Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Freezer Cooking: Ham and Cheese Penne

The last couple of weeks have been so hectic that I am glad I decided to do a little freezer cooking ahead of time in preparation for our busy evenings. One of our favorite freezer meals is Ham and Cheese Penne, so I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Ham and Cheese Penne
2 boxes of penne noodles
1 cup butter or margarine
4 cloves of minced garlic
2 tsp salt
8 cups milk (I use skim)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
8 cups of shredded Colby cheese (I buy it in a block, then shred it myself to save money)
16 oz of deli ham, cut into thin strips

This makes (2) 13 X 9 casseroles

In a really large pot, cook the pasta according to the box directions and drain it. Clean the pot so that you can use it again. In a large skillet, melt the butter and roast the garlic. Add the flour and salt, whisking continuously. Place the mixture back into the large pot. This is easier than trying to find a skillet deep enough to hold the milk.

Cook over medium heat until all the lumps are gone. Once the mixture begins to bubble, slowly add the milk--again, constantly whisking. Once it begins to boil, allow it boil for about a minute before adding the mustard and cheese.

Continue to stir until the cheese is melted. Add the ham. Then the pasta. Pour the pasta mixture into the casserole dishes. Either freeze or bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes at 350.

If freezing, allow the dish to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

Wordless Wednesday: Now That's a Hat!

One of the many fabulous hats I wear in Auntie Mame--it's the final week of performances!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Throwback Thursday--On Friday

Okay, so Blogger deleted my last entry and I didn't get a chance to write my Throwback Thursday entry before Blogger went on the fritz. Deciding to just forget about my last post, I decided to "throwback" on Friday.

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton are getting married tomorrow, and Neal McCoy is their wedding singer! Believe it or not, a Neal McCoy concert was me and my husband's first official date. I say "official" because we hung out together for nearly three years before we decided to become a couple. It is a night I will never forget! I knew I was in love!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Opening Night!

Last night, I officially returned to the theatre after a 16 year hiatus. It was opening night and it was a blast!

I studied theatre in fact I majored in speech communication/theatre education, but the last time I acted on stage was my sophomore year. After that, I became enthralled with radio and didn't really have time to be in anything outside of the classroom. When I left college I also left the theatre. I haven't acted since. It's not as if it was a conscience decision and I cannot believe it has been that long since my "college days," but life has a funny way of happening.

I don't even know exactly what made me try out for my town's civic theatre interpretation of Auntie Mame. It was pretty much a whim. I saw that they were holding auditions only two days beforehand--which is not much time to prepare. I borrowed a copy of the script and read it quickly and decided that there were a number of characters that I would love to play. Needless to say, I didn't get any of those parts. I did, however, get cast as "angry customer." Not exactly what I expected, and to be honest, I was a little embarrassed. I do, in a sense, perform everyday and did major in theatre. I had to look on the bright side, however and remember that there are "no small parts, only small actors." It has been a long time since I have been on stage and it is my first production outside of a school setting, so I really am excited. And, once rehearsals started, I soon gained a couple of more characters. I play three roles in all and have such wonderful hats to wear!

This is the picture that appeared in the paper...a rehearsal night. I'm in the background as a partygoer.

Last night, I got the sweetest note from my director. This has been such a hectic week! Running back and forth to see my sister in the hospital (which is an hour and a half away), trying to make rehearsals, work, and be a mommy has been rough. Did I mention that my director is also a pastor? She knew exactly what to say to me in that note!

My husband and MIL have also been so wonderful this last week! My MIL has dropped everything to watch the kids so that I could head to the hospital. She even did some laundry, dishes, and vacuumed!  God love her! My husband has been making more dinners than I am sure he bargained for and also gave me the sweetest card last night, with the sweetest words from all my guys!  Jonathan even tried to sign his name in cursive! I hope they can continue to be so supportive...because Mommy has three weeks of performances to get through!

The coolest thing about this experience is the new people I have met. Our lead actresses are inspiring and I see myself doing exactly what they are doing in my retirement. And the young people that are in this production are just marvelous! I have really connected with my teenage dressing roommates...even though I'm pretty sure they think I am crazy! It's funny that I am roughly the same age as their mothers, but I couldn't imagine having a teenager yet!

To hear that crowd laughing and applauding and to feel that nervous excitement has me hooked! Here's to 11 more shows!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Throwback Thursday: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has broken a new record! Over two decades have past since the band released "Fishin in the Dark" and it is still making waves. The song has been certified gold for reaching over 500 thousand digital downloads. "Fishin in the Dark" reached #1 on the Billboard chart back in 1987 and the band itself had 16 Top Ten hits in the 80s.

This song continues to be really popular with my listeners. I can always count on someone calling in to request it whenever the phone lines are open!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Off To The Hospital

What a change in plans I had this weekend! I was getting ready to leave the house Saturday morning and was looking forward to "my last hurrah" with a friend who is moving out of town, when I got the phone call saying that my sister was leaking spinal fluid and was rushing to Ft. Wayne's Lutheran Hospital.

For those of you who don't sister, Gail, had a brain tumor removed on February 23rd.  I know the day well because it was Tyler's 1st birthday. The tumor was benign, but was the size of her fist and needed to be taken out. She recovered remarkably...or so we thought.

Gail with her sons and granddaughter one week before her surgery at our sister's wedding

Gail had emergency surgery on Sunday. When she reached the hospital, her temperature was 102 and her blood pressure was 190/117. Turns out she has an aggressive strep infection. What we thought was spinal fluid leaking from her incision and ear turned out to be the infection. They had to reopen her skull and go in to suction out what they could and replaced the metal plate that was inserted in the first surgery with bone from her hip.

She has been in horrific pain and is on a morphine drip along with strong doses of antibiotics. The doc said yesterday that she will likely be on antibiotics for 4-6 weeks! Her temp has gone down, however, and she is slowly improving. I'm hoping to find her in her own room today and out of ICU.