JEFF TIEDEMAN: Pasta on the prairiePopular food provides nutrition at a bargain
Did you know that this is Pasta Lovers’ Week in North Dakota and Pasta Lovers’ Month across the world? Or that Monday was World Pasta Day, an annual day of celebration featuring pasta.
Well, I did. That’s because for about the past dozen years, the Herald participated in a campaign sponsored by the North Dakota Wheat Commission to help spread the word that pasta is a simple, nutritious and delicious food that’s made from durum wheat. (Sixty percent is grown in North Dakota.)
As part of the observance, the Herald again is co-sponsoring the “Use Your Noodle” crossword puzzle contest. Winners will receive prize packages that include a pasta month T-shirt and recipe brochures from the NDWC, pasta spoons from the U.S. Durum Growers Association and pasta from Dakota Growers Pasta Co., Philadelphia Macaroni Co. and American Italian Pasta Co.
Pasta is not only nutritious but also a bargain. Consider this:
— The average cost for a 1-pound box is $1.51 and provides eight servings.
— Cooked pasta contains about 200 calories per 1 cup of cooked pasta and less than 1 gram of fat.
— Grain-based foods, such as pasta, are a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates, which provide the body with vitamins, minerals and energy.
— Pasta provides many essential nutrients including folic acid, iron and B-vitamins.
— Whole wheat pasta contains no cholesterol and is low in sodium.
I shared some of these facts with a co-worker, Ryan Johnson, just the other day. Ryan saw me opening boxes that contained the contest prizes and commented how he’s been doing some experimenting with pasta. He said the dishes have been pretty basic — macaroni and cheese and chicken and pasta — with a generous seasoning of basil and oregano.
I mentioned that one of our grandkids’ favorite meals is just a simple pasta casserole that can be on the table in less than an hour.
Grandma’s Casserole, as it has been fondly named, is made by browning a pound of ground meat and a bit of diced onion in a skillet and then mixing it with a can of tomato soup and another of green beans (with the water). Then, you place that mixture in an oven-safe casserole dish, add cooked elbow macaroni (1 cup uncooked) and bake it for about 30 minutes or so.
And it’s fit for a grandpa, too!
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at email@example.com.