There was some left over ham from Sunday’s dinner that I needed to use up. The weather has been very hot and muggy which is normal for South Florida this time of the year. I do most of my baking now at night to keep the air conditioning from working hard. I wanted to make something light and tasty without to much fuss. So it was time to look at what I had on hand to work with and a quick look through my cook books. I settled on pasta alfredo sauce only I didn’t have all the cream these recipes were calling for and the cheeses. I lightened up the sauce with whole milk and used the what cheese I had. It turned out to be a light meal that was perfect on a hot day.
I thought about calling it “Poor Man’s Alfredo Sauce” but as you can see it doesn’t look all that poor. A sauce like this you can add what ever fish or meat you have on hand. Or go meatless with lots of your favorite vegetables that you have on hand. It can make any pasta or rice into a meal.
There are some basic foods I try to keep on hand for cooking. For me they have become pantry staples now since I have such a limited amount of grocery budget. I always keep a can of evaporated milk, a package of cream cheese and some grated Parmesan cheese. A can of evaporated milk in your cupboard always make sure you have milk on hand for cooking and baking. You can use it undiluted in recipes as cream or diluted with water for milk. Cream cheese is very versatile in cooking and baking. It also tastes good spread on your favorite sweet home made bread or savory home made bread. like this strawberry bread recipe. You can sprinkled grated Parmesan cheese on anything to perk it up. It will last a long time stored in the refrigerated.
Since my can of evaporated milk was dedicated to making fudge I used milk for a lighter sauce. I also had peas and carrots in the freezer to round out the dish. I made a version of Hakurei Turnip and Apple salad. Both the apple and turnip came from the food bank. One of the local organic farms must of donated the hakurei turnip. I was so happy to see one and the volunteers had no idea what it was. I got to explain and told them about the salad that I made. I hope they passed that on to the others in line because we were getting everything needed for the salad. You can find the recipe for that delicious salad here. A large glass of iced tea went perfect with the meal.
Pasta Ham Alfredo
Cook Pasta of your choice according to directions. Make enough to serve 4 – 6 people. This freezes well to heat up for a later meal if you are cooking for less people.
In a skillet saute over medium heat;
1 1/2 cup ham chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 rib celery chopped ( about a cup)
small can of drained mushroom (optional)
When onion and celery are soft and cooked add;
1 1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots ( If you are using fresh carrots, add them to the saute with the onions to cook)
Cook for 2 minutes and remove from heat and make the Alfredo sauce from the recipe below. When alfredo sauce is finished, add the saute to the pan of sauce. Stir and cook for a minute. Serve over cooked pasta.
Creamy Alfredo Sauce
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk or evaporated milk diluted with water to make 2 cups
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces cream cheese cut up into small chunks
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic or 1/4 teaspoon ground garlic
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large sauce pan melt butter on low heat with garlic. Stir in flour to make a paste. Stir in milk a little at a time to keep from making lumps.and turn up heat to medium, Add cream cheese and Parmesan cheese. Continue stirring until sauce is smooth and thick. Add parsley and pepper.