What’s for supper? I thought you’d never ask!
Every Friday, I do a weekly menu round-up, sharing my dinner successes and failures, new recipes, cooking tips, and general chatter about food. I’d love to hear the food news from your household, too, so please share in the comments, or leave a link to your blog with the InLinkz button at the end.
As you can see, this is vol. 14. You can still find the other 13 posts in this series at Patheos (my archives will be here with me at Aleteia eventually. And yes, I know the image still says “Patheos” on it. It’s on my list). Here’s the introduction from the first post:
We’re busy people. I work from home, I have two pre-schoolers and eight other kids in three different schools, my husband works late most nights and has a long commute, the kids all have clubs and activities and jobs, and I spend two hours in the van on an easy driving day. I don’t expect myself to cook like someone who’s home all afternoon, or someone who has leisure in the evening, or someone who cares deeply and intensely about optimal diets. We can’t afford the farmer’s market, and our garden stinks. I stay within a certain budget, but I no longer have to shop as cheaply as possible. It’s worth it to me to pay a little more for convenience or variety. We now have an Aldi nearby, which means that foods that used to be luxuries are now staples. I don’t have a crock pot or a microwave, because I’m stubborn and I enjoy suffering. I started making a weekly menu several years ago, planning and listing and buying only exactly what we needed to eat, because we were super broke and I had to make, say, $30 stretch for seven days. The menu habit stuck after our situation improved, and I’m glad it did. I hate hate hate grinding out the menu on Saturday morning, but I love always knowing what’s for dinner each night, and always having all the ingredients on hand. General goals: -I try not to make any main dish more than twice a month.
-I try not to serve chips more than twice a week.
-I try to serve a vegetable with each meal. I am for produce in season, but frozen veggies are still veggies.
-I try to serve three things at dinner, but two happens a lot.
-I try to provide a balanced diet over the course of the week, rather than over the course of a day.
-I try to make sure there’s always yogurt, cheese, pretzels, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables in the house, so the kids can get themselves healthy snacks. This is especially important for kids who are picky about dinner, because I refuse to stress out about everybody eating dinner.
-I try to serve meals that at least half the family enjoys eating.
-I try to get the kids involved with cooking when possible, even if it’s just peeling carrots or measuring out water for rice.
-I let them have straight-up dessert, plus candy and maybe soda, on weekends, but loosely limit sugar during the week.
-I try to make at least a few actual homemade-from-scratch meals each week, but don’t beat myself up for filling in the rest with semi-homemade or box-and-bag food.
-I fail in each of these things repeatedly, but I try again next week, or next next week. It’s a constant slide and correction, slide and correction.
-I try to remember that it’s just food.
Okay, now for vol. 14.
I took last week off, because it included Thanksgiving, and the internet was already awash with blurry photos of cranberry sauce. But I am happy to report that we had a very lovely day. My parents and two of my brothers and their nice little dog Davy came over. I completely ruined the gravy — really, you couldn’t even pour it, much less eat it — and boiled the artichokes into oblivion, but the rest was great. Even though the door fell off the oven (if this happens, just put it back on).
For a successful Thanksgiving day, I recommend two things: encourage your father and your husband to agree not to talk about Donald Trump; and have three teenage daughters.
Our menu this year:
-Turkey, of course. Ours was 25 pounds, same as the baby. My husband injected the turkey with some kind of tequila mixture, and spent all day basting it with gallons of butter. Succulent and wonderful. And the turkey wasn’t bad, either, ha.
-Stuffing with mushrooms and onions
–Cranberry nut bread (made by my 16-year-old-daughter)
-Stuffed, braided mushroom, onion and cheese bread (made by my 15-year-old daughter from this Hobbit cookbook)
–Sweet potatoes stuffed with gorgonzola, walnuts, and dates (made by my 17-year-old daughter)
–Parmesan garlic mashed potatoes (brought by my parents)
-aforementioned oblivionated artichokes
-Olives, cranberry sauce, mulled cider, hard cider, beer and wine
-Pumpkin pie from the recipe on the can
–Salted bourbon pecan pie (this recipe has you making pecan pie on top of pumpkin pie, which I thought was -ridiculous, so I just made extra of the pecan layer)
-Apple Pie with pretty crusts
-and vanilla ice cream and whipped cream
This year, I finally tried that trick of freezing the butter and grating it into the flour mixture for pie crust dough (actually I made my daughter do the grating), and it turned out wonderful. It came right together and was soft and pliable but not too fra-gee-lay.
Whew, that’s Thanksgiving. Now for this past week:
Giant hamburgers, chips
I always called cash “the gift from the heart,” but now I think the best gift of all is five+ pounds of local beef received as a thank-you from a cattle farmer whose granddaughter we’ve been driving to school. Fantastic. Juicy, flavorful, and just . . . I don’t know, extra meaty. Nothing like local granddaughter. HA. Gonna keep telling that joke ’til it’s funny.
Ham and oven-roasted potatoes
This was the day I spent all day at the top of the stairs turning this
while my husband made supper. I think it was eight pounds of ham and ten pounds of potatoes. He chopped the potatoes (skin on), drizzled them with olive oil, added salt and pepper, and then tossed in a bunch of whole garlic cloves, which turned into little packets of heavenly garlic cream. The kids fished them out of their portions in horror, and I ate them all.
Pulled pork sandwiches, red onions, cole slaw
As you can see, we crept right up to the verge of serving a green vegetable on Monday, but then retreated again, confused by quantities of mayonnaise and barbecue sauce.
For the pulled pork, I just threw the pork on a shallow pan, poured a bottle of hard cider over it, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, covered it with foil, and put it in a low oven for a few hours. I think I’ve been cooking it too high, and this time it really fell apart like it’s supposed to.
Hot dogs, chips, leftover pie
Tuesday is the days known as “I can’t believe it’s only Tuesday” at our house. It goes straight from “I need a note because we’re running late” to “WHY IS IT DARK ALREADY???” Therefore, hot dogs.
Honey garlic chicken with red potatoes and broccoli
This is one of those one-pan recipes from Damn Delicious, and I would qualify this particular recipe more as “Reasonably Tasty” rather than Damn Delicious. The kids loved it, and my husband and I thought it tasted fine. I did like the charred broccoli, and I thought the sauce was pretty good.
So, we’ve been using a pepper grinder, and it’s fun, and some family members claim they can taste a difference over pre-ground pepper. Fine. So Aldi then started selling pink Himalayan salt in a grinder for $1.99, which I bought because I have been asking for pink Himalayan salt for a birthday present for years, now, and nobody will get it for me. I saw one of those pink salt lamps for sale at the Salvation Army and I almost got it because it looks so cool, but then I was afraid the cashier would think I was falling for those bogus “wellness” claims, where you install this salt lamp by your bedside and in the morning, your joints will be more mindful or something. And I’m too smart for that! So I didn’t get the lamp.
Anyway, I’m telling you this because you may find yourself whipping together a quick honey garlic sauce for your chicken, and you may find yourself absentmindedly grinding and grinding and grinding away while you think about something else, and then suddenly you realize . . . . crap, that was salt, not pepper.
“Where’s your mindfulness now?” she asked derisively, hoping there would be an Edward G. Robinson joke in there somewhere.
This may only be funny if you are my therapist, and probably not even then. That guy needs a raise.
Giant chocolate pancake, scrambled eggs, acorn squash
This is the ideal dinner, as it incorporates all four food groups: grain, protein, vegetable, and giant pancake.
Macaroni and cheese; frozen brussels sprouts
Good old Fannie Farmer recipe for mac and cheese. I may use crumbled Ritz crackers for a topping instead of buttered bread crumbs. Then again, I may not.
Oh my gosh, that was a long post. They aren’t usually this long! It took me far too long to get the photos to show up, so if the InLinkz code doesn’t work, I’m just going to inject myself with tequila.