What’s for supper? Vol. 158: And there it is.

In this space, I will skip the part where I complain about how tired I am and what a long week it is and how busy we all are. Food is good! Here is food:

Hamburgers, chips

Nothing to report. Actually Damien tried frying some of the burgers up in an iron frying pan in butter, rather than broiling them in the oven on a slotted pan like we usually do. It was good, I didn’t think it made that much difference. I asked him if he just likes me fat and he said yes.

Caprese salad, garlic bread, pork roast, strawberry almond cream cake

Damien and Clara made supper. Or, more accurately, they made three suppers, but we ate it all in one night. And oh, what a three meals it was!

He made a red sauce from this Deadspin recipe, and the pork roast after a NYT recipe. I’ll make a recipe card for the end, because I think it’s behind a paywall, and he just picks the fattiest pork he can find, and we can never find fennel fronds, so that makes it a brand new recipe! Look how scrumptious.

You make a kind of paste out fennel seed, rosemary, sage, crushed garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and olive oil and rub it in good. Damien made it the night before and I don’t know if it was the long marinating time or what, but it absolutely fell off the bone. So insanely juicy and tender, and the fat crisped up into this wonderful crust that would have been a meal in itself. Man.

The pasta sauce was also wonderful. It’s unexpectedly spicy and sweet.  You really should try it.

Clara based the cake on a recipe from An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery. Lena also made a heart-shaped chocolate cake with Benny and Corrie, apparently because she’s vying for sainthood. I didn’t get any dessert pictures, but I did catch this in medias pasta picture that captures the scene nicely.

Yep, we still have Christmas lights up outside. They are on a timer. It’s cold and icy out there. I do believe we’re just going to get used to them.

Split pea soup, hot pretzels

We’ve read Owl at Home many times and we’ve watched A Christmas Carol many times, and yet at least half the kids have never shuffled themselves backward into a wingback chair with a bowl of hot split pea soup in their laps. So I made some. Most of them didn’t eat it, because, well, you know. It tastes great, but it sure looks like it has already made the acquaintance of someone’s digestive tract and then retraced its steps right back into the bowl.

Tasted good, though! I didn’t have leftover ham and couldn’t find a ham hock, so I just bought a big ham steak, chopped it up, and chucked it in. Damien and I both thought it would have been even better with bacon instead of ham. So let it be written! Recipe card at the end.

Egg and sausage sandwiches on bagels, hot chocolate

I had a sudden need to be loved, so I made a big pot of hot chocolate. My basic recipe per cup: One Tablespoon of cocoa powder, two tablespoons of sugar, heated and stirred into syrup with a little water. Then add milk and finish heating. We also happened to have moshmeddows in the house.

Oven-roasted pork ribs, honeyed Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes

Corrie and I prepped the veg and potatoes in the morning so we could have a tea party with a clear conscience. She is a big help as long as you are not in any kind of hurry.

Such a simple, satisfying meal. We made the mashed potatoes in the morning and then heated them up in the microwave at dinner time.
The Brussels sprouts, I trimmed and halved, spread in a pan, and drizzled with olive oil, honey, and wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and roasted until they were a little charred; then I moved the pan to the bottom of the oven so they could finish cooking while the pork took a turn under the broiler.

I understand that some people don’t have a broiler in their oven. I am so sorry.

Roast beef sandwiches, tater tots, sweet peppers and onion dip

All week, I was planning to make ropa vieja, a beef stew with peppers, which is the national dish of Cuba. This led to a long, frustrating conversation about what Cuba is. Corrie is three. She has a lot of questions.

Anyway, I somehow forgot to buy both pimientos and roasted red peppers, and I had my doubts about this meal anyway. I would definitely eat it, but for everyone else, it looked like a big pot of disappointment with olives, smoked paprika or no. So at the last minute, I decided to just make sandwiches, which everyone likes.

I crusted the chuck roasts heavily with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and browned them on all sides in a heavy pot in very hot olive oil. Then I put the roasts in a pan in the oven at 350 for half an hour or so. I let them sit for a bit, then sliced them up and spread the meat in the pan and slid it back in the oven for a few minutes to bring it from way too rare/quite rare to medium-rare.

I’m actually embarrassed at how many sexy pictures of roast beef I took. If I went blind, I bet I would lose fifty pounds.

Boy, I’m glad I didn’t make ropa vieja. We had the slices of hot beef on long boys with horseradish sauce and provolone, toasted up a bit in the oven, with tater tots and sweet peppers with french onion dip. Look at these peppers!

Hashtag no filter! Take that, January evening with wet ice falling out of the sky!

Pasta, garlic knots

Usually I put butter, salt, garlic powder, and parmesan on the dough before baking, but Staša suggested I bake them first, then toss them up with herbed, garlicky butter.

I melted butter and olive oil together and added garlic (powder; couldn’t find the garlic press for fresh), salt, and chopped-up basil and let that sizzle up a bit. I liked it? Not sure if it was better than the other way, but definitely a good way to do it. I mean, I ate three of them, whatever.

And that’s a week! Whadja have? Anything good? I need to start all over again.

Pork Roast


  • 6-8 lb fatty hunk of pork
  • 1/4 cup rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped sage leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, zest thereof
  • 1-1/5 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Score pork all over. 

    In a food processor, blend all the rest of the ingredients together, adding oil in last. 

    Rub paste all over pork. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least six hours, preferably overnight. 

    Bring pork out of refrigerator an hour or two before cooking. Preheat oven to 450.

    Put pork in shallow, rimmed pan and cook for 35 minutes. 

    Reduce heat to 325 and cook another 3 to 4 hours. (Boneless roasts will cook faster.)


Split Pea Soup

Looks terrible. Tastes perfect. 


  • 1/4 butter
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 pound dried split peas, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 ham hock (can get away with skipping)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 6 cups chicken broth (+ 2 cups water)
  • 1 cup diced ham OR 1/2 lb bacon, fried crisp and broken into bits


  1. In the pot, (using sauté button if using Instant pot) melt the butter and sauté the carrots, onion, and celery until soft.

    Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.

    Add bay leaf, thyme, split peas, and ham bone and stir.

    Add the broth. If using stovetop, bring to a boil, turn to low, cover loosely, and simmer for an hour until peas are soft and soup is thickened. Add diced ham in last fifteen minutes of cooking.

    If using IP, cover, close valve, press "cancel" and then press "soup/broth." Cook, do natural release, open lid, add diced ham, and press "slow cook." Let cook for 15 minutes.

    Remove ham bone, if you used one. Stir in plenty of pepper. Leave the bay leaf in because whoever finds it gets good luck or whatever. 

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11 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 158: And there it is.”

  1. Ok, so I’ve been reading your blog for a while and love it! Just tried the chicken shwarma and went to heaven last week (and my kids and husband ate it, which was a major success) I made fried rice this week (googled “best friend rice” and added ham)..yummy! and ravioli with red sauce and italian sausage tonight…

  2. Last week I was deathly ill with a cold and an incipient migraine, and my wonderful husband gathered the children and they made a meal plan and a grocery list. Said meal plan stated: Monday was burgers, Tuesday was Taco Tuesday, Wednesday was rotisserie chicken (and chicken nuggets for them that wants chicken nuggets), Thursday we have activities and so everyone fends for themselves, Friday was pasta, and Saturday was going to be a birthday and eating out.

    Then they went shopping. I did not have to a) meal plan, or b) grocery shop, everything was ALL THERE. I tentatively asked them if it was okay if we just do this meal plan, and I can tweak side dishes here and there, adding salads when appropriate, and they said Sure. So I’m going it again this week. It relieved my decision fatigue immensely. The other thing I did differently, I did a non-perishable grocery run on the day I’m out all afternoon with just two kids. Then on the next morning, when my husband is teleworking and home, I popped out to get the perishable foodstuffs and I only had One! Cart! it was so easy! I only had to make a wide circle around the store, rather than darting in and out of the aisles like a demented lab rat.

    We hit up a Spaghetti Warehouse for dinner and the birthday kid enjoyed so much complimentary bread that when his lasagna feast arrived he just stared at it sadly, saying, “I WANT to eat it…but I can’t.” We boxed it up for home. My oldest son perused the menu and asked, “What was that soup I had last time, that looked like what Dr Lazarus is served aboard The Protector in Galaxy Quest?” I thought a minute and said, “Italian wedding soup?” He said, “That’s it!” Then the whole time he was eating it I couldn’t unsee the resemblance to Kep-Mok Bloodticks. “Just like mother used to make.”

  3. Inspired by your sometimes making risotto, this week I tried this one (normally I am not in any way dairy-avoidant, but I am having some hopefully-temporary issues with it at present): https://www.onelovelylife.com/chicken-vegetable-risotto/ . I halved the recipe because we only had three eaters, but it was good enough that next time I might make the whole batch.

    I also made the kind of tortellini-spinach soup where you saute some shallot in a soup pot, then add canned diced tomatoes (I think mine had garlic and onion) and let it all cook for a few minutes, then add six-ish cups of chicken broth and simmer until you feel like throwing in a 19-oz. bag of frozen tortellini, and then about a minute shy of the tortellini being done start sticking in fresh spinach (whatever kind they sell for cheap at Aldi, or frozen will do of needed). Once a few handfuls have done a reasonable amount of wilting, throw in some parmesan (or don’t, if you’re having hopefully-temporary dairy issues), ladle into bowls, and serve.

    1. Maybe I should clarify that we didn’t eat those in the same day, ha (and that I didn’t bother with the bell peppers in the risotto – I did add some mushrooms, but the rest was frozen mixed veg).

  4. Oh. My. Word. You certainly ate well this week! And what pretty helpers you have! And I admire a man who can cook!

    I will be making supper for my pastor and parochial vicar. Their housekeeper/cook will be in Florida. How she can leave balmy Ohio this time of year is beyond me. (It will be -6 on Wednesday, when I will be cooking for our good priests.) I have decided on shepherd’s pie – appropriate, no? I make mine with chuck roast or rump roast instead of ground beef, which seems to be less greasy and more satisfying. And perhaps green beans with toasted almonds, or asparagus. And for dessert – Mexican brownies (with a bit of pepper) and chocolate frosting for Fr. Frank, and fruit crisp for Fr. Chris. They are on their own for drinks – not sure if they want coffee or pop or a beer. Maybe it depends on the day they are having!

    The fruit crisp recipe is from my Aunt Sue, who was an Army wife on a budget. My uncle, a drill sergeant, was always bringing a homesick soldier or two home with him for a good dinner, and this is one of the things she could throw together on the spur of the moment:

    2 cans of pineapple chunks, drained
    2 cans of mandarin oranges, drained
    any fresh fruit on hand, such as blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries
    6 tablespoons of flour
    1 cup of sugar (I use Splenda)
    a good sprinkling of cinnamon
    2 sleeves of Ritz crackers, crushed
    1-1/2 sticks of butter, melted
    more cinnamon to taste
    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a 13×9 pan, combine the fruit, flour, sugar, and cinnamon and mix well. Combine the melted butter with the crackers, and add more cinnamon if desired. Spread the cracker mixture over top of the fruit. Bake for 30 minutes. This will make the house smell good! I am partial to eating this warm, but it is good at room temp as well.

    God bless and protect all here, especially you and your beautiful family, dear Simcha! Sue, OFS

  5. My whole family loves split pea soup-you just have to force everyone to try it and then they beg for it! A real ham bone with some meat still on it does make a massive difference, but that’s not always possible for us either. I do add a bit of brown sugar at some point along the way which is just how we prefer it. I keep adding brown sugar and salt and tasting it until it is perfect.

  6. I’m sorry, too. The broiler on my propane oven is one of those stupid drawers at foot level, which is not only a hazard with small children in the house, but also doesn’t actually brown anything in a satisfactory fashion. I miss having a real broiler.

    I tried twice to fry okra this week–I accidentally bought a bag of frozen okra thinking it was green beans–and neither time worked. I did make spaghetti and meatballs this week, too, though, so my kids won’t remember anything else but that I actually followed through on their favorite meal.

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