Mary’s Memo #2254

     I make an effort to eat meatless at least two times a week and when I do eat meat it’s only once a day, whether in a sandwich or an entrée. I do cheat at holiday time (doesn’t everyone). I like fish and seafood and more often then not choose it over meat in a restaurant. Not only is it good for us but easier to digest. One alternative is macaroni and cheese but many recipes are loaded with fat calories. Not so with Hearty Macaroni and Cheese from the April 24, 1995, Mary’s Memo.


12 ounces (3 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni1-1/2 cups low-fat cottage cheese1 tablespoon flour1-1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk1/2 teaspoon kosher salt1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper1-1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided2/3 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 2 bunches)2 tablespoons Dijon mustard2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs1 teaspoon canola oilPreheat oven to 375ºF. Spray shallow 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Heat large pot of water to boiling and cook macaroni until just tender. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl.In a blender or food processor, puree cottage cheese until smooth, about 1 minute; set aside.Place flour in a large saucepan over medium heat and gradually add milk. Bring to a boil and whisk in salt, pepper and cayenne. Whisking constantly, cook until mixture is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Whisk in cottage cheese puree, 1-1/4 cups Cheddar cheese, scallions and mustard until well blended and cheese is melted. Add cheese mixture to cooked macaroni and toss to combine. Spoon into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup cheese. Mix bread crumbs with oil and sprinkle over cheese. Bake 25 minutes or until top is crusty and lightly browned. Recipe makes 6 servings.ACORN SKIN IS EDIBLE!
     I made this week’s roasted vegetable dish when I was in Naperville during the holidays. The only reason I haven’t used it until now is because we differed about eating the skin. I ate it but Mary Ann didn’t. I tried for days afterwards to find out if acorn skin is considered edible but to no avail. Mary Ann’s source for the recipe was Good Earth Institute, Naperville, IL, but I had no luck contacting them, either.
     Last night, however, Mary Ann found a Cooking Light blog that discussed the subject and both Jamie Oliver and Guy Fieri say acorn skin is edible and what’s good enough for Jamie and Guy is good enough for me! Like all winter squash, it’s hard to cut. I ask the produce people to quarter it so it’s easier for me to manage. If you have a problem cutting winter squash ask for help like I do.


1 medium acorn squash, seeded and sliced into 1-inch pieces3 medium carrots, quartered lengthwise, then sliced in half (original recipe called for 2 carrots)2 tablespoons olive oil3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar1 teaspoon chili powder (recipe called for ancho chili powder which is hotter)1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2 teaspoon ground cumin1 tablespoon waterPreheat oven to 425ºF. In a small bowl combine olive oil, brown sugar, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin and water. Place squash and carrots in gallon size plastic zip-lock storage bag, add marinade, close bag and shake to coat vegetables. Arrange squash and carrots in a single layer in a jelly roll pan. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes, turning halfway through. Recipe makes 4 generous servings. You can also prepare
the mixture earlier for later baking.
Source: Adapted from Naperville, IL, Good Earth Institute recipe.CAN GUM MAKE YOU THINNER?
     Gum chewing burns only about 11 calories an hour. But if it keeps you from eating a candy bar, that’s a big plus. Studies on whether gum reduces appetite have produced conflicting findings. The latest study in the journal Appetite found that when women chewed gum 15 minutes, once an hour for three hours, they ate about 30 fewer calories when subsequently offered a snack, compared to when they hadn’t chewed gum. The women also said they felt less hungry and fuller after chewing the gum. Gum manufacturers have helped publicize these results. But each piece of gum had 5 to 10 calories, so the women didn’t actually cut down on calories significantly. Would sugarless gum have had the same effect? Maybe yes, maybe not.
Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, February 2012.
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