More on the effort to convert the family away from processed foods

December 29, 2008


My family is probably a lot like yours.  They like rocessed foods.  They think that macaroni and cheese comes from a blue box.  I understand.  I have eaten my fair share, too.  But dang nab it!  I really think that we should be able to identify the ingredients in the food we eat.

Since I have convinced them that au gratin potatoes can be made from scratch, I decided to hit them with a cheesy pasta.

As you can see from the photo, I served the cheesy goodness with green beans and pork tenderloin.

The funny thing is that it doesn’t take any longer to make delicious pasta and cheese from scratch than it does to make it from the box.

Pasta and Cheese

Start the water for pasta (don’t forget to salt it!)

In a large sauce pan, melt 4 ounces (half a stick) of butter and add 4 ounces (half cup) of flour and stir constantly until golden brown

Add 2 cups of half and half or heavy cream (you can use milk, but it will be a bit less creamy.)

Stir until heated through.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add 1 Tblsp minced garlic (I keep a jar in the fridge to save time and trouble.)

Add 8 ounces of grated sharp cheddar, one handful at a time and stir until melted.

(At some point, your water will be boiling.  Toss in pasta.  Mine cooked for 9 minutes, 2 minutes less than the package suggested because I finished it in the oven.  If you are eating it straight from the stove top, cook the full time.)

Sprinkle in a fair amount of paprika (I prefer smoked).  It will add flavor and make it more orange!

Toss the drained noodles into the pasta and bake a few minutes in a casserole or eat immediately.

Pork Tenderloin

Bring tenderloin to room temperature.

Heat oven-proof pan over medium heat and melt 4 ounces (half a stick) of butter in 4 ounces of olive oil.

Add 1-2 cups minced onion, a similar amount of minced celery, a tablespoon of minced garlic (salt and pepper to taste) and sweat until soft.


Remove from pan and set aside.

Turn heat to as high as your pan can take.  Add a bit more oil if the pan seems dry.  Toss in a couple sprigs of rosemary.

Rub tenderloin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Sear meat on all sides in hot pan.  Remove rosemary.

Return vegetables to pot, cover and place in 350 degree oven until internal temperature is 160, then remove meat and cover with foil to rest.

Add liquid of choice to pan drippings (I used 1/2 cup of cranberry liquor and 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar) and puree with an immersion blender.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.  Serve over sliced meat.  (Now you have a nice thick sauce and your family has eaten more vegetables!)

Haricot Verde with Bacon

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil.  When hot, add beans and toss until hot.  Throw in a handful of cooked bacon pieces and salt.

If the beans are taking too long to cook, cover pan a while, but don’t leave it or the little buggers will burn.  Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan and serve.

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3 Responses to “More on the effort to convert the family away from processed foods”

  1. Angie Says:

    I agree with you about the processed foods. It really doesn’t take any longer, and it’s much healthier. (have you looked at the sodium content in some things!?!?)
    When I started switching my family over, my teenagers complained mightily. The complaining stopped and the compliments began when they went to a family member’s home and had the box stuff. They had no idea how bad the other stuff was, until they were off of it for a while. Stick with it!!

  2. Sami Says:

    Dang girl! First fabulous hair and now real cooking? I am impressed. Wish you were here to put some pink over my gray.

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