What’s for supper? Vol. 138: Notes from Bism

Trying something new this week. I’ll blab about my cooking as usual, then put recipe cards at the end, so you can save them if you like. Just for the things that turn out good, mind you. Do let me know if this is useful or not.

Spaghetti and Sausage with What Can Only Rightly Be Called Awesomesauce

Damien says he wants to try some kind of new tomato sauce, and I’m all: silly husband, there is no such thing as “new tomato sauce.” But when the man wants to cook, the woman lets him cook. So he made this ridiculous recipe by the apparently famous Marcella Hazan. (recipe card below)

You put canned tomatoes in a pot. You put a bunch of butter in the pot. You peel a couple of onions and put them in the pot. You cook the pot things for a while. You take out the onions. And that’s freaking it.

He says he kept wanting to add, you know, tomato sauce things. Bay leaf, garlic, oregano, something.  Nopey, just the three things. Okay, salt if you’re fancy. It was so good. I don’t know why! It tasted like a whole meal in itself! It tasted like meat and wine! So savory, so interesting! Crazy, man. I couldn’t get enough of it.

He also made about a roomful of garlic bread, which I ate as if it were the only way to save the world.

Hamburgers, brats, chips, dip

He built this gargantuan grill for himself out of cinder blocks in the backyard

and he cooked supper on it. And sent me gifs of the fire while I was lying down. I still have more calculating to do, but I think I got a good deal.

Chicken sorta caprese sandwiches; cucumber salad; cherry pie with whipped cream

These sandwiches were so good last week, I made them again. This time, I used ciabatta bread instead of kaiser rolls and provolone instead of mozzarella. Grilled chicken, prosciutto, provolone, fresh basil, sliced tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Yuhm.

For some reason I dug in my heels about buying frozen fries this week, so I made a cucumber salad instead. I mostly-peeled about four cucumbers (I like to leave some festive stripes of green peel like Chef Pat always did. It makes me think of the early 90’s, Squeeze, things like that) into half circles and mixed them with a red onion sliced very thin. Then I mixed together some white wine vinegar and water and some sugar tossed it together.

I wish I had had some fresh dill. It wasn’t fabulous, but it was refreshing, and fine for a summery side. Would have gone well with fries.

The cherry pies, I had actually made Sunday night, but Lucy’s pancreas was having some kind of fit, so we saved the pie for Monday. I was in a rush, so I just made the cherry filling and poured it into pre-made pie shells and baked them that way, no lattice topor anything. I served it with whipped, unsweetened cream, and that was the right choice because the pie was so very sweet.

It was a bit of a mess when I cut it, but oh, cherries. So wonderful.

Also, so dramatic as they sat there macerating in the sun, like the juiceable gemstones from Bism.

Mac and cheese with chicken and broccoli

My friend Maureen’s sister once made me a cheesy chicken casserole after I had a baby, and it was the best damn thing I ever ate in my life. I’ve been trying to replicate it ever since, even though I know perfectly well the missing ingredient is “just had a baby.” Once I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that was the best damn sandwich I ever had, right after I had a baby. Really, it brought tears to my eyes. Such jelly! Such peanut butter! Gevalt.

Anyway, this was not terrible, unlike the picture I took but can’t find.

I made mac and cheese in the Instant Pot (using farfalle instead of macaroni) based off this recipe from Copy Kat, only I realized for the first time that her recipe calls for one pound of one kind of cheese, and one cup of another kind. What the hell kind of recipe is that? I also ran across a recipe that called for ten teaspoons of something. Ten teaspoons. Honest to goodness, I’m the only adult on the internet.

So then (okay, first I burned the noodles because I’m too stupid to push a button without burning something) I steamed some cut-up broccoli spears and some chicken that I had I guess cooked in the Instant Pot previously. Okay, this is also a terrible recipe. I’m sorry.

Upshot: It was fine. I guess I put it in a buttered pan and put it in the oven until it melted together a bit. It would have been better if I had just had a baby, but I don’t think you can do that in the Instant Pot.

Tacos with lime crema; tortilla chips with more lime crema

Just regular old tacos, but!!!!! I got this easy recipe for lime crema from Budget Bytes, and now I realize how brave I’ve been to have gotten through 43 years without lime crema. SO BRAVE.

I zested and juiced a couple of limes and then thought, “Oh, let’s not be stingy!” and zested and juiced one more. I added the zest and juice to a 16-oz tub of sour cream, glopped in a few tablespoons of minced garlic, and stirred it all in with a little salt.

I did get some help cutting up the tomatoes from a . . . blue fairy of some sort.

See? We finally redid the floor, just like we said we would this summer! Shut up! It’s still August! *sob*

We had some lettuce, but no fairies appeared to cut it up for me, and I discovered plenty of leftover pea shoots from the fancy ramen last week. I thought it would be weird, but it was great! Spicy meat, fresh tomatoes, springy pea shoots, and plenty of that wonderful lime crema. You don’t have to tell your abuela that this is what we call tacos, but we’re not going to stop.

Chicken quesadillas

I saw to my dismay that there was yet more chicken in the fridge, so I slumped over to the Instant Pot and snarled, “You know what to do.” I threw a bunch of chili lime powder in there with the chicken and a cup or so of water and set it for 7 minutes high pressure, but it came out tasting like just water anyway. I let the chicken cool, but not enough, and skinned, boned, and shredded it. Ow, still hot.

Some people had cheddar, some had pepper jack, some had jalapenos from a jar. I always regret letting people order special combinations, but then again, some people are easy to please.


Yes, we had potato chips with quesadillas. Don’t tell abuela.

Eggs and harsh browns

And that’s it! It’s the end of the week! Ha! I win again!

And here are my nearly professional recipe cards. Lemme know what you think.

Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce

We made a quadruple recipe of this for twelve people. 

Keyword Marcella Hazan, pasta, spaghetti, tomatoes


  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes, broken up
  • 1 onion peeled and cut in half
  • salt to taste
  • 5 Tbsp butter


  1. Put all ingredients in a heavy pot.

  2. Simmer at least 90 minutes. 

  3. Take out the onions.

  4. I'm freaking serious, that's it!


Cherry pie filling for TWO pies

Keyword cherries, cherry pie, desserts, fruit desserts, pie


  • 7 cups cherries pitted
  • 2-2/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp butter


To pit cherries:

  1. Pull the stem off the cherry and place it, stem-side down, in a bottle with a narrow neck, like a beer bottle. Drive the blunt end of a chopstick down through the cherry, forcing the pit out into the bottle.

To make the filling:

  1. Mix together the pitted cherries, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl and let it sit for ten minutes or so until they get juicy. 

  2. Stir the almond extract into the cherry mixture and heat in a heavy pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, for several minutes. Stir in the butter.

  3. Let the mixture cool a bit, then pour into pie shells. 

Recipe Notes

This would also be fine over ice cream. 


Lime Crema

Keyword Budget Bytes, crema, lime, lime crema, sour cream, tacos


  • 16 oz sour cream
  • 3 limes zested and juiced
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Mix all ingredients together. 

Recipe Notes

So good on tacos and tortilla chips Looking forward to having it on tortilla soup, enchiladas, MAYBE BAKED POTATOES, I DON'T EVEN KNOW.


Chicken Caprese Sandwiches

Keyword basil, chicken, mozzarella, prosciutto, provolone, sandwiches, tomatoes


  • Ciabatta rolls, Italian bread, or any nice bread
  • Sliced grilled, seasoned chicken
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Sliced prosciutto
  • Sliced mozzarella or provolone
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • Optional: Pesto mayonnaise


  1. Preheat broiler. Drizzle chicken breasts with olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, whatever. Put chicken on shallow pan with drainage, and shove under broiler, turning once, until chicken is browned on both sides. Let cool and slice thickly, you animal. 

  2. Toast bread if you like. Spread pesto mayo on roll if you like. Slice tomatoes. 

  3. Pile chicken, tomatoes, basil, cheese, and a slice or two of prosciutto, sprinkling with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper a few times as you layer. 

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17 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 138: Notes from Bism”

  1. I was reading your simple tomato sauce recipe to my older daughter yesterday,
    saying, “can you believe it?”
    and she said in this little, tiny voice:
    “Mommy, will you make that for me
    I’m soooo hungry…”

    When your 24 y.o. self sufficient career woman, icon of style daughter uses that tiny little voice and calls you “Mommy”, you find yourself powerless to resist.

    I also found myself powerless in my need to add the Squash and the luscious Chantarelle mushrooms I had in the fridge, and to mince the sausages and onion.

    Yes, I concur that food after giving birth is like a drug. Fancy mac ‘n cheese and garlic truffle fries are like crack 24-7.

  2. I want the juiceable gemstones of bism! What a wonderful reminder–I had totally forgotten. This satisfying image will get me through the unexpected downpour(s!), still ongoing, on all the laundry out on the line before leaving for camp tomorrow.
    And, your un-redone floor gives me heart for the rest of my own summer. Thank you.

  3. You are so very funny Simcha. I mean the way you write is very funny. I mean the humour in your writing…anyway, you get the jist.

  4. Yep I found that tomato sauce recipe ages ago on Smitten Kitchen, and I love it. This year we overplanted beefsteak tomatoes, and they were threatening to decompose before my eyes, so one of my middle children helped me process a metric ton of fresh tomatoes into some nice spaghetti sauce. It was so very very good, the kind of sauce you can eat like tomato soup, but apparently tomatoes now trigger migraines in me…so after spending two days in a tomato-induced pain coma I am now going to watch the family eat the leftover sauce tonight with pasta. While I sulk.

    This was the first week we ventured into real meals after enduring the flu to end all flus, in which we learned yes, one can subsist on white rice and Rice Chex and other things that will not hurt later on. I made these amazing pulled beef sandwiches in the crockpot:

    3-4 pound chuck roast (go for 4 pounds, trust me)

    1 cup beef broth

    2 -3 T Worcestershire sauce

    1 T salt-pepper-garlic powder mix

    Leave it on Low for 8 hours, but you’ll really want to put it on High for the last two hours, otherwise it will seem like it will never shred and your family will hate you because it smells so good and you’ll be shooing them away saying “It’s not ready! It’s not ready!”. Shred it, pick out any fat you want to get rid of, pile on buns (cheese optional) and devour. SO good.

    1. 5 stars
      Oh, and yes, the first meal after having a baby is always amazing, no matter what. I didn’t get to experience that with my first (emergency C section), but with my second, I had my first VBAC and I remember telling my husband over and over, “This is the BEST SANDWICH ever. Ever. I have never had a sandwich THIS GOOD,” while wolfing down the regular turkey sandwich and Sprite my lovely nurse brought me. I was a dedicated vegetarian at the time. But I can still remember that sandwich, it was like the Platonic ideal of all turkey sandwiches.

  5. Yes, that tomato sauce with butter is absolutely amazing. The first time I made it I was just like your husband, wanting to add oregano or something, but as always, Marcella was right. (Have you made her “chicken with two lemons,” another classic of elegant simplicity?) Her note on the recipe says that some people skip the pasta and just eat this sauce with a spoon – I can testify that there are some people like that at our house.

  6. My Mom just got an Instant Pot in the Prime Day madness. Any intro cookbooks or websites you like? She’s intimidated by the instructions.

    1. I can suggest a few sites that I turn to most. I have a cookbook, but I tend to go online more often. I tend to be leery of “no name” shared recipes or Pinterest shares. I stick to sites and writers who I’ve had success with and have good reviews repeatedly.
      * This Old Gal –blogger has a lot of Instant Pot recipes and she does a good explanation and pictures
      * Nom nom paleo – I don’t eat paleo but they have some good Instant Pot recipes
      * Dad cooks dinner
      * Pressure Cooking Today

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