I almost forgot to do a food post! And that would be a shame, because I have so many carbs to tell you about. Plus rat on a stick.
Burgers and fries
Saturday was forty-three years ago.
Pasta with red sauce and sausages, garlic bread
Damien made this and it was deliciouso. He didn’t write anything down, but he said it was basically like in Godfather.
No, sadly, not that part. The Clemenza part with the little sugar and the little wine.
And that’s my secret.
It really was highly delicious, and I don’t just mean the sight of my husband in an apron.
I don’t know how we got along all these years without cheap parmesan wedges from Aldi, to be shaved directly over one’s steaming plate of pasta.
Ham, mashed potatoes, string beans with caramelized pecans
The children were jonesing for their favorite meal, ham, peas, and mashed potatoes. I’m not crazy about ham, but it sure is easy, especially if you buy a fully-cooked one and cut it up first, then heat it up. And that’s my secret. Oh, and I had some of that amazing stone ground mustard with the ham.
It’s sweet and tasty and makes ham much more interesting. It has these weird little popping bits in it that I guess are mustard seeds? I don’t know, but it’s super fun to eat.
I thought we had frozen peas, but it turned out I only had some bag of fresh string beans, alas.
Right before dinner, I got the idea to spiff them up a little bit. (It was a lot of steps, but they were all fast, easy steps.) You boil the string beans in salty water and then dunk them in ice water to stop the cooking, and dry them off. Melt a bunch of butter and brown sugar in a pan, toast the nuts in the oven, then caramelize the nuts in the butter and sugar. Then put the string beans into the butter-sugar-nut mixture and heat it all up. There’s a recipe, but that’s basically all it is (I assume. I skimmed, I skimmed.)
Everyone liked them, and they ate a lot more vegetables than they would have if I hadn’t essentially made them into candy, let me assure you [nods wisely with sugar trickling out of ears].
French onion soup and cheesy ranch pull-apart bread with bacon
This is where the week really started to get away from me. And honestly, I’m thinking back to the conversation I was having with my husband about how my weight loss just isn’t coming along at the pace I would like, and, well, okay, I hear it. Anyway, you fry up three pounds of bacon, set them aside to cool, melt two sticks of butter and add a packet or two of Ranch dressing seasoning and mix well. Cut up three sturdy loaves of bread in a criss-cross pattern, leaving the bottom intact so it holds together. Shred two or three 8-ounce blocks of cheddar cheese. Stuff the cheese and bacon down into the cuts in the bread, and then pour the ranch butter all over the loaves.
Preheat the oven, wrap the loaves in tin foil, and bake for 15 minutes or so. Then unwrap them and bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is a little toasted. Serve immediately, before you come to your senses.
I also made a nice pot of simple french onion soup using this very basic recipe.Jump to Recipe
I think I actually increased the onions and butter, decreased the water, and increased the wine, because, I don’t know, it was raining. I had my soup with plenty of fresh parmesan on top. I don’t bother baking the parmesan on, because I’m hungry.
A very fine meal. Possibly more butter than is strictly recommended for a single human to consume in one sitting. Better lie down.
Not gonna lie, these were fairly lousy nachos. I was just very distracted. One pan was chips, plain ground beef, and cheese, and one pan was chips, ground beef with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper, and cheese. I hurled some sour cream and salsa at the table and went to lie down.
Khachapuri and sausages
On Thursday, I got my mojo back and was ready to start carbing it up again. We had khachapuri — Georgian boat-shaped bread stuffed with cheese, with an egg baked into it — once, back in the spring, and they were delicious, but very labor intensive. This time I bought some pizza dough, and that sped things up tremendously. I made four boats with each ball of dough.
You roll or stretch the dough into a round about 10 inches wide, then roll the two ends toward the middle, like a scroll. Pinch the rolled ends together on each side to make a gondola shape, then stuff the inside with a cheese mixture (I used ricotta, mozzarella, and feta). Brush with egg wash, bake for a while, then make a little well, crack an egg into it, and bake a little longer until the white is set but the yolk is still a little loose.
Top with fresh parsley and some red pepper flakes and freshly-ground sea salt.
Mother of pearl, these were tasty. The cheese stuffing is fluffy and mild and the whole thing is just so fragrant and eggy and cozy. I fried up a bunch of breakfast sausage to go with it, and it was a delightfully filling meal. Probably the perfect November food.
Supposed to be homemade pizza, which I felt a little sheepish about since we’d already had so many bread and cheese meals already, but I forgot to take the dough out in time. I was feeling fairly floppy anyway, and fell asleep in the adoration chapel, and we’re going to see a kid in a play tonight, so Damien made the call to Domino’s, and lo, it was a good call.
The only other thing I have to add is that I turned my back for one minute and somebody did this to my menu planning board.
I want it on the record that not once, not even during Lent, did I serve rat on a stick. Gruel, maybe.
Simple French onion soup
Serve with a piece of toasted baguette at the bottom of each bowl. Finish with cheese on top.
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 4 cups onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 4-6 cups beef broth (can also use chicken broth or a combination of water and white wine)
- parmesan or mozzarella cheese
In a heavy pot, melt the butter and then add the onions. Cook very slowly over a low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and somewhat darkened.
Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Stir in the flour and mix to coat.
Add the broth (or water and wine). Add pepper to taste and simmer for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer.
Serve with a hunk of toasted bread in the bottom of each bowl. Sprinkle cheese on top, and if you have oven-safe dishes, brown under the broiler to form a skin on top of the soup.