|Written By Recipe Coordinator|
On September 22, 2011 The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia) released their annual report on the importance of family dinners. CASA Columbia’s 2011 family dinners survey and report finds that compared to teens who have frequent family dinners (five to seven per week), those who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are almost four times likelier to use tobacco; more than twice as likely to use alcohol; two-and-a-half times likelier to use marijuana; and almost four times likelier to say they expect to try drugs in the future.
I personally can attest to the great importance of family dinners because as I was growing up, my family ate together probably every day of the week. At the time, it never occurred to me that this was weird or unnatural. My mother was a fine cook and my father seemed to insist that we must have a home cooked meal every evening. Besides the wonderful food, I now realize the daily events chatter and the forceful give and take allowed us to be together and actually function as a family. Unfortunately I have not been able to replicate this custom with my own children. It seems my mother had much more time to meal plan and prepare than I do today. Even though she worked a full-time job and had a long commute back and forth from home, she seemed to always have the kitchen under control. As I look back in time, I really do admire her for that. I remember those meals fondly. Even if we were mad at each other or disagreed politically, we were together and that in the end was what was important.
This Mac and Cheese recipe will hopefully allow you to be able to spend some quality time with your family. The recipe is easy and boasts only five ingredients. It definitely is family-friendly and perfect for the upcoming chilly months. What can be better than hot, bubbling cheese and soft, delicious pasta? I hope you enjoy and give my love to all your friends and family!
Baked Mac and Cheese
3/4 pound farfalle or other pasta shape
8 ounces extra-sharp or sharp cheddar cheese, grated, divided
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1. Position an oven rack in the top of the oven. Preheat the broiler.
2. Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Prepare pasta according to package directions until al dente.
3. Meanwhile, set aside 3/4 cup of cheese. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
4. Stir in flour for 1 to 2 minutes, until well-combined. Increase the heat to medium, add milk and stir frequently until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
5. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add drained pasta and stir to coat with sauce.
6. Taste and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
7. Transfer to baking dish and sprinkle with reserved cheese.
Broil until bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes, watching closely to gauge doneness.
Makes 6 servings.
Recipe and photo courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and EveningEdge.com.