NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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October Celebrations

October Celebrations


          Quick, name a celebration in October!  Was your answer Halloween?   Halloween receives a great deal of press time in October but this month is also home to some other fun celebrations – Homemade Cookies Day is October 1st, Columbus Day is the second Monday in October,  Fire Prevention Week is the first week in October, October 6th is World Smile Day, National Chocolate Day and Make A Difference Day share October 28th and the entire month of October has the designation of Adopt-A-Dog Month, Computer Learning Month, Pretzel Month and Popcorn Popping Month.

          The favorite October celebration for North Dakotans, though, has to be October as National Pasta Month.  North Dakota produces 80 percent of the durum wheat used to make pasta.  Durum wheat’s hardness is perfect for making pasta, because it produces a firm product with a consistent cooking quality.  The yellow heart of the durum kernel also gives pasta its pleasing golden color. 

          Americans typically eat 19 pounds of pasta per person per year.  Why is pasta so popular?  According to “The American Pasta Report”, a survey commissioned by the National Pasta Association, pasta’s popularity is due to its nutritional value, taste and convenience.  Eighty-four percent of consumers surveyed considered pasta to be a healthy food and an important part of a well balanced diet.  American-made pasta is enriched with B vitamins, iron and Folic acid, making it one of the most healthful foods you can buy.  Consumers who describe themselves as “health conscious” are more likely than others to eat pasta three or more times a week. 

          The same survey found that women are more likely than men are to prepare pasta at least once a week; unless kids are involved, than 68% of Dads prepare pasta weekly. Women are also more likely to follow the package directions.  The majority of cooks do not measure the amount of water before putting the pasta in the pot to cook.  More than 70 percent leave the pot uncovered when cooking pasta.  Almost all say they stir the pot at least once while the pasta is cooking.  Just over one-half, 53%, say they know the pasta is done by tasting it, 14% time it according to package directions, 12% know by habit, 9% pinch it and 2% of the survey respondents maintain they truly do throw it against the wall to see if it sticks!   A pasta recipe that will stick to your ribs, and not to the wall, follows.

          Macaroni Chili

          2 lbs. lean, ground beef

          2 medium onions, chopped

          2 cloves garlic, minced

          2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes, undrained

          1 (5 oz) can tomato paste

          ½  C. water

          1 (16 oz) can kidney beans, undrained

          2 T. chili powder

          2 tsp salt

          1 tsp. ground cumin

          ½ tsp. crushed red pepper

          16 oz. elbow macaroni


          In Dutch oven, brown ground beef with onions and garlic.  Drain well.  Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, water, beans and seasonings. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.  Prepare macaroni as directed on package.  Drain well.   Stir into chili and heat thoroughly.    Courtesy the Dakota Growers Pasta Company


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