Monday, August 17, 2015

Scrounging in the Kitchen

Today I'm linking with Monday Made It from Fourth Grade Frolics and Teacher in the Kitchen at Not Very Fancy in First. Summer is usually my cooking season because I have the time to putzy around a bit. But not this summer. I thought I'd better cook something before the no-cook school season really takes over. I managed to think to take some photos while making dinner last night. Do you like Pasta Carbonara? Well, I didn't intend to make it, but that's what ended up in our bowls somehow. It was a stuff-Kathleen-can-find-around-the-house kinda carbonara. I do REALLY need to get to the grocery store.

Here you see a bowl of eggs, tomato, pesto, parmesan, and some basil... where's the rest of the basil... there was more basil... Unfortunately, you don't see bacon as we didn't have any... so carbonara it was not quite.

I managed to gather these things from the fridge, pantry, and garden... I use the term "garden" loosely. Four big pots, surrounding a post that has string attached to the top so the plants can grow up. This year I have tomatoes, basil, patty-pan squash, cilantro, cucumbers, lettuce, and corn. It does all right if I can manage to remember to water– a basic foundational concept of gardening... who knew...

This is a photo of the garden a spring ago

In this next photo you see cheese– queso blanco, also called bread cheese. This cheese is fantastic because you can brown it in the pan. It retains it's shape as it browns (if you cut it thicker than I did) and has the most divine flavor and texture. It goes VERY well with cherries and grapes. This package came from Costco where it is WAY cheaper than anywhere else. It doesn't really go with Carbonara, but then again, when does cheese not "go."

You also see our pasta bubbling away in the pot in the picture– no, I don't usually leave boxes on the stove. I just wanted you to see the package. To a great extent we have switched over to lentil pasta, made of beans, if you can believe it. It behaves and tastes like regular pasta– even my fussy youngest loves it. It is gluten free, but I buy it because it has fewer calories and more protein that regular pasta. This particular brand also comes from Costco and is also a good price. Gotta love Costco.

While the pasta cooked, I browned the cheese, chopped the tomato and basil, and whisked four eggs in a bowl. As the cheese got done I just set it aside to have as an appetizer. When I turned around it and most of the grapes had disappeared- poof! hmm...

Look at this delicious golden brown cheese. Yum!

I drained the cooked pasta but, and this part is crucial, I did not rinse it as it needs to stay very hot when I put it back in the pot and add the raw eggs. You mix the eggs into the hot pasta very quickly and very well so they cook with the heat of the pasta. The first few times I made Carbonara it kinda freaked me out to be adding raw eggs, but they really do cook in the hot pasta... and cook to just the right consistency. Then I added a generous amount of parmesan and kept stirring.

Because I thought it would be boring without the traditional bacon, I added the tomato, basil and pesto, and mixed it in. A generous amount of ground pepper and a bit of salt finished it off. I probably could have scrounged up a few more spices from the pantry, but I was hungry.

It was a gooey, cheesy delicious mess. YUM.

Where are the photos of this scrumptious concoction, you ask? Well, our bowls of pasta looked and smelled so good that we ate it all up, and I didn't think about the camera again until after the dishes were done! A food blogger I will never be!! Jonathan said I could take a picture of his round belly, but I'll save you all the sight :)

BUT WAIT! As I go to download the photos to add to the post I find...

That DH of mine is naughty, naughty! He took a photo of the empty pot and didn't tell me. So you don't get to see his belly, but you do get to see his happy face... I guess that's happy... it looks like he's about to bite somebody...

BUT WAIT AGAIN! What else is on the roll... (do digital photos come in rolls...?)

OMG.. a missing finger!

Somebody take the camera away from that man! sigh.

There you have it. Pasta Carbonara the throw-together way. I highly recommend a little experimentation in the kitchen. The older I get the fewer recipes I use and the braver I get at just winging it. Jonathan says it's because our taste buds are dying that I can get away with it. If you stop by, I promise to use the cookbook.

Now click on Deb's  Not Very Fancy in 1st  button here to see who else is sharing some cooking ideas.

And click here to go to Monday Made It! Thanks, Tara.

See you around!


  1. All I can say is....YUM!!!! Your DH is funny! You can tell him I said so! You made me just a little bit jealous that you have a Costco. That's normally one of the first places I beg my parents to take me when I go to visit them. I love to walk up and down the aisles to see what they have. Happy Monday!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

    1. Yes, indeed he can be funny... You know, I was a Sam's Club member and went twice in the year, so stopped. Then we got a Costco and people raved, so we joined. Now I rave. Thanks for stopping by! Kathleen

  2. I would definitely slide my feet under your table for this! It's hot cheese and pasta, for crying out loud! As for your sous chef...a little laughter in the kitchen is always crucial to a great dish. Thanks for sharing!

  3. THAT CHEESE! Oh my goodness it looks delicious!! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. That looks so wonderful! I can't believe that that is your idea of just throwing something together! I have never made carbonara-- will have to try it!
    My Bright Blue House

    1. You could always look up a REAL recipe :) See you next time. Kathleen

  5. Sounds good! I've never made carbonara, but I have tried the lentil pasta; it's yummy. Since you mentioned bacon....yesterday I saw a big sign outside our gas station. They now sell bacon maple milkshakes. Is this something unique to Iowa, or is this wide-spread? I know we take our bacon very seriously around here.

    Not very fancy

    1. Oh. My. Gosh... Jonathan is on his way over. He takes his bacon very seriously, too. He was most upset to read that the carbonara was supposed to have bacon... I don't think he knew until he read the post :) Personally, I love bacon, and I love milkshakes but I'm not certain of that combo... though I have had bacon chocolate bars and they are pretty good... hmmmm.... Kathleen


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