Welcome to my Food Blog!

Welcome! My name is Anne, aka ThePharmGirl. In 2010, I successfully made 100 recipes as a New Year's Resolution to expand my culinary repertoire and cooking skills beyond the frozen microwave dinner. This blog is a continuation of my culinary journey and serves as my personal virtual recipe box. Sometimes I like to have fun-- Check out my Muppet Mania Menu, The 12 Days of Christmas, and my Musical-themed recipes.

My current mission(s) for 2017:
* Use the Spiralizer at least once per week for healthy veggie-rich meals
* Continue to spin from the Wheel of Meals for recipe inspiration

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Eighth Day of Christmas Recipe

Anne's 12 Days of Christmas Recipes

 On the eighth day of Christmas, for my true love, I cooked...

~ Eight Maids a-Milking ~

 Anne presents...

Swiss Miss Cocoa Milkshake
4-Cheese Baked Macaroni

Although it's the least expensive item in the song in today's world, eight maids a-milking were a valuable gift in olden times.  In the old days, they didn't have good refrigeration to store fresh milk; it would sour and go bad.  So, in both England and France, cheese became an important milk product that provided food over the long winters.  

Mmmm cheese.  As my family knows, I am a sucker for mac and cheese.  Of all the 12 days, my grocery bill came closest to matching the actual cost of the item in the Christmas song, mostly because of the special cheeses I had to buy.  Jeremy and I grated a LOT of cheese for this recipe.  We weren't sure if we would like the taste of the cheeses it called for, but I was really happy with the final combination after it was baked.  It was gooey and delicious!  And it made a LOT of leftovers, which I've been enjoying the past few days.

If a maid in Switzerland milked a cow by hand...you'd get a Swiss miss milk shake. hahaha.  The Swiss Miss Cocoa Milkshake was a Hungry Girl recipe.  It was good, but not outstanding.  That's because it was a diet shake and used ice and water instead of milk. But it did have ice cream at least.  Still, for the calorie reduction, it was pretty tasty and I'd make it again.

Anne's Fun Facts:

Cost of 8 Maids a-Milking (2010 Christmas Price Index) =$7.25/maid = $58

Calories in a 24-oz Milkshake from Jack-In-The-Box = 1,230 calories
Calories in a 24-oz Swiss Miss Milkshake                    = 206 calories

Yawning for the Chesire Cheese... In 18th century England, they played a game on Christmas night called "Yawning for the Chesire Cheese."  It was a yawning contest to see who could produce the widest and longest yawn.   The winner won the cheese.

Be very careful if a man asks you to go a-milking!!  In the 18th century, when a maiden was asked to "go a-milking" it had one of two meanings.  Either it was a proposal of marriage;  or, it was a rather risque invitation for intimacy.  I wonder how the girls knew which intention was meant??   That could be scandalous!

It's no use crying over spilt milk.  This phrase can be traced all the way back to 1659, appearing as a proverb in James Howell's Paroimiografia.



4-Cheese Baked Macaroni
Recipe slightly altered from Food Network Channel's Emeril Lagasse
Makes: 6 Servings  (seemed like it made more than that)

7 tablespoons butter, divided
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon Red Hot Sauce
8 &1/2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (~2 cups)
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese
4 ounces grated Fontina cheese
4 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a heavy medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the half and half little by little. Cook until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, season with the salt, pepper, hot sauce and 4 ounces of the grated parmesan. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Cover and set aside.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt to taste and, while stirring, add the macaroni. Return to a boil, reduce the heat to a low boil and cook for about 5 minutes, or until macaroni is al dente (slightly undercooked).  Drain in a colander and return the macaroni to the pot. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the garlic and stir to combine. Add the bechamel sauce and stir until well combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cheddar, fontina, gruyere, and 4 ounces of the remaining parmesan cheese. Toss to combine.

Using the remaining tablespoon of butter, grease a 3-quart baking dish.  Place one-third of the macaroni in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with one-third of the mixed cheeses. Top with another third of the macaroni and another third of the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining macaroni and cheese mixture.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, remaining 1/2 ounce of grated parmesan, and the cayenne pepper, and toss to combine. Sprinkle this over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

Bake at 350º for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the macaroni and cheese is bubbly and hot and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. 


Swiss Miss Cocoa Milkshake
Makes one 24-oz shake or two 12-ounce shakes
Calories: 206 (for a 24-oz shake without whipped cream)

3/4 cup Slow-Churned Reduced-Fat Chocolate Ice Cream
1 25-calorie packet of Swiss Miss Diet Hot Cocoa Mix
1&1/2 tablespoons Hershey's Lite Chocolate Syrup
2 Splenda packets
hot water and cold water
2 cups crushed iced
Fat-free Reddi-whip (optional) 
maraschino cherry (optional)

Dissolve cocoa mix and Splenda into 2 ounces of hot water, mixing well.  Add syrup and 6 ounces of cold water and stir.  Place crushed ice and ice cream in a blender.  Top with liquid mixture.  Blend at low to medium speed until shake is thoroughly mixed but not liquified.  Pour into a tall glass and top with whipped cream and cherry if desired.  Straw recommended.

Anne's 12 Days of Christmas Recipes  
(I will be posting one per day from Dec 26 thru Jan 6th, 2010)Feel free to comment!

1st Day: Partridge in Pear Tree             7th Day: Seven Swans a-Swimming
2nd Day: Two Turtledoves                    8th Day: Eight Maids a-Milking
3rd Day: Three French Hens                 9th Day: Nine Ladies Dancing
4th Day: Four Calling Birds                  10th Day: Ten Lords a-Leaping
5th Day: Five Gold Rings                     11th Day: Eleven Pipers Piping
6th Day: Six Geese a-Laying                12th Day: Twelve Drummers Drumming

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