What’s for supper? I thought you’d never ask! I’ve been in a kitchen slump lately, so this week I tried two new recipes. Here’s what we had:
Deli meat sandwiches; Pringles; Little Debbie Goo Slabs or whatever
I was absolutely determined to have a Sunday with no big chores to do, so we crammed everything into Saturday, aided by a few of Wendy’s “Four for Four” deals: all the food and household shopping, plus two teenage girls needed pants, my teenage son needed a winter jacket, and my new ten-year-old needed her ears pierced. We made seven stops. Supper was not a priority.
The only thing to report about this meal is that Aldi had a huge sale on something called “Sandwich Skinnys” (yes, with a “ys,” not an “ies”). You know how I feel about dragooning parts of speech into performing duties they’re not suited for. I would have boycotted them on principle as a selective grammar pedant, but . . . they were on sale. Well, they were pretty bad. But they were on sale!
The Pringles were totally a reparations purchase, to make up for the terrible bread, which I bought because it was on sale. The Pringles were not on sale. It’s because of financial savvy like this that I have enough money in savings to keep our entire family afloat for a good 72 hours.
Grilled chicken with salad (a.k.a. The Dinner of Great Virtue), with black olives and homemade croutons; Jell-o and whipped topping
Not bad at all. Chicken marinated in white wine, lemon juice, S&P and garlic. I made homemade croutons because the kids had left about eleven bags of bread open, so we had tons of stale bread, and they had mutilated five sticks of butter and smeared them with crumbs. Let these fresh, buttery, herbed, fragrant croutons be a lesson to them!
The Jell-o and Kool Whip was courtesy of my teenage daughter, who doesn’t care what you think. It was her turn to pick, and that’s what she wanted, okay?
Oh, we also had hot chocolate on Sunday. If you’re going to submit to the agony of serving nine children a beverage that will scald their little tongues and ruin their last decent shirts, you might as well make it from scratch:
For each mug of hot chocolate you want to make, put 1 heaping Tbs of cocoa powder and 2 Tbs. white sugar into a heavy pot.
Add enough water to make a thick syrup, and heat on medium, stirring, until it’s heated through. Then stir in the milk (about 10 oz. per serving) until it’s blended, add a little vanilla, and heat it through. This is rich and wonderful — completely different from any powdered mix.
We’re down to the last of our homemade vanilla, which we made about 18 months ago. Super easy, and a much richer flavor than most store bought vanilla extract, and it ends up being cheaper in the long run. Take a jug of vodka, rum, or bourbon and throw in some chopped up vanilla beans, and let it sit for at least a month. That’s it. Makes a nice gift, too, if you get decorative bottles.
Chili and cornbread
Even I didn’t like this chili very much. Very uninspired, just peppers and onions, ground beef, canned tomatoes, black beans and kidney beans, whatever reddish and organgeish powders I could find in the spice rack, and a can of beer. But we had plenty sour cream, so probably half the kids ate it.
Cornbread was fine. One-bowl recipes are so dear to my heart.
Chicken nuggets, hot pretzels, sweet peppers and hummus
Tuesday, we spent three solid hours in the car, going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth within the same 20-mile radius.
My itinerary: Pick up one kid at one school, pick up other kids and carpool kid at other school, leave one at drama, drop some off at catechism, wait for parakeet, go to library to pick up other kid, get message that parakeet is at catechism and library kid is at home, stop at catechism to pick up parakeet, pick up kid at drama, pick up catechism kids, turn around because it turns out catechism kids were HIDING and were not actually in the van, pick up kid at work, drop off carpool kid, and then go home to get dinner started.
It was like one of those Family Circus cartoons where you see the dotted line where Little No-Neck made his adorable rounds from the sandbox to the swing set to the bathroom and back, except instead of resulting in inexplicably long-lasting cartoon career, we just got a hysterical claustrophobic baby whose diaper didn’t explode only through the miraculous intervention of St. Commodius, patron of Very Damp Situations.
Bacon Mushroom Chowder
Okay. This soup, you guys.
Some of my kids don’t like soup, so I was determined to find just one recipe that they would enjoy. I started with this recipe from Damn Delicious, and made a few adjustments, to appeal to everyone’s basest instincts. For instance, the recipe calls for 4 slices of bacon. I used two pounds. And I went from there.
And you know what? Some of them still didn’t eat it. They had toast. Too bad! It was really good, and I’m making it again.
Bangers and Mash (I guess?) with mushroom and onion gravy, and frozen Brussels sprouts
My Anglophile son has asking for this for a while. It was great! Definitely adding this to the rotation as a make-ahead meal — although I now know that you really need to mash the potatoes while they are still hot. If you wait until they are cool, they will only mash so far, and no further.
I did have some wonderful help peeling the potatoes:
Is there a recipe for bangers and mash? If so, I didn’t consult it, just fried up a bunch of Italian sausages and served them on top of mashed potatoes with gravy. And I was thrilled with the gravy, partly because it was tasty, and partly because the gravy I made for Thanksgiving was so incredibly awful. There may be a better kind of vindication than gravy vindication, but I haven’t found it yet.
Spaghetti and jarred sauce
Because I’m so holy, I’m willing to endure the searing sacrifice of serving this meatless meal. Hem kissing will be available in the conference room until 11. Thank you.