I'm so excited to share this recipe with you! Before I do, I must pat myself on the back for being able to survive on my own with limited resources. I don't know how I live in times like these... even when I was in college, I somehow made it through going to college full time, 4 jobs, no family, and living in my own studio on the outskirts of Chicago... Looking at myself from afar, I must commend myself for having this AMAZING ability to adapt and survive in situations like these. When I have money, I spend a lot of money. When I don't, I REALLY don't spend much at all. How the hell...? I guess people do what they gotta do to survive. Anyway, enough talk about my ego.
One of my best dishes I ever cooked occured during times when I was on a tight budget. And my creativity, I found, is not only limited to sewing, but also goes for food.
I currently don't really have much food in my fridge right now. But here is the list of ingredients I managed to find rummaging in my cupboard and fridge.
1. Spaghetti - This bag of spaghetti was attained from my brother's house, while cleaning HIS cupboard I found like 5 bags of spaghetti they collected during the past... I don't know, 3 years? (Some of them went bad... as bad as turning into a colony for INSECTS! EW! Of course I took the bag that was still insect free) :D Gross gross gross. OK, shuddap, I don't believe in throwing away good food unless it's food I don't like and know I won't eat and no one wants it.
2. Dried shiitake mushrooms, sliced. I bought this in August 2011, after returning to the US, intending to make some Japanese food for my family. Well, I still have it! (it's 2013!!) .... it's dried, so it's still good. Just soaked it in some water and it's ALIVE!!! When you soak these mushrooms, KEEP THE LIQUID. It is a good source of flavor and ... good stuff.
3. Tomatoes. My boyfriend bought 2 tray2 of veggies for one of his classes to share. These are leftovers. He gave me one tray which I already finished and this is the second tray... these are the very last bits of it.
4. Broccoli. See Tomatoes.
5. Turkey meat. These are usually frozen when I'm not planning to use them. I bought a bunch from Coscto and froze them. I think I bought it back in September or October 2012. They have been frozen, so they're still good.
6. Gouda Cheese. Bought a long time ago and have been slowly eating it away. I still have a good chunk of it in the fridge. Bought during my cravings for cheese and fruits and wine...
7. Garlic, a staple in my kitchen.
1. So first, I just cook the spaghetti as usual, el dente. Set aside.
2. As the spaghetti is cooking, I chop up all the other stuff: tomatoes, broccoli, turkey meat, cheese (so it melts faster) and garlic.
3. Put oil in a frying pan, put the garlic in. Before it turns brown, put the chopped turkey lunch meat in and mix it around. Let it sit so it browns, then stir, the let it sit till brown, then stir, etc. Keep doing till it's all golden brown. I add a little cooking wine to give it some juice.
4. After gold brown and juiced, I dump the sliced gouda cheese, mix. I notice the cheese doesn't exactly "melt" so I add some more cherry cooking wine and cover. OMG... it smelled SO GOOD... the wine and the garlic makes the aroma kick you nicely in the face... but it's a nice kick in the face.
5. Let it cook for a bit, then add the cut tomatoes for some extra juice. After the tomatoes have been cooked for about 3-4 minutes, I put the sliced mushroom, along with the liquid in. Stir it around, then cover. This will fuse together the gouda cheese and the liquid, so you don't see chunks. After it's been nicely fused, I let it cook uncovered to let the sauce thicken or evaporate a little.
6. Now here's my trick concerning the broccoli. I don't like soggy broccoli and I don't like cooking it to the point where all the good stuff disappears. I cook it last. Instead of MIXING it into the sauce to cook, I simply LAY it on top of the whole thing. Then I put a lid on it. So now you have the sauce steaming the broccoli, infusing it with its flavor. And it's not overcooked so you got the good nutrients and vitamins broccoli is known for. I steam the broccoli this way till it's bright green.
The steamed broccoli:
Put your spaghetti on a plate and top it with the sauce and broccoli and you're done. OMG it is soooooo good. Notice I did NOT add any additional salt, sugar, or anything. It's just as is. The flavor from the cheese and the mushroom was powerful enough be a good pairing with the simple spaghetti. Topped with black pepper and parmesan cheese!
Happy healthy, frugal, eating!! :D