Tales from the Kitchen

Kitchen table discussions with recipes and ideas for shopping on a budget, cooking for a family, meal planning.

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I'm happily married, mom to four boys and four girls at home, with one in the presence of God. We are slowly working on raising our own food and making much of what we need. I knit, cook, read, pray, think, write, crochet, and I'm trying to sew, too.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lenten Cookery

Tonight I will be making my Accidental Souffle, which is a spinach, egg and cheese dish I made up one night when I needed to come up with something for dinner. That and a salad will be dinner tonight.

On Friday we ate a lovely frittata with potatoes, onions, peppers and asparagus. Also with a salad. Earlier last week, we had Melanzane al Forno, with broccoli raab steamed and sauteed with lots of garlic, and some pasta.

It has been challenging to come up with Lenten meals, and we've come up with some tasty and satisfying meals. Even though we haven't given up meat entirely, only on Wednesdays and Fridays, we are trying to use it less. My goal is that next year we will go meatless for the entirety of Lent. It is a physical discipline preparing us for spriritual discipline. Our priest quoted a saint this Sunday who said that if you can control what you eat, you can control your passions. We think this is really true, as all are matters of appetite. We are still trying to be guided by the idea of leaving the table before we are satisfied.

We did take a feast day last Monday, as Rich's parents were in town and watched the kids while we went out. We had a choice of dinner at a seafood restaurant to which we've been wanting to return and a diner type place with great burgers. Rich had been craving a burger for so long that we went with that place, and did eat a meat centered meal along with (!) french fries.

I am looking for some simple dishes for Saturday's dinner, they can include meat, but not as a main feature. Any ideas?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dark Rye

I have a really good sour rye bread recipe, but I want to find a great dark rye bread recipe. I've made black breads, and they were alright, but not quite what I was looking for. Any ideas?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Macaroni & Cheese and WTD with Guava?

I got caught up in four loads of laundry and four loads of dishes and sundry other tasks yesterday, and never returned to post the recipe. So, to make a 9 X 11 pan:

I boil lots of salted water to cook the pasta (about a pound), and while that's happening I make a white sauce. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

1/4 cup butter
1/2 an onion, finely diced
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons mustard
a couple dashes of hot sauce, I use Frank's usually
3 cups milk
3-4 cups grated cheese, usually cheddar, but sometimes a mix with cheddar and other cheeses

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and saute a few minutes, then add the flour and stir to combine. I let that brown a little while stirring it occasionally. Then I add the mustard and hot sauce and stir into the flour paste. I add the milk, a little at a time, stirring to combine and let it cook five to ten minutes to thicken. Reduce heat to low and add the cheese, mix it all up until the cheese is melted.

In a greased pan, dump the cooked pasta (not all the way cooked, it will finish in the oven), and pour the cheese sauce over it. If you have any leftover or frozen vegetables, you can put some in with it as well. Stir it all up to coat the pasta, and bake for about 30 minutes.

Usually, I put buttered bread crumbs on top before I put it in the oven, but I didn't feel like cleaning out the food processor. When Rich came home from work, he reminded me that we had already made some that were stored in a container in the pantry, but it was too late at that point to do anything about it without making dinner pretty late.

I usually serve with a salad, and try to have two salads, one green and one fruit, to go with this.


A friend of ours brought us about six guavas from his mother's yard in southern California. Aside from just eating them out of hand, what are some good things to do with them? Please leave suggestions in the comments.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Cooking Through Lent

We are not Eastern Rite, so we still use dairy products and eggs. However, I think they cheat a little by allowing sweets.

Last Friday, I made macaroni and cheese.

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I will post the recipe later today, though it is simple to do.

Tonight I will be making a chicken and lima bean stew with potatoes in it. I put dry lima beans, diced onion, potato, some garlic and chicken breasts in the crock pot with water and chicken broth to cover, some thyme and a bay leaf, and cook on low for about six hours. Season with salt and pepper and add some dry sherry in the last hour of cooking.

We do not go meatless through the entirety of Lent as used to be the custom, and still is in the East, but we do try to reduce our intake of meat, fats and sugars, and eat more heartily. Our priest suggested that a good guideline for Lent (and probably at all other times, too) is to leave the table before you feel satisfied.