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.