If ever there was a food hack, I think this qualifies.
Imagine this: Company is coming over sometime. We don't know when, or for how long. And the wife and I are really hungry. I look in the fridge, and a voice in my head whines "there's nothing to eat..."
What to do? I needed a plan fast. I look in the pantry, and there's 6 boxes of whole wheat rotini. Perfect! Pasta always does the trick. I put the water on to boil and start looking for something to go with it. Suddenly, a word pops into my head: carbonara. Now, most people would think to themselves, "I can't make carbonara! I've never eaten it, never even looked at a recipe! I only have vague descriptions given to me by my sister, from her husband who lived in Italy for a couple of years and had it a couple of times." This certainly described my experience. But hey, that's never stopped me before, right?
I looked in the fridge, and there was a bag of luncheon meat turkey. I grabbed a few slices, cut then into thin strips, and tossed them in a frying pan with a little cooking spray. I grabbed a jalapeno, seeded and diced it, and tossed it in with the turkey. When the turkey started to get a little browned, I checked the pasta and it wasn't ready yet. So I added a little chicken stock to keep the turkey from burning, just enough that I knew it would evaporate in time. When the pasta was ready, I added it to the turkey, along with an egg, a couple tablespoons each of shredded fontina and Parmesan, a splash of chipotle Tobasco and a little more chicken stock. I tossed it all together in the pan until everything was more or less coated and the egg was cooked enough to be called cooked, and poured it all onto a plate. I garnished with a chiffonade of basil, and we had just enough time to finish it before company came a knockin'.
Now, I know this sounds like an odd combination, and I'm sure Italians everywhere would be laughing at me, but dang, it was good. Very flavorful, just the right amount of kick, and pretty filling. I may actually make it again sometime.