Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Too Many Cooks??

I've got a beautiful roast in the fridge. I had been looking forward to the taste of it all day. Unfortunately, I'd also been forgetting to get it into the oven all afternoon. At about three o'clock I scooted into the kitchen and grabbed my cookbook and discovered that for a three pound roast, I could possibly have a yummy dinner on the table in about 3 hours.  I read through the entire recipe, grabbed that lovely hunk of meat from the top shelf of the fridge, and discovered that my roast was well over four pounds in weight. Good for the family, bad for getting a tender juicy roast on the table before o'dark thirty.

"Can we have fettucini?" Kate wanted to know.
"Sure," said I, "go get the fettucini noodles off of the pantry shelf."
(minutes pass...)
"No noodles Mom!"
"Okay, bring me up some cream of chicken soup and we'll have chicken spaghetti."
"Mom, there is no cream of chicken soup down here either, we do have spaghetti noodles."
(silence while I grumble internally remembering the large grocery receipt I'd just tallied 4 days ago.)
"Bring up the spaghetti noodles, we'll figure something out."

Kate was dying to help me with dinner, so we grabbed her favorite cookbook Mad Hungry, and mine, Family Feasts for $75 a Week and decided on Spaghetti Carbonara, a recipe which resides in both.

The recipes were a bit different from one another, so we decided to use what we liked from each and began...

Often, when Kate and I cook together she says something like, "Hey Mom let's pretend that you're the Mom and I'm the Daughter and we do a cooking show together." Most of the time I say, "Sure!" and she opens the show...

"Hello everyone and welcome to Mad Hungry, I'm ...(Mom, what's her name again?) Lucinda Scala Quinn and this is my Mom.  Today we're going to show you ...." and on she goes. She's a consummate professional which is probably the result of watching the actual Mad Hungry show with me as often as we can arrange the school schedule around it. (To find out more about Mad Hungry, click here.)

Today, however, someone else had a different TV show in mind...
"The Apprentice!"

This is the first time we've let Molly do more than just toss some pasta into the water.  She insisted on being involved in everything and dragged another stool over to join in.

First, they cooked the spaghetti (one pound).

Then, the good stuff, one half pound of bacon... 

...cut into 1/2 inch pieces

This step only took us 20 minutes. Please note, if you are working with less than three chefs, it could take you as long as 3 minutes!!

Next, fry the bacon. All chefs less than 3 and a half feet in height were, of course, taken off of their stools for this step, but please don't assume that they were not involved.  I like to use one of those handy dandy "spatter screens" when frying bacon to keep as much of the bacon grease in the pan and off of the stove top as possible.  First, however, I had to rescue mine from The Apprentice who decided to use it at that very moment to "Look for cwews (clues)."

After "Sherlock" was finished with her search, we recommenced the frying of the bacon.

Next, we decided to add a clove of garlic to the frying bacon to add some zip. The clove of garlic proved to be a tough nut to crack for Chef Kate...

Not wanting to injure our precious hands or break any fingernails, we did the only thing we could think of..."HEY BIG STRONG MAN, yoooooo hooooooo, calling all big strong men....."

One clove of crushed garlic at your service and
added to the bacon.

Meanwhile to a separate bowl, Chef Kate cracked and added two eggs...
...and then cracked one more and let The Apprentice pour it into the bowl. (Total: 3 eggs)

To that, The Apprentice added about 3/4 to 1 cup of parmesan cheese...

 ...and quite a bit of pepper.
And then something happened to our TV show... someone changed the channel from "The Apprentice" to "The Last Chef Standing". 

Kate handed off her chef's hat with all confidence that Molly could "take it from here" and off she flew to parts unknown, probably to train the "Next Food Network Star."

 When the bacon finished cooking, I removed the clove of garlic and Chef Molly handed over her egg and cheese mixture and the cooked and drained spaghetti which I added to the hot bacon pan. 

(The natural urge of most of us would be to drain the grease from the bacon before adding the noodles and the eggs and cheese mixture, however, in this case, the bacon drippings play a vital role in the taste and consistency of this dish. Trust me. You can always run extra laps tomorrow!!)
 Stir to combine and allow to heat until hot throughout so that the eggs are cooked.
Be sure to serve hot!
(Ours was ready well before we were ready for dinner. 
We kept it hot in a 225 degree oven covered in the pan in which it was prepared.)

Our compliments to the Chef and to the two cookbook authors
 from whom we learned this recipe.  

To visit the cooking sites or learn more about the cookbooks used, please explore the links below...

Click on Cookbook to get more info at
Family Feasts for $75 a Week: A Penny-wise Mom Shares Her Recipe for Cutting Hundreds from Your Monthly Food Bill
Note: For those of us who like the taste of TASTE, I prefer the Family Feasts version which includes chopped onion (I use 1/2 cup) and minced garlic (2 cloves) which is sauteed in the bacon grease after the bacon is removed from the pan. Simply add the onion/garlic/bacon drippings to the drained hot pasta and add the egg/cheese mix and stir well.

The recipe included in Mad Hungry (below), is perfect for those who shy away from onions.
Click on the picture of the cookbook for more information from
Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys (Hardcover)

And for the "Mommy-Kate-Molly" combo version:
(Click here for printable recipe.)

1 pound of spaghetti
1/2 pound of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup of parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and keep hot by returning it to cooking pot. While pasta cooks, fry bacon and add crushed garlic clove to pan.  In a separate bowl, combine 3 beaten eggs and 3/4 to 1 cup parmesan cheese.  After bacon has finished cooking, remove garlic clove and add cooked pasta and egg mixture. Stir to combine and heat thoroughly to cook egg. Serve hot with a nice salad and enjoy!!


Rick said...


G'ma suz said...

As great as the recipe appears, I would really like to have the cooks!! Mom

Sudeana said...

On the dinner menu for Thursday!! I would also love to have the chefs come cook it for me - all three of them plus their extras on the show :)

Sudeana said...

Although I really missed having the chefs over, you all made dinner a hit last night! Thanks!

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