Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feels like a Spring day

What a lovely weekend Sam and I spent at my friend Donna’s home. Love hanging with her and her fam. River [Donna’s granddaughter] is five weeks old and I was so happy to meet her. It always amazes and delights me … what babies do for one’s spirit. How is it that we could just look at them all day long and never get bored? Beautiful time.

I am still mulling over the spiritual/life conversations that Donna and I had. I’m in an introspective place [which is good – as long as I don’t get stuck here – don’t think I will] right now. I have spaces in time when I am in, what I call, output mode … sharing, babbling, venting, ranting. And other times when it is all intake/input … that is where I am today.

I came home this afternoon and made the best mac and cheese ever …
I’ve played with this recipe a few times – I don’t like squishy macaroni – and I don’t like overwhelming cheese … so, I think I finally got it figured out.

The best Baked Mac & Cheese I have had …

4 tablespoons Italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons olive oil 
10 ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
1 & 3/4 cups low-fat milk, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup low-fat cream cheese [microwave for a few seconds to soften]
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 ½ cups macaroni

1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat an 8-inch-square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil.

2. Mix breadcrumbs and oil in a small bowl.

3. Heat 1-1/2 cups milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup milk and flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers and thickens, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Cheddar until melted. Stir in cream cheese, pepper and salt.

4. Cook pasta for 4 minutes, or until not quite tender. Drain and add to the cheese sauce; mix well. Spread half the pasta mixture in the prepared pan. Spoon the spinach on top. Top with the remaining pasta; sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.

5. Bake the casserole until bubbly and golden, 25-30 minutes.

No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. 
Good example is followed. 
A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, 
& the roots spring up & make new trees.
The greatest work that kindness does to others
 is that it makes them kind themselves.
Amelia Earhart

Until tomorrow xo

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