Eat Drink and Be Merry


Dark Chocolate Is Better Than Aspirin

I am not kidding. Recent research suggests that dark chocolate can act like a painkiller. It also acts as an immune booster.

Seems that it is the distraction of eating foods, like chocolate, for pleasure that acts like a natural painkiller, according to the London Daily Mail.

I extolled the Pleasure of Eating in an entire post last spring, but did not know of the pain killing benefits of food then.

Eat Dark Chocolate Daily

Then there is this recent article:  Why You Should Eat Dark Chocolate Daily This Year. Among the reasons the author says this are the following: stimulates endorphins (painkillers) contains serotonin, Can help lower blood pressure, and is loaded with antioxidants.

The Magic Cure

Back when I did the series on popping pills a few months ago, I did not have room to include this information

It seems that doctors are not sure what to do about the placebo effect.

According to Wikipedia: Placebo effect is the tendency of any medication or treatment, even an inert or ineffective one, to exhibit results simply because the recipient believes that it will work.

In other words, if people just take a sugar pill often times it is enough to make a person get better, or ease pain, or what ever.

It is mind over matter. The mind as a curative. I have written before on this blog about Norman Cousins using laughter and positive thinking to heal himself. You can read about his amazing story again here and here.

I can make a headache go away with out any painkiller more often than not just by telling myself the pain is gone.

The mind is an incredible untapped health machine.

As the Magic Cure article states, “But as evidence of the effect’s power mounts, members of the medical community are increasingly asking an intriguing question: if the placebo effect can help patients, shouldn’t we start putting it to work?”

I have an idea. Just proscribe an ounce dark chocolate daily.

Remember, Valentine’s Day is this week. And even though the cost of chocolate has gone way up during this recession, there is still no better way to say, “I love you,” than chocolate. Moreover, now you can justify the expense by telling yourself it is the healthy thing to do.

As Oscar Wilde said, “An inordinate passion for pleasure is the secret of remaining young.”

Eat drink and be merry is my philosophy of life. Enjoy and find pleasure in your food, your friends, and life.

Today’s featured recipe will be delayed a minute or two……I have to take some medicine……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Featured Recipe    Macaroni and Beef Medley

Today I share a simpler version of a recipe much beloved by children and adults all around the world, Johnny Marzetti.

For the uninitiated, Johnny Marzetti is a casserole that originated in Columbus, Ohio at the Marzetti Restaurant in the 1920’s. The dish soon took the nation and the world by storm.

It is a simple dish consisting of pasta, ground beef, tomato sauce and cheese. Today there are hundreds, maybe thousands of different versions of the dish. Google the term and you will get more than 400,000 links in 0.11 seconds.

The Ohio Historical Society has preserved the original recipe. The Canton Repository has written a very complete history of the dish including that original recipe along with a few other versions.

The version I share with you today comes from Cooking For One Is Fun, by Henry Lewis Creel. All I did was increase the ingredients to serve four people. Mr. Creel does not use mushrooms and he substitutes Parmesan cheese for cheddar.

It is a fast and easy dish for busy weeknights and at only $2.09 per person is is a very inexpensive meal too.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

1 box of elbow macaroni

1 – 1½  pounds ground chuck*

2 tablespoons oil

2 cloves garlic

1 medium onion

A scant ½ teaspoons dried oregano

1 – 1½  cups tomato sauce*

½ cup Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

OPTIONAL:  More Parmesan cheese and more tomato sauce to top the finished dish.

*To save money I used only 1 pound of ground chuck and 1 cup of tomato sauce.

Here is what you do:

First, before you do anything else, cook the pasta for only 6 minutes. Drain and immediately run under cold water over it to stop the cooking. I run my hand through the pasta to make sure the water cools every piece of macaroni.  Let drain in the sink while you make the rest of the recipe.

NOTE: You really do want to cook the pasta only 6 minutes, otherwise the pasta will become mushy when you cook it in the oven.

Dice the onion. Peel the garlic.

Turn the oven on to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in an oven proof casserole. Add the diced onion and using a press add the garlic to the casserole too.

Sauté until the onion is translucent. Aroma wise this is always one of my favorite parts of a cooking – the sweet aroma of onion and garlic sautéing. This is heaven on earth.

Add the salt, pepper, and oregano and stir a minute or two.

Break the ground chuck into small pieces and add to the casserole.

Cook the meat until it changes color. It does not have to be throughly done. Remember, it will cook in the oven too. Not over-cooking the meat will prevent the chuck from drying out to much and therefore it will have more flavor.

Add the tomato sauce and mix well.

Stir in the cooked macaroni. This is my largest casserole. A larger one would have been nicer. But this one worked. Everything just barely fit.

Top with the cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Do not over cook as the casserole will become dry.

Hot out of the oven.

Serve with buttered bread and a salad. Serve with more cheese and more warmed tomato sauce too, if so desired.

Bon appétit!!! 


1 box of elbow macaroni      $1.00

1 pound ground chuck          $2.84

2 tablespoons oil                 $0.45

2 cloves garlic                     $0.18

1 medium onion                  $0.70             

½ tspn dried oregano          $0.25

1½  cups tomato sauce        $1.00  

½ cup Parmesan cheese       $1.92  

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $8.34
Cost per person = $2.09

Quote of the Day

In all recorded history there has not been one economist who has had to worry about where the next meal would come from.

Alfred A. Knopf


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