Sometimes the DamKids love what they order in a restaurant so much that they ask if I can duplicate the dish at home. Once in a while, I’m able to come close (this tortilla soup, for instance); other times (like when it comes to authentic Chinese food) … not so much. And I tell them simply that that’s why restaurants were invented in the first place.
I got this idea from a friend who doesn’t really like to cook, so there’s not really a precise recipe here today — more like just a short list of good quality ingredients you gather up and layer together then roll tightly and bake and magically, this melty and delicious loaf of yumminess will appear in your oven 25 minutes later. Not bad for a weeknight, eh? Not bad for a homemade dinner compiled from a visit to Sendik’s deli. And not a bad idea at all to serve one or two of these babies while you’re watching the Super Bowl on Sunday night.
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to cut out cocktails during the week. But because I am the master self-enabler — and also really, really good at justifying just about anything — I make exceptions when it comes to adding cocktail ingredients to food. Case in point: Penne ala Vodka.
I have this friend and she’s a super adventurous cook. She uses recipes as jumping off points – sometimes she doesn’t even use a recipe – and everything she makes is fabulous. Her signature-no-recipe-salad-dressing, for example, is TO DIE FOR. Every time I try to nail her down on the ingredients she’s like, “oh, I don’t know, I never do the same thing twice, it’s a little of this, a little of that” real casual-like and la-di-da and it drives me CRAZY because I am sooooo not that kind of cook.
I feel almost embarrassed to tell you about this salad today, because it’s so versatile that it’s practically not even a recipe. But because I think like a food blogger and not a normal person, I feel compelled to chat about it anyhow. Five (count ’em, five!) of the main ingredients are on sale, so it would practically be like withholding information for me not to speak about it.
Even though I’ve shoveled our front walk and patio three times in the past 48 hours, I know that spring is just around the corner. It’s gotta be, right? Only four short days ago the snow was all but gone, my girlies and their friends were riding bikes in the cul-de-sac, and picnicking on heart-shaped cupcakes on beach towels in the driveway. Now this! And say it ain’t so, John Mulan – but there’s more on the way?
Ever since Cross Country came into our lives earlier this fall, here is the scene that plays out at our house every afternoon. Two sweaty runners stumble through the door around 5:30 and they’re absolutely ravenous and a little on the grumpy side and they can barely wait until dinner is served. There are no pleasantries such as “Hi Mom, you’re looking pretty today” only “WHEN’S DINNER I’M STARVING WHAT ARE WE HAVING?!?” And they’re reaching for Ho-Ho’s and Ding Dong’s and Cheeze-Its and all other manner of calories available for immediate consumption. It’s like a feeding frenzy you’ve not seen before. Or maybe you have. Maybe I’m just a newbie because I’ve never had rapidly growing teenagers who go out and run five miles after school every da’gum day.
The weekend has rolled around again and as part of my normal Friday routine, I’ve stocked the fridge with milk, oj, fruit, eggs, and bacon (among other provisions) to last through breakfasts and lunches and snack after snack – hopefully enough until Sunday afternoon, when I’ll be back in Sendik’s, gathering still more groceries for Sunday supper. But that’s a good 48 hours off. First things first. We have a lot of weekend ahead of us!
We sat down to the dinner table last night and for the first three minutes: total silence. Total silence followed by comments such as “Good dinner, Mom!”, and “REALLY good dinner, Mamacita!”, and “Yeah, nice job!” I just love it when I hit a home run, I really do. I live for dinner time glory.