It’s crunch time. Yup. I have so much to do: finals, papers, meetings, class choices, and yet, I find myself exhausting the On Demand Sex and the City menu, reading true crime that I’ve already read, Spring cleaning, and thinking about Summer. Summer is the best! Everyone (especially those who live in New England and North) loves Summer! We crave Summer. Well, at least I do.
When I was in elementary school, the idea of Summer was so exhilarating. Not necessarily the heat, or the sun, or that I even paid particular attention to the beauty of a season’s rebirth, but for a reason even celebrated rock n’ roll style, School is OUT for Summer! I am so ready to be out of school for a little while. I remember that feeling as a child. I couldn’t wait for Summer, because Summer meant vacationing at the Grandparents’ house!
Of course, being older and having responsibilities, Summer isn’t quite as leisurely as it once was. Still, I cradle the memories of my youthful Summer’s in Lower Sackville. My Grandfather drove to the projects where I lived, and would whisk me away in his Lightland Limited van to Lower Sackville, where waiting for me was, a REAL House, with a pool. These things were big, but even bigger was the knowledge that where I was going, the fridge would be overflowing with food.
Nana never spent money on herself. Never. But she made sure that we had treats, all of the time. I remember my eyes almost popping out when I would see how much the register read every two weeks on grocery day. I remember the elation of the milkman showing up at the door with 2 tri-packs and knowing that I would be able to drink some of that luscious milk. I didn’t even mind walking down those 13 stairs, covered in red shag carpet, to retrieve the bags, and then back up to the kitchen at the top of the stairs. I remember feeling fed and loved.
Nana had that way about her. She always made us feel fed and loved. We had no cares, no worries, because she shouldered it all. We were naive, because she made sure we were. I love her for that, even if at the time, I was too naive to realize it. She always seemed to make time to whip something up in the kitchen, cookies, cinnamon rolls (nana style), lemon loaf, banana bread, and pies. Pie, pie, pie. Chocolate pudding pie, butterscotch pudding pie, lemon meringue pie, apple pie….pie. She had her own recipes, always, and we loved them.
One recipe I was particularly fond of was her ‘lasagna’. Now, I know everyone says this about something their Nana makes, but this truly was no typical lasagna. This was a sweet and sour concoction that Nana developed over the years to help stretch a dollar. Despite it’s thrifty qualities, there were rarely leftovers because everyone devoured it. It was delicious. It was so delicious, that despite the absence of a written how-to, I decided that I had to recreate it, and I did. There are a few changes; she would either use lasagna noodles or spaghetti noodles, and I prefer shells. I’m sure there are other variances, but the taste is there. The biggest change is my tribute, the title; Nanagetti. Thank you, Nana, for feeding me, body, mind and soul. I love you.
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup
1/3 cup ketchup
1/8 cup prepared mustard
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 heaping tablespoons cheez whiz
salt & pepper, to taste
1 lb box dried medium shells
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
Boil pasta as per box directions.
Brown ground beef with onions and garlic. Drain.
Add tomato soup, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, worcestshire, and brown sugar.
Stir to combine well.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add cheez whiz and stir to melt through.
In bottom of casserole dish, spread about 1/4 cup of the prepared sauce.
arrange half of the prepared pasta over the sauce.
Evenly pour half of the remaining sauce over pasta.
Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of the shredded cheddar.
Repeat a layer of remaining pasta, remaining sauce and remaining 1 cup cheddar.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
Fat 25 g
Carbohydrates 68 g
Protein 30 g
Fiber 2 g
WW Points+ 17