What’s For Dinner #87 - the Holiday Menu Planning Edition - November 2022

Same. I read awhile ago that because emails that are deleted nevertheless don’t go away, there are billions of bytes/bits(?) taking up space in various clouds and servers just by people replying “thanks” to an email.

And my family is always rolling their eyes at me when they say to me “I’ve come to the conclusion that…” and I respond, “you concluded?”


Every couple/three years, I’ve made a ton of pesto using end of season (Aug or Sept) basil bought in bulk at a slight discount. I started when I thought my son was allergic to pine nuts. He is, generally, to tree nuts. Turns out he isn’t to pine nuts, but at the time, I was making and freezing 8-10 pint jars. It’s an ordeal but it’s only one afternoon, and then you have delicious pesto that is cheaper than store-bought. I just used pesto with good success, if that’s a flavor you enjoy, in this recipe. https://smittenkitchen.com/2022/09/turkey-pesto-meatballs-and-orecchiette/
I didn’t use the pasta or broth, instead plonking shelf stable gnocchi onto the cookie sheet with the meatballs and zukes.


I neglected to take a photo, but last night I broke out one of my favorite weeknight pastas, Tony Kim’s “Cacio” e Pepe, as seen here:

This is the recipe that got me to buy Sichuan peppercorns just to keep around (use them all the time now!). It calls for fresh ramen noodles, which I happened to have picked up at 99 Ranch, but it works just as well with plain ol’ spaghetti, too.

If I had any advice to give on this recipe: 1) don’t salt the pasta water, even if you’re using spaghetti. The miso is salty. You don’t need it in the pasta water. Ditto the chicken stock. Cheating with store-bought broth is fine, but use the low sodium stuff, lest your noodles end up a salt bomb in the not good way. 2) Use more pepper. More than that. Nope. More. There you go.


FWIW extras don’t bug me :crazy_face:


Just cooking for me and the kiddo this week, at least until tomorrow. Tonight I made tuna melts with tots and cukes. Luckily he ate everything. I don’t have it in me to cajole sometimes. I note that tuna melts are less appealing to me in my 40s.:joy:


Yes, Mrs. P does the same thing. We grow basil plants in season and at the end of the season she makes a large batch of pesto and freezes it in smaller containers to use when needed. She defrosted one such batch when making the chicken pesto pasta.

Perfect! It’s so satisfying to make one’s own, isn’t it?

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Don’t give up on the tuna melt! Can you access the New York Times? I find their version somewhere between craveable and drool-worthy. Be sure and use a good, lean bread.


BF was supposed to be out for work related activities, including dinners, from Tuesday through Thursday. Tonight he and his work buddy bailed on the work dinner and came home to do more work on a presentation. We ordered Chinese American delivery (kung pao chicken, a chicken/beef/shrimp/broccoli/peapod in brown sauce thing, lo mein, fried rice, and “Pu Pu platter” (deep fried standard apps.)). I ate too much and the spring mix I bought for salad is sitting in the fridge, judging me.


:laughing: you will become good friends again tomorrow as you have a restorative salad day.


I hope so!


Yes, and it also tastes better than store bought.


Tonight’s dinner is a Potato & Onion Casserole. As an experiment, I substituted Sweet Potatoes for Russet Potatoes, this time. It was pretty good, but I like russet potatoes better (in this dish).


I think this was the problem. I used a “butter bread” hotdog bun. Too soft.

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Today’s talk went as well as possible. I did slightly exceed the two hours but there was an intermission. I’m thinking there definitely needs to be a part two next year and some people even asked if I would consider doing cooking classes on campus which would be amazing if we can pull it off.

Currently at a bar enjoying a couple of cocktails with the BF. Bombay Gin Martini for me, Espresso Martini for him. Some obligatory Portuguese bread to soak it up. Going to pick up Chinese on the way home. I’m hungry after all I talked about today!


I would love one day to attend your lectures. Hope the universe makes it happen.

One of my favourite YouTube channels is Max Miller’s history of specific dishes.


BF made carbonara with bacon, a little tomato, shallot and chili salad, and zukes grilled with parm. Good on a cold (for us) night!


Smooth jazz, wine and comfort food.
Creamy chicken stew, I halved-ish the recipe and used chicken thighs… Warm homemade bread I found in the freezer. Butter? of course. Salad of mixed greens, garden tomatoes, green onion, gorganzola cheese and ranch.


More African regional food tonight.

An Ethiopian lentil and potato soup – I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned.

North African spiced meatballs in an orange-scented tomato sauce, served over couscous with sultanas and toasted pine nuts.

Tomatoes, potatoes, kale, onion, and shallots from the garden.