Happy Easter from the chovy family
Hope you had a lovely Easter weekend. Ours was nice, but full and rather more rainy than we had hoped for. Saturday morning Number One's first baseball game was rained out, so both boys got to hunt Easter eggs in the primary president's ginormous backyard. Number One did have a soccer game in the afternoon (those are never rained out), and we decorated a few eggs with those shrink wrappers that come in some of the egg-dying kits (I had saved them from last year). We never used them when I was growing up because we preferred our eggs dyed, but they were really cool and shrank the instant they touched the simmering water.
Sunday morning we checked out what the Easter bunny brought, and then did our traditional egg hunt in our living and dining room. Both boys were pretty good at finding eggs, except for the few in that above-six-feet-high blind spot. The world looks different when you're a kid. :)
We had a simple dinner before church (remember, the big feast was last week) of macaroni and cheese with ham and peas. This is another one of those foods that are almost as easy to make from scratch as from a box. Here's how I do it:
Cook 1/2 lb elbow macaroni (I like Barilla best) in boiling salted water until it's fully cooked (definitely beyond al dente). Drain in a colander. In the pasta pot that's just been vacated, make a very small amount of white sauce--say, a couple of tablespoons of butter (melt until foaming just subsides), a couple tablespoons of flour (saute in butter until homogeneous and starting to brown), a splash of milk (no more than a cup)(whisked in until smooth and thickening). Add macaroni back to pot, along with grated cheese of whatever variety (for us this time a little more than a cup of grated medium Tillamook cheddar and a quarter-cup or so aged Gruyère). Stir until blended and melted, and then stir in freshly grated pepper and whatever else you'd like to add. If you add cold ham (Niman Ranch ham steak from Trader Joe's) and frozen peas as I did, you'll need to pop the whole thing into the oven or microwave so it's all hot.
You'll notice that I don't believe in taking the white sauce all the way to a cheese sauce before stirring in the macaroni. For that to work, you have to make a whole lot more white sauce, and I prefer my mac and cheese cheesy rather than milky. Make sense? This recipe originally came from an early microwave cookbook of my mom's, but since even that recipe required cooking the noodles on the stove first, I thought I'd transfer the whole operation to the stovetop. One advantage to making a white sauce in the microwave, though, is that it won't burn. And one item from the original recipe I didn't include this time is a little onion (sometimes I use shallot) sauteed in the butter before you add the flour.
In the afternoon, we went to church, where Mavis and I sang with the choir, etc. etc. We got a few pictures at church (for which the weather was sadly not cooperative), and afterwards tore home for a quick bite and clothing change before heading back to the church sans boys for the stake Easter Music Program, in which I was singing with a subset of the Portland Mormon Choir. The performance went pretty well, thanks.