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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sketti Done Right

By now, most people have been exposed to "Honey Boo Boo," the precocious chubby Georgia beauty queen, and her indescribable mother due to their disturbing, but hard to ignore reality television show, "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." The family is poor and has been raised with questionable eating habits going back generations. The mother is severely obese and feeds her children repulsive meals and snacks. Honey Boo Boo loves her gogo juice, which is mountain dew and red bull mixed together. The child slurps it through a straw and then runs amok, beating her mother, jumping on furniture, and saying crazy things that make us all laugh, but are slightly scary.

One of the family's specialty foods is "Sketti," which involves butter and ketchup being microwaved together and then poured over spaghetti. The children love it, but are clearly not having a nutritionally balanced dinner. The mom repeatedly declares that she feeds the family on a very tiny budget and that "sketti" is their best choice (see clip below). Exclamations like this have inspired many to take up demonstrating preparations of healthy foods on a budget, and I, too, been compelled to create my own version of "sketti."

My "sketti" brings together simple, inexpensive ingredients, most of which can be stored in the pantry. I use canned diced fire roasted tomatoes ($.80), canned garbanzo beans ($.80), frozen basil cubes (1 cube = $.20), ramen noodles ($.20), and fresh spinach ($1.50). The total cost of my "sketti" is $3.50, and provides three adult portions. My husband and I can both have a serving for dinner and there is some leftover for one to have for lunch the next day. This version is certainly tastier and more nutritious than the TV version, but I am not touting the nutritional value of ramen noodles by any means. This meal is quick and cheap and provides protein (garbanzo beans), phytonutrients (spinach), amino acids (tomatoes and spinach), and carbohydrates (noodles), but is still not for everyday consumption. 

Preparation takes about 5 minutes. I bring a small pan of water to a boil and add the garbanzo beans first. The beans taste better and share their flavor more when they are boiled. After about 2 minutes of boiling the garbanzo beans, I add the ramen noodles (discarding the flavor packet), and boil for about 2 more minutes. Next I drain most of the water out, add the can of diced fire roasted tomatoes in tomato juice, 1 cube of chopped basil, salt and pepper to taste, and the spinach. I heat the final mixture until the spinach is wilted and soft. And, Voila! It is delicious, colorful, nutritional, cheap, and fast! Hooray! I hope moms out there can choose this adaptation instead of the original "sketti!"