One kid's adventures in gastronomy


Make this for dinner tonight

It’s finally warm(ish) today! Very windy, though. Mama and I had to hunt the neighborhood for our missing decoration from the front of our house. Successful mission, but because of it, we needed dinner fast. Papa and I were hon-gree. And Mama did not keep us waiting long.

Because it feels like spring outside, she figured asparagus and peas were the way to go. She boiled water for pasta, and when it was nearly done, she added the veggies. Meanwhile, in another pan, she cooked bacon, and then made a sauce out of the drippings, veggie stock, and cream cheese. Hear me out: It was creamy with just the right bit of salty, and the veggies were brightly cooked and fun to eat! But as in all things Jude, however, I had to be convinced to try it.


“Awww… I didn’t want THIS dinner.”

One bite was all the convincing I needed. We even sopped up the extra sauce from the pan with bread. How often does that happen?

"I'm a bacon eater!"

“I’m a bacon eater!”

Love, Jude

Pasta with Bacon and Spring Vegetables

8–12 oz pasta of choice, preferably whole wheat
2–4 strips bacon, preferably uncured
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2–1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
2–3 Tbsp cream cheese (Mama used what was left in a whipped cream cheese container, but use whatever you like)
1–2″ tips from 1 pound asparagus (reserve the stalks for roasting)
1/2 cup (or so) peas (add more if you like; frozen peas are okay)

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook 2 minutes shy of what the package directions suggest.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium or med-high heat and cook the bacon until nearly crispy. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30–60 seconds. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel; crumble when cool enough to handle. Add the stock to the pan. Allow to bubble, then whisk in the cream cheese until thoroughly combined. (It may want to separate, so keep whisking.)

About 2 minutes before the end of the pasta’s cook time, add the asparagus and peas. When the pasta is cooked and the veggies are bright green, drain everything, then add the pasta and veg to the skillet. Use tongs to coat the pasta with the cream cheese sauce. Serve with bacon crumbled on top.

Note: For added flavor: squeeze a lemon, grind some black pepper, and/or sprinkle freshly chopped herbs over top. Also, you may substitute canola or olive oil for the bacon fat and serve the dish to any carnivores with torn prosciutto instead of crumbled bacon.


1 Comment

Pantry Raid!

So, Papa suggested pizza for dinner, to which Mama replied, “Get a different kind from the one we had for lunch?” Clearly, they were both feeling uninspired. But dinner time was creeping up on us, and neither one of my parents felt like heading off to the store after the busy day we’d already had. Mama decided to embark on a mission.

After rooting through the freezer, she pulled out a bag of sliced, cooked ham. (A couple months back, hams were on sale—never mind that it’s really only papa in the house who eats the stuff—and it was into the freezer with the leftovers.) While that was thawing under warm water, Mama pawed through the fridge and found a nearly full container of ricotta cheese. She bought it to fill yellow squash “boats” that she grilled earlier in the week. The wheels started turning. She rummaged through the cupboard and found an opened box of whole-wheat lasagna noodles. Bingo!

Into a pot of water went 9 noodles. Into a bowl went the ricotta, some grated parmesan cheese, a bunch of parsley from the garden, chopped up, salt & pepper, and a few slices of that ham cut up. For good measure, Mama even returned to the freezer to finish off a bag of peas. Once the filling was mixed and the noodles drained, Mama laid out a noodle, spread some filling down it nearly to the end, then rolled it up. Practically in the time it took to preheat the oven (to 350°F), she had these rolls done and laid seam-side down into a lightly oiled baking pan. She covered them with a thin coating of jarred marinara that had been lurking in the back of the fridge and baked it, covered in foil, until it was heated through (about 20 minutes). Then she topped it with a sprinkling of mozzarella (also remnants), returned it to the oven for another 5 minutes, and dinner was ready.

The only thing Mama would’ve done differently was spread a bit of the sauce in the pan first, before laying down the noodle bundles. Not that I minded either way. I ate almost an entire roll all by myself. And that’s what Mama calls a successful dinner. Pantry raid, indeed.

Love, Jude