Thursday, March 4, 2010

Simply Delicious: Baked Cheesy Pasta

This is me tending the pasta, stirring the white sauce, and thinking about frugality while making some creamy pasta and cheese. I was thinking thrifty so decided to make this dish because it meant I could make supper for a few dollars. I also wanted to use up some refrigerator ingredients whose time had come. Two things that make us Mennofolk wince, grimace, heck maybe even cry: 1)throwing good food out and 2)paying full price for anything. I say this gladly. Learning to use and not waste, save and not overspend are good lessons to learn.

I remember Grandma Yutzy was a coupon clipper. We would get letters from her, which upon opening would produce coupons falling like manna from the heavens. My mom and I joked about this occasionally but we did use some of those coupons and many years later, sometimes my mom's letters to me contained coupons, usually for diapers.

The other thing Grandma did was collect pop bottles (usually ones she found discarded on the road) return them to the store, and save the money. When our family would visit them, this money would be the grandchildren's suprise gift. She would give us the collection of coins and my brothers and I would set about the task of dividing it up among ourselves, lining up the sets of coins like peaceful demonstrators until we were each satisfied we had our fair share. It was her way of giving us a gift without it costing her a lot of money, just her leg work mostly. As I heard tell, she'd ask Grandpa to stop while they were driving down the road if she spottted a bottle.

Plato said, "Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence." This leads me to be thankful that my value inheritance of frugality was not handed down in a spirit of fear or selfishness but rather presented alongside the attitudes of gratefulness and giving. Learning to be thankful for the simple and recognizing the abundance we have is the essential truth if frugality is to be celebration and not deprivation.

Here is a most deliciously simple recipe for baked pasta and cheese.

2 cups pasta (I used cavatappi)
6 cups boiling water
White sauce (recipe follows)
1 1/2 cups grated cheese I used a colby /monterey jack mix)
4 slices of old bread (cubed and browned in butter)

Cook macaroni in salt water and drain.
Make a white sauce with these ingredients:
4 T buuter
4 T flour
1 Tsp salt
2 cups milk (I used half and half nonfat)

Mix the cooked pasta, white sauce, and grated cheese and put in a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Put buttered bread cubes on top.
Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.

This recipe is adapted from Baked Macaroni and Cheese in the Mennonite Community Cookbook.


1 comment:

  1. ellen, i am enjoying so much these reflections about our mutual grandma. they take me back. and remind me of her influence on who i'm becoming. i also am getting to know you better. i really like that! blessings.