Last week, as I mentioned previously, was my turn to be in charge of the supper every night. It was a lot of fun to plan everything out and choose mostly brand new dishes, all kept a total secret from the rest of the family. Of course, that meant it took a bit more time to get it all made since they weren't familiar favorites, but it was worth it! For one week, at least. :)
I started out on Monday with barbecue ribs. Jonathan will often order ribs at restaurants, but it's a type of meat dish we have NEVER attempted before. I read up on so many different opinions of how to prepare them and ended up combining several ideas/recipes. First, I used this rub recipe to, guess what...rub on the full rack of pork spareribs! Then I baked them for about 4 hours on 250 in the oven, covered tightly with foil. For a sauce, I used a recipe from Taste of Home, and it was bubbling away on the stove while the meat baked.
I got the grill all fired up closer to meal time, then somehow had to singlehandedly wrangle this big, now extremely-tender-and-falling-apart hunk of meat onto the grates in one piece. (Remember, all this was supposed to be a surprise until eating time, so having assistance was off-limits.) Some of the bones themselves detached at this point, however I just saved them aside and pushed them back in place on the final platter. Heh.
Half of the BBQ sauce I saved for dipping, and the other half I brushed onto the ribs as they grilled. I actually was able to flip the ribs a couple of times, basting with sauce each time. After about 15-20 minutes, I decided it was good enough. This time, I needed Hannah to come out and help lift the rack onto a new pan. We ate them along with coleslaw, corn, toasted bread, and cheesecake handily thawed from the freezer. Yay! I think everyone liked this meal well enough, and Jonathan was quite pleased. ;)
Tuesday night was a Mexican meal. The main dish was Enchilada Casserole, with side dishes of Spanish Rice, chips, guacamole, salsa, and some leftover coleslaw. Have you ever tried dipping tortilla chips in coleslaw? It's really good - a local Mexican restaurant introduced us to that.
The main casserole took a little extra time, since you have to fry the corn tortillas first. It did help them not get extremely mushy when layered in the casserole, though. The rice wasn't our favorite. We have a great recipe for Mexican rice from the Sue Gregg cookbook, but I wanted to try something different and perhaps taste more like what you get in the restaurants. We'll stick with the other recipe for now, I think. Oh, and we had Brown Sugar Blondies for dessert. :)
The third day, Wednesday, was leftover day! I planned that because I knew I would be in the kitchen all day decorating the cake. We were actually a tad skimpy on the leftovers, but we pulled enough out of the fridge to make it work.
On to Valentine's Day! Recently at the library, there was a 2012 Southern Living cookbook in the new book section that I promptly checked out. I found some good recipes for Thursday's and Friday's meals in there.
The main dish was Roast Herb Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Apples. The only substitution I made was I used a lime instead of a lemon, just because that's what we had. The chicken was the one that I bartered brownies for! (Yes, I admit I played with this raw chicken while preparing it, waving the wings around...doesn't it look sort of cute just sitting there?)
Thursday is Hannah's bread baking day, so we had fresh soft rolls to go with it. I made a salad, with red pepper and sliced strawberries included to add some red color. There was also a special drink, Strawberry Limeade. The recipe says to strain out the strawberry solids, but it was taking way too long, and it seemed like it would be just fine to leave it in. So I did. :) I thought it was a bit sweet and not limey enough when tasting it before supper, so I juiced 3 more limes. (We bought a large bag from Costco, so we had limes galore!)
I set the table with the white plates and found some red napkins to use. At the last minute, the idea struck me to try to fold the napkins to look like hearts. I ran to my handy dandy computer, Googled "heart napkin folds," and found an easy tutorial.
Friday night was not a very popular meal. Years ago, I had chicken-fried steak at a restaurant and remember really liking it. There were a couple of recipes in the Southern Living cookbook for it, and The Pioneer Woman has posted one as well, so I thought I would mix and match a bit and try it. I used cube steak, like PW, and used the breading recipe from Southern Living.
The recipe said to dip the steaks 3 times, but I only did it twice, and there still seemed to be too much breading. This style turned out to basically be the texture and taste of a buttermilk biscuit instead of what I think of as a crispy fried chicken breading. Plus my piece of steak was very tough and chewy.
After standing over the hot pan of frying oil, smelling it all, plus the not-so-appetizing results....I was a little very sick of this meal by the end of it! At least the side dishes of garden green beans, rolls, and onion roasted potatoes were decent enough.
Saturday was my last night to cook, and I made something simple...waffles. I cooked up some bacon and also made a blueberry sauce for a topping. We all loved the sauce! I took no pictures of this meal, so you'll just have to imagine what the waffles looked like. :)
Well, that was a peek into my week! I enjoyed it, but it's good to get back to our normal routine again!