What’s for supper? Vol. 111: Make America grate again

I have a doctor’s note that says I don’t have to write a pointless introduction today. Here’s what we had:

Grilled ham and cheese, chips

Aldi was out of those wonderful sourdough loaves, so we had our sandwiches on ordinary bread. It was sadder than I expected. Thank goodness there were pickles.


Pork gyros

New recipe!  Pork gryos from the New York Times. And it’s a doozy. I found myself standing in the kitchen on a Sunday morning, still in my pajamas, and grating a tomato. Worth it. (I had purposely bought large, firm tomatoes for this recipe.) The marinade (olive oil, lemon juice, grated onion and grated tomato, minced garlic, paprika, salt and pepper, and fresh oregano leaves) on its own is extremely delicious, and would not be out of place as bruschetta topping.

So you slice the pork shoulder thin, marinate it, add a quartered onion, and roast the meat and onion in a shallow, oiled pan at 450 for 40 minutes or so. When it was close to being done, I took a rocking knife and broke it up a bit, then put it back in the oven, and then used the broiler toward the end to crisp it up a bit. I wish I had sliced it even thinner so it roasted up a little more crisply, but we were too hungry to keep messing with it. It was fantastic.

I gave the kids plain pita bread, because I’m lazy, but Damien browned up a few pitas in olive oil for the two of us. Lordy. I served it with triangles of cucumber, grape tomatoes, crisp french fries, hot sauce, and a basic yogurt sauce (Greek yogurt with lots of minced garlic, lemon juice, and a little salt). If you’re somehow not familiar with gyros, you wrap everything, even the french fries, up in the warm pita bread

and just cram in into your face.  You look at your husband, who is doing the same, and you just nod wordlessly at each other as you chew. Gyros.

I think the NYT recipe is locked, but really all you need to know is the marinade ingredients for 2.5 pounds of pork shoulder:

  •  Juice of 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium-size tomato
  • 2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, approximately 5 sprigs

One onion is for the marinade, and the other gets quartered and added to the meat when you cook it. Next time, I’ll get more fresh oregano to sprinkle on top, or maybe some mint leaves. I made a double recipe, which was juuuuuust enough for everyone.



Roasted kielbasa, cabbage, red potato, cauliflower

Everyone except my husband likes this dish. I was extremely hungry while shopping, and this head of cauliflower looked amazing to me (?), so I cut that up and added it to the mix. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but it wasn’t out of place, either. I love the texture of roasted cauliflower, as long as I’m not required to pretend it’s rice or pizza dough or some friggin thing.

Here’s the recipe from Budget Bytes. Cheap, tasty, and very easy to prep right before dinner time, and it’s a true one-pan meal. I like the sauce, but reduce the amount of oil by quite a bit.

This is an old picture, sans cauliflower, plus parsley. I remember being very proud of that parsley.


Beef barley soup

In this topsy turvey world in which we live in, steak is cheaper than stewing beef, so I got a few pounds of steak. Cubed it and sautéed it gently in the Instant Pot with a little olive oil, a diced onion, a tablespoon or more of minced garlic, a few diced carrots, and oregano and fresh pepper. When the meat was brown, I added three small (15 oz?) cans of tomatoes with the juice, about eight cups of beef broth, and about 15 oz of sliced mushrooms. When the vegetable were all soft, I added some more water, about a cup of red wine, and about a cup of barley, and gave that a little boil until the barley was soft (probably half an hour or more).

I like adding wine toward the end of soup-making, so you can really taste it. That may be uncouth, but I like it. Also, I kept eating this soup for lunch for the rest of the week, and the barley and the broth just kept improving.

It was the first night of Hanukkah, so I planned to make potato latkes, but it turned out that doing the Advent wreath, the Jesse tree, and the menorah was enough to keep me busy on a Tuesday night, so we had bread and butter.


English muffin pizzas, salad

I have no memory of Wednesday. Something about cheese.


Chicken burgers, tater tots

I actually took a nap before supper, and then decided someone who was that tired could legitimately be excused from making another salad.


I think mac and cheese?

There’s no end of cheese in the house from various dinners, so I’ll use this yummy and reliable recipe from Copy Kat for Instant Pot mac and cheese. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll put it in a casserole dish and add some buttered bread crumbs on top.

And it’s my birthday! I’m 43. I’m sitting here on the couch sharing a blanket with my curly-headed toddler, watching Masha and the Bear, still feeling nicely full from the special breakfast my husband made me before he left for work, and looking forward to presents and cheesecake tonight. Muy contento. We’re super busy this weekend, so I’m gonna request a birthday outing in January to see the Winslow Homer oil exhibit in Worcester. Eeee!

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21 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 111: Make America grate again”

  1. The rugelach came out great! That’s probably dinner tonight. : )

    The Homer exhibit is very nice – we live close to the WAM. If you go in January, the 25th-28th is also “Flora in Winter” which gets very crowded but is also nice and usually great timing to see a little life in the middle of winter.

  2. Happy birthday! You share it with my brother, who has a Texas drawl and is a little rough around the edges, but has a heart of GOLD.

  3. The gyros and the beef soup sent a small tingle down my spine. I love that a good soup or stew is like wine. They do indeed get better and better.

    I’ve been going crazy on doing bone broths. They come in handy for all kinds of soups and sauces. When I do chicken stock I buy their sad little reptilian claws too. Keeping some of the meat in little snack sized bags in the freezer is great great for making quesadillas and chicken noodle soup on the fly. Sometimes I add it to the Mac N Cheese too.

    My son says they celebrated Hanukkah at school today. He said they ate something that tasted like an Onion Ring married to a Tater Tot. I grew up with zero fried foods so both of those things taste like heaven to me. My husband has to stop me. Sometimes, I just have to sneak them when he isn’t looking.

    Happy, happy, happy Bday!

    You are wise beyond your years. Thank you.

    1. I once had to ask my husband why there were feet in the freezer; I forget why he had stuck a bag of – I think they were pheasant, not chicken – feet in there, but I do remember the sight of those frozen claws…

  4. Happy birthday! I would suggest that you party like a rockstar today, but it seems like you already have that under control.

    Please know how much insight and laughter you bring to people all year long. Thanks also for putting in a PayPal button. I had wanted to support your work, but the Patreon thing is not my speed. I try to limit subscriptions.

  5. Happy birthday! May God give you many blessings throughout this year.

    I have never seen French fries on gyros before, but that looks amazing and I must try it immediately. (Sometimes pregnancy cravings are the best!)

  6. Happy birthday! Thank you for being the bright spot in my Sisyphean menu planning endeavors. You’re my favorite food writer.

  7. Happy Birthday!

    Monday I determined we needed a simple meal, because Wednesday was a birthday and the person in charge wanted steak, and I have one fancy meal in me a week. So I asked my husband to pick up some rotisserie chicken on his way home from work, so I wouldn’t have any sad cooked chickens languishing in the fridge after my grocery store run in the AM. Well, he needed to take my car because his car battery died, so then he came back to put in the new battery, and picked us up to go to dodgeball, and we all ended up going to the grocery store again, but when Dad’s with you, you get to pick up pies at the bakery too, because reasons. So we had chickens and Spanish rice and pie for dinner. And then I collapsed.

    Tuesday: leftovers, grilled cheese.

    Wednesday: Steak, tater tots, salad bar (per the birthday boy’s request). It had been so long since I cooked steak, that I forgot we used to cut steaks in half along the equator, to make them thinner and get them to cook faster–we like well done steaks—and I got very thick Angus steaks so I felt like an idiot when half were still pink inside. I realize some like their steaks still mooing, but my husband does not. Anyway, there was bacon, for the salad bar, but some opted to put that ON their steaks, and the tater tots were done, and I made a fantastic Dr Strange-themed cake, so I felt somewhat mollified.

    Thursday: Short order cook night. Some wanted soup, some wanted grilled cheese, some wanted burgers. I let them.

    Tonight: pasta, I think. We ate up the rest of the birthday cake last night, so maybe I’ll throw the Trader Joe’s gingerbread house kit at them for dessert. Maybe.

      1. Argh. I can’t figure out how to paste the photo in here. If you know, tell me. But all I did was find a simple Sanctum Sanctorum (New York) symbol, via Google images, embiggened it and printed it out on cardstock and cut it out with an xacto knife. I made a two layer chocolate cake (cherries in the middle, per the birthday person’s request), and frosted with my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe.

        I rolled out chocolate fondant to the same size as the Sanctorum symbol, then used my stencil to trim out the symbol, again with an exacto knife. I did this on a big round wooden cutting board I have, mainly to save the countertops, but also it turns out Wilton fondant doesn’t stick to the cutting board, so win/win. Before putting it on the cake I dusted the fondant heavily with Wilton Pearl Dust (bronze), this made it pop against the chocolate frosting.

        I had good intentions of also cutting out white fondant in the New York skyline, but HA no that didn’t happen. So we made small round pearls of fondant and dusted them and put them around the bottom of the cake, because fancy. The kids agreed it looked pretty neat and classy, just like Dr. Strange. 😀 Way easier than the original idea we had of making a “portal” cake. I was all….no.

        I’ve been making personalized cakes like this for years, YEARS, and this was easier than a hobbit hole cake, let me tell you. Or the doors of Moria.

  8. Happy birthday! It’s my husband’s birthday today, too. He requested baked custard instead of cake. I do not understand this, and would much rather have your cheesecake, but all decisions on a birthday belong to the birthday person, so custard it is.

    Also, I am not an art person in general, but I took an art appreciation class in high school–which is now 20 years ago–and Winslow Homer is one of the few artists I liked enough that I can still recognize his work. I think that exhibit will be fantastic.

      1. Hey, it could be lots worse. I heard of a story about public accounting that left the L out of it — in the headline. I can see why somebody would want to get the hell out of public accounting, but not the L.

          1. True. Not sure that anybody did, but somebody made $25 by suggesting that the word “pubic” be stricken from the company’s spellcheck. Because if you need that word, you know that you need it, but if you really wanted “public,” then there might be a problem.

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