Thursday, November 21, 2019

Feeding the College Ministry: Mom’s Mac ‘n Cheese

Marina’s Kitchen Table, Feeding the College Ministry
Mom’s Mac ‘n Cheese

Last night I cooked for our College Ministry from church, at the 316 building (a local car lot that’s opened their spare converted space - made to be like a coffee house - doors after-hours for us to meet in). I always try to make it a home-made meal, warm and yummy and stick-to-your-ribs good. It happens that most of these kids are college athletes at our local state college, so they’re not afraid to eat.

We have a lot of people at our church who recognize how pivotal these college years can be to a young adults faith, so we are blessed to have a great group of volunteers!

One dish that I’ve always had success with feeding people of any age is an adaptation of my mom’s macaroni and cheese, with ham in it. I’ve cooked it at camp, for missions training sessions of adults, and raised my kids on it. It’s a favorite! Last night we served it up with a salad, and one of the other volunteers brought a pot of home canned green beans with new potatoes in them. With a white Bundt cake (from another volunteer!) and a pan of brownies with walnuts in them, it made for a very home-y meal!

This is one meal I don’t use a recipe for, so the estimates are in the recipe below.  As with anything homemade, you’re free to adjust this to your taste, but trust me on this, and don’t leave out the tomato sauce!

Roaster-sized Recipe
Marina’s Mac ‘n Cheese
(Family sized recipe follows)

5 boxes of large elbow macaroni
about 2/3 of the ham off a spiral sliced ham (cut in cubes and trimmed of the fatty edges)
2 sticks butter
nearly a whole 30 Oz (?) can of tomato sauce
4 lbs shredded Colby jack cheese

I boiled the macaroni and cut up ham into cubes ahead of time.

In a very large pot, melt the butter and heat up the ham in it until it’s heated through. It will make the ham release a lot of it’s water, but don’t pour it out. Pour the tomato sauce into the ham mixture. Add pepper (maybe a half teaspoon, but if you’re serving little kids you could leave it out).

Grease the bottom of the roasting pan, with butter or whatever you prefer (spray?).

Pour about a third of the elbow macaroni into the roaster pan. Add 1/3 of the ham mixture, stir to combine and coat the macaroni. Cover with 1/3 of the cheese.

Then pour the rest of the macaroni into the HAM POT, stirring to coat. Put 1/2 of the mixture over the cheese in roaster, layer cheese on top, and repeat with the last of the macaroni/ham mixture and grated cheese.

I put the roasting pan in a 325 oven for 1 hour to bake thoroughly, because of time restraints, but you could just use the roaster base to bake if you had more time. I don’t think the roaster would make it crispy on top(?).

After baking I placed in the roaster base on lowest temp to keep it warm while transporting and serving.

Family sized recipe

1 box large elbow macaroni
2 cups ham, cubed
1 small can tomato sauce (3 or 4 Oz?)
1/2 - 1 stick butter (to taste)
Pepper to taste
About 2 cups grated Colby jack cheese (or more if you like it super cheesy)

Boil macaroni, drain into colander.
Use same pot to melt butter, heat ham, add sauce and pepper.

Add macaroni back to pot and mix to distribute ingredients evenly.

I then add the cheese, reserving some for the top of pan (my cookware can go into a low temp oven), but my mom would layer in a buttered 9x13 pan, making 2 layers and ending with cheese. Bake at 325 until cheese is melt or crispy on top.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

My No-Go Missions Story

Random picture...we kicked off our College and Career group tonight, and I got to provide dinner for them... baked potato bar! Since I was making so many potatoes I used a camp kitchen trick and ran them through the rinse cycle of the dishwasher. I still rinsed and used a vegetable brush on them, but so much less work than if I’d only done them in the sink!
I had an important reminder tonight that came to me over and over... definitely God whispering (no, shouting!) in my ear. I’ll sum it up like this...

Sometimes God plants a vision, an idea, a dream...and He only wants us to be obedient in taking the first step. He MAY bring the whole plan into fruition, but that may not be His long-term goal. He really just wants us to listen to His voice, remain disciplined, and trust Him in that first step.

I shared my missions story tonight, the time I fell in love with deaf children in northern Mexico. Back then all I could dream of was being a dorm mom for the girls that lived there and leaving behind all the comforts of life in Southern California. But it wasn’t to be.

After it was all said and done, I couldn’t pass the physical, as my bloodwork showed signs of what they eventually found to be an autoimmune disorder. It took about 4 months to diagnose it and about 6 months to force it into remission. It was a really hard season.

When I was first sick, when I realized I couldn’t go to Mexico, lots of people had questions about whether or not I heard God right about going in the first place. I never doubt that I did, very clearly. I had nothing to gain by going, only knowing I was being obedient to His call. But as I was recovering I realized that His will was for me to take the first step, to be obedient to be WILLING to leave this all behind. I was also called to walk with Him through the months of testing, pain, medications and side effects. Just one foot in front of the other, day by day.

I got to walk with Him through disappointment and fear, through heartbreak and joy. That season was one of the hardest for me, yet its’ roots continue to grow fruit from deep within. It’s still a part of my HIStory, and it’s still relevant to be told as others are led by Him, called to just take that first step in obedience.

Deuteronomy 33:3
Indeed, he loves his people; all his holy ones are in his hands. They follow in his steps and accept his teaching.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Cold Weather Recipe: Potato Corn Cheese Chowder

Last week our church hosted a Trunk or Treat, which got moved indoors because of the cold weather and rain that came upon us. Since it was going to be inside, they decided it would be nice to have a soup supper for everyone to enjoy.

For years I have made this soup, Potato Corn Cheese Chowder, at home, for church potlucks, youth activities, and even served it at summer camp! Everyone likes it! I've never had anyone turn up their nose at it once they tasted it!

I don't really use a recipe when I make it, but isn't that how the tastiest things go? I'm trying hard to estimate my measurements! I'm also going to keep it my original sized recipe, but it makes a LARGE pot of soup. If you're needing it for your family, please cut it in half, and if you are making it for just yourself and your roomie, or spouse, either third or quarter it!

I hope that you'll enjoy it, and that it will "stick to your ribs" during the coldest of weather yet to come!

Marina's Potato Corn Cheese Chowder

1- 5lb bag red potatoes, rinsed and cubed (I keep skins on, but that's personal preference)
4 - 12 oz frozen sweet corn
8 cups chicken broth
15 shakes of Tobasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 cup milk
40 slices American cheese
Place cubed potatoes in a large stock pot, and cover with water. Over high heat, bring to a boil, and allow to cook until potatoes are tender, but not falling apart. Turn off heat, and add frozen corn, allowing to barely cook in hot water.

Drain potatoes and corn mixture, return to the pot, and pour in chicken broth, Tobasco, and spices. Heat over medium heat until it barely begins to boil, then reduce heat to low and add milk. It should barely cover the vegetable mixture. Add cheese slices a few at a time, and stir often, to distribute and melt cheese into the broth.


Parents of Missionaries: Grieving

I've been wanting to write on grieving for a while now, but words have escaped me. Not that I don't know how to describe my feelings...