A Gloomy Monday and a Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

March 08, 2016

It's a gloomy Monday today here in Abu Dhabi.  The skies looked dull as if it's threatening to rain.  And just as I had expected, it started drizzling outside, which simply means the winter season is just about to end.  

I used to love rainy days as a kid because of the many happy memories I had associated it with -- like how much I enjoyed playing, dancing, and laughing under the rain with my siblings as well as the class suspension I always look forward to when I was still a student.  However, fear superseded my fondness towards the rain the moment I had experienced tropical storm "Ondoy" in 2009.  This natural calamity that hit Manila reminded me of the story of "The Great Flood" that destroyed civilization as written in the book of Genesis.  It was scary.

That haunting memory was probably one of the reasons why I preferred living in the UAE, where rainfall rarely happens.  I remember, I once told Ronnie, who was still my boyfriend then, that I wanted to live in a place where typhoon doesn't exist.  Thankfully, my husband was given an opportunity to work here in Abu Dhabi, which included family sponsorship as one of their benefits, so I was able to come along.  Indeed, God answers prayers!

Though the dry season of the desert gives me peace of mind, I must admit that having a gloomy weather like this still makes me feel blue.  In times like this, when it's raining outside and you're stuck at home, I guess, the best thing to do is to cook your family's favorite.  After all, nothing beats family bonding time over a feast of a scrumptious meal made with so much love, right?  So for this day's lunch, I've prepared everyone's favorite -- SPAGHETTI CARBONARA!

I just made a few alterations to the classic carbonara recipe in order to make it less sinful -- meaning low fat and less cholesterol.  You know, my husband has a history of gallstones and my sister has a known case of hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels in the blood), so cooking our meals requires a special dietary consideration.  In short, it has to be ALWAYS healthy!  And by healthy I mean, no processed meats like bacon and ham (these items are forbidden in our pantry).  Instead, I used a skinless and boneless chicken breast to give this dish its much needed source of protein.  In addition, I also used fresh mushrooms rather than the canned mushrooms or cream of mushroom soup, because as we all know it, "the fresher, the better!"

As I've said, this is everybody's favorite, which only proves that healthy meals can be deliciously tasty too!  Try it and tell me what you think.

chicken and mushroom spaghetti carbonara

500 gm pack spaghetti pasta
1 cup green peas
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion
6 cloves garlic
400 gm chicken breast (thinly sliced)
1 tsp salt for seasoning sliced chicken breast
5 white button mushrooms
250 ml all purpose cream
160 ml low cholesterol evaporated milk
1 1/2 cup fat free milk
1 cup low fat cheddar cheese
1 egg 
1/2 tsp salt (or more if desired)
1/4 tsp ground pepper


Cook pasta according to package instructions, then add frozen peas in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pan (make sure pan is totally hot before adding oil to prevent the meat from sticking) and sauté onion and garlic.  Add seasoned chicken breast and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook until slightly browned.  Pour in the evaporated milk, all-purpose cream, and skim milk.  Stir and bring to boil.  Add grated cheddar cheese, whisked egg, and season with salt and ground pepper.  Simmer until thickened to your desired consistency.  Remove from heat.

Prepare pasta on plate, top with sauce, and enjoy while hot.  Best served with homemade garlic bread.

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