Wow, I am so loving having another cook in the kitchen — especially one who wakes up in the morning already ruminating on an idea of what he wants to make for dinner. I’ve had an especially spoiled week, with my work schedule ramping up to its usual fall frenzy, both UCU and Yarnia in full fall swing, and Jesse finding himself with a sleep-in, do-stuff-around-the-house kind of schedule while he waits on an electrician for his current project, I got not one but two evenings this week where I got to come home after a 12-hour work day to find him in the kitchen finishing the last of the dishes with dinner already made and ready to go.
For years all the grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up afterwards has been 100% on me! I hadn’t even considered this bonus perk of living with someone, especially when my evenings often are merely phase three of my work day; after a few hours of transcription in the mornings before work, and then seven hours of plowing through my to-do list at work, I often come home to a few more hours of screen time, whatever I couldn’t finish at the shop — albeit in my favorite little nook of the couch, in pajamas, and with a glass of wine or mug of tea at my side.
The best part is, taking a few days off made me so excited to come home on Thursday evening, with a little more lax of a to-do list that night, and unload the contents of our veggie drawers and try to get creative. I’m sure it won’t always work out this beautifully, but it happened to be an afternoon where Jesse had gone out to take advantage of what was rumored to be the last sun we’ll see until next April, and got home from disc golf to find me browning turkey bacon and whisking together the sauce for a carbonara, and I think he was equally as delighted.
I had bought this package of turkey bacon on a whim at GO this week, and it seemed like the perfect light protein to throw into some campanelle pasta, along with some equally sized chards of the snow peas that had been lingering in our fridge for almost too long.
This got browned in the skillet along with the peas, and after that, half of a finely diced white onion and a few cloves of garlic for just a few minutes, until they had barely started to soften; all this I set aside while I worked on the rest of the meal.
Now squash, to be honest, is one of those vegetables that I have tried to like for years, unwilling to accept the fact that I just really don’t, but always on the lookout for ways to make it work. So local and hearty and cheap and plentiful! How can I not like squash? Well, I recently discovered, while at my friend Hollis’ house for dinner, that perhaps some Delicata squash, sliced super thin, is just the disguise I was looking for.
So tonight, I tried it out her way: slicing the squash in half lengthwise, I cored out all the seeds, and then cut the squash into thin half moon slices.
These were tossed in a bowl with melted coconut oil, salt, pepper, and my Balti seasoning from Penzey’s, and baked at 375 for about 25 minutes. And wouldn’t you know it, they came out perfect and delicious enough to eat, skin and all.
Meanwhile, to give us some greens on the side, I whipped up a super quick-and-easy salad of Napa cabbage and red onion, dressed with Smitten’s buttermilk dressing.
I’ve never made a carbonara sauce before, but I have to say, I may be sold on it. I do love a good cheese sauce, but this one is sooooo much less work than my usual bechamel-inspired one, so much lighter, and really, if you wanted to cheese it up, you could add any soft or grated cheese at the end and it would probably work just as well.
Essentially, while the pasta is cooking (I used campanelle, which I think I had lying around in my pantry from way back this summer when I got overzealous about the festival pasta salads), I whisked together 3 eggs, half a cup of cream (half & half), some salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings. Then, as soon as I had drained the pasta, while it was still steaming hot, I stirred the sauce in so that it cooked the eggs just enough, but stirring continuously so they wouldn’t scramble. It’s still a rich, creamy sauce, but not such a gut bomb, and takes about a tenth as long to prepare. Sold!
This Week’s Groceries
Portland Fruit Company 10/9
- Bananas: $1.06
- Honeydew melon: $2.88
- Red potatoes: $1.66
- Miscellaneous produce: $8.72 – bummer that they don’t itemize everything, but I know this included a head of Napa cabbage, yellow onions, avocados, roma tomatoes, plums, and nectarines
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $233.47
Grocery Outlet 10/11
- 2 lbs. shredded sharp cheddar: $5.99 – this was cheaper than the brick that I was planning on grating myself for some reason!
- Turkey bacon: $2.49
- Chicken strips: $3.99 – guilty pleasure freezer snacks
- Peppermint Chai tea concentrate: $1.49
- Tuna: $1.78
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $217.73
Grocery Outlet 10/7 (This was Jesse — it shows up on the credit card but I’m still working on him to keep the itemized receipts! I think this was stuff for the Italian sausage pasta with vodka sauce that he made last Sunday. Like I said, he’s a meal-based shopper.)
REMAINING FOR THE MONTH: $191.71