Food: Career Girl Cooking Series – Ham, Bacon, and Mushroom Alfredo

First things first – a disclaimer.

I’m a career girl through and through. Went to college, worked long hours, partied hard, and lived on take out and my grandmother’s cooking for 25 years.

To be honest, I’m really not that much of a cook. Though I always knew that if I do try it, I will do great in it – and I did, if I may say so myself. On the rare occasions that I was found in the kitchen, I’ve been told that my dishes were actually pretty good. And no, my guinea pigs weren’t paid or threatened to say such things. I promise. 😉

Now that I’m married, I’ve been trying to cook more often but my husband and I love eating out. We love restaurants and hate doing the dishes (though SOMETIMES it can be therapeutic). So I cook at least once or twice a week as a way of being sweet to the husband. After all, the best way to a man’s heart is through his tummy and showing him you can handle stuff on your own. 😉

Western comfort food is my specialty and I recently got into baking while trying to learn how to cook Filipino food. Yes, it’s kind of a shame not knowing how to cook Filipino food when you’re married to a Filipino diplomat. It seems my Danish side is stronger, food wise.  But the good news is I was able to make some adobo recently and it was also good. My husband ate a lot after all. 😉 I’ll put up posts on that later on so that you can try it too.

I often tell my friends that cooking is easy. I read a lot of recipes and just like in most things you learn in school, once you know the basics, you can actually try and be adventurous, adding a little bit of this and that or deviating from the instructions to make a certain recipe your own.

A lot of career girls these days disregard cooking and other skills attributed to a domesticated woman and just end up focusing on their work all the time (guilty of this for the past couple of years) but the thing is, once you try it, it can be addicting and a great stress reliever. Cooking gives me a weird high and when people love what I make it just doubles up.

So, I decided to start Career Girl Cooking Series. A series of posts containing recipes of dishes or baked goodies I recently made with the promise that they will always be quick and easy cos we’re all busy girls after all.

And for everyone who’s intimidated by cooking, these posts are for you. You’ll end up laughing and saying that most of it all is just common sense after all. Believe me. When I told my grandmother I could cook she actually questioned me who taught me. I told her that it’s not really something that needs to be taught. Again, it’s common sense. (I’m looking at you, Carrie Bradshaw.)

Nothing too fancy when it comes to the technique and ingredients (which will always be available at your nearby mall’s grocery store – cos that’s where I shop too until I finally see a market here in KL at par with Salcedo Village’s Saturday market!). 😉

The first dish I made for my husband once we got our stove from our landlord (he usually rents them out or is included if you rent the apartment furnished but opted to buy our own furniture and he lent us this for free! Yay!), was some Ham and Mushroom Alfredo pasta. Really easy and takes about 30 minutes to make. It’s great for a quick dinner or for when your friends suddenly text you that they’re coming over.

Okay, so my disclaimer’s pretty much longer than the part where I tell you how to actually cook the Alfredo so I’m gonna get to it.

Ingredients:

250 gram pack of your favourite pasta brand (you can use any kind you like)

1 jar (680g) of Alfredo sauce (I used the brand Prego which is readily available here in KL)

200g bacon, cut into little squares (can I say ‘diced’ for bacon and ham? I’m not too sure)

150 grams of ham, also cut into little squares

Thinly sliced button mushrooms (I get them sliced and re-packed at the grocery to save my time)

2tbsp Butter

Garlic powder

Thyme

Grated cheddar cheese

Salt

Ground white pepper

Olive oil

Procedure:

Put the butter into a heated pan and let it melt, spreading across the pan using a turner or a wooden, huge-ass spoon (which is what I use).

I also use Elle & Vire Soft and Extra Light butter which is 75% fat free. Just to make me feel a bit less guilty over all the carbs this dish has. Hee.

Add the ham and bacon followed by the mushrooms. Sprinkle them with garlic powder while you sauté them on your pan. Cook them till they’re slightly brown.

It’s not comfort food without these three babies.

Add in the sauce, followed by more garlic powder (but don’t go overboard, okay?), pepper and a pinch of salt. Add some grated cheese and thyme and just mix it around your pan until your kitchen starts to smell of bacon and cream and the scent sticks to your hair. But seriously, stir it around for a couple of minutes until the sauce looks really hot and all your ingredients look really cooked (the cheese should have melted into the sauce by this time).

I usually add a bit of thyme to the sauce while cooking to make it smell even better. C’mon. Bacon scent and then some thyme? Smells like a beautiful morning to me! Haha!

By now, it should look like this. If it doesn’t, call poison control.

Now for the pasta. Get a huge pot or sauce pan or whatever it is you have in your kitchen where you can boil water in (No, the electric kettle doesn’t count). Fill it with water and bring it to a boil. Sprinkle the boiling water with about a teaspoon of salt and drizzle a bit of olive oil (about a teaspoon) into it and stir it a bit. Add the pasta. They usually tell you to cook pasta for 10 minutes but since I’m so OC when it comes to these things, I tend to just keep watch over it, swirling them around the saucepan until they feel soft enough to try out whether it’s done.

Pasta too long for your pan? Don’t break them apart! Short spaghetti looks so not good. To cook them evenly, put the pasta upright and wait until the lower half gets a bit soft. By then, you can start pushing it down into the pan until each and every strand of pasta/spaghetti is submerged in boiling water. Then you start swirling! Don’t leave the pasta alone for too long as some might burn if they remain in contact with the bottom of the saucepan for too long.

You’re almost done! Drain your pasta using a strainer and shake off all the excess water that might still be clinging to the (in my case) spaghetti.

Now, grab your tongs. No, not thongs like the underwear. Kitchen tongs! Lol, I waited days to use that on someone. I know, I’m not that good with jokes. Anyhoo. Get about a handful of pasta and we’ll do a bit of plating. I usually do a circular motion, slowly letting the strands of spaghetti fall on the plate and just going round and round until everything’s on it then I just push the sides a bit to make the little pasta hill that I made look fluffy. Then I get a ladle and pour the sauce into the middle of the spaghetti. Slowly. Let it drizzle to the sides.

Enjoy!

Sprinkle some thyme on top of the dish and you’re good to go. Looks and tastes gourmet but only takes 30 minutes to prepare.

Hope this was helpful! I’ll post some simple recipes for baked goodies soon. Maybe potato boats or an almond cake.

More later.

Love,

Carol

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5 thoughts on “Food: Career Girl Cooking Series – Ham, Bacon, and Mushroom Alfredo

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