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Monthly Archives: April 2009

INGREDIENTS:

1       cup uncooked elbow macaroni

1       pound ground beef

1       medium onion, diced

1/4  cup chopped green pepper

1       (fifteen-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1       tbsp ketchup

1       tbsp steak sauce

2      tbsps dried or fresh chopped parsley

1      can cream of mushroom soup

1      cup of grated cheese  (cheddar or Monterey Jack preferably)

Preheat oven to three fifty degrees; cook the macaroni according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillit, brown the ground beef. Then add onion and green pepper and cook until the onions are translucent. Then add the tomatoes, ketchup, steak sauce and parsley.

Cook for ten minutes. Stir in cooked macaroni and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Gently fold in the cream of mushroom soup and transfer to a casserole dish that has been lightly sprayed with vegetable oil.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top, then bake until casserole is bubbly and the cheese is lightly browned (about thirty minutes or so).

Serves EIGHT.

Hands on time = twenty minutes

Total time          = one hour, twenty minutes

per serving:

322 calories (calories from fat, 64), 15 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 23 grams fat (10 grams saturated), 63 milligrams cholesterol, 601 milligrams sodium.

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Gayle ‘De-Licious’ Johnson has composed an excellent yarn of divergence and growth. There is Death here. There is also Life, Redemption, and Perseverance. Ms. Johnson shows superb balance in the texturing and shading of her creations. Her execution of a ‘full circle’ storytelling device in this coming of age tale was deftly implemented, injecting the reader with a sense of having traveled from there and back and then beyond; her music references pepper nostalgia throughout, cementing the period’s timesense.

Miss Johnson’s creation, the young heroine Nina, had some tough choices to make. Her clinical processing and basic fortitude, her steadfastness, was both uplifting and heartbreaking. Instilled with wisdom and a common sense uncanny for someone of her years, the entities she desired most in life were fully visualized and achievable; a certain naivety wouldn‘t allow her accept anything else, her focus laserlike and undaunted.

Guided by an internal barometer calibrated on bad influences and green eyed monsters, her counterpart was aimless and reckless. Driven by impulse and envy, Joi supplied the perfect balance, the ultimate foil. While the love made available to her was unquestionable, the firm and amorous resolve was resented and scoffed upon, returning in the form of disdain, disrespect, and deceit.

The villains: shadowy and sincere. Some in your face, others passive, causing doubt throughout, and continuing with dread when corruption surfaces. A fourth quarter revelation chimes in during the resolution, reminding us that the world is a tiny place, and that Time sheds light at its own pace.

A succulent read, this morsel satisfies like bowl of warm cobbler, draped in a dollop of your favorite topping.

Gayle Johnson delivers in What’s Past is Not Forgotten.