the onions until they are golden brown. Add the mushrooms, bean sprouts, peas, and green onions and saute for three minutes. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the wok with the rice and eggs. Add the soy sauce and mix well. Heat thoroughly.