Main Dish – Pizza Casserole

Road Trips
Do you like road trips? I wish I could say I do, but the tedium of hour after hour along the highway bores me. If I can take breaks, with some naps included, it’s much easier.

We went last weekend to Ohio U. in Athens, Ohio, in the southeast corner of the state. This is Appalachian country, and I learned the correct pronunciation of that term. The third syllable should be the same as the beginning of the word “apple,” this from the born-and-bred Appalachian Dean of Students.

We drove from Chicago to Indy to Dayton to Columbus, all looking very midwestern. But then you get past Columbus and soon arrive in the Hocking Hills area where the terrain becomes hilly and heavily forested.

I should have probably expected to hear from southern accents from our fellow participants, but I must say that surprised me. It felt like we were on the border between the Midwest and the South.

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Athens only exists as a college town. The college was founded in 1804 and the little town grew up around it with about 25,000 year-round inhabitants. That number doubles during the school year.

The town is nestled in this little valley, along the Hocking River, hidden by the hills and forests surrounding it. It’s as if Jacob’s college search was a mining expedition, and he found this little gem among all of his many options. Not only is it affordable because of their generous scholarships; it’s one of the prettiest campuses I’ve ever seen. The old Colonial architecture feels like a page right out of Americana.

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It’s not perfect, of course. The administration is fighting its reputation as a party school, and is quick to point out that the Princeton list which deemed it the #1 party school in 2011 is the most unscientific study known to man. All they do is interview 100 students from each school to determine their lists. So the dean of students explained how they come down hard on underage drinking, drunkenness, and all of its attendant problems.

But certainly any college campus, apart perhaps from Brigham Young Univ., has temptations galore. We will hope and pray that the values we’ve instilled in Jacob stick with him.

Orientation was great because by the end of the 2 days, Jacob had already signed up for his fall classes, and we all have a much clearer sense of how to make this college thing work. He is now thinking about environmental pre-law as his major. We’ll see how things shake out over the next year or so in that regard.

Pizza Casserole
This is the second pizza casserole recipe (p. 54) in the cookbook. It’s basically mostaccioli with pizza toppings added. I’m going to make it and take it to my friend Laura P. who had surgery last week.

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The recipe was fairly easy to make but took several steps to get it done. First, cook the meat sauce, then cook the pasta, then combine it all and cook it in the oven for awhile. I hope I didn’t overcook it.

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At the same time, I was making the lime cottage cheese jello (see next post!). Plus I was also making the taco salad, and the meat for the stuffed green peppers for tomorrow night. I had a lot of irons in the fire (literally!) so I hope everything came out okay.

Here is my extra meat for the green peppers. I love it when I can kill two birds with one stone!

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