Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Senior Moments" and Comfort Food

Yesterday, I had a "Senior Moment".  I was trying to update my post from a few days ago and somehow managed to delete the entire post.  These kinds of things have been happening a lot to me lately.  Like accidentally throwing away a pile of important medical paperwork and keeping a useless pile of "junk" paper that was supposed to go in the trash. I guess I'll just chalk it up to old age! Or, maybe add it to the list of weird, neurological "stuff" that's been going on lately.

I'm not going to try to re-write the post, but I do want to make sure I update you on the book I mentioned in it.  I am currently reading "Super Nutrition for Women" by Ann Louise Gittleman PH.D. CNS.  While I am fascinated by her recommendations for women not to follow the very popular "low fat, high carb" diets as we may be missing out on important fats and nutrients, I wanted to point out that this book is a little bit outdated when it comes to eating gluten-free.  For example, Dr. Gittleman lists Original Sprouted Ezekiel 4:9 Bread as being gluten-free because it is "flourless" when it actually lists Organic Sprouted Wheat and Organic Malted Barley in the ingredients list.  She even mentions that it is sweetened with barley malt.  There are several other instances of this misinformation in the book.  This book was written in 1991.  We have come a long way in understanding gluten-free diets since then!  So, while it is an interesting book to read and does have some valid points about nutrition and women, I do not recommend this book for anyone who needs to follow a gluten-free diet.

Now, on to something I've been wanting to post for a while now.  I had to share that I made the most incredible mac n' cheese dish a few weeks ago!  I was watching Rachael Ray's new show "Week In A Day".  She made Spinach and Artichoke Baked Whole Grain Pasta.  It looked really "Yum-O" and I knew it would be really easy to convert to gluten-free.  (I know, this doesn't really fit in with my new "eating less carbs and more meat" approach, but what the heck?)


2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen spinach  (I only used one box)


1 pound whole wheat or whole grain penne' pasta or macaroni (any short cut pasta) (I used Schar Penne' Pasta)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

1 (10-ounce) box frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted, halved, pat dry (I couldn't find frozen, so I used canned)

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 tablespoons butter

3 slightly rounded tablespoons flour (I used sweet rice flour here)

2 cups milk

Freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg

5 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Position the oven rack in center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Defrost the spinach in the microwave. Drain, then dry the spinach out as much as possible by wringing it out in a clean kitchen towel.

Bring a saucepot of water to a boil. Add salt. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a small skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add the shallots and garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add the artichokes and cook until they are lightly brown. Add the wine to deglaze the pan.

While the artichokes and pasta cook, in a saucepot over medium to medium-high heat, add the butter. When melted, whisk in the flour for 1 minute or so, then whisk in the milk and season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, adjust the seasonings and stir in the Gruyere cheese. Combine the sauce with the spinach, pasta, and artichoke and stir until just combined. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and cover with the remaining cheese. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal.

Bake on a baking sheet 45 minutes or until brown and bubbly on top.

The picture above is from the "Week in a Day" website.  I wish I could show you a picture of my dish, but I seem to be having problems uploading pictures to Blogger today!  Ugh.  However, it came out amazing!!!  The only issue I had with making this dish was that it dirties a LOT of dishes!  Otherwise, everyone gobbled it right up...including the leftovers!


Laura J. Wellner (author pseudonym Laura J. W. Ryan) said...

That looks absolutely awesome! I'll have to give it a try! I've been on a broccoli, cheese, and rice kick lately, it's all about comfort food at this time of year! (I'm one of those intuitive cooks, I don't follow recipes, I go for whatever I have available, and put it together, my boys will eat whatever it parked in front of them!)

Senior moments? Ugh. Got that too...I'm getting really bad with that short term memory stuff...I blame it on the FMS and perimenopause. I was driving myself crazy the other day looking for our mortgage bill...it hadn't come yet, but I'm so used to being such a mental midget lately that I was certain I had it and put it somewhere dumb instead of somewhere sensible!

Thanks for visiting my blog, and it's always great to hear from you! I hope you feel better soon!

Lisa said...

Thanks, Laura! So great to hear from you!

You are lucky your boys aren't picky eaters. I have two very picky eaters, my husband and daughter! My hubby will usually choke it down, but my daughter will just pout and whine all through dinner and then want dessert. I try not to make three different meals...that would drive me crazy, so they just have to eat what I make! ;-)

I love reading your blog. In fact, I'm putting a link up on my blog so that my readers can enjoy it as well!

Thanks for visiting! Be well!