Friday, March 7, 2014

Build Your Own Alfredo

I weaned Freckles when he was about a year old. And, being a good parent, I immediately started giving him milk to drink. I would give him a bottle before bed to hold him over through the night. And if he woke up in the night, I figured he might be hungry, so I gave him more milk.

We lived in a small apartment. Funnily enough, wherever Freckles was, I could hear him. Breathing. He sounded like Darth Vader.

It only took a few months (read 5-6-bad parent), for me to wonder if this heavy/congested breathing thing might be related to milk. He would be fussy, but what kid isn't? I finally connected the dots, albeit belatedly, when I remembered that his dad actually has a dairy consumption problem. Mr. Hippie's problem is more stomach related, than breathing.

We took Freckles off milk, cheese, ice-cream-everything with dairy-and started giving him Soy milk to drink. He was almost immediately cured from his breathing issue. As he began to talk more, he could tell me when his belly hurt, which was really helpful. By a process of experimentation we discovered that he could have yellow cheeses, but not white. He could have sour cream, but not heavy cream or milk. Particularly bad were parmesan, mozzarella, heavy cream and milk.

If he had anything with those things he would end up vomiting after having a major stomach ache. Not cool. This made me tailor my cooking style quite a bit. I substituted soy milk or sour cream where I could in recipes, and generally avoided things that had mozzarella cheese or heavy cream in the ingredient list.

The two girls both had similar issues, which manifested themselves as I was nursing them. So, I didn't ever give them regular milk, only soy milk.

At 10 years old, Freckles has mostly grown out of this, for which I am very grateful. It now seems to be fairly cumulative with him. If he has a lot of dairy, he gets a stomach ache and is congested. The girls seem to handle everything but milk okay. All three still only drink soy milk. 

For many years I didn't make lasagna or alfredo or anything like that. But now I can. My whole family can eat this food without repercussions. I have been perfecting my lasagna recipe and I've been on the hunt for an alfredo recipe. 

I found one.

Last weekend, while we were gone, Mr. Hippie and I made alfredo. It is a really easy recipe, with a base of cream cheese. We sautéed mushrooms and chicken, broiled asparagus and tossed it all plus the sauce with linguine. Delicious!

Alfredo can be used by itself as a topping for pasta, or you can add anything you desire. Favorites often are carrots, sweet red pepper, spinach, seafood, chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus...Steam, sauté or otherwise cook the add-ins before you add them.

No Fail-BYO-Alfredo
1/2 cup butter
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder (optional)
pepper, to taste
chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, red pepper, spinach

-In a medium saucepan, melt butter.
-When the butter is almost melted, add the package of cream cheese.
-Once butter and cream cheese are mixed well together, add the cup of half and half, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and then shake pepper on top. Stir all together until well mixed.
-Remove from heat and set aside to thicken up. (5 minutes) Stir every few moments.
-Pour over your favorite pasta and add whatever you want to it....

What are your favorite things to add to alfredo?