Holiday Cook-off

Macaroni Surprise

AKA what I bring to family events so no one else has to worry about feeding me

So, imagine this. One day you’re sitting in class, and you’re kind of tired, because you’re always at least a little tired. Why wouldn’t you be? You’re a high school student, your commute is an hour and a half both ways minimum, and you barely have a functioning sleep schedule. It’s a normal day, until suddenly your insides feel like they want to be your outsides. A year of tests later and the doctors have discovered there’s a 95% chance you have celiac disease and 5% chance your body has spontaneously created a brand new illness. All the sudden, no gluten. Your body has determined some agriculture may have been a threat. No stuffing, no gravy, no store bought pie. You get first dibs on mashed potatoes, but that’s probably not the only thing you’re going to want out of Thanksgiving. So what do you do?

Well, you roll up your sleeves, you figure out how a stove works, and you start contributing to the family meals from a kitchen where you can make sure the knives won’t make you horribly sick. Through trial and error you make what I like to call Macaroni Surprise.

Not pictured: Butter. Very important. Pictured: My late start at cooking don’t judge me.

This was the first meal I really figured out how to make entirely on my own. I did not follow a cook book, instead using a bit of the knowledge I had already learned to create something completely original, and I’m still proud of it today. The portions for this recipe are also written to feed quite a bit of people or one person for several days.

The Bits

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 quarter white onion, chopped
  • 2 boxes elbow macaroni, gluten free not required
  • 1/2 can of sweet peas
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped mushroom
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. lemon pepper
  • 1 tbsp. parsley garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • (seasonings should be adjusted to taste)

The Sauce

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 16 oz. Italian blend cheese
  • 4 oz. butter
  • 2 tbsp. cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped basil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tbsp. parsley garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  1. Battle cry. This is the most important part.
  2. Set your water to boil. This will always take longer than you think it will. Continue with other steps until it boils and then throw in the pasta until al dente.
  3. In a pan, heat up your tbsp. of butter and use it to cover your entire pan.
  4. Throw in your onions. Cook them over medium high heat until they are translucent.
  5. Once your onions are ready, throw your chicken in there. Immediately cover with your seasonings and mix.
  6. Once your chicken has cooked on one side, mix in your chopped mushrooms and lower your heat to medium low, mixing occasionally.
  7. In a small pot, combine heavy cream, 4 oz. of butter, cream cheese, and seasonings. Put heat on low and bring to a simmer, stirring in the ingredients.
  8. Once your mixture has come to a simmer, add your cheese. Your cream cheese may not have melted it yet. That’s fine. It’s taking a gap year and we support it.
  9. Mix until cheese and cream cheese have completely melted in.
  10. Combine ingredients in a bowl with 1/2 can of peas and then stir until completely mix.
  11. Victory cry. This is the second most important part.

Interested in making some recipes of your own but don’t know where to start? Browse the Channel Islands Harbor Famers Market for some ideas! Just don’t go on an empty stomach, or else you’ll come back with an empty wallet.

Culture & Student Life

Scavenger hunt? Count me in!

On November 23rd Jace McDonald and Alexander Shaw will be participating in the “One Team Scavenger Hunt,” created by Puzzling Adventures (TM). This is a cross between a scavenger hunt, adventure race, and self-guided tour around Ventura, a new and exciting way to learn more about the city, and all you need is a mobile device and an internet connection. Feel free to join us on the VC Social Instagram profile at 2pm November 23rd!

Arts & Entertainment Culture & Student Life

Travel and Art with Bill Hendricks

Bill Hendricks

For the past 30 years William “Bill” Hendricks has been teaching photography to Ventura College students, helping them hone their skills and learn to see the world through their artist eye. His work has taken him on many adventures around the world, including Cuba, Northern India, and South Korea. His work has been published in titles such as the Cosmopolitan and People Magazine and most recently he completed PROOF, a 15 year project with Cuban writer Orlando Hernandez, set to be released in 2021.

Travel and Art with Bill Hendricks VC Social

Arts & Entertainment Culture & Student Life

Beginner’s Guide to Punk Rock

In this week’s episode, hosts Alexander Shaw, Jace McDonald, and Juan Lopez sit down to talk about the music genre known as “punk rock”. Alex and Jace have both listened to punk for a large part of their lives, while Juan is a relative newcomer to the genre, having been given a hand selected playlist of both their favorite songs. Together they sit down to talk about music, passion, and the human condition.

How to save the Earth while shopping VC Social

Arts & Entertainment

Of Bones, Ash, and Song

Vid. Gunnþra. Gjoll. Leiptr. Elivagar, Elivagar. A well-taught purveyor of norse mythology would recognize these terms as a handful of the eleven rivers associated with the Élivágar, or “ice waves” that existed in the primordial void at the beginning of the world. A connoisseur of the new and experimental, however, may recognize them as lyrics to the Heilung song also titled “Élivágar”, with text from both old norse texts and the poetic edda and set to music in a chant meant to be felt down to the bones. Heilung, meaning “healing” in German, is an experimental folk band founded in 2014 by Kai Uwe Faust, Christopher Juul, and Maria Franz, describing themselves as a music journey. When asked about the name, Faust states “The listener is supposed to be left at ease and in a relaxed state after a magical musical journey that is at times turbulent”. So why am I talking to you about this?

Music has always been a big part of my life. I have a music note tattooed behind my ear, have studied a variety of instruments throughout my life, and even my stories are meant to sound like the songs that are constantly going through my head. It was the first thing my mother introduced me to that I fell in love with, and the thing we have always bonded over. So in 2018, she sent me a video, believing that the music as well as heavy themes of nature, spiritualism, and culture older than almost any country around today would be right up my alley. It was by a band called Heilung, one I had never heard of before, and the song was called “Krigsgaldr”, roughly translating to “war chant”. The lyrics were pulled from the Eggja Runestone, sung in proto-norse, with a music video created from the Tanum Petroglyphs of Sweden. I was immediately in love. I found a full recording of a live concert on YouTube and watched the entire thing when I got off work, and as soon as tickets were announced for a show in Los Angeles we were in queue to buy them. I painted our faces, and that night we went to a show that began with a smudging ritual and ended feeling more like a ceremony than a concert. It was the last concert I went to before COVID started, and it is the best show I’ve been to. 

Anaheim, CA – Jan. 2020

Heilung is a band that stems from spiritualism. The founding members have all embraced paganism and/or shamanism in some shape or form, and their instruments are made from bone, ash, and pelts. They wear elaborate outfits on stage, partially based on the traditions of the Eurasian circumpolar populations as well as reproductions of Nordic bronze age attire. Their beats are built to induce the same trances that would have been attained during these ceremonies. When performing in the US they invited representatives of local tribes to participate with them, beginning their shows with “Remember that we all are brothers. All people and leaves and trees, and stone and wind.” Their music gained immediate traction from their release of “Ofnir” in 2015, having tied for the World Tradition Award in the 18th Independent Music Award for their song “Norupo” and been selected to compose the soundtrack for “Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II”. It is also a band that, in a few short years, has come to mean much more to me than ever thought it would. I’ve never been a person who says any song is “just music”. Music is powerful. It is meaningful. It is one of the things that connects us across time and space. In the case of Heilung, most of all, it is a healing.