Ok, so maybe I am a survivalist preparing for the Zombie apocalypse. And, so what if I still have my Y2K water stored in the basement? You have to have a just-in-case plan! Here’s another great one that I bet you wouldn’t expect… Evaporated Milk. Yup!
This stuff is shelf-stable for years. Here are some great uses:
- Use in baking when mixed ½ and ½ with water. It replaces milk in any recipe.
- Use it for that fussy friend who only likes cream in their coffee and you are a skim milk kind of keeper.
- It can also go the other way and make a savory cream sauce for pasta or on top of vegetables. Melt 1 tbsp butter, whisk in 1 tbsp flour, add a can of creamy magic and season if and as you wish. Just don’t boil it! Unlike cream, it can’t take the heat.
Still fortified with Vitamin D, it has twice the calcium and protein as regular milk but is less expensive and less perishable. Honestly, you can’t really go wrong having a couple of cans on hand. Just be sure you aren’t picking up a can of sweetened condensed milk because that is also made by heating and evaporating milk but it is also laden with sugar.
We can debate the “go dairy free, everyone’s allergic to it” concept and the “calcium isn’t absorbable from dairy” idea later. For now, when you have to make something for dinner and have very little going on in the fridge… Evaporated milk to the rescue!
Spaghetti Squash “Alfredo”
Serves: 4 Takes: 25 minutes
You know you love pasta with cream sauce. Everyone does. But the carbs and calories, oy! This quick dish gives you that deep, warm, creamy pleasure without all the guilt. It comes together in a snap! Evaporated milk delivers twice the calcium and protein of the same amount of whole milk. It is creamy but much lower in fat and calories. You can’t lose with this quick weeknight vegetarian meal. If you don’t have the spaghetti squash, just make pasta and call it a day.
8 ounces sliced mushroom
1 small spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 clove garlic -- minced
1 can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
salt -- to taste
pinch dried chili flakes
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Pierce squash with a fork and place in microwave on a plate. Bake for 15-18 minutes until quite soft.
When cooked, slice open carefully to let steam escape.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet; add 1 tsp of butter and quickly brown mushrooms over high heat, set aside.
In the same skillet, turn heat to medium, melt the rest of the butter and whisk in flour, stirring until it bubbles and starts to brown.
Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds and then whisk in evaporated milk. Whisk until it thickens 2-4 minutes over medium- medium high heat. Do not boil!
Scoop out seeds from squash and discard. Pull fibres with a fork and stir into creamy sauce.
Add salt, pepper and chili flakes, top with cheese.
About the Author:
Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com