Marriage can be…fattening

Marriage is fattening…

Back in my unwed days, I would hop to the grocery store and merrily pick up a box of gourmet lobster tails, grab a can of imported artichoke hearts, and splurge on a $3.95 chocolate pound cake. And best yet…I would walk right out of that store with not one pound of guilt under my arm because that is all I would eat all day!

Suddenly, when you find someone else in your life and begin to discover the joys of cooking, you also find that you have a captive audience! And if you are one of the lucky ones, he is very receptive, and that is all it takes to acquire great inspiration.

I discovered exotic dishes. If it wasn’t oozing in creamy butter, I would smother it in wine.
Breakfasts were fit for a King (and more). But, oh-the Piece De Resistance was dinner.
If it wasn’t flaming, it was on ice. Puffed or stuffed, it was delectable, delightful, and terribly fattening.

Unconsciously, as I stirred my Bernaise sauce, stuffed game hens, and dolloped cream on my meringue pies, I was popping crumbs and testing sauces until I was more stuffed than the game hens.

It is a good thing time cools everything. I’ve learned that it takes more than just good cooking to keep mystery and romance in a good relationship, and even delicious dishes don’t have to be rich and gooey to prove you’re a good cook.
A little variety now and then, plus one very special dinner a month, makes marriage a little less fattening on both of you.

And what a better occasion than St. Patrick’s Day!
Leafy vegetables are the best buys in March. Spinach is at the height of its season. Why not combine the two?
Spinach for the green of St. Patrick’s Day and Irish Pasta for a fun and special dinner!

Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Manicotti are pasta tubes about four inches long and one inch in diameter. They are filled with savory stuffing and served with tomato sauce.

8 Manicotti
1 pound fresh spinach
1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
2 cups finely diced cooked chicken
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and Black Pepper
Wash the spinach thoroughly and put it in a large saucepan. Add two tablespoons of water and cover with lid—Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes. Drain the spinach through a colander, squeeze firmly with a wooden spoon, and remove all the moisture. Chop the spinach and set it aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook gently for one minute, then gradually blend in the milk, stirring continuously to get a smooth sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently for two to three minutes, or until the sauce has thickened—season to taste with salt and pepper.

Take the saucepan off the heat and stir the chicken and spinach into the sauce. Put the manicotti in a pan of boiling salted water and boil until the pasta is just tender. Drain and cool for a few minutes.

Using a large pastry bag with a plain tube, pipe the stuffing into the manicotti. Arrange the manicotti in a buttered baking dish, pour the tomato sauce over them and sprinkle with half of the grated Parmesan cheese. Place the casserole on the upper half of a pre-heated oven and cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until bubbling hot and brown.
Serve with the remaining cheese, and I suggest a good wine for this dish would be a red Bordeaux or a well-aged Cabernet or a real good Irish Beer!

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