Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday: Spaghetti-os for Grown-ups: An Uber-Frugal Farmers Market Dinner

Please go to The Fairy Blogmother for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.

Okay, so my title had everything to do with how many hyphens I could fit into one sentence.

But it also had a lot to do with the Michigan economy, cutting back, and eating local. Oh, and the dinner itself was delicious.

So here's what I had to start with:

In case my photography isn't crystal clear (and when is it?), this is a picture of lovely Farmers Market radishes and baby yellow squash and the end of some almost-done garlic. I also had a bag of $.99 anelletti and some grated Parmigiano Reggiano from Trader Joe's. Oh and, as always, olive oil.

And bacon. Mmmmmmm.... bacon.

Truly, though, this was it, and here's how the cash flow broke down:

1/2 box of organic baby yellow squash from Frog Holler: $1.50
3 radishes from bunch of 12 $ .37
three pieces of bacon from Ernst Farm: $1.00
1/4 bag of anelletti: $ .25
1/7 tub of parmigiano reggiano $ .71
3 cloves garlic, pinch sea salt, 1 TBS olive oil $ .20 (approx.)
Grand total....... $4.03
Divided by 2 (serves 2) $2.02/serving

And filling... did I mention filling? It also sends me back to my childhood, because this dish combines the taste of bacon/mac and cheese with the texture of those little round things that came in the can with tomato sauce, and it manages to be mostly veggies, so - win-win, right?

Oh. Yeah.

Here is the finished product:

Added bonus? 20 minutes to prep and cook, start to finish. I kid you not. Oh, Jen is feeling pleased with herself tonight.

Spaghetti-os for Grown-ups


3 large radishes, cut in half and sliced thin
3 baby summer squash, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 pieces of bacon
about 1 TBS olive oil
a pinch of kosher salt (or any favorite salt)
parmesan to taste (I used a TBS, D used about 3 TBS) - I recommend splurging for real parmigiano reggiano because it tastes so much better and with this little, it's not going to break your budget.
1/4 package of pasta of choice (but can't really be spaghetti-os without anelletti, which are little round "o's" of pasta)


1. Put water on to boil. Prep veggies. Heat olive oil in pan at medium heat.
NOTE: Bacon can be done two ways - you can chop it up and put it in with the veggies and use FAR less olive oil, or you can place it between two sheets of paper toweling and microwave it, 1 1/2 minutes on each side (the second method is less eco-friendly, but probably healthier in terms of removing saturated fat, etc.). I used the second method. If you do the first method, chop your bacon, too. If you use the second method, just set up your bacon and wait for a later step.
2. When water is boiling pour in pasta and set timer. It will take 13 minutes to cook the pasta, give or take. Put garlic and radishes in pan to saute. (And add the bacon, too, if you're going to put it in the pan with the veggies).
3. After about a minute, add in the baby summer squash slices to the saute and put the bacon in the microwave (and cook it, as described above).
4. Stir veggies from time to time, and stir the pasta, so it doesn't stick to your pasta pot (the anelletti do tend to stick).
5. When the timer sounds, drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Turn off the saute pan (the veggies should be a lovely, caramelized brown). Take the bacon out of the microwave and crumble it. (If you cooked the bacon in with the veggies, then drain the pan of oil before adding everything together in the next step).
6. Toss all ingredients together in a large pasta bowl and sprinkle with a dash of salt.
7. Serve with parmesan to taste.

Nutritional Info

* Servings Per Recipe: 2
* Amount Per Serving
* Calories: 289.1

* Total Fat: 10.5 g
* Cholesterol: 12.0 mg
* Sodium: 257.1 mg
* Total Carbs: 37.1 g
* Dietary Fiber: 4.2 g
* Protein: 12.4 g

As always, nutrition info supplied by the recipe calculator function at Sparkrecipes.com.

Enjoy! More radical radish adventures next week.


Korie said...

This sounds really good although, is there something you'd suggest besides radishes? I'm not keen on them...they're too bitter for me.

Ivy said...

This is definitely a frugal meal but so delicious.

Jen said...

Lilac, this is the amazing thing about caramelizing them - they become *sweet* - truly. Especially if you use butter rather than olive oil and the white variety. That's what makes this so magical.

Ivy - delicious, indeed! I was very happy with this one.

anno said...

Thanks for this idea about carmelizing the radishes... might transform my attitude toward that vegetable, too. This sounds delicious!

Jen said...

Oops... Anno, you weren't supposed to see this post, because now you'll want your share of the radishes! ;-) Seriously, though, they are blissful - you guys will love them.

thailandchani said...

It looks delicious! Is it Weight Watchers friendly? :)


Jen said...

It should be, Chani. Let me check the nutrition content. I'll post it later today. You may have to convert it into points, though - I can give you calories, fat and fiber. Needless to say, it would be better with whole wheat pasta, which normally I would use, but I had the anelletti to use up.

Eleonora Baldwin said...

I too have an issue with radishes, but I will definitely try this caramelized version. It might tip the scale in their favor!

Grazie for the great idea, the picture looks VERY inviting...

Lola xx

Momisodes said...

I haven't been too adventurous with radishes, but this recipe seems rather forgiving. I'd love to try it. And your final plating looks DE-licious.

Jen said...

Lola - they were a surprise for me, too. I *liked* them in salads, but they weren't favorites - this way I absolutely love them.

Momisodes - these are such an easy prep for radishes. I imagine they're good roasted, too, although I haven't tried them that way yet.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

frugal + tasty = a winner in my book.

Jen said...

Me, too, NYC - and I think all these ingredients are easy to get in Italy, correct? (Well, maybe not the kosher salt...)

Acedog said...


Mae Travels said...

I was thinking pasta last night too -- bow ties with some garlic, a little onion, olive oil, a can of whole tomatoes (grated), some slightly-past-their-prime mushrooms, and some fresh basil that was left from another use. Same idea, but vegan. I didn't calculate $$ or calories, but probably also not bad in either of those dimensions.

Great minds.

Jen said...

Acedog - yup, it was.

Mae - I love that kind of dinner. BTW.. I don't know if you've discovered them yet, but there's a new stall at the farmers market called "Michigan Mushrooms" and they have really, really tasty, unusual varieties of various oyster mushrooms, shitaki, etc. The price may seem steep ($3.00 or $4.00/1/4 lb.) but they're so lightweight, that you actually get a lot of mushrooms for that price and I've loved using them.

Shayne said...

I like meals that can be made and cleaned up in 30 minutes. the fact that it tastes good is a big bonus and all those veggies is a bigger bonus. yeah for Jen

Jen said...

Thanks, Shayne! I love all those criteria myself. Also, the veggies are so well-cooked that they are very kid-friendly - another bonus.

Brittany | the Home Ground said...

Wow. You've really outdone yourself this time!! And with some faves from the market, too! My friend and I talked to the owner of Roos Roast today and I told him I follow your blog. He got pretty excited!

Unknown said...

Looks SO good.

And if you want to see another recipe from 660 curries, do stop by my blog :)

Mariposa said...

Sounds good! I missed to make mine this week...got caught up with the new job. :)

I wish we have farmer market like yours...

Goofball said...

what makes kosher salt kosher as opposed to non kosher salt?

Jen said...

Brittany - that's partly John's personality, too - oh, I wish I'd known you were in A2 - we should get together some time!

City Girl - I'm about to - I'm behind on blogroll reading - yesterday I had about three different jobs and it was a bit insane (good, but insane).

Mariposa - I think you have an excuse. ;-)

Goofball - it's a specific type of salt that was originally used for "koshering" meat (drawing the blood out of meat). It's become very popular for seasoning here because the crystals are huge, compared to regular table salt so the flavoring becomes "deeper". Any large crystal salt would work (ie. ground less fine).

Brittany | the Home Ground said...

I would love to meet up sometime!

Thistlemoon said...

Looks great Jen! I love all the ingredients and love the simple and frugal cooking!

Jen said...

Thanks, Jenn - I was happy with how easy and inexpensive this was.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Yummy! So delicious looking! Just the kind of food I love...



Jen said...

Rosa - thanks! I love simple pastas.

peter said...

The apotheosis of peasant food. There's nothing better.

Jen said...

I couldn't agree more, Peter.

glamah16 said...

Thats my type of cooking .

Jen said...

Glamah, me, too, although your cooking lately has been so "ooh-la-la!" ;-)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Delicious and healthy too Jen.

Jen said...

Thanks, Val - that's what I'm shooting for!

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

Jen, we're on the same page as far as the spaghettio's go!!