This week, I have written about a single mom who needs help, Thanksgiving food, Tomie dePaola books, and music and TV I like, and now I’m going to write about food again. I assume readers looking for snide political commentary and searing analysis of the latest gossip from the Vatican somehow found it elsewhere, and I guess I’m a mommy blogger again, and that feels completely fine. We shall see.
Here’s what we had this week.
Turkey bacon wraps, fries
I don’t know what it is about wraps. I just love wraps. These ones had smoked turkey (or actually it looks like ham, I don’t remember), Swiss cheese, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and some kind of chili honey mustard dressing.
Satisfyin’. We also had spicy fries.
Korean beef bowl and rice with sesame broccoli
Old reliable. I had fresh ginger and fresh garlic, but this meal is also fine with powdered spices.Jump to Recipe
If you have enough time to fry up some ground beef, you have time to make this dish, especially if your helpful Instant Pot is cooking up rice at the same time.
If you have a few extra minutes, you can chop up some broccoli, slosh on a little soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds, and slide a pan of it under the broiler for a very serviceable side dish.Jump to Recipe
Minestrone soup with sausage and garlic knots
I started out with the idea of a simple minestrone, but then I added sausage, and it got a little out of hand. I think the final version had sausage, potatoes, carrots, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, celery, kidney beans, chickpeas, and pasta. I wish I had thrown in some spinach or peas, but I was running out of room.Jump to Recipe
A tasty, hearty soup, if not very complex in flavor.
I also had three balls of pizza dough, which I made into 36 garlic knots.
Actually I forgot to add garlic powder, so they were just bread and butter knots. I told the kids they were “garlic . . . NOTs!” They just stared at me, as is appropriate.
Anyway, a decent meal for a chilly day.
Carnitas with beans and rice and guacamole
Tuesday was John Herreid’s carnitas, except I sort of flailed around with the cooking process. It started out well enough, with the pork hunks, salt, pepper, oregano, oranges, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, Coke, and oil.
I was in and out of the house a lot, so first I put it in the Instant Pot and tried the slow cooker for a few hours. The slow cooker option is my least favorite Instant Pot button. I don’t even know why I use it. It didn’t do much, so when I got back, I sealed the vent and pressure cooked it for 8 minutes. Then I had to go out again, and when I came back, it was done, but I wasn’t ready to deal with it, so I cooked it for another 8 minutes. If you’re thinking, “Simcha, that doesn’t make any sense. This would actually be the perfect time to select the pressure cooker option, or even the ‘keep warm’ option.”
But you weren’t there to advise me, so I pressure cooked it a second time, and let me tell you, it got pretty damn cooked. Then I fished all the pieces out and drained most of the liquid and put the pieces back in and shredded it and attempted to sauté it in the pot, but I don’t really like that button either, so I gave up and put the pieces in a pot, but it wasn’t really big enough, so I put them in a different pot and sautéed them on the stovetop for a while, until the darkened up a bit. But not really enough, so I spread it in a big pan and put it under the broiler with some of the liquid.
It came out fine, and anyway there weren’t any pots or pans left in the house, so I called it done.
It was good, if a little overcooked for some reason.
I also made some beans and riceJump to Recipe
thriftily using the leftover rice from the beef bowls, which no one had eaten because the stupid refrigerator froze it. And I made some guacamole.Jump to Recipe
Then I retreated to my room to wolf it down, which explains the weird colors in this photo.
There are some advantages to eating carnitas in bed, but good lighting is not one of them.
Chicken thighs with roast squash, Brussels sprouts, and red potatoes
Everyone still loves this dish, and I do too, because it takes almost no skill to put together, and I was having a real no skill kind of week. Butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, and red potatoes with chicken thighs in a honey balsamic sauce.Jump to Recipe
I made two giant pans of it, and told everyone there were only twelve pieces of chicken because they had left so many leftovers last time.
This is not actually true. They ate it all up last time. But I couldn’t figure out why else I would have only bought 12 chicken thighs, so I assumed it was their fault somehow.
It was delicious. Juicy and savory, with crunchy skin on the chicken. The squash, especially, was to die for, with lovely caramelized bottoms, and the Brussels sprouts got a perfect char.
Pretty, too. So autumnal. Not really enough chicken, though.
Spaghetti and meatballs
They were not great meatballs, to be honest with you. My recipe is fineJump to Recipe
but I skipped everything that would have made it tasty, so they were kinda bland, and a little underdone. I made them in the oven on a broiler pan, which works fine, but I took them out too soon because I wanted to get on my treadmill, and then I put them in the slow cooker, and I was like, “But wait! You’ve made a lot of mistakes cooking this week, so let’s be careful! Is the slow cooker on? Check! Is the slow cooker plugged in? Check!” and then I went on my treadmill feeling alert and astute. Then, three hours later, I checked on the meatballs and discovered that someone had turned off the power strip. And that someone was me.
So I thought, “Well, at least I can get a pretty picture of it. I will use the shiny toaster to make an interesting reflection.” So here, reflected in my extremely dirty toaster, we have a reflection of me taking a picture. Salut!
I did put parsley, though, which I chopped up and then never served. It was supposed to be for the chicken, or possibly for the soup. Fine, I don’t know why I bought parsley.
Also, when I went to get the ground beef out of the fridge, I found a whole other package of raw chicken thighs which I had purchased for Wednesday’s meal, because they ate so much of it last time and twelve pieces is clearly not enough. Tra la la.
Giant chocolate pancake
I may just get one of the kids to make this. The recipe is: You dump an entire box of “just add water” pancake mix into a bowl, and add enough water to make a dough. Then you add chocolate chips or whatever you want (chocolate chips), spread it in a buttered casserole dish, and bake for 15-20 minutes until it has a little golden crust. Then you lock yourself in your bedroom and assume everything out there is fine.
And that’s all you’ll get out of me! Except recipe cards! Here are the recipe cards!
One pan honey garlic chicken thighs with fall veg
Adapted from Damn Delicious
- 18 chicken thighs
- 2 lbs broccoli in spears
- 4-5 lbs potatoes in wedges, skin on if you like
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 6 tbsp honey
- 6 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp dijon or yellow mustard
- 3 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp dried basil
- salt and pepper
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- olive oil for drizzing
Preheat oven to 400. Prepare the sauce.
In a large, greased sheet pan, spread the potatoes and squash. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Lay the chicken thighs on top of the potatoes and squash. Brush the sauce over the chicken skins.
Roast the chicken for thirty minutes or more until they are almost cooked.
Add the broccoli, arranging it on top of the potatoes and in between the chicken. Return the pan to the oven and let it finish cooking another 10 -20 minutes so you don't die. The skins should be golden and the broccoli should be a little charred.
Korean Beef Bowl
A very quick and satisfying meal with lots of flavor and only a few ingredients. Serve over rice, with sesame seeds and chopped scallions on the top if you like. You can improve the flavor by using fresh garlic and fresh ginger, but powdered works fine, too. The proportions are flexible, and you can easily add more of any sauce ingredient at the end of cooking.
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (or less if you're not crazy about sweetness)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil (you can skip this, really, or use olive oil, but it adds flavor)
- 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger (or 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed (or 3/4 tsp garlic powder)
- 1 lb ground beef
- scallions, chopped, for garnish
- sesame seeds for garnish
Heat the sesame or other oil in a skillet. Lightly cook then garlic, then add the ground beef and cook, breaking into bits, until the meat is all browned. Drain most of the fat.
Mix together the brown sugar, ginger, soy sauce, and pepper flakes, and add to the ground beef. Or you can actually just chuck everything in the pan and stir it up right there. Cook a little longer until everything is combined and hot.
Serve over rice and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
- broccoli spears
- sesame seeds
- sesame oil
- soy sauce
Preheat broiler to high.
Toss broccoli spears with sesame oil.
Spread in shallow pan. Drizzle with soy sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds
Broil for six minutes or longer, until broccoli is slightly charred.
Minestrone soup with sausage
- 1-2 lbs loose Italian sausage
- 1 red onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- olive oil if necessary
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 zucchini sliced thinly, with skin on
- 3 carrots diced
- 3 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
- 30 oz canned diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- 7 cups beef broth
- 15.5 oz kidney beans, drained
- 15.5 oz chickpeas, drained
- 1 cup uncooked ditalini, small shells, or other small pasta
- pepper to taste
In the Instant Pot, press "SAUTÉ" and fry up the sausage, breaking it up, until just cooked. Add the onions, garlic, and oregano, and continue cooking, adding olive oil if necessary. Press "SAUTÉ" a second time if necessary to cook until sausage is browned and onions are soft.
Press "cancel" if IP is still cooking. Stir in 6 oz tomato paste. Add zucchini, carrots, celery, and potatoes. Add 30 oz canned tomatoes with juice.
Add beef broth. Add the kidney beans, chickpeas, and pasta, and stir.
Close top, close valve, and press "PRESSURE COOK" and set it for 6 minutes.
Vent or let pressure release naturally. Add pepper to taste before serving.
Beans and rice
A good side dish, a main course for meatless meals, or to serve inside carnitas, etc.
- 3 cups uncooked white rice
- 1 15-oz cans red or black beans, drained
- 1 20-oz can diced tomatoes with some of the juice
- 1 diced jalapeno
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped roughly
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- chili powder
- salt and pepper
Cook rice. Add rest of ingredients, adjusting spices to taste. If it's too dry, add more tomato juice.
White Lady From NH's Guacamole
- 4 avocados
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 medium jalapeno, minced
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped roughly
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 red onion, diced
Peel avocados. Mash two and dice two.
Mix together with rest of ingredients and add seasonings.
Cover tightly, as it becomes discolored quickly.
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.