Here’s what we et this week:
You’ll never believe it, but we made too much food for July 4th. Good thing, too, as Saturday turned out to be one of those ridiculous days of sudden downpours, changes in plans, awkward encounters with strangers, and a shopping trip that started five hours late and then ended before any food was purchased, because I locked my keys, phone, and wallet in the car. But don’t worry! I also locked in the snacks, so when Lucy got an urgent low blood sugar reading while we waited for AAA, all I had to do was contemplate going back into Aldi (where, recall, I had not done any actual shopping) to say, “Hey, thanks for letting me use your phone three times. Now can we have some free food so my kid doesn’t pass out?” But IT ALL WORKED OUT. But I didn’t do any shopping. So I was happy we had plenty of leftovers in the house to eat.
Berry chicken salad
It’s a damn fine salad. I think the family is tired of it, but I’m not!
Roasted chicken breast, mixed greens, toasted almonds, feta cheese, blueberries and strawberries, and a balsamic vinegar dressing.
Bacon, eggs, and Brussels sprouts in balsamic honey
An old favorite we haven’t had for a while. I got the idea from Damn Delicious, where you will find plenty of simple and tasty one-pan dinner ideas.
I adjusted the proportions and cook time, so I’ll put a recipe card at the end.
You sprinkle it with parmesan and hot pepper flakes. If you don’t overcook the egg, you can break open the yolk and dip forkfuls of bacon and Brussels sprouts in it. RECOMMENDED.
This meal would be great with a hearty bread like challah. (I didn’t actually make challah. It’s way too hot for that But it would have been good!)
Muffaletta sandwiches, onion rings, pineapple
When I was drawing up my shopping list, I asked Facebook for sandwich ideas. The first one that caught my eye was muffaletta sandwiches, but if you want some other ideas, there are 82 comments on this thread!
What I made was probably more muffaletish sandwiches than anything else. You’re supposed to have softer bread and far more meat and oil, and you’re supposed to wrap it up and let the olive salad juices seep into the bread before eating. Me, I just slapped it together and wolfed it down. We used salami, ham, capicola, and provolone on ciabatta rolls with olive oil and olive salad.
The sandwich here looks like it was shouting, but it wasn’t really, except for that silent cry of “EAT ME” that so many sandwiches convey.
Wait, wait, here:
Have I told you I’m an award-winning writer? It’s true.
I made the olive salad with black and green olives, some giardiniera vegetables, some capers, and a little olive oil, chopped up in the food processor. In a stunning and radical departure from my typical habits, I made way too much of it; so later in the week, I gobbled up the rest for an evening snack with crackers. And that’s why they make ranitidine. WORTH IT.
On Tuesday we finally had a long-promised campfire with marshmallows and spooky stories. Corrie told a short but terrifying(?) story about werewuffs:
Not everyone likes onion rings, so I got some, well, I got some emoji potato things.
The package said that they mash and season potatoes and form them into fun shapes and then cook them and YOU WILL BE PROUD TO SERVE THEM TO YOUR FAMILY. Like, they came right out and made that assertion. I guess it’s normal to feel defensive when we see clearly what we’re doing.
Wednesday was one of those miraculous “how is this my life” days, so I made sure to relish it. Damien got all his work set up in the morning and then took the kids to the beach for several hours to write, and Lena made meatballs while I sat in my room in front of a fan, writing my stupid little heart out with only the cat to interrupt me.
I’ll post my basic meatball recipe at the end. The only thing unusual about it is that I cook them in a hot oven on a broiler pan, then transfer them to a pot or crock pot with sauce. It’s so much easier, neater, and faster then frying or boiling.
I had accidentally bought two sizes of roll, and Wednesday was the day I discovered it’s amusing when your aging mother makes reference to “long bois,” but distressing when that same mother goes on to offer you a bag of short bois. The ways of the young are shrouded in mystery.
Pork nachos with lime crema
I put a half pork loin in the crock pot with a can of Coke and let it cook all day. Actually, I turned the crock pot on and then, a few hours later, my husband asked me if I had intended to plug it in. I told the kids I would take them out for their free 7/11 Flushies, but we ended up making something like five stops first, and I felt so bad about dragging them around in the hot car, we went to the playground.
Man, it’s been too long since we went to the playground. We used to go five days a week! Walking over a mile with the double stroller and the back carrier to while away the long, long hours, desperate to see another adult and do something besides mop up juice and wipe bottoms. Now it’s more like five times a year that we find time to go to a playground in between errands and everyone’s work schedules. This playground is cool and piney, with a little stream, and lots of trees to climb and rocks to scramble up and hills to roll down, and no end of places to hide.
After a somewhat contentious game of hide and seek, they resurrected their old Billy Goats Gruff game, using the wobbly bridge on the play structure, and man oh man, life is so different now, I just don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I guess I’ll cry. Not that I want things to go back the way they were. But still.
Some things haven’t changed, though, and one of those things is that children would rather die than give you a decent photo, even if you bought them Flushies. Well, free Flushies.
Just kidding. I love this. I love how Corrie has the same patient, forbearing expression as Elijah.
Anyway, by the time we finally got home, it was quite late and I suddenly had some unexpected editing to do, so I asked Damien to finish up supper. He shredded the pork, seasoned it heavily with chili lime powder, and put it in a pan under the broiler to brown up. So we had tortilla chips with shredded meat and melted cheese, with the option to add jarred jalapeño slices and corn, salsa, and lime crema.
Recipe card for lime crema at the end. I thought it was a pretty swell meal. I vastly prefer pork to beef on nachos.
It says “pasta” on the blackboard, but it feels too hot for that. Maybe we will just have popcorn, made in the microwave. The microwave, which we can now use again, after they told me it broke, and I asked them several times if it was maybe just not plugged in, and they swore up and down that it was truly broken, so after being annoyed about it for a month, I bought a new microwave, and when we went to plug it in, we discovered . . . well, you know what we discovered.
Yeah, I think they’re getting popcorn.
Meatballs for a crowd
Make about 100 golf ball-sized meatballs.
- 5 lbs ground meat (I like to use mostly beef with some ground chicken or turkey or pork)
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 8 oz grated parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
- salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, basil, etc.
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix all ingredients together with your hands until it's fully blended.
Form meatballs and put them in a single layer on a pan with drainage. Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes or more until they're cooked all the way through.
Add meatballs to sauce and keep warm until you're ready to serve.
Bacon, eggs, and brussels sprouts in honey garlic balsamic sauce
Adapted from Damn Delicious. An easy and tasty one-pan meal that would work for any meal. Great with a hearty bread like challah.
- 4 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 3 lbs uncooked bacon, cut into 1- or 2-inch pieces
- 18 eggs
- oil for greasing pan
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic, crushed
- parmesan cheese, grated
- red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 400. Grease two large oven sheets.
Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Mix Brussels sprouts and bacon together, spread evenly in pans, and pour sauce all over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook until bacon is almost done (almost as crisp as you like it) and Brussels sprouts are very slightly browned, 18-20 minutes.
Pull the pans out of the oven and carefully crack the eggs onto the Brussels sprouts and bacon, here and there.
Return pan to the oven and cook a few minutes longer, just enough to set the eggs. The yolks will get a little film over the top, but don't let them cook all the way through, or you'll have something resembled hard boiled eggs, which isn't as good. You want the yolks to be liquid so you can dip forkfuls of fod into it.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes and serve.
- 16 oz sour cream
- 3 limes zested and juiced
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients together.
So good on tacos and tortilla chips Looking forward to having it on tortilla soup, enchiladas, MAYBE BAKED POTATOES, I DON'T EVEN KNOW.
7 thoughts on “What’s for supper? Vol. 178: Food, lol”
My maternal grandparents spent their whole lives in New Orleans, and my grandfather used to meet up with his (very) old friends every Thursday when he was in his eighties at a place where they would all get muffaletta sandwiches. He would eat half of his sandwich (they’re huge), and bring the second half home for my grandmother. Every Thursday. I love that.
We just got an Aldi’s near us (friends in the Midwest report that THEIR Aldi’s sells alcohol, but alas, no such luck here) and I hoped to find the elusive “chili lime powder” that features so significantly in your recipes. I could not find such a spice anywhere, but I figured you got it at Aldi’s since that was the only store that you had that I didn’t. ALAS EVEN MORE, no chili lime spice in the Dover store! So, I hate to bother you, but, where do you get that spice?!?!
Meg, I find the Chili Lime salt at Trader Joe’s, if that helps at all..if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, ignore me! You might be able to find “tajin” seasoning, which I believe is the same thing, in the Latin American food aisle of a big supermarket.
We do get it at Aldi! I feel like I’ve seen it sold by different brands in other stores, but I haven’t tried them to compare. The brand we get at Aldi is available on Amazon, though: https://www.amazon.com/Taj%C3%ADn-Cl%C3%A1sico-Seasoning-14-pack/dp/B00DF6OOBM/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=chili+lime+powder&qid=1562960673&s=gateway&sr=8-3
I love your writing and your photos, just had to get that out of the way.
Your microwave story reminded me of a time when we were renting a house out to some college students. Said students had never been on their own outside a dorm room, so at first they were puzzled as to why we were not providing them with a vacuum cleaner. “So you don’t want us vacuum?” Sigh. One of their moms bought them one, but there was really no evidence later that they had, you know, used it. One day they called me in a state because the refrigerator wasn’t working! The light wouldn’t turn on when they opened it and everything was getting warm. I told them my husband would swing by and check it on his way home from work. Then after I hung up, I thought a minute, called them back, and asked them to check and see if it was plugged in. “Hold on,” she said, and when she came back, she said, rather sullenly, “tell your husband never mind.”
We finally crawled out of a two-week battle with an insidious cold virus that gave me a sore throat, stuffy nose, plugged ears, annoying cough, and an increased tolerance for frozen convenience foods. My kids discovered they love pizza rolls (the youngest calls them pizza nuggets, please don’t correct him), so they are asking for those tonight for dinner. I will never be proud to serve them to my family, but I’m glad they like them and you can microwave them so as not to heat the house up. I got myself grocery store sushi instead, with the handy excuse that the pizza nuggets, they are not gluten-free.
Dumb college kids are easier to forgive. We once let a bunch of smart young professionals borrow a very nice stainless steel fridge. (Who rents a house without a fridge?) When they returned it, they hadn’t even bothered to clean it, say “thank you”, or even leave an old bottle of tequila in there. It also had a nice big dent from the dolly. (No good deed goes unpunished).
The *worst* tenant behavior came from a neurotic college professor and his wife. They were Norwegian or something blond like that. They would call us at all hours to complain about anything and everything. One day, my husband began to laugh and laugh and laugh, while he was still on the phone with them. When he hung the phone up, he wiped the tears from his eyes and told me they were angry because the neighbor’s cat wouldn’t stop walking on their car cover. I freaked out. It broke me. I insisted that we sell the house because I couldn’t take the crazy anymore. We sold it for peanuts and it doubled, then tripled in value. I console myself with the fact that I have never met a rude Norwegian since then.
Oh, I know. I had some pity for those college kids. No pity for the grown ups we rented a house to years later, who insisted on installing their own washer, taking out the one we had installed, and then demanding WE come fix THEIR washer that THEY had installed, when it overflowed. Nope.
The wife in question also called about the fridge (to be fair, it did come with the house, unlike their washer), which was not cooling food anymore. I was mightily amused that she referred to the food in the fridge as HER food, as though her three children and husband dined elsewhere. Anyway, my husband went over to check on the fridge, and it turned out that she had pushed the fridge allll the way back to the wall, so she could tilt a decorative basket atop the fridge, leaning said basket against the wall. In her 40 years of being a human being, nobody had learned her that a fridge needs some air circulation behind it, or it stops working. She was quite put out.
This same renter was befuddled as to why the garbage disposal kept pooping out on them. My husband was over doing some other work and observed her putting the better part of a whole Dutch oven full of beef stew down it, explaining that “nobody liked the stew” so she was dumping it. Later when we had to call a drain guy for the third time, my husband wished to be present during the fixing, and the drain guy gave the renter a nice lesson as to why Not Everything Can Go Down a Kitchen Drain (no, shrimp shells can’t go down–SHRIMP SHELLS, I ask you!), and if you have a whole Crock-Pot full of stew you need to get rid of, you’re better off putting it in the garbage and double-bagging that ish, than grinding it up in the Dispos-All. She was mightly put out, and kept saying that she’d been putting EVERYTHING down garbage disposals ALL HER LIFE and never HEARD of such nonsense.