Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

mac lead Avert your eyes if you must…I’m busting out the Velveeta for a second or two. I’ve made a lot of macaroni and cheese in my day. I love macaroni and cheese. Obviously, my kids are fans. I have been known to break down and buy the box now and again, too, since it constitutes “memory food” for me. By that I mean that it was survival food in college and law school. Plus, let’s face it, much like Toll House Cookies, it was one of the first things that ever caused me to turn on a stove-top, and look where I am now.

On that note, and I’m a little frightened that I know this, but in a pinch you can substitute beer for milk in boxed mac and cheese. I recommend, from distant memory, also drinking more beer while you eat that.

… 

Read More »

Quick Bolognese Sauce

OK…perhaps “more quickly prepared” is more accurate. Bolognese sauce is a very traditional, long-simmering, meat sauce for pasta. My method capitalizes on the “quick cooking” aspect rather than the traditional aspect and may give a true Italian pause. But, I love it. Would that I had veal and pork to add to the sauce and 3 hours to slowly simmer it. That would be lovely. But, I do not. I have about an hour these days. This is with homework flying past me, and requests that I jump on the trampoline. I like being asked to jump on the trampoline. I can still do a flip (or flippish-like thing…it is not quite what it used to be).

To make this fast, I have cut a major corner, the exactitude with which I dice my vegetables. I have seen these sauces with simply perfect little cubed dices of carrots. They were awe inspiring. But I am not a chef, nor am I anything of a professional cooking grade. No one yells at me for the quality of my knife work because if they did they would be sent to bed without dinner. So, here, I dispense with the illusion that I am something that I am not and throw my carrots, celery and onion into the food processor for 15 pulses or so. This gives a nice even-ish preparation which is in the pot sweating over melted butter and oil in about 2 minutes. That part alone would take me significantly longer by hand.

… 

Read More »

Warm Farfalle Salad

The holidays can be a difficult period, what with the unending parade of dense and rich foods. I desperately needed a break from it yesterday. I started removing cans from the pantry and rummaging through the refrigerator and this is what I came up with. I will just call it a warm pasta salad. It is fresh and full of convenient and easy to prepare vegetables. The bottom line is that you chop up some veggies and toss them in the warm pot out of which you just poured the boiling pasta. Thus, it is a bit warm, but not hot. It has a simple lemon vinaigrette and is topped with feta. I bet you have already thought of a million ways to bend this salad to your will. Add tuna or some leftover turkey to make it a little more substantial.

So start a pot to boil, and get ready to do a little chopping. A few easy meals like this and you may be ready for some for more holiday feasts before you know it. Save the leftovers in the fridge for an easy lunch.

… 

Read More »

Meatballs, two ways

This is primarily about these glossy and beautiful cocktail meatballs. I think there is something incredibly 1970’s about serving meatballs as an hor d’oeuvre…especially slathered in barbeque sauce. But, I think we need to start an “everything old is new again” trend and bring back the meatball. This is my mother’s recipe. And, before you get irritated with me for calling for a half of a bag of bread stuffing…let me tell you that this recipe is the halved version of my mother’s. And her recipe creates something in the neighborhood of 250 meatballs. So I halved it…and I also have created a recipe modification so that you can make half of the resulting meatballs into Italian style meatballs for spaghetti or meatball sandwiches. So this recipe makes about 60 to 65 cocktail meatballs and 60 to 65 Italian meatballs. If you want to make all cocktail meatballs instead then simply don’t add the Italian ingredients, and buy four bottles of the barbecue sauce instead of two. But, make no mistake…this is a huge recipe of meatballs.

… 

Read More »

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake

This is an easy weeknight meal. Stand back and don’t faint when I say this: “Both of my children, one of whom still doesn’t eat anything that touches anything else, loved this.”

I made pasta because, 1) I needed something sort of easy, yet homemade. That’s always a good goal, right? And, 2) my little-itty-bitty-can’t-possibly-be-old-enough-to-do-this-sort-of-thing-eight-year-old-daughter, Lily, ran a 5K with her dad this weekend as part of an incredible program at her school called Girls on The Run. This counted as carbo-loading. This program has been exceptional in its push to form team bonds between a group of 3rd and 4th grade girls, while at the same time giving them a gateway to a lifetime sport/pastime that doesn’t require a team or competition. They are learning to build each other up and encourage each other to succeed. In a world that seems so very competitive even for perilously young ages, this collaborative athletic endeavor has been wonderful. And, I have a daughter who has no bid whatsoever for the traditional team sports.  So, I have been very happy to see her enjoying this group “health and well being” activity. My mother was a marathon runner. Apparently this is a generation skipping gene. But at the end of the day, I’m just pleased as punch to see a program that is not all about winning, and clubs, and pushing towards college scholarships before kids can spell the word. This is giving my kiddo the gift of health and earned self esteem without any of the down side that is so rampant in youth sports these days.

… 

Read More »

Last updated by at .