We are getting so many heart-warming messages from people who are supporting the pantry in various ways: thank you notes from pantry users for weekly distribution of food plus appreciation to volunteers from users and donors who keep the food “flowing”.

As volunteers pack boxes, a shared concern is felt repeatedly, “Will there be enough food to feed everyone coming?” And then, food comes – from food drives, the Good Shepherd delivery, eggs from local farmers, our regular (and most costly) orders for fresh produce, milk and eggs. Little and not-so-little miracles, time and time again.

Anonymity is not unusual at the Tree of Life. A note from an anonymous donor was left this past week along with at least nine cases of macaroni product and 594 rolls of toilet paper. Actually, the donor did share an identity: “Mr. Spaghetti”.

In honor of “Mr. Spaghetti” we’re featuring a Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach Recipe (milk, flour, cheddar, salt and pepper were available this week)

1 3/4 cups milk, divided

3 Tbsp. flour

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 cup cottage cheese

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt or to taste

ground pepper to taste

1 10 oz. package frozen spinach

2 cups macaroni

1/4 cup toasted wheat germ

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square pan.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil as you prepare other ingredients.

Whisk 1/4 cup of milk with the flour. Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Add the milk/flour mixture, whisking constantly until the sauce boils and thickens. Remove from heat and add the cheddar. Stir until melted. Add the cottage cheese, nutmeg and salt. Stir until well mixed.

Cook the spinach according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and squeeze out excess moisture.

Cook the macaroni until not quite tender (4-5 minutes). Drain and rinse under cold running water.

Mix the macaroni with cheese sauce then spread about half of it in the baking pan. Spoon spinach for a second layer then spread remaining mixture over the spinach. Sprinkle with wheat germ.

Bake for about 40 minutes until bubbly and golden.

Serves 6 if you don’t have teenagers!

Here are the comparative statistics:

May 21, 2020 May 23, 2019

Households 154 222

Adults 193 305

Seniors 79 121

Children 77 132

Individuals 349 558

New 5 2

Thank you all for your continued good wishes and support.

’til next time,