Looking back, I’m shocked at how much actual hot food I prepared, considering how hot and steamy it was all week. Here’s what we had:
Grilled ham and cheese, chips, strawberries
That’s what it says on my menu blackboard. I have no memory of Saturday. What a long week.
Smoked ribs, cole slaw, biscuits
I got two huge racks of pork ribs, and Damien put a rub on them the night before with mustard, then smoked the ribs on the grill for several hours.
This is our first attempt at smoking meat. Big success! Very juicy and flavorful.
Although cutting up the ribs afterwards is always such a struggle.
Is there some special trick or tool to make this part easier, or do you just have to hack away until it’s done?
I made biscuits using Pioneer Woman’s recipe. I had my doubts about these biscuits, because someone had put a bunch of pink chalk in the bottle of vinegar. I’m pretty good at ignoring things that people have put into my food, but chalk seemed like something that might change the chemical balance of vinegar, I dunno. Luckily, it wasn’t an issue, because even though I can read, I didn’t read the part where they are called “self rising biscuits” or the part where it called for self-rising flour, and I used regular flour. And those biscuits self stayed flat. I mean, I ate four, but they were flat.
We also had a good, snappy cole slaw that Lena made. Recipe card at the end.
My father came over, much to Corrie and Benny’s delight. They traded magic tricks, and my father provided this impressive multi-cake.
Deli sandwich bake
New recipe! A friend recommended this Italian Layer Bake, which calls for crescent roll dough top and bottom, with deli meats and cheese and egg layered inside. I like the idea of it, but was somewhat skeptical about all that egg, so I modified it to be less casserole-like and more sandwich-like.
So I just spread out crescent roll dough (and it turns out that, sometime in the last few years, I’ve changed from being someone who gets a kick out of popping open those cardboard tubes into someone who trembles in fear and then shrieks involuntarily when they burst open. I don’t like carnival rides anymore, either. I guess real life is thrilling enough. Anyway, I’m drinking more) in a pan, then layered all kinds of deli meats and cheese
then put more dough on top. When I say “put,” I mean I unrolled two cans without much trouble, but the third one was a travesty, all shredded and stuck together, so I just stretched out the bits as best I could to cover everything up.
Then I glopped some beaten egg on top (I would say “brushed, but I couldn’t find either of my pastry brushes, and the kids acted like my using that combination of words was the last bit of evidence they needed for my involuntary commitment; so I glopped it on) and sprinkled it with garlic powder and dried minced onion. I considered poppy seeds, too.
Then I put it in the oven covered for about 20 minutes, then uncovered for another 15-20 until it was a little brown on top.
It was very tasty! The pieced-together dough on top was not a problem at all. I cut it into twelve squares for twelve people, and then sliced the squares into, you know, slicees. Very filling and yummy, a very cheery food.
Definitely more brunchy than dinner-y, but definitely not breakfast-y. This would make great party food, and you can make just about any alterations you like. Everyone liked it. It was a little hard on my stomach, to be honest, but I’m old and digestively fragile. Please don’t tell me about probiotics. I’d rather suffer.
Cashew chicken lettuce wraps and rice
‘Nother new recipe! This one was more popular with the older set. Pretty easy: You just cut up chicken and sauté it, dump in a simple sauce sauce and let it thicken, throw in the nuts, and spoon everything into lettuce leaves. Throw some chopped scallions on top.
It calls itself wraps, but it was too messy for any real wrapping, so we just ate it out of the lettuce. It was quite flavorful and didn’t really need the sriracha sauce I added at the end. Good basic Asian sauce, wonderful texture, easy to make ahead and then cook in a few minutes before dinner. Will probably make again. I simplified the ingredients and cooking process from the Better From Scratch recipe above.
I made the rice in the Instant Pot while the meat was cooking. I adore the Instant Pot on hot, muggy days. You can just tell it what to do and then get the hell out of the kitchen.
Taught another kid how to make pizza. We are now a five-pizza family, did I mention?.Two pepperoni, two cheese, and one half-and-half, because I forgot to buy olives.
We like to sprinkled garlic powder, oregano, and parmesan cheese on top before baking. I go back and forth on the merits of putting the pepperoni and other toppings under the mozzarella. I do like having a juicy surprise waiting under the cheese (and yes, that will be the opening sentence in my upcoming book, entitled It’s A Mystery Why I’m Fat), but the little crisp edges of pepperoni are also very fine. What a world.
Pulled pork, steak fries, cole slaw, buffalo chicken salad, chocolate cake
Another self-imposed incoherent potluck meal. I put a pork in the crock pot with a can of beer and half a jar of jalapenos and juice, but I started too late, and it wasn’t really shreddy by dinner time, so I put it in the standing mixer, which got me something like cat food.
Dora wanted more buffalo chicken salad, so she won the honor of making it. I’ll add a recipe card at the end, but here’s what it looks like from a previous meal:
She also wanted to make chocolate cake with the little girls, and who am I to stand in the way of progress? I forgot to take pictures, though.
We’ve recommitted to strict meatless Fridays, as a mild penance for our diocese. This is more of a penance for me, as it means I’ll go to the trouble of making tuna burgers and getting my hands all smelly, and they kids will throw them away and eat cereal. So I’m propping up the diocese and General Mills. Let God sort it out.
And here are the recipe cards. I can see that the categories are a little wonky on some of these, but I’m too pressed for time to fix them now! I’ll get the hang of this. We like the cards, yes?
Smoked pork ribs with mustard rub
- 2 racks pork ribs
- 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp cumin
- 2 Tbsp paprika
- Yellow mustard
- salt and pepper
The night before or several hours before dinner, mix together the rub spices.
Spread yellow mustard all over the rack of ribs and apply the rub. Cover and refrigerate. Let it come back to room temp before cooking.
Light the fire and let it die down. Put the meat on the grill off to the side, where it will get indirect heat. Put the cover down and let it cook at least four hours.
Add salt and pepper, then separate the ribs and enjoy.
- 1 head cabbage, shredded
- 2 carrots, grated
- 5 radishes, grated or sliced thin (optional)
- 1 cup mayp
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
Mix together shredded vegetables.
Mix dressing ingredients together and stir into cabbage mix.
Deli brunch sandwiches
- 6 8-oz. tubes crescent rolls
- 3/4 lb sliced ham
- 1/2 lb sliced Genoa salami
- 3 oz Serrano (dry cured) ham
- 33 slices Swiss cheese
- any other meats and cheese that seem yummy
- 2-3 eggs
- 2 tsp garlic powder, minced onions, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc.
Preheat oven to 350.
Unroll 3 of the tubes of crescent rolls without separating the triangles, and fit the dough to cover an 11 x 25-inch pan.
Layer the meat and cheese, making it go all the way to the edges of the pan. This part is subject to any kind of variation you like.
Unroll the remaining 3 tubes of crescent rolls and spread the dough to cover the meat and cheese. It's okay if you have to stretch and piece it together.
Beat 2-3 eggs and brush it over the top of the dough, and sprinkle with garlic powder, onions, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.
Cover pan loosely and bake for 20 minutes. Then uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes until dough is slightly browned and egg is completely cooked.
Cashew chicken lettuce wraps
Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch
- 6.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, with salt and pepper
- 2-3/4 cups cashews
romaine lettuce or other broad-leaf lettuce
- 1 bunch scallions
- Sriracha sauce (optional)
2 Tbsp sesame oil for cooking
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 6 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 6 Tbsp corn starch
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder or minced garlic
Cut the chicken into small pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Make the sauce by mixing all the ingredients together.
Heat the sesame oil in a large pan and add the chicken. Cook until it's done (duh)
Add the sauce to the chicken and cook at a medium heat, stirring, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the cashews.
Spoon chicken mixture into lettuce leaves. Add chopped scallions to top, plus sriracha sauce if you like.
Buffalo chicken pasta salad
- 3 boneless chicken breasts
- 4 stalks celery
- 36 ounces dry pasta. Radiatore (ruffled spirals) is good, but anything with texture will do.
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 10 oz blue cheese dressing (or mayo with blue cheese)
- 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
- 2 Tbsp paprika
Cook the chicken.
Instant Pot instructions: Put chicken in Instant Pot with a cup of water. Set to "high pressure" for seven minutes. Do quick release. Allow chicken to cool, then dice it.
Cook pasta and drain (duh)
Peel and chop four stalks of celery.
Mix together sauce ingredients.
Put pasta, chicken, and celery in a large bowl. Stir in the dressing and mix to coat.
- 1 can tuna
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- seasonings, minced onion, etc.
- oil for frying
Drain the tuna.
Mix tuna thoroughly with egg, bread crumbs, and whatever seasonings you like. Form into two patties.
Heat oil in pan. Fry tuna patties on both sides until golden brown.