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Taste of Tri Lakes Cares 2018

2018 May 10
by Ryan

Wednesday, May 9, we were invited to showcase our culinary talents at the annual (hopefully!) Taste of Tri Lakes Cares benefiting Tri Lakes Cares, a community resource center in Monument.

Just as with Chopped on the Food Network, we were given a box of mystery ingredients and we had to make a meal out of them. Even before going into the box, I had one goal: a quick and easy one-plate meal.

Last week we got to see what ingredients we were going to be using:

The box ingredients. Plus Cream of Mushroom soup, which was hiding under all the corn. Surprise!

Spaghetti, coffee, corn, green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and tropical Swedish Fish. This is going to be fun… 🙂

Alright… how to make this entire box gel into one entrée??? Well, since I’m thinking about ideas and we’re a coffee place, I thought it best to start with the “coffee.”

Ugh. Somehow I feel dirty having this on my coffee bar…

A quick French Press brew and a few minutes of thinking led me to the entrée: Spaghetti with a Green Sauce. For the corn, let’s use the juices from the corn cans plus the coffee for the water to boil the spaghetti.

Thinking outside the box…. errrr…. can.

Okay, for those of you playing along at home, I will say this: the color of that liquid was a little scary. And if there were corn kernels that escaped the can… well… it was even scarier. I threw equal parts water to the coffee into the pot to lighten things up. It didn’t work.

But once it boiled, it was time for the pasta.

Long spaghetti. Short bucket.

While the pasta is cooking away, it was time for the sauce. One of the goals of using the Tri Lakes Cares pantry ingredients was to minimize costs to anyone who is in need of said ingredients. So everything I added to the recipe were things that weren’t expensive at all from the neighborhood grocery store: Spinach, garlic, oil, salt, and parmesan cheese.

Sautéed garlic, wilted spinach, and green beans. The base for the sauce

What about the Swedish Fish? Well, here’s where watching waaaaaay too many Chopped episodes came in handy. Every time the chefs had gummy bears they would melt them down to make a sauce. So, I picked out the Pina Colada ones (I have never seen a tropical version of the Swedish Fish before!!) and ate the other flavors.

Blended sauce goodness

The green bean mix plus the Swedish Fish and a ladle of the very oddly colored pasta water went into a blender. Once smooth, back into the saute pan. Heat again until the fish are fully melted into the sauce. Add the cream of mushroom soup to bring a creaminess, salt to taste, and the spaghetti.

A meal fit for a king! Or two very hungry little ones… 🙂

And viola, we have an entrée. A quite tasty one at that. The corn liquid made the pasta have a cornmeal-like sweetness to it while the coffee brought out a nuttiness. The garlic and fresh spinach helped calm down the “dryness” canned green beans are wont to have, and the salt helped pop the flavors dramatically.

Another successful Taste of Tri Lakes Cares! I can’t wait to see what the ingredient box has in it next year!

Corn Spaghetti with Green Sauce

  • Ingredients from the pantry:
  • Liquid from 3 cans corn
  • 20oz french pressed coffee
  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 3 cans cut green beans
  • 1 bag Tropical Swedish Fish
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • Additional Ingredients
  • 20oz Hot Water
  • 2 Tbsp oil (canola preferred)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bag (8oz) fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Shredded parmesan cheese
  1. In large pot, place the corn liquid, coffee, and water. Yes the color will be… interesting.
  2. Bring liquid to a boil, add spaghetti
  3. Drain all juices from the green beans
  4. Peel and slice the garlic
  5. Put oil in large sauté pan, heat on medium-high until shimmering
  6. Add garlic, stir frequently
  7. When garlic is golden brown, add spinach
  8. When the spinach is almost fully wilted, add the green beans
  9. Stir continuously until the green beans are cooked through and the spinach is fully wilted.
  10. Remove from heat
  11. When the pasta is almost fully cooked (there should still be a little chewiness), transfer to a strainer
  12. Put one ladle full of the pasta liquid (yeah, about that color…) in the green bean mix
  13. Transfer green bean mix to a blender or food processor. Add in three of the white (Pina Colada) Swedish Fish. You can snack on the other flavors.
  14. Blend until the sauce is as smooth as it can be
  15. Put the sauce back into the sauté pan, add one to two tablespoons of the Cream of Mushroom soup.
  16. Heat the sauce until simmering, stirring the soup in thoroughly
  17. Add salt to taste
  18. Add the pasta to the pan, mix until pasta is coated in the sauce
  19. Serve with shredded parmesan over the top.