Cooking / Domesticity

What’s for Dinner

Hearthie had the very good idea of an open thread for us all to describe what we are having for dinner.  The idea being that ladies (and men) can look at this thread to not only get menus, but to see how and what foods go together nicely.   If this goes well, I am thinking that we can have a recipes folder and break it down by  meat type, veggie, potatoes, appetizers, sides etc., so you all can come here for meal ideas any time.  So, let us know what you are making for dinner to spread the cooking love!

Related: Elspeth’s Menu Plan  Monday

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161 thoughts on “What’s for Dinner

  1. It’s a busy day here so I pulled out the crockpot. I chucked in a pork butt, a bottle of beer, some bay leaves and a spice mix (Penzey’s Forward, fwiw – DH loves it).

    I will serve that with mashed potatoes, sautéed carrots, and a green (tomato/lettuce) salad, along with homemade ranch dressing. Shouldn’t take me more than another 30 minutes in the kitchen.

    • Do you shred the pork butt? Also, I would love to get your homemade ranch recipe. I have been making an effort to make homemade dressing to get more HFCS and other junk out of the house. I love italian dressing and this is what I make a lot. I use Bragg apple cider vinegar and use much more than the recipe calls for and use far less oil (I really don’t like oily dressings). I also tweaked the spices to taste and it is a very good dressing. It lasts a good while in the fridge as well.

      • I use Penzey’s for the ranch, because my kids don’t like the full-homemade stuff (I think it’s the citrus juice) but the recipe in Joy of Cooking is excellent and very quick. (I love my Joy of Cooking, very useful basic book, although it should be called “joy of butter). Mash into a paste: 1 clove garlic, 2-3 pinches salt. Add and whisk until blended: 3/4 c buttermilk, 2-3tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro or parsley, 1 tbsp. fresh chives (scallions also work), Salt & black pepper to taste. I like this better, it’s too vivid a taste for the kids. /shrug.

      • And no, I probably won’t bother shredding it. We’ll eat it too quickly. Downside? of being lowish carb is that we eat very large amounts of meat. Or, possibly this is a downside of having a 13yo boy and a 240lb, 6’4″ husband who is going to come home and play with bricks? Your choice. At any rate, if I have a pound of leftover pork from a crockpot full, I’ll be surprised.

  2. .

    Grilled Hawaiian

    2 slices Sourdough bread
    2 slices Swiss Cheese
    Ham to taste
    1-2 Pineapple Slices

    Place pineapple and ham in a warm skillet to heat. Melt butter in a skillet or on a griddle, place 2 slices of bread in the butter and grill until lightly browned. Butter the ungrilled side of the bread and flip to grill the other side. Place cheese on both slices of grilled bread, place pineapple on one slice of bread and the ham on top of that and then the other slice of bread with cheese. When the lower slice of bread is browned, flip and brown the other side. Cut in half and chow massively!

    This really is what I’m making for dinner except that I bought the sourdough :(
    Still super yummy!

      • Absolutely. I have been eating Ezekiel bread lately and it’s been fine for me so far. However, I am a big advocate of eating what one wants once in a while. Happiness makes for being healthy as well.

      • That’s the one I used to buy (actually the english muffins usually). They definitely used to use soy, but no longer it seems. I may give it a shot again then. Really nice with blackcurrant jam on top ;)

        I will say that for quite a while I used sprouted (lightly sifted) spelt flour for my sourdoughs and after a couple months of weekly bread we started to ‘feel’ it. Haven’t gotten that with just white flour. So I think that even with sourdough baking AND sprouting not all the phytic acid / lectins are removed. I’d be hesitant therefore to eat whole grain bread regularly. As an occasional thing it obviously doesn’t matter, but for regular use I’d stick with white.

      • I have a starter now for the sourdough and am really looking forward to making it. I’m going to try white flour first and see how it goes. I tend to “feel” it quite fast. However, I know my kids will prefer the white flour so I might be just eating it occasionally as well. And a big YES to the jam! And I love sourdough toast as well.

  3. I sort of feel bad for posting this today because I’m not really cooking for dinner tonight. I’m sick and it will be a kids choice night (meaning something really easy) but I have been wanting to get this post out for several days.

  4. I’m babysitting tonight, so probably just snacks :P Instead, I’ll share the menu from last night. We had another couple over for dinner, and it fed 4 people very well but no leftovers. Boo!

    I tried out this recipe for a baked greek chicken. Budget bytes is an amazing website if you haven’t seen it already. Lots of really good and low costs meals! I did half chicken thighs and half legs. Instead of the lemon couscous, I served it with a greek salad (romaine lettuce, cucumber, roma tomato, red onion, olives, LOTS of feta cheese!) and pita & hummus. It was all really good! I did have to use store bought pita and hummus because I never made them before and only had 1 hour of prep time before they came over. Next time I would like to try making my own and maybe try the lemon couscous too.

  5. We’re going out for sushi today but yesterday I made a really nice thick bean soup:

    Soaked some white peruvian beans for 1.5 days. Cooked 1 h in the pressure cooker (say 3-4 h normal) in beef broth with some bay leaves, dried tarragon, summer savoury, crushed brown mustard seeds, and sweet paprika (tons), plus 1/2 tsp baking powder. No salt, no acid at this point to ensure the skins get tender.
    Fished out the bay leaves, gave it a good salting and a generous splash of apple cider vinegar, and a splash of good quality soy sauce. Then I chopped up some leftover grilled lamb and put it in. Served with chopped coriander.

    Unbelievably good.

    I’m avoiding alliums at the moment, but some onion added at the beginning and some garlic at the end would be fantastic.

      • Soup is a great way to use leftover meat!

        Or if you have no meat and want protein in your soup you can enrich it with eggs. Whisk very thoroughly in a bowl, then add into hot but not boiling soup, pouring slowly but whisking very hard. The egg just emulsifies with the liquid and makes it ‘creamy’. (If your soup is quite chunky, I’d strain it temporarily, add the egg to the liquid, and then add the solids back in).

      • I need more soup recipes but there are very few soups I actually like. I tend toward very creamy soups for some reason and the bean one sounds perfect in that regard.

      • I went through a long phase of only eating pureed soups. Then I didn’t make soups for a couple years. Then I was on a long streak of making chorizo/kale/tomato/epazote soup. Now I mix it up quite a bit. It think the best thing to do is to use the ingredients that are calling out to you at the moment in other applications and try to integrate them into a soup. Don’t be afraid of playing around with odd spices here. And never forget a splash of apple cider vinegar to pull the flavours together.

      • Phedre,

        that’s exactly what I do. There is usually a vegetable surplus of whatever’s in season in our garden so I just put it all together. I find that as long as I slowly saute the onions before pouring in the stock and the rest of the veggies the end result end up great regardless what else I put in :)

  6. Thanks for the linkage! Your meal plans sound very tasty. I’ve been running around all afternoon which is why tonight (instead of the usual Friday) is our sandwich night.

    We usually make our sandwich rolls fresh in our kitchen but there was no time today so I bought them from the bakery.

  7. I ended up having (hubby has been working late and eating at work) a fresh hamburger with smoked gouda cheese and a side of quinoa (I am fortunate enough to have a huge freezer full of beef as a good friend raised a couple of cows for us and themselves this year and ours was recently butchered. I actually have way more beef than I know what to do with). The quinoa has chopped apples, kale, stone ground mustard, lemon juice, salt and feta cheese in it. It is something my mom made a huge bowl of while she was visiting and we eat on for a few days. It’s something fantastic to keep in the fridge for a side at lunches.

  8. I have nothing exciting to add to this thread — I am only moderately ok at cooking:( Love to see some recipes and techniques from you established cooks!

    • Oh, please don’t be shy! I am a pretty good cook, but went through a moderate stage. It’s a necessary step. Adding your comments will help those who aren’t at your level and for those with more experience, they might be able to give you some tips.

  9. This post is an excellent idea, but I’m not sure how valuable my European, Mediterranean contribution is going to be – the dishes we prepare here are often completely different from what Americans, or even British people are used to.

    Lunch yesterday was (1) tomato, cucumber and goat cheese salad, (2) oven-baked fish (gilt-head sea bream, I think the translation would be) wrapped in foil with fennel, carrots, garlic, onion and seasoning and (3) rice with zucchini as a side. We don’t usually have dessert.

    • Anja, I think you needn’t worry about the value of your contribution. People will take what they like and apply it if they wish.

      I don’t cook American food, except for my husband as a treat, because I didn’t grow up on it. Even in its modern incarnation it’s not quite to my tastebuds. But I take elements from it when they appeal. Letting yourself be subtly influenced by different cuisines is a very satisfying (and tasty) process.

      But for what it’s worth, my cooking is most akin to modern British cuisine, which is like a mashup of Italian/British/French.

    • Yes, please share. I love cookbooks of all varieties and that’s what I will read in bed right before sleep. The three I have on my nightstand right now are a Mediterranean Country Cuisine and two Indian cookbooks. Fascinating stuff.

  10. Tonight we’re having carne asada night (carne, guac, sour cream, cheese, salsa, beans, rice) as we will be doing physical labor all day and DH insists on beef and guac (and sweet tea) if we’re doing that sort of thing. If I see a nice melon, I’ll pick that up for supper.

    I will be running to the store for the weekend round up… he told me to get a big chunk of meat to throw in the smoker so we could eat off of that for the weekend. Still have some pork left over – enough for a lunch portion of carnitas (except we don’t eat lunch on weekends, so I will probably carnitas it and serve it tonight – can’t have too much meat on a working night).

  11. I usually try to eat low carb but I’m in a sandwich kind of mood. Slow cooker beef pepperoncini is really good and super easy! Cook chuck roast with whole pepperoncinis and some garlic all day. Come home and make a sandwich with the shredded beef and peppers, sauteed onions, and some good sharp cheese. Chow massively! Mmmm

      • Parsnips are okay in very small amounts, otherwise they overpower your food. They have a very strong flavor. We love cauliflower.

  12. Tonight I’m going to make a Tomato Soup from the Everyday Paleo cookbook. I don’t have the book at work but all it really consists of is blanching and peeling the tomatoes and then cooking them in minced onions, garlic, cooking oil, and seasoning and then adding a can of coconut milk followed by pureeing it. I can dice up some chicken and pan fry or bake that and then throw a few strips/cubes in each bowl and you could even grate some yummy cheese on the hot soup. :)

  13. Tomorrow: Much the same… we are smoking a brisket for the weekend right now. Tomatillo salsa (which I bought, but it’s homemade by someone, just not me). Watermelon, honeydew, and orange honeydew melon, plus salad. Hydrating maybe? LOL. DH drank about a gallon of sweet tea today, we got a hot, humid streak right when he wanted to do heavy outdoor work.

      • The smoker/pellet grill was his bday present. We’ve gotten some serious use out of it. If nothing else, it is completely awesome to smoke a giant piece of meat (outside, where it doesn’t heat up the house) and then cut part up, throw it in the deep freeze, and I have instant food. Very efficient. :)

        Also if I get giant pieces of meat, I can get them from the German butcher in the town just south of me. MUCH higher grade of meat. (Although we too have a cow in the deep freeze. I’m not boiling bone broth in September though. Oh no. Way too heat making. I made enough for boy’s town when I do it, takes so darn long).

        Buying a 13lb brisket DID disturb some of the people in line, they were like, “that’s for the weekend???” Yes. Yes it is.

      • It doesn’t take long to go through that much meat, especially when your children are older (and boys) and ESPECIALLY brisket. I can eat an inordinate amount of that stuff it is so good.

  14. Yesterday was lasagne and tomato-cucumber-bean-avocado salad. Figs for after. Right now we have so many tomatoes and figs we really don’t know what to do with them. I’m cooking marmelade and tomato sauce for the winter, but still there’s a surplus.

      • If I’m honest, I’ve never used tomato paste; I think my mother hasn’t, either. I use tomato sauce which I then thicken by cooking for a long time,. I never add anything to thicken it, but I never get a paste consistency. How would I do that?

        Today was polenta (a sort of cornbread) with baccala, a typical dish in this region made from beaten, smoked and slowly cooked cod. Add some sort of ratatouille on the side and tomato salad and you have lunch :)

      • Thanks Stingray. Next year I’m planting tomatoes and hope to have enough left over after eating and sauce-making to make some paste too.

        I can see freezing it in tbsp-sized balls on a tray too, if you didn’t want to risk it moulding in the fridge.

      • Phedre,

        Are you familiar with the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes? There was some interest in some gardening posts (which I was supposed to get into at my blog and didn’t get too far with) and I wondering if this would be a helpful post.

      • I *love* polenta and I *love* bacalau (the Spanish name for it, I’m guessing yours is Italian? My terminology is all over the place depending on where I first heard of a dish/ingredient). I haven’t made it in quite a while because good quality cod is not cheap here. Annoying, considering one of our provinces was practically founded on cod fishery!

      • Yes, Phedre, I use the Italian name! Are you Canadian (“one of our provinces was practically founded on cod fishery”)?

  15. Today for dinner we’re going over to my parents’ to harvest our first eggplants! They’re such beauties.

    We’re going to grill the eggplants and serve them with meatballs (flavoured with chopped mint, parsley, cilantro; ground coriander, cumin, za’atar, oregano, turmeric, fenugreek) and a sauce of yogurt flavoured with za’atar and chopped mint. My mom’s making potatoes in tomato sauce. For dessert, a nice watermelon I got at the farmer’s market today, potentially some fruit compote a little later too.

    • Phedre, I’m sure you had a delicious dinner! I have to try those meatballs, the seasoning sounds the greatest.

      I’ve also made eggplant today: eggplant puree for tomorrow’s lunch (it’s better the next day). I browned the chopped onions slowly (1-2 hours on very low heat), added the diced eggplant, crushed garlic, thyme, salt, and a peeled ripe tomato and cooked over very low heat for 3 more hours. It usually turns out great.

      • Mmm, that eggplant puree sounds excellent. I make something similar with more tomatoes and some chopped zucchini as well. We called it ‘eggplant caviar’ growing up.

      • Phedre,

        do you use any particular spices in that? I only use thyme and garlic, but would love to hear what else goes well with eggplant.

      • Only thyme or oregano or summer savoury and plenty of garlic for the eggplant caviar.

        But eggplant can handle much more intense spices. Anything North African or Middle Eastern would be fantastic – ras el hanout, baharat, or any of their many component spices would work. Cumin and coriander should probably form the backbone of whatever spice combo you concoct.

        Of course, eggplant also love fat. The more olive oil the better; a tahini sauce is classic; or even just a nice yogurt sauce (spike it with dried chilli, garlic, cumin)

  16. Typical dinner menu items here (trying to be as low budget as possible as we’re both students):
    Ratatouille (and if we’re feeling super indulgent, we might purchase some whole grain bread and mascarpone cheese…)
    Roasted Farro with Mushroom and Spinach (farro cooked in chicken broth, sweetened with carrot juice with a dash of lemon juice; mushroom + spinach pan roasted then also softened in chicken broth..okay this tastes better than it sounds. sorry!)
    Pan-fried/oven roasted Salmon with asparagus
    Steak seasoned with paprika and garlic with potatoes in whichever way he wants it that day

    And for lazy days…
    kimchi fried rice (cheap, takes 5 minutes), or just japanese marinated slabs of meat cooked in an oven served with brown rice.

    • Mediterranean food! Well, unless one counts kimchi fried rice or japanese meat :)

      Can I ask about the Roasted Farro – where does the roasting come in?

      • Well..I’m not sure about the true definition of roasting but…it is dry cooked on a pan at first, then transferred to the oven to bake for about 20 minutes. Perhaps that’s what it is???

  17. Does anyone here use a pressure cooker? I’ve never used one before and I don’t know a lot about them. One of the cooking blogs I follow has a procedure for making stock in a pressure cooker and it looks really interesting, but I’m really not about to buy another kitchen item just to make stock. Is this one of those “must-have” kitchen appliances for anyone, and if so, what do you use it for?

    • I use mine a lot.

      I use it for stock, although I make it in the regular pot at times too (depends on whether I have the space to fit 4L of broth in the fridge now or if I want to delay having to deal with it for half a day).

      It makes incredibly tender stewed meat (even when very lean and collagen-less) in under an hour. Beans too. It makes quick work of steaming (5-10 min). If I’ve forgotten to set potatoes or something to boil they’ll be done in ~10 min.

      And of course it functions as just another big pot too if that’s what I need.

      So I feel that I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it many times over, and I love it, but it’s hardly something you can’t do without.

    • I’m lazy, so I use my crockpot for broth. It still heats up the kitchen, but not as much as the stovetop. I would like to experiment with a pressure cooker, but I already have so many appliances that I don’t use cluttering up the kitchen. Also, a lot of the pressure cookers are aluminum and I’m not sure if that leaches. I got rid of all of my aluminum pans years ago. Now everything I use is stainless (copper bottomed!), cast iron, or glass (old pyrex). Oh, also crockpots, lol.

      • Mine is stainless steel with a heavy bottom. It’s an all-round great pot. Made in Spain by Fagor. They’ve recently gone up in price though, so I have a hard time recommending it casually to people.

      • I’m going to sound stupid now, I know, but – you can actually *cook* in pyrex? As in, set it on the stove? O_o

      • Anja,

        There use to be easily found pyrex that you could cook with on the stove, but mostly what you find today is made for oven use only. We tend to refer to baking as pies, cakes and breads and any main dish as cooking (even though we call it baked or roasted chicken we will still say “I have to go home and cook dinner”). So, typically we only *cook* with pyrex in the oven.

      • Stingray,

        thanks for the clarification! English is not my native language, so there comes a time when I need some coaching ;)

      • Some of it can be used on the stove, some pans from the 1970s that are amber or pinkish, but none of mine can. I use mine in the oven.

        And if you look for old Pyrex, get the Pyrex that is marked in all capital letters – they changed the glass it is made of and the new stuff is less tough.

    • It used to be must-have for me while I was still living with my parents – my mother used it a lot and taught me to use it, too, but my own household is very new which means money is still a problem and I haven’t bought a pressure cooker yet. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and I’ve realized I can do most things in a regular pot, it just takes longer. Even the meat and beans get as tender as they do in a pressure cooker once you get used to your own stove and how low you can set it.

      I’d say: if you cook a lot of stews and soups and are usually short on time, it’s a great purchase. If not it will just take up space.

  18. Phedre, what would I look for if I was to purchase a pressure cooker? Is there a brand or model you could recommend (or highly discourage?).

    BTW – thank you ladies for your comments. I admit to having very little willpower when it comes to resisting a new kitchen item, but I’m trying to show a little self discipline.

    • As in my comment to Anja above, the one I use is by Fagor. It has a 6L capacity. It’s very good quality and I use it all the time just as a regular pot.

      I really know nothing about other pressure cookers. I have seen many aluminium ones and you’d definitely want to avoid that. I’ve never inspected other pressure mechanisms either, but they’re probably all similar nowadays – with an auto pressure release, so that if you set your stove heat too high it’ll just release the excess. Because of this feature it can’t really blow up like the old ones did if you set them up wrong.

      Mine came with a steamer insert, which is very handy, but I’m sure you could figure out a setup to use if you got one without.

      Otherwise, just like any pot you choose, you want to get one with a heavy bottom so that things don’t scorch.

  19. Today was the best kind of lunch: we were invited to my in-laws, which means no cooking for me! :D I brought tiramisu for dessert and helped do the washing up and that was it. The luxury! :)

    Mother-in-law made mushroom soup (from cep mushrooms she picked herself), homemade gnocchi with rabbit stew and a mixed salad (chicory greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, chard).

    • Ah, ceps! They’re very rare here, but we pick other types of bolete mushrooms in the fall. Right now there’s only chanterelles, and the lobster mushrooms are starting to come in. It’s a 3h drive for us to our usual spot though, so we’re just buying them at the market for now.

      Do you have a favourite gnocchi recipe?

      • To tell the truth I only know the one :D My mother and mother-in-law both use it with only little variation: cook unpeeled potatoes, drain, peel, mash, leave to cool; add egg, salt, some soured cream and flour; mash and incorporate well, adding flour as needed; divide dough into parts, roll into strips, cut strips into pieces; put into boiling salted water, wait for the gnocchi to rise to the surface and take out.

        Is there another way to do it?

      • Hah, it’s the proportions that I’m wondering about. I always try to wing it, because it’s the sort of food one should be able to make by feel, not by measurement, but I always seem to be off in something because they end up either too heavy or they just fall apart.

        Although the leaving the mashed potatoes to cool bit is new to me, and I think would make a big difference. I have a feeling the heat causes the starch to behave differently and contributes to heaviness.

      • Phedre,

        it’s very important to leave the potatoes to cool, yes. That’s why they fall apart: the egg coagulates when it comes in contact with the hot potatoes and then does not act as a binding agent because it does not get the chance to be distributed evenly. I’m not sure why they’d end up heavy. The soured cream helps with that, I think, but there might be another reason.

        As for the measurements I really couldn’t tell you. I’m sure there are recipes online, though.

  20. We are going out to our apartment complex pool and grilling steak and asparagus for dinner tonight. Something about eating outside just makes food so much better than normal!

      • Grilled asparagus is the bomb!… & even better, IMO, wrapped in bacon (or prociutto).

        For our supper tonight (& my husband is not usually interested in cooking or much of anything in the kitchen, except for eating, LoL,
        but lately he’s gratefully taking more interest in getting more creative with his grill.
        He even walked out to our garden & picked some of our jalapeño peppers & okra to throw on the grill with steak. I quickly browned up some ground beef for him to add to some some cream cheese & spices to stuff into the peppers.
        I smell it all coming together. It’s so nice to have his help. I can relax a wee bit & get caught up on some GBG reading. *wink
        But, I’m gonna go give him a big thank you hig & kiss right now. TTFN

  21. We are big salad eaters! I spend Monday evening pre chopping salad ingredients for the next 3-4 days and store them in the refrigerator for quick assembly. I especially like to add seasonal ingredients like berries in the summer. Recently I had a “chopped” BLT salad at a local restaurant and was hooked and went in search of an easy way of chopping lettuce. I found these at Su la table. They are a bit pricy but I have used them almost every day for the last 3 wks. well worth the price as they make dinner prep so much easier than hand tearing lettuce each night.

    • Hello, Practicallyperfect2!

      We are big salad eaters as well! There is so much prep involved, but it’s totally worth it. I’m usually all confused in summer because there is no lettuce or any other type of salad greens in the garden… Luckily fall is starting so my first proper green salad is not far :D

  22. It’s sad to have this thread die when it’s so interesting to read what you ladies cook!

    The last few days have been hectic, which means we had tomato/cucumber salad and pasta with sauce bolognese on Monday and a summer vegetable soup plus quick zucchini risotto yesterday.

    Today I had some more time, so we had a traditional dish of my country called sirovi štruklji, which are some sort of soft phyllo dough roll filled with fresh cheese (cottage cheese) and then boiled. We had our first apples, and apple sauce/purée is traditionally served on the side. I don’t really like this, but it’s my husband’s favourite so what is a girl to do ;)

    What are you having for lunch or dinner?

  23. Tonight I am making “deconstructed Samosas” and paleo-friendly flatbread. And now I’m getting really hungry thinking about it.

    Anja, do you make your own phyllo? I tried to. Once. Not happening again LOL.

    • Maeve,

      I do. It has to be slightly thicker and wetter/softer for the štruklji than for strudel, for example, so it’s not difficult to do. Puff pastry however, I just can’t. Does anybody know how to make puff pastry?

      What are deconstructed Samosas? Or any Samosas, really? And paleo-friendly flatbreads?! Isn’t that an oxymoron? :D

      • Anja,
        I do make puff pastry. Rarely though. But then I mostly use short crust, and I make that as well, so I’m actually more inclined to purchase the puff pastry when I need some.

        A samosa is a spiced meat turnover (basically), but a couple weeks ago I was crusing around NomNomPaleo and came across this recipe for a deconstructed samosa – and it is so insanely good. She had a link to the paleo/primal-friendly “bread” as well. I’ve made the stuff twice already. Only change I made was to use ground turkey breast (because that’s all I had on hand the first night I made it and it came out so good I figured why mess with a good thing.) It’s not terribly spicy, and (so help me) it’s the color of a fluorescent yellow highlighter (must be the turmeric). When I first saw that glow-in-the dark meat, I almost dumped it down the disposal. But then Daughter #2 came sniffing in the kitchen with a “Mama, that smells amazing – what it it?” So we ate fluorescent food. I served it in lettuce leaves and made the “bread” I would think that naan would be a great accompaniment. (We’re not really paleo, but I’m trying to get my blood sugar and scary low BP under control and it seems to be helping to stay away from grain at the moment).

      • Sounds great – would you share the link to the original recipe, maybe? I’m used to the colour of turmeric-spiced meat, so that won’t be a problem ;)

        As for the puff pastry – I’ve never attempted it. It sounds way too complicated. I buy it, too, when I use it, which isn’t often. I prefer phyllo and shortcrust anyway (or maybe that’s just me trying to convince myself it’s not a bad thing I can’t make puff pastry ;) )

  24. Monday night was baked rosemary chicken thighs. OMG they were so good! It was really easy too, just salt and fresh rosemary rubbed into the skin. So simple but it was amazing. Maybe I was just really hungry? Ahh, the simple things in life!

    Tonight I’m doing a tortellini bake with mixed vegetables for the husband, but I’ll probably just eat fruit since we went out for wings last night and now I need a bit of detox :P Also marinating some lemon chicken for tomorrow.

    I started collecting our chicken bones to finally try making my own chicken stock. I’m actually nervous for some reason?! I’m afraid it will come out terrible because I use too many or not enough or something… need to calm those perfectionist tendencies!

    • The chicken recipes sound AMAZING. I’m looking to add some chicken recipes to my repertoire…I seem to be lacking in the chicken and pork department. I think we lean towards beef being our meat way too often. The lemon chicken and baked rosemary chicken thighs sound really great! Care to share? :)

      • Of course! We eat a ton of chicken because its so inexpensive. I’m always looking for more recipes too :)

        Rosemary chicken: place chicken thighs on rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Flip and make sure both sides are coated. Sprinkle both sides with salt (I like kosher or sea salt). Chop fresh rosemary finely and sprinkle on skin side, then rub it into the skin. Let the chicken sit at room temp while preheating the oven to 400. Bake at 400 for 20 mins, then crank it up to 475 and cook for another 15. Ta da! Delicious chicken! You can do this with other herbs and seasonings as well.

        The lemon marinated chicken goes into a pasta recipe which is nice because it goes a little farther that way. That recipe can be found here

  25. Chicken stock is the easiest to make, don’t worry. You can’t really use too many bones. As for too little, it would be a bit bland and tasteless. Try to use max 4 parts water to 1 part chicken bones; 3 or 2 is safer if the bones are really bare. I usually use a whole carcass, so I can get away with a lot of water.

    • Anja, when you make your stock, what vegetables do you use? I was reading through one of Ina Garten’s cookbooks and her stock recipe calls for (among other things) parsnips and a lot of dill and thyme. It got me thinking that these are somewhat aggressive flavors and might be a little overpowering. I’ve always used the fairly standard onion/celery/carrot mirepoix. Any thoughts?

      • Maeve,

        it depends on what I have on hand – we hardly ever *buy* vegetables, we make do with what’s in the garden/cellar. I always use onion and leeks; celery and carrot only when I have it on hand. I usually use quite a lot of parsley, as well, and then whatever else is in the fridge and looks in a bad shape :) I’ve used parsnips before, and liked it, but never dill or thyme. Which is strange, since I usually put thyme everywhere :D

      • I like thyme too, and usually grow a bunch but it was so rainy this summer that all my herbs just completely failed. I’m thinking of trying to move the pots indoors and see if I can coax some plants to life over the next couple weeks. I guess I just want a stock that doesn’t have any overly dominant flavors which might put some restrictions on its use. I’ll have to think about it. Also, have you ever canned your stock? Do you make beef/brown stock?

      • Maeve,

        no, I’ve never canned. I never make a large enough batch and I plan my menu for the next few days around the stock when I do make it. As for beef/brown stock, would you explain what it is, roughly? I may well be familiar with it but as English is not my first language…

        Re: herbs, all herbs thrive indors except for basil, in my experience. I’m sure you can revive your thyme, as long as you pick a sunny spot. My peppermint and spearmint failed this year – it’s the first time I planted them, but I put them into a sunny, dry spot, like most herbs; it turns out mint likes a bit of shade and *a lot* of moisture :/

      • Anja,

        Beef (some people call it brown) stock is made with beef bones. But I was reading somewhere that it’s recommended to use chicken bones as well. I like having a really good beef stock for when I make onion soup or pot roast. So many of the commercially produced stocks are too salty and the beef stock I’ve made before just hasn’t had quire the flavor I was looking for. I thought maybe you had a good method.

        I’m going to see about restarting the herbs and will let you know how they come out. I really killed my spicy oregano, which was so disappointing. My cinnamon basil just drowned and I never could coax it back. :-(

      • No, sorry, I have never tried anything like that. When I have beef bones it’s just plain clear soup (onion, carrot, leeks, maybe celery and parsley).

        Do you usually put your herbs into pots, or directly into the garden? Have you noticed that some don’t like being neighbours? For example, all my basils grow really badly if they are too close to thyme.

      • Anja,
        I put them in pots on the patio. Usually I grow basil, cinnamon basil, oregano, spicy oregano, thyme, rosemary, French tarragon, sage, and lavender. This year everything failed. It was so disappointing, too.

      • I’m sorry to hear that :/ But as long as they are in pots you can at least move them around: out or into the sunlight or rain and the like.

        What about chives? I don’t think I could survive without chives :)

      • Going to duck my head in shame here – I’m not really a chive girl – but I adore scallions – and I know they’re really not all that comparable. Maybe it’s that the chives in the market are so anemic. I may try to grow some – and see if they grow on me :-)

      • I always put thyme in stock. For chicken stock I also like to add dried tarragon.

        I would never add dill though. Way too overpowering!

      • No, I haven’t. I usually make about 4L at a time and use it within 5-7 days. You can make it last a bit longer if you reboil it. If I had a bigger stockpot and was making more I would sooner freeze it.

  26. Maeve,

    I made your Samosas yesterday! :) They were quite a success. I loved them, but what’s even more incredible is that I convinced my husband to try them and he actually said it was not bad. Now, a disclaimer: my husband usually never likes anything which is not classic or traditional (=what his mother doesn’t cook). That he even considered trying them was unexpected (I made a batch with no ginger, turmeric or garam masala for him in case he didn’t like the proper recipe), but that he would actually like them?! Amazing! Well done, you! :)

    • Anja, I’m so glad he liked them! Isn’t it wonderful when you get to add another recipe to the “can we have that again?” file?

      Last year for Christmas, I bought by daughters kits for making your town cookbooks and we’ve been selecting all their favorite recipes to include. Then we’re going to divide up who types what. They were all concerned that some favorite recipe might get lost, or that I would forget to write down any tweaks or substitutions or notes. It’s been a fun project.

      • Hi Anja, yes we’ve started collecting them. A couple so far are Strawberry muffins, pumpkin crumb muffins, City Chicken (it’s actually a pork dish), Sausage & Leeks with Penne; my pot roast recipe, their favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, “steak house” broccoli, my version of Rachel Ray’s Fake Baked Ziti. There are a bunch more. The other thing I’m doing is creating a recipe index with the cookbook and page listed because it just gets hard remembering in what book I found a recipe. We’re having a lot of fun with it. They’re especially anxious to make sure I have all my Christmas Cookie recipes included. Have you noticed a trend here?

      • You’ve collected quite a few already! How old are your daughters? They sound like lovely girls, showing an interest in cooking and knowing their way around a kitchen!

      • I was thinking that the recipes look a little heavy on the baking side (which is what i do when I’m under stress), but we do have a lot of other dishes that they want included. We’ve been having a great time with it though. My girls are 20 and 14. My older daughter lives at home and is taking college classes at the local Tech. She plans to transfer to College of Charleston next fall to finish an education major. My younger daughter just started HS this fall. The do both like to cook (I’m really wishing I could inspire a little more interest in housework :-) ). They really are good girls and do get along for the most part. I’m very blessed indeed. What is your favorite dish to prepare?

      • Well, can we help it if baking is the best? :) I have a soft spot for baking, too, which is easy to see: nearly all my cookbooks are for desserts, cakes, cookies and the like. The problem is my husband really does not like sugary things much and I can’t eat a whole batch of cookies by myself, can I? :)

        I don’t think I have a favourite dish to prepare; I think what I like best is making any type of dough – like you, I find the process of baking therapeutic. I love baking bread, making phylo dough, mixing up cookies, shortbread, pies, scones, pizza – whatever! No, I’m lying – what I like best is making baklava and strudel. It involves dough but also there’s just something about assembling layers… :) What about you?

        Your girls sound to be the perfect age gap. 6 years is a big enough difference to skip the worst of sisterly fighting, I think. It’s usually the worst in girls that are 2 or 3 years apart, I find. I’ve wanted a sister, when I was little. My parents disobeyed and I got a brother instead ;)

      • Anja,
        When I was first married, I would bake bread when I had a really hard day. My husband would come home early hours of the morning (he was a chef) and would comment that I must have had an awful day because the house smelled so good.

        I really like making pastry – love to make my own pie crust and the like. I love baklava, but haven’t made it myself. I was in a really off-mood last night, so I baked some pumpkin muffins and all was well with the world LOL :-)

        I also like the age difference between the girls. they’re close enough to be friends, but not close enough that they’re compared to each other or are competitive with each other. I had two brothers, both younger. I kept hinting for a sister – but I think that my bad brothers sort of put the lid on that as far as my parents were concerned.

  27. Today I’m making onion soup; in fact, I started yesterday as I find it’s always better if it stands overnight.

    A large portion of our onions started going bad (which happens nearly every year), and my wonderful husband cleaned them for me – I do it if it needs to be done, but I hate it. So yesterday I chopped for what felt like hours. I froze some – for stews they are just as good as fresh onions, and I don’t know how to preserve them otherwise once they are peeled – and am making an enormous batch of onion soup.

    Some bread and grated cheese on top, a salad on the side, and I have a meal. What’s more, I can spend the morning ironing and the like.

      • Stingray, I actually prefer it with beef stock, but apparently it’s considered the more “rustic” way of preparing it, as opposed to the Parisian way (which has chicken stock). But I’ll eat it anyway I can get it. :-)

      • Maeve,

        I make it with chicken stock. I usually use chicken or vegetable stock because we have chickens at home, but no cows and we try to be as self-sufficient as possible :)

        I’m sorry it took me so long to reply – wine harvest is a busy time!

      • Anja, I may try it with chicken stock next time. Heck, I just may make my own stock and then make the soup (won’t my kids be impressed :-)

      • Maeve,

        I’ve made it with water (and white wine, of course) before, when I had no chicken stock on hand and it came out excellent. Not the same as with stock, but maybe all the more ‘genuine’ for it. As long as it cooks slowly and for a very, *very* long time, the taste does not suffer from the lack of stock. You could try it like that if you want.

    • Good luck! I just popped mine in the oven about 20 minutes ago. ;)

      Don’t forget to keep the neck, heart and gizzard (if they’re included) and boil them up in a bit of water, about enough to cover them. Don’t include the liver (the dark and spongy feeling thing in there). This gives you some more juice to dip your chicken into while you’re eating and you can use it to baste the chicken while it’s cooking. I usually add a bit of bouillon to it just to add some flavor but it’s not necessary. Since I don’t make gravy any more the juices are what I use to dip and they are delicious!

      • There is something about chicken livers that give me the heebie jeebies. Rational? No, not at all. It’s the texture of it. I’ve never tried the heart or liver before even though I hear they’re quite good. I really should just suck it up and try it because the organ meat is so good for you!

    • So, how DO you cook them? Phedre said she just fries them up. Just throw them in the pan with some good oil with some salt and pepper and eat them? I feel foolish for even asking this, but I haven’t got a clue!

      • Stingray,

        they have to be as fresh as possible – I only make them the same day the chickens were cut to pieces or the day after that at most; you heat the oil well, throw them into the pan and fry them until they change colour. If you keep them in the pan for too long they become tough and the longer you keep the the tougher they get, sort of like squid. I only add salt and pepper before serving, not at the beginning, but I don’t know why exactly. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Then you have to eat them immediately, too, otherwise they get tough.

        I usually fry some onion in the pan before adding the livers and hearts and then serve them like that.

      • What Anja said.

        I cook all kinds of liver until the texture is no longer raw inside but there is still pinkness and some blood seeps out when you cut into it. Anything more and you get toughness and a weird flavour change.

        Chicken livers should literally take no more than 3 minutes in the pan. I cut them into ~1″ square pieces so that by the time both sides are browned the liver is done.

        Very nice with kimchi on the side :D

  28. Tonight: Lettuce wraps, thai peanut sauce, white rice
    Tuesday: 40 clove chicken, hummus, butter lettuce/fruit/feta salad
    Wednesday: Date night
    Thursday: Chicken soup w/wild rice
    Friday: Smoked pork roast, butternut squash
    Saturday: Carnitas, salsa etc. (using the l/o from the pork roast)

  29. It’s Canadian thanksgiving this Monday. I’ve decided to tackle a goose for the first time!
    I’m making goose aspic to start, followed by goose consommé, then goose jagerschnitzel with chanterelle cream sauce and pommes anna for the main, and a Russian apple charlotte for dessert.
    Two pots of goose stock are simmering on the stove right now!

    • Wow, I’m impressed – I’ve never cooked a goose! I’m not even sure if my husband would eat it either; I’ve been slowly introducing him to meat other than steak, hamburger & chicken breast, and it seems to be working, but it is a slow process.

      He wouldn’t touch dark meat from chicken until I started cutting it up fine and adding it to soups. Now he will actually eat some not in soup! I’ve even been successful in getting him to eat a little skin!

      Next, I’m going to start feeding him small amounts of liver. He absolutely HATES liver, but the last time I cooked some up for myself in butter with caramelized onions he said that it smelled really good. Baby steps!

      • The goose actually tasted very mild. Nothing like duck. I’d describe it as a finer chicken.

        Now, because I cooked it in parts rather than roasting whole, I don’t know how easy/hard it might be to get good texture from it by roasting. It does have a massive fat cap on the breasts like duck does, which would work well during roasting as long as it all gets rendered out.

        If you do decide to ever get a goose, keep in mind that my 10lb goose yielded no more, maybe a touch less, meat than a 6 lb chicken. The bones are massive (I got 6 litres of good, rich broth!), and there’s a ton of fat.

        It also has massive wings (like, for real flying :P) and I was *really* tempted to keep them and make monster jerk or cajun roasted wings! Maybe next time.

  30. We desperately need to go grocery shopping but haven’t had time due to family visiting, so it’s breakfast for dinner tonight. What do you girls like to do when you have practically no food in the house and no time to go get any?

    • Rebecca,

      I’ll make this it’s own post tomorrow morning so it doesn’t get buried in here. Plus, it been something I have been wondering about lately as well. I bet we’re not the only ones.

    • Rebecca, we end up having breakfast too. There are always eggs, (so scrambled or poached or maybe frittata), bread (so now we have toast) and if my house doesn’t have bacon in it, well, it’s officially the Armageddon. Plus pancakes (or preferably pancake muffins) are always an option.

      (I also keep a secret stash of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup for dire emergencies – add a couple grilled cheese sandwiches, and life’s not so bad :-) )

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