What’s for supper? Vol. 75: Garlic will save the world

Good grief, Vol. 75? What do you know about that?

The little rats stole my chalk, so my weekly menu blackboard isn’t telling me anything. Here’s the best I can recall:

SATURDAY
Calzones; birthday cake

We had four extra 13-year-old boys in the house for a sleepover, and the birthday boy requested calzones for dinner. Easy enough! I used premade pizza dough, and divided each ball into four calzones. Roll ’em out, add a scoop of filling, fold the dough over and pinch it closed. We made twenty calzones, plus an extra pizza for weirdos who don’t like calzones, plus a gluten-free pizza for that one guest. This is one of the benefits of being used to cooking for twelve. You  might as well cook for sixteen, and you might as well also make cupcakes, plus special cupcakes, plus this, plus that, why not. Your life is already ruined anyway.


For the filling, I used either eight or twelve cups of shredded mozzarella, probably eight, and 32 oz. of ricotta, plus a bunch of parmesan. After you crimp the edges shut, you can press on them to distribute the filling more evenly. Lay them in a greased pan with space to expand (I put three on a full-sized cookie sheet), and brush with egg wash.

Bake for about 20 minutes in a 450 oven. Serve with warm tomato sauce for dipping.

The cake was just one disaster after another. It was supposed to be chocolate, but I got yellow mix. So I was going to add cocoa powder, but we were out. So I told him I’d make chocolate frosting. Then I somehow bought cream cheese frosting. Then I reversed the colors on the design by mistake; then the sugar sheets I bought were too dry to use, so I piped in the designs with frosting in a sandwich bag that I bit a hole in.
But, I did NOT spell his name wrong.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the cake I was trying to copy and the cake I eventually presented to my beloved son:

Ehhh, whaddaya whaddaya. He liked it. We also made a Super Smash Ball pinata, which turned out just as malformed and blobby as the cake, even though a Smash Ball is just a round ball with different colors all over it. He liked that, too. We like him!

***

SUNDAY
Spaghetti carbonara; salad; garlic bread; ice cream sundaes

Unaware that the Solemnity of St. Joseph was moved to Monday, we went ahead and celebrated with bacon and ice cream on Sunday. A not-great photo of a terrifically yummy meal here:

If you’re not familiar with carbonara, it’s easy and wonderful. You fry up some bacon and cut it into bits, then cook up a bunch of pasta. Drain it, add in the bacon and a truly ridiculous amount of parmesan, butter, and tons of pepper, and mix it up. Then, you stir in a bunch of raw egg, which cooks itself right onto the strands of pasta, melding with the cheese and the bacon. Heavenly.

Here’s the recipe from Fannie Farmer. Please note that the very next recipe is for Spaghetti with Lima Beans. This shows that even the great Fanner Farmer has her limitations.

***

MONDAY
Beef barley soup; garlic knots

A tiny bit disappointing, but I’m not sure why.
I cut up the beef (chuck roast or something) into cubes and sauteed it in the Instant Pot along with diced onions and garlic. When it was almost all browned, I added diced carrots, a can of diced tomatoes and juice, some beef broth and red wine, and most of a little pouch of mixed grains.

I couldn’t find barley anywhere, and last time I asked a stock boy for help, he was a huge jerk about it, and I was mad for ten days. I just want barley! You work at a supermarket! Do you even understand that you wouldn’t have a job if people like me didn’t need things like barley? Maybe I’ll just go home without buying anything, and then you can have your ideal work day of nobody bringing money into your place of employment! That seems like a solid business model! Jerk.

I pressed the “soup” button, because I was making soup and feeling belligerent, and didn’t feel like checking if that’s how you’re supposed to do it. Looking back, there was a lot of belligerent cooking this week. Hence all the garlic, I guess.

The soup was fine; it just didn’t live up to the Platonic ideal of beef barley soup, and this grieved me. Should’ve added more garlic.

For the garlic knots, I used readymade balls of pizza dough. Cut each ball into twelve pieces, roll them into snakes, tie them in a knot, and top each one with garlic or garlic powder, parmesan cheese, and a little salt. Bake on a greased pan at 425 for . . . I dunno, eleven minutes. Always a hit.

***

TUESDAY
Hot dogs; cucumber salad

There are suddenly these giant, beautiful cucumbers for really cheap, so I bought . . . kind of an inappropriate number of giant cucumbers. They just looked good, okay?

Tito Edward’s eye just started ticcing, and he doesn’t even know why.

I sliced them pretty thin and mixed them with a dressing made of plain yogurt, tons of minced garlic, a little lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and salt. Wish I had had some parsley and red onions. It was tasty and interesting, although it probably wasn’t necessary to add nuclear holocaust levels of garlic; but I’ll probably do it again next time.

I took a picture, which I’m adding only because I forgot to take a picture of the next meal, which was actually good to look at.

The other day, my son woke up and couldn’t find any clean jeans or khakis, so he was forced to put on dress pants. He evened it out by wearing a ratty T-shirt.

***

WEDNESDAY
Pepperoncini beef sandwiches with provolone; french fries; raw stringbeans

A swell and laughably easy meal in the slow cooker or Instant Pot.

You just dump a hunk of beef in, empty a jar of pepperoncini in with the juice, and let it cook until it’s tender. I’ve always made this dish in the slow cooker, and it comes out ready to fall apart, like pulled pork. This time, I used the “slow cook” button on the IP, which runs for four hours. It wasn’t quite done when I checked, so I pressed the button again, and let it run for another hour-and-a-half. It wasn’t shreddy, but nicely tender, so I sliced it. I think I prefer it that way. Less time probably would have worked even better.

I forgot to cut the tops off the peppers before adding them to the pot, so it was only mildly spicy.

I served the meat on ciabatta rolls with sliced provolone and horseradish sauce. Tragically, I had snacked so much before dinner, I wasn’t hungry enough to eat it. But it smelled fab-u-lous.

Stringbeans finally look decent again. Just popped the stems off and served them raw. Spring is coming, dammit. We can have juicy green things again.

***

THURSDAY
Roasted chicken on salad; grapes

We were home for a total of about eleven minutes on Thursday, so it’s a miracle I got dinner made. I doused the chicken breasts with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and shoved them under the broiler for 25 minutes or so, then sliced it up and served it on bagged greens. Bagged greens will save the world.

***

FRIDAY
Eggs and risotto and . . . frozen peas? Salad? Maybe green peppers?

It’s been a week without risotto so far! This aggression will not stand, man. (For more on risotto and how it alone can justify the purchase of an Instant Pot, see last week’s post.)

***

What’s for supper at your house? What’s the longest you can go without garlic?

16 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 75: Garlic will save the world”

  1. You truly amaze me with all you do for your kid’s birthdays. I only have two and I have a very difficult time when birthdays come around. Maybe because of my anxiety and one of them is the week before Christmas. I’m really in awe of you.

    I try to include garlic in almost every meal I cook, jk, but I do like to include garlic whenever possible. We had Zuppe Tuscano for dinner on Tuesday and it was awesome!!!! Italian sausage, bacon , lots of garlic, potatoes, kale, heavy cream. My husband said, ” if you’re gonna eat kale, this is the way to do it.”

  2. The only thing I made of note was beef stroganoff because I told my husband to buy some cheap beef and he bought the most gristle filled beef ribs I’ve ever encountered. I chopped them up and removed half their weight in tendon or sinew or whatever those horrible threads are that ruin everything. They probably ended up being the most expensive beef ribs for the amount of actual meat I got, but it was worth it even though I put a little too much mustard in at the end.

  3. Almost all my ancestors are Cajun (OK, if you go far back enough, they’re French), so, no, I cannot live without garlic and onions. There was much rejoicing in my house when they started selling those jars of minced garlic in the produce section.

    My husband’s family is from the Midwest. We had been married a few months when he hesitantly asked, “Um, do you make anything . . . without onions?”

    Yes, dear. Have some cookies.

    1. I’ve been to several conferences in PA that had a large number of Louisiana attendees. They *all* brought along their favorite brand of Cajun seasoning to add to everything served in the cafeteria.

  4. Carbonara – mmmmm! I think St. Joseph would have wolfed it down after a long day of carpentry. My husband and I certainly would!

  5. I am a genetic stranger to garlic but then I married a man who is 1/8 Italian in the paternal line and have wholeheartedly embraced the Fake Italian status my unpronounceable surname confers. 🙂 Once I was making a grocery list and asked my husband if it was a problem if we had pasta four times and pizza twice and he was amazed I would even ask that question.

    Also, am I the only one who’s amused by the phallic theme of a meal involving hot dogs and cucumbers? Yes? Okay then.

    (Another joke: One time I bought a pack of hot Italian sausage on impulse and when I came home told my husband, “I got it because it reminded me of you.” 😉 )

  6. I love garlic I can’t do without it and I put it in pretty much every meal I serve at dinner time. My meals this week were not spectacular by any means but the one that was the best was my second attempt at pork bulgogi with fried rice. The kids loved the bulgogi. It’s a keeper and I will make it again.

  7. Relatively few complaints this week so I guess it was culinary success. I forgot to add onion or garlic to the cheddar bread, but garlic is not usually a thing I neglect.
    Sat: burgers and hot dogs, chips
    Sun: venison stew, rice (a friend said they always ate stew over rice when she was a kid and it’s my new favorite way to eat stew), pumpkin bread, grapes
    Mon: pasta with meatballs, garlic bread, salad (dropped off by my sister, I didn’t make it). Also ice cream b/c St. Joseph.
    Tues: chicken and biscuit casserole, broccoli
    Wed: chili, cornbread
    Thurs: potato and bacon soup, cheddar cheese bread
    Fri: cheese pizza, salad, apples

  8. I like lima beans. And I like spaghetti. But together? No.
    Cooking this week was practically nonexistent. I did have asparagus and scrambled eggs for dinner last night. Pretty much everything else was takeout.

  9. Trying to eat mostly meatless for all of Lent, since I can handle abstinence better thyan fasting. 🙂 Tonight: Mrs. T’s frozen cheese pirogis. While boiling the pirogis, I sauteed a chopped onion, 1/4 bag of Mejange a Trois (frozen red, yellow, and green peppers), a cup of drained saurkraut. Stirred everything together with sour cream.
    Last night: Salade Nicoise: Steamed salmon, boiled eggs, boiled unpeeled bite sized cut potatoes, opened cans of beets and green beans. Arranged everything in separate glass bowls. Poured vinaigrette over everything except the eggs. Added olives. Skipped the cucumber and tomato I usually include. Filled two pasta bowls with bite sized torn iceberg lettuce, and we added everything else as desired. Ate with dropped biscuits from a mix. (I have sheepishly returned to iceberg lettuce after years of leaf lettuce snobbery. Iceberg lasts longer, and I like it, and TJs sells it for $1 a head, so there.
    Two nights ago: boxed macaroni and cheese.
    Three nights ago: boiled cut up and smashed sweet potatoes as a side with extended hamburgers (with bread crumbs, chopped onion, an egg, S&P and some salsa I had hanging around).

  10. I love garlic! My husband is not so crazy about it, so I generally don’t use much, if any. The other day I put more than usual in a beef stew and one by one, the kids walked in the door and thought I was making garlic bread and were sad to find out it was just beef stew. This Lent, I’m pretty much living on salted meat and vegetables, water, and the occasional glass of wine on the weekends. And butter, lots of butter. And that’s what I’m feeding the kids, minus the wine, of course. Those last few stubborn pounds are finally starting to fall and *I* feel so much healthier and happier, but some of the kids are sick, sick, sick of the bland menu that’s due to both my anti-carb craziness and my Irish taste buds . I’m always impressed by the number of ingredients Simcha uses when she cooks. Even when she’s feeding the kids hot dogs, she throws together a cucumber salad. Yeah, that doesn’t happen in my house.

  11. My adoration for garlic is such that when taste-testing an item that has garlic, I always end up defaulting to my husband, saying “Well, you’re going to have to figure it out yourself unless you want it to ONLY taste like garlic.” If I think it has enough, there’s probably too much. I should go without for a week to regain an appropriate level of garlic sensitivity, but that sounds painful.

  12. We love garlic in our house! Even though I’m only cooking for two (and a toddler who barely counts) I buy the giant tub of minced garlic from Sam’s Club and it lasts us about 1-2 months (pre-minced garlic is the greatest thing ever, in my opinion). This past week was kind of crazy as we had various of my in-laws in from all over the world (Scotland, England, and New Zealand!) and at my father-in-law’s request we spent a few days in San Antonio, so eating out more often than normal.
    Saturday: rosemary garlic chicken, asian vegetable rice, and asparagus parmesan. All from Fr. Leo Patalinghug’s “Spicing Up Married Life” cookbook.
    Sunday: big birthday luncheon for my husband and his dad, who share a birthday. Penne vodka, good crusty bread to dip in olive oil/balsamic vinegar/spices, bagged caesar salad mix, delicious cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes because I hate baking. We left for San Antonio immediately following and had a late dinner out.
    Monday: This was the actual birthday, and my father-in-law treated us all out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant (somewhat to the Scottish in-law’s dismay, they were a bit sick of Mexican food at the end of it but that was what was most plentiful in San Antonio!). Decently tasty but difficult to enjoy as the 5 month old was cranky the whole time and the 3 year old capped off the evening by wetting herself in copious amounts. Thankfully we were out on the patio and not actually inside the restaurant, much easier cleanup.
    Tuesday: back home, didn’t feel like cooking for everyone after driving for 3 hours so we had fancy meats and cheeses (thank you Aldi for providing a gourmet experience at a fraction of the cost!) and one of the best frozen appetizers I’ve tried, Ling Ling chicken dumplings. Was seriously impressed with the quality and taste, usually I’m severely disappointed by frozen foods.
    Wednesday: My husband grilled some burgers, we had corn on the cob (frozen, can’t wait till it’s in season!) and french fries (from frozen).
    Thursday: one of my favorite damndelicious recipes, bang bang chicken. No veg because it was just my brother-in-law left and we didn’t have to keep up the pretense of being healthy. 😉
    Friday: spinach/feta/onion quiche and crispy potatoes.

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