Healthier Carbonara

Cutting up bacon

Cutting up bacon

To finish off this week, I made a healthier carbonara for my mom for Mother’s Day. Healthy carbonara may seem like an oxymoron, but in reality it is possible.

I found a recipe online, and mostly followed it to a T, but I did add my own finishing touches.

I began by boiling water for the pasta. Usually I would use whole wheat pasta from my local, family-run pasta store, but my mom prefers normal pasta. Because it was Mother’s day, I felt like it was important to make it with her in mind.

While the water was boiling, I began to cook the bacon. Both my mom and I both really like crispy bacon, so I made sure to cook it a little longer than the package stated. I also added some onions into the skillet with the bacon, just to add some extra crunch. Then I boiled the frozen peas. While the pasta was cooking, I combined the 2 eggs and parmesan cheese.

Bacon, onion, and peas

Bacon, onion, and peas

I added the peas to the bacon and onion skillet. Once the pasta was finished, I drained the pasta and then added it into the large saucepan with the bacon, onions, and peas. Then I simply added the egg/parmesan combination and mixed it around, so the pasta was covered thoroughly.

Lastly, I added a bit of chives and some pepper.

The final product was delicious, and even my mom who is often a harsh critic said that I should save this recipe for future use. We had so much that we had some for dinner tonight also.

Finished carbonara!

Finished carbonara!

Grades:

Health: B-. It’s still not that healthy, but it does avoid the heavy creams that are often in carbonara. It’s healthier, but still not really healthy.

Taste: A+. This is probably my favorite dish of the week.

Cost: A-. Bacon is a bit expensive, but everything else was pretty affordable.

Overall: B+. It is extremely tasty, but this is probably not something I should be eating every week.

 

 

Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Asparagus

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Cutting up cooked asparagus

For this dish, I began by remaking the pesto that I had originally used in my pesto chicken melt. I decided to make this dish because I wanted to experiment more with pesto. This time when I made the pesto, I didn’t use as much parmesan cheese, because last time the cheese overpowered the basil and pinenut-y flavor.

While I was making the pesto, I began to boil the water to cook some noodles. While the water was boiling, I took my chicken out and cooked it in a pan over a medium-high heat. Once the chicken was done, I sliced it into thinner slices. Then I threw some pasta into the boiling water. I took my fresh asparagus and put it onto a grilling pan. I let the asparagus cook for about 8 minutes, and flipped them over half way through.

Then I simply combined all of my ingredients together. My mom and I both agreed that this is a great dish if you’re in a rush. Especially if the pesto is already made, this can be done in about 20 minutes, which is great for late-nights or nights when you don’t really feel like cooking.

Finished dish

Finished dish

Grades:

Health: A-. Easy on the cheese. Of course it is pasta means carbs, but as long as it’s not every day – it’s fine.

Taste: A. One of the best dishes I’ve made so far.

Cost: B+. Pine nuts in the pesto are very expensive, but besides those everything is pretty affordable.

Overall: A-. I really, really like this dish.

 

 

Zucchini Pasta

I’m a huge fan of pasta. This week I am going to be focusing on different pasta dishes.

I started this week by attempting to make zucchini pasta. I looked up many different recipes for zucchini pasta and they all differed slightly, but all included zucchini and salt. Some of the recipes had you actually cook the zucchini while others proposed eating it raw.

Salting the zucchini

Salting the zucchini

I began by peeling the skin of the zucchini off. While the skin has extra fiber, I wanted the texture to be as close to pasta as possible, so I didn’t use the skin. Then I continued to slice the rest of the zucchini into long, linguine-like slivers. Next I used sea salt to cover the pasta and drain out the excess water. I waited 10 minutes for all the water to drain out and then used multiple paper towels to soak up the excess water.

In a skillet, I used about half a tablespoon of olive oil. I placed the zucchini into the skillet and stirred it gently. I let it cook for about 5 minutes, before it started browning.

I finished it off by putting just a little bit of tomato sauce on top and a bit of parmesan cheese.

Overall, I have to say, I was disappointed. I suppose I had used to

Finished zucchini pasta

Finished zucchini pasta

much salt in when trying to dry the zucchini, but I really tried to be cautious. The zucchini came out very salty and did not have a very pasta-y texture. While it was edible and I did eat it for dinner, I don’t know if I would make it again.

Grades:

Health: A-. Everything is good, but just make sure the cheese is in moderation. Also, the salt content is pretty high if you are too heavy handed with the sea salt.

Taste: B-. As I said, it was edible, but still it had a strange, crunchy texture.

Cost: A. I was able to purchase 2 medium sized zucchinis for less than 2 dollars. The amount of 0live oil, sauce, and cheese I used was negligible.

Overall: B. The taste just doesn’t really make me want to make this again.