What’s for supper? Vol. 118: Everyday Gras

You will become fatter just reading this post.

SATURDAY
Grilled chicken with cranberry salad

Quick quick, gobble gobble.

I doused some chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper, and plenty of garlic powder, and broiled it, turning once, then cut it into slices. Bag o’ mixed greens, a few pouches of dried cranberries, some crumbled feta cheese, and a bag of chopped walnuts, toasted for a few minutes while the chicken was finishing up. I could eat this every day. As long as you plan ahead, it takes maybe twenty minutes to put together.

SUNDAY
Hot dogs, hot wings, terrible Russian pickles, chips, ice cream sundaes

Food fit for a superb owl.

Damien made these hot wings from Deadspin . We agreed they could have been cooked a tiny bit longer before they got sauced, to make them a little more crisp, but they were still extremely tasty. He made a big bowl of sauce with sour cream and blue cheese, which I ate with the wings, with the celery, with the hot dogs, and with anything else I could fit in my paw, one little dippy dab at a time, for the rest of the week.

We happened to stop into the Siberian Food Mart and Damien told me to pick out something nice for myself, so I chose this imposing jar of giant pickles.

Well, it took three people and a knife to get the lid off, and they tasted mostly of ammonia. Boo! We also spotted one of our kids casually hanging around on the label of a box of cocoa or something.

MONDAY
Meatloaf, baked potato, salad

Guess what tastes great on baked potatoes? BLUE CHEESE SAUCE.

My basic meatloaf recipe:
Mix together with your hands:
Five pounds of ground beef, two pounds of ground turkey
About four cups of bread crumbs
Seven beaten eggs
Maybe a cup and a half of milk.
Tons of minced garlic, salt, and pepper and whatever.

Form into two tapered loaves on a pan with some drainage. Drizzle the outside with ketchup, you with your filthy eastern ways. Put them in a 400 oven for about two hours, until it’s done all the way through.

I actually had to put it back in the oven for 25 minutes or so after I took this pic.

You can add all kinds of things to the meat mixture, of course. Minced onions, worcestershire sauce. Actually that’s all I can think of. I don’t know, maybe horseradish. You can use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs, too.

Oh, check out this potato. Check out this frickin’ potato.

This is why you support independent Catholic journalism. Who else will show you frickin’ potatoes like that? No one named Leila, that’s who.

TUESDAY
Sausage and spinach risotto; roasted balsamic vegetables

The NYT had a recipe for sausage risotto, but instead of reading it, I wung it.

In the morning, I squeezed the meat out of a few pounds of sweet Italian sausages and browned it and drained it. Then, closer to dinner time, I made a big batch of basic risotto in the Instant Pot. Here is the recipe, adapted from Good Housekeeping. I tripled the recipe, but here’s the amounts for about four servings:

1.Put some olive oil or butter into the IP, enough to coat the bottom. Add whatever spices you like, plus diced onions if you like. Use the “sauté” setting until whatever you chose is browned up and smelling nice.
2.Add two cups of uncooked rice, and keep it moving with a wooden spoon for about four minutes (longer if you use more rice, obviously), until the rice starts turning opaque. Don’t let it brown. Press “cancel.”
3.Add four cups of chicken broth or other broth, and stir the rice so it’s all submerged.
4.Lock the lid, close the valve, and set it on high pressure for six minutes.
5.When it’s done, do a quick release, then dump in so much parmesan cheese. Add pepper, and more salt if needed.

For this meal, I put the cooked, drained sausage in with the broth and let the risotto cook that way. Then, after adding the parmesan, I stirred in a few handfuls of raw baby spinach, letting the heat wilt it.

For the vegetables, I combined a pound of whole baby Brussels sprouts, one head of cauliflower florets, one cubed butternut squash, and a pound of quartered mushrooms. I spread them in a shallow pan in a single layer, then drizzled them with honey, olive oil, and red wine vinegar, rustled it up a bit, and sprinkled salt and pepper on top. Then I slid it right under a hot broiler until it was a little bit charred.

For the record, this was a completely magnificent meal. The risotto was creamy and savory; the vegetables were toothsome and sweet. I was the only one in my house who thought so. Corn flakes and frozen pizza were consumed. Too bad for them.

I also ate kind of a lot of pretzels dipped in blue cheese sauce while waiting for the Instant Pot to stop venting.

WEDNESDAY
Pulled pork sandwiches; fries

Wednesday was a snow day, and since we are having guests on the weekend, I made the kids do a lot of cleaning. One cleaned out the refrigerator. She found a small bowl of some lumpy, white substance, and she . . . threw it out. Thus was broken the thrall of blue cheese sauce over my heart.

For the pulled pork, I just chunked the meat into two slow cookers with some Narragansett beer, a lot of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and the remains of some jars of sweet pepper rings and jalapeno peppers with the juice, and put it on low for six hours.

This meal never tastes quite as good as it smells, but it smells like a meat god has descended on your kitchen and it will be your last day on earth, so I guess a step or two down from that is okay. I served the meat with sub rolls, bottled BBQ sauce, and red onions.

I brought up the possibility of broccoli, but everyone just flapped their hands at me dismally, so I saved myself the effort.

THURSDAY
Ham and egg English muffin sandwiches

With a side of No-Choice Broccoli.

FRIDAY

Oh, wait till I tell you. A friendly priest is passing through the area, and arranged for this to be delivered:

and this:

So, I’m gonna get some beer and some French bread and make some green salad and potato salad and rice, and I believe we’re going to have a Vendredi Gras (?).

And what about you, ma fren? Do you have plans for Mardi Gras?

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15 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 118: Everyday Gras”

  1. Hi! Waving from Kentucky. 🙂
    I love your menu, everything sounds like something I would enjoy. I am making some of the simpler recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking this week. I’m going to start with Suprêmes De Volaille À Blanc. That should be enough for each of my dinners this week. Yum!

  2. Everyday-Gras is definitely a good description of my life these days…
    Sat: leftovers of whatever it was we had at the end of last week.
    Sun: wings (from Wing Stop, such addictive garlic-parmesan wings…) and cheese dip and this thing that sort of defies belief but is quite good. http://howtobbqright.com/2016/09/15/football-explosion/
    Mon: leftover meat stuff since husband made a spicy and a not-spicy version and we split them with another family and still had lots of meat.
    Tues: cashew chicken
    Wed: leftover cashew chicken with some filling in with frozen chicken nuggets and sandwiches since I put my energies into making snacks for a traveling rosary novena I’d agreed to host even though I was also trying to assemble birthday cake, etc. for the next day. But the fior di sicilia shortbread was good, as were the cheese straws.
    Thurs: pizza, cheese straws, and brownie trifle for birthday boy’s lunch, and pasta and a “Luigi and Link giving each other a high five!” cake for dinner.
    Fri: ended up with enough cheese pizza and alfredo sauce that we had leftovers for dinner for the fourth time this week even though I’d only figured on twice.

  3. My favorite kind of meatloaf mixes in cheddar cheese and bbq sauce, with a little extra sauce on top. We’re having it tomorrow!

    Thanks for sharing your calzone recipe a while back; we’ve had them almost every week since, made with Smitten Kitchen’s lazy pizza dough. So good!

  4. Yes, we have been celebrating Margy Gras.

    (Makin’ us look at da nasty taters again. Bad, bad bad.) Double Lent for you.

  5. From a church where I used to live I picked up the habit of Shrove Tuesday pancakes. On the other hand, now I live in the Land of Malassada, which, it must be said, tastes better than pancakes. So I’m still giving Tuesday some thought.

  6. Our plans for Mardi Gras are to eat all of the Valentine’s candy the kids bring home from school. (can’t let it spoil,now?).

    I actually tried cooking decent meals this week.
    Sunday : after small boy had asked plaintively for hamburgers multiple times, husband joined in. So hamburgers and chips it was. Cooked inside though -I’m am not grilling in 10F temperatures.
    Monday: Baked chicken, steams vegetables, rice. Much joy – the kids ate about twice as much chicken as I expected, so the extra pieces I made for later in the week were long gone.
    Tuesday: I was tired, so pasta.
    Wednesday: Needed to use up vegetable from Monday, so fried rice. As some kids don’t like it, I wound up also making hash browns and grilled cheese. So eclectic but filling.
    Thursday: Needing to use up extra hamburger meat – Taco Tuesday on a Thursday. Forgot to defrost the cheese and guacamole, but mostly no one cared.
    Friday: Homemade mac and cheese with vegetables. I’m trying to remember to prepare more meatless meals in anticipation of Lent.
    Full disclosure: Some small people still decided to eat Cocoa Puffs anyways. IS cooking worth it?

  7. Did you know that you may have been celebrating the end of hard winter with your risotto? I follow FB for the region where my family is from outside of Varese, Lombardy. They celebrate the feast of Giubiana, which takes place on the last Thursday of January.

    Reading about it (in translated pages from Italian), it seems like a pre-Christian festival that celebrates the end of hard winter under the guise of a story about a witch.

    According to legend, there was a witch who lived in the forest and children gathering wood were at risk for being eaten by the witch. Mothers would make either risotto or polenta to offer the witch to keep their children safe.

    One day, a mother forgot to make the food for the witch and the witch took a child to eat. Rousing the village, all the villagers made risotto for the witch in a big pot. They left it for her, along with a tiny spoon.

    The ravenous witch ate the risotto, but the small spoon made the eating slow. So slow that the sun rose and sunbeams reached the witch, setting her on fire. Long story short: the witch was vanquished and the child saved. The witch had kept the land in a perpetual winter, so the death of the witch brought forth Spring.

    In remembrance, the people of northern Italy will gather to:
    1. Have large bonfires
    2. Burn an effigy of a witch in the bonfire (this may also signify burning the prior year).
    3. Eat risotto or polenta topped with charred sausage (representing the burnt witch).
    4. Drink wine (because why not?).
    5. Celebrate women and their work and craftiness that defeated the witch.
    6. Boys/men may offer women a special heart shaped pastry filled with cherries.
    7. In the days of mass emigration, people would return to Italy sometimes for Christmas and leave a month later after the festival. It would be a going away party of sorts.

  8. I have never had a King Cake. Being raised up in the frozen north, as my kids call Toledo, we did have Paczki, though, and I still see those in the stores up here more than King Cake.

    I only recently dipped my toe into cooking the deliciousness that is crockpot pulled pork. I found a recipe that was not spicy, because I live with people who mostly do not appreciate spice. I mean, I let my 17 year old smell some wonderful smoked paprika and he recoiled as if I had put the ashes of Satan’s barbecue under his nose. Anyway, the recipe called for a whole 24 ounce bottle of ketchup, so I knew my husband would like it, because ketchup is his love language. Everybody loved it and it smelled SO GOOD I kept getting hungry all day.

    The crock pot has been doing some heavy lifting here as of late, mostly on Sundays. I love making a big special meal in it on Sundays, I do the minimum effort and everybody seems to appreciate a semi-fancy meal on Sunday. Last week, with great trepidation, I attempted a pot roast. I have never made a pot roast in my life—this is what happens when you turn vegetarian when you’re fourteen and only recant two decades later–and I didn’t have high hopes for it, because the gravy didn’t really seem that great to me, but darned if that entire 3 lb roast disappear in one meal, and high praises were sung to it. I guess guys like pot roast?

  9. The topping for a good meatloaf is this:
    Ketchup, Brown Sugar, Lots of garlic.
    My family loves it. Mine won’t eat it without this sauce on top. Plus, it caramelizes well. I also make a bit extra if someone wants to spoon it over their slice.

  10. Another great way to add variety to meatloaf is to spread the meat flat, put some stuff on top (we usually do ham and cheese or spinach) and roll it up like a swiss roll then bake. There are so many possibilities!

  11. “Who else will show you frickin’ potatoes like that? No one named Leila, that’s who.”

    Lol, that’s exactly why I read both of you.

  12. KING CAKE! So jealous. My mother is from New Orleans, and every year my grandmother would send us a king cake from the bakery near her house. Warmed up in the microwave with butter on top–as if it doesn’t have enough butter in it already–to melt the diabetes-inducing layer of garishly colored sugar on top? That right there is a taste of my childhood. One year my MiL–a brilliant baker, but a Yankee to the core–actually baked a king cake for me, which I had never heard of anyone doing. She couldn’t bring herself to put on the quantity of sugar required for a proper king cake, however, so I did that part. It was surprisingly hard to make the dyed sugar look good, though. Kind of looked like the king’s cake had a gnarly skin disease. Tasted good anyway.

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