All you need is love (March 15, 2011)

By Kathleen O’Donnell Bilancio

Some memories have begun to fade. Others remain crystal clear.

Growing up, meatless Friday night meals during Lent were simple and made with little fuss. Some Fridays we had pizza. Other times it was fish and chips, or the old stand-by, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, but the all-time family favorite was definitely my mother’s macaroni and cheese. It was love in a CorningWare dish!

Feeding a family of seven every night had its challenges, and Lent was no exception, but somehow my mother managed. At 6 p.m. we gathered around the kitchen table and ate dinner together every single night, all seven of us.

It was a very special time. We shared food, conversation, laughter and yes, even some tears. All of my sisters and I still use the same exact macaroni and cheese recipe to this day. Forty years later, an O’Donnell family celebration is never complete without a casserole dish filled with Joey O’D’s Mac ‘N Cheese!

It’s simple to make. Serve it with a green salad, a loaf of crusty Italian bread and you’ll feel the love!

Joey O’D’s Mac ‘N Cheese

  • 1 box of large elbow macaroni or ziti
  • cook and drain the macaroni.

Cheese Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 2 cups (8 oz. package) shredded Cheddar Cheese (orange)
  • 1 brick of Longhorn Cheddar Cheese (orange)

Add the salt and pepper to the melted butter. Stir in the flour. Add the milk gradually. Stir over medium heat constantly until thick. Add the shredded Cheddar Cheese.

Place cooked macaroni in large CorningWare dish and stir in the cheese sauce. Add thin slices of the Longhorn Cheddar Cheese inside the casserole (randomly stick them inside the macaroni) and lay a think layer of cheese on top. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes until top is golden brown.

Let us pray:

Father of all goodness, through the breaking of bread together you strengthen the bonds that unite us in love. Bless us and these your gifts. Grant that as we sit down together at table in joy and sincerity, we may always grow closer in the bonds of love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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