What’s for supper? Vol. 86: ¿Qué pasa, kielbasa?

I’m having a flashback to a former life: Everyone’s schedule is all screwey for end-of-year stuff, so we spent the morning at the park trying not to throw ourselves into the waterfall, and then we got a blister so we had to cool our feet at the library. There are pregnant women chasing toddlers everywhere, and every cell in my body is shrieking out silent thanksgiving that I’m not one of ’em.

Here’s what we had this week:

Pizza, birthday cake, ice cream

Birthday party! We had no end of pizza, and birthday cake in the shape of – what else? – Devil’s Tower.

It was a Close Encounters of the Third Kind party, what else? It turns out the birthday girl was kidding about wanting me to mash some potatoes so she could have a mountain-sculpting contest with her friends. Humph.


Chicken shawarma; Cheesecake with strawberries and chocolate ganache

Birthday girl requested shawarma. I treated myself to skinned, boned chicken and set it to marinate the night before. It turned out to be breast meat, not thigh, which was a little disappointing; but it’s still always a fabulous meal. We use this recipe for oven-roasted shawarma from the NYT.

We had it with tomatoes, cucumbers, three kind of olives, feta cheese, pita bread, hummus, and yogurt sauce. I added pepper, lemon juice, and a bunch of minced garlic to plain yogurt and then basically wallowed around in it for the rest of the evening. Garlic yogurt speaks to me on a cellular level. A microcellular level. A nano-micro-weensy-cellular level. Just keep zooming in, and it’s garlic and yogurt, all the way down.

I briefly considered making the cheesecake in the Instant Pot, but then remembered that I am disgusting and don’t really clean it too good, so it’s kind of meaty in there. If there are people in the world who prefer their cheesecake meaty, I don’t want to know about it. I used this simple recipe (no sour cream) with a graham cracker crust, and used a silicone pan instead of springform. Unlike the photo, it turned out swell.

I crushed up a bunch of fresh strawberries with sugar and rum vanilla. We wanted a chocolate ganache, but I remembered in the nick of time that Aldi chocolate chips don’t really melt. So I made this hot fudge sauce with cocoa powder, butter, and condensed milk. Veddy nice.


Hot dogs, corn on the cob, salad

It was horrendously hot, so I thought we might avoid filling the kitchen with corn steam if I cooked the corn on the cob in the Instant Pot instead of in a big pot of water. I guess it worked? But you do have to release the steam at the end anyway, so we kind of got it all at once. I think it helped a bit overall. It’s definitely cooler than stovetop cooking while it’s cooking.

I tried This Old Gal’s recipe for IP corn on the cob, which includes sugar, milk, and butter. It was certainly easy, and the corn was, well, sweet, creamy, and buttery. Kinda gilding the lily, though, and not really worth the extra calories. I’ll probably use the IP for just cooking plain unflavored corn on the cob in the future, though, just because it was easier than wrestling with a giant stock pot sloshing with boiling water. I always scald my abdomen.

I have the eight-quart Instant Pot (affiliate link), which fits twelve whole ears of corn comfortably, see?


Pulled pork sandwiches, chips, salad

Just so you know I’m no Instant Pot cultist

I will here discuss an IP semi-failure: I put the pork into the IP with salt, pepper, and a can of Coke, and set it to “slow cook.” This took four hours, and then it automatically went to “keep warm” mode for the rest of the day. It came out dry and tough, and we had to pull pretty hard, which nobody wanted to do. I’m not sure if that means it was too low heat, or too high heat, or what, but it just wasn’t the same as the regular old slow cooker. Maybe if I pressed “slow cook” again after four hours, I dunno.


Oven roasted kielbasa, red potatoes, and cabbage with mustard vinaigrette

From Budget Bytes, a new dish for us, and a hit! It’s very easy to make: Cut up the things, put the things on a pan, make the things hot. Add yummy dressing.

I used three 14-ounce packages of kielbasa, about four pounds of red potatoes, and one large cabbage, and tripled the recipe for dressing. It’s hearty and summery, and I liked the looks of it, too.

The only sad thing was that I finally had to admit it was time to get rid of the two giant “disposable” catering pans we got from the Chinese restaurant at Christmas. They have developed leaks, so I’m getting some Real Pans. Yet another thing I finally have enough money to buy, now that the kids are leaving home and we don’t need it as badly anymore. Oh well.


Chicken muggets, frozen corn

We had the option to add an extra hour and a half of driving at the end of the school day in order to get to two campuses for portfolio night, or we could get ice cream.

Then we came home and had chicken nuggets. Corrie was mad because she only got to eat her ice cream and Dora’s ice cream,

and then when she dropped Dora’s ice cream, we wouldn’t get her another one. So when it was supper time, she threw herself on the floor and howled, “NO NO NO TSITSIN MUGGETS!” It’s a shame we never do anything nice for her.



Child #2 graduates from high school this year (with honors in math!!!), so Damien and I will be in attendance this evening while the kids at home struggle along with a case of boxaroni. Cheers!

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19 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 86: ¿Qué pasa, kielbasa?”

  1. I made the fudge sauce! It was a big hit at my house. It’s even better with a little Cointreau in it.

  2. I wish anyone in my house would eat shawarma besides me and my husband. Philistines.
    It was hot this week, and we’re having a fall baby so I get to be large during the hot months, so I avoided turning on the oven most days.
    Sat: grilled chicken with a miracle marinade from Tasty Kitchen that everyone in the family likes, broccoli, strawberries.
    Sun: cut up the leftover chicken and served with various salad fixings.
    Mon: meatloaf (made for Mother’s Day and frozen by one of the kids) which was really good and everyone ate it, carrot souffle, peaches
    Tues: Utah Chicken Salad, again from Tasty Kitchen.
    Wed: husband fishing with his dad, so Kraft mac and cheese ftw. (Everyone filled up on Raising Cane’s for lunch because our library’s summer reading program gave away excellent swag this year.)
    Thurs: got together with my brother’s family, who live up the street, for combine-the-leftovers night. There were ribs, meatloaf, chicken salad, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, grapes, muffins… everyone likes getting together for leftover night.
    Fri: cheese pizza, corn on the cob, grapes and apples. Who in blazes puts sugar on corn on the cob??? I think that’s illegal in Nebraska.

      1. Thank you! My ob wasn’t going to do an ultrasound at my initial appt, but I begged because I just had to make sure it was only one this time… 🙂

        1. Anna,
          I only had five of mine around the breakfast table this morning. I hadn’t seen two of them in a month. I haven’t seen #4 since January. But even being down three didn’t make me sad, I just looked around to table at all of those amazing (exhausting) offspring, and I marveled out loud that they are the best crazy decisions we ever made. Homes, jobs, situations, towns, cars, vacations, food…
          basically all dust in the wind.
          Human souls–
          Treasure. A new baby is like winning the lottery and then some!
          I hope you are feeling well! <3

  3. I owe you one for directing me to that shawarma recipe, which is now one of our family favorites. So I’m going to pay you back with two dynamite suggestions: 1. Have you tried the shawarma with skin-on chicken thighs? It takes it from pretty good to sensational. 2. Likewise, adding a bit of tahini to the yogurt sauce.

  4. For IP pulled pork- use the pressure cooker setting and do 90 minutes (for a small 2-3 lb piece) or 110-120 minutes for as big a piece as will fit in there. It comes out perfectly, better than in the slow cooker in my opinion.

  5. We just graduated our little hippy, Monkey Boy from H.S. too (#5). He’s actually 6’2” but when he turns sideways you can’t see him anymore. He’ll be sticking around and going to SBCC which is a phenomenal school. They just made it 100% free incl. books for ALL local grads. That’s hard to argue with and probably going to get shelved if Trump catches wind of it. Monkey boy is on a greyhound right now to go see his lovelove in the SFbay. She’s giving her first concert –guitar/vocals at this iconic music hall in our old hometown where a bunch of the old greats used to play. He and lovelove have been friends since she was my now 13 y.o.’s big buddy in kinder. Pretty impressive after 8 yrs. It takes TEN HOURS by bus (5 by car) from here, so we think he’s a nut. Plus the greyhound crack heads. One of them offered to share his stuff with J.P.the time before last. He asked J.P. to lend him a pipe, but J.P. politely declined, offering him his apple instead, which the guy carved into a pipe. After the crack head incident I make him text me regularly. The last one just came in a few mins ago saying:
    “no crack heads”
    “Just an Asian guy sounding out words in a book.”

    Last night a bunch of the boy cousins went to their cousin’s concert which sold out! They had a great time. J.P. says they rocked the house and that he sat on his (shorter!?)cousin’s shoulders(?) while their other cousin crowd surfed. I would have liked to have seen that. Darn. Kids have all the fun and they haven’t even earned it.

    Having my husband away M-Thur is proving to me that I have been a latent cooking bum all along, and just didn’t know it because I was saving face so I could appear to be an upstanding housewife. I did make some kick a** black beans with tomatoes, chilis, peppers and bacon. It’s amazing how many tacos and burritos those kids will eat! I just switch up the protein, salsa and lettuce/cabbage and they couldn’t be happier.

    Around late March the Moms that really have it together start texting each other about summer camps. That always makes me squirm. They just want their little stinkers not to balk at going so they recruit other Moms and say, “Johnny will be there!” If you start adding it ($) all up it’s impossible. So I decided that this week would be “Eating Out With Mama Camp”. That way we allllllll get to go to camp, and Mommy SAVES money! What can I say? When the cat’s away the mice will play. And it was delicious too. My husband told me to sign Charlotte up for ballet, but she’s at dance practice right now with her aunt for Summer Solstice (Midsummer Night Dream theme) and will get to shake her little fairy booty with her tranny friends from last year (“They’re NOT boys Mama, they’re GIRLS!”), so I may decide to save a few bucks there and let it pass as modern ballet. Makes sense to me. We’re trying to save up for a house. :/

    p.s. The following is a very sexy life-hack for making corn at the beach:
    1. Stick a bunch of shucked corn in a bag
    2. Have a kid bring it into the ocean past the swirling sand
    3. Let it sit for a bit in sea water
    4. Wrap in foil and put it on the grill with the steak 🙂

    1. Eating Out with Mommy Camp is the best camp I’ve ever heard of and I wish any but my eldest wanted to go to camp so I could claim to be saving money by doing your camp concept.

      1. Mommy camp may well be one of the best concepts I’ve ever conceived of. Yesterday it was The CA Pizza kitchen in which I also had a beer at noon with my Carne Asada pizza, and liberally helped myself to the kids’ 99 cent sundaes, all but ignoring their indignant protests. After one of my kids brought me a bordeaux from See’s candy I knew I was good to go for the rest of the day and evening. I sent him over to pick up Habit burgers for dinner, and then fasted on Pinot Noir (as opposed to Chardonnay cause it’s important to make sacrifices, and anti oxidants right?)

        My shrewd innate accounting skills inform me that I’m still coming out ahead financially. My husband is practically eating three squares a day on the company dime, and frankly sounds a little smug. I shouldn’t ask him but I do. You know when you’re talking on the phone, and you can hear smiley face in the voice? “Oh! It was a really nice piece of braised Salmon, and they didn’t even overcook it! It was on a delicious bed of quinoa, cous cous and mixed Spring vegetables!”

        “Sounds divine” Sez I(trying to mask the ever so slightly jelly voice.)

        My accounting makes perfect sense to me. It might even require a bit of sushi soon to balance the books.

  6. Saturday: BBQ party at the house of one of my husband’s friends. Some pretty good meat, and I didn’t have to cook it!
    Sunday: Open faced caprese sandwiches–soy/honey marinated pork slices, tomatoes, mozzarella slices, torn fresh basil, shallots, and a balsamic glaze drizzle over toasted bread. Went marvelously with a cheap Italian red table wine. This was my first time ever using shallots! I always panic when I see shallots in a recipe and think “Eh, I’ll just use onions/garlic.” I don’t know why I was so intimidated. They were great.
    Monday: Strip steaks with brandied mushrooms and shallots (twice in one week!) with homemade creamed spinach on the side. Very tasty.
    Tuesday: Giant Cobb salads.
    Wednesday: Spaghetti pie with a salad on the side, which caused my husband to gaze at me mournfully while eating (the salad). We decided I shall no longer buy the Dole bacon and bleu salad kit. It’s really not very good.
    Thursday: Leftover spaghetti pie–I made a lot.
    Friday: Damndelicious creamy tomato soup, with jalapeno popper grilled cheese sandwiches on the side.

  7. Congratulations to your graduate! We graduated our first homeschooled student here, it’s exciting.

    Regarding corn on the cob–since discovering Stephanie O’Dea’s Year of Slow Cooking blog, I’ve been making corn on the cob in the crockpot with no water. I wrap each ear in foil (i know, aluminum, some people just pull out the silks and leave the shucks on instead, that’s how my grandpa grilled corn anyway), put them in my oval crockpot (can fit about 12 in there), and cook on High for 2-3 hours. No huge pots of water, and I have been contemplating putting it out on the patio on very hot days.

    1. I forgot. It has been so stinking hot, and my engineer husband encourages me to plan meals that do not use the stove or oven, that our meal plan looked like this:

      Monday: Store rotisserie chickens, crockpot corn on the cob, watermelon, chips. Microwaved chicken nuggets for the five year old who cannot abide chicken in its natural form.

      Tuesday: Sandwich bar. I put out nice bakery sourdough bread, three kinds of deli meat, four kinds of cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles and mayo and mustard and they went to town. I forget what the picky youngest one ate.

      Wednesday: It was cooler! Actually ten degrees cooler than they said it was going to be! Sure, we had torrential rain and thunderstorms, but I could cook! Burgers and grilled cheese, and hot dogs, and pretzels and fruit. I had also made chocolate pudding for dessert, which was well received–just the ancient recipe from the “More With Less” Mennonite cookbook.

      Thursday: We had planned to eat out because of the forecast, so we did that.

      Friday: We have decided to live dangerously and boil pasta—apparently the breadsticks I bought are microwavable, so we shall see.

      1. Verdict: Kroger garlic twisted breadsticks are very much microwavable. They said to do one at at time, but that’s crazy talk. I zapped four at a time for a minute 20 seconds, and the kids said they were *better* than the oven baked. I also learned you can boil rotini pasta in a Corning dish in the microwave, but that still doesn’t mean the five year old will eat it when there are delicious greasy breadsticks to be had.

  8. That yogurt sauce–which is the same kind I make–is also incredibly good on roasted potatoes. When we had sheep, and were therefore awash in lamb, I used to make lamb chops a lot with roasted potatoes, and then I would drown the whole thing in the yogurt sauce on my plate. I also discovered that any extra yogurt sauce can be drained to thicken it (sort of like making Greek yogurt) and is then an excellent substitute for sour cream on tacos.

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