Friday, March 17, 2023

Friday Food: A Tale of Two Fats (and Cream Cheese)


Short version: Tuna noodle casserole, green salad with vinaigrette

Long version: I make tuna noodle casserole once a year, during Lent. This was it. I had a can of cream of mushroom soup from excess commodities that had been sitting around for a very long time, so I used it in this. 

Half the kids loved it. Half were ambivalent. This is the usual ratio of food appreciators:food detractors.


Short version: Barbecue chicken sandwiches, green salad with ranch dressing, chocolate pudding, fresh bread with homemade cream cheese

Long version: I was baking bread, so I stole some of the dough to make buns and then made sandwiches by dicing the leftover chicken from when I made stock a few days before and adding barbecue sauce.

I've been having a lot of salad lately because I asked A. to buy me some more of the big clamshells so I'll have them to plant my tomato seeds in a couple of weeks. I don't know how anyone has room for those big, inflexible boxes of plastic in their refrigerators. So inconvenient.

I also had a couple gallons of milk that were at their best by date, so I made a recipe and a half of pudding. No one ever complains about pudding. And I managed to make it in my smaller pot, even though that meant it was literally almost overflowing.

I didn't spill a single drop of this. I was very impressed with myself.

The reason I had to use my smaller pot was that my bigger pot was full of cream cheese. 

Yes, I made cream cheese. I had been meaning to try it for awhile, and bought the starter culture and rennet for it some time ago. It wasn't until I had some more time over spring break that I actually tried it, though. It just requires half and half, the culture, rennet, and salt. It was very easy, very delicious, and a big hit with my children.

I made a pound and a half of cream cheese and it was all gone in two days. Yikes.

Cream cheese draining.

I think cream cheese, like yogurt, can actually be kept going indefinitely by using some of the previous batch to inoculate the next batch. The question is whether I want to be making cream cheese every week in addition to everything else I already do in the kitchen.

Stay tuned.


Short version: Brisket, mashed potatoes, green salad with ranch dressing, rice pudding or baked apples

Long version: Since I was going to make the rice pudding and that bakes for four hours, I also put in the brisket. That takes even longer, of course. About ten hours. So I also baked the apples in there, just a couple that had bad spots and needed to be used. I have one child that doesn't like rice pudding, so he was happy with the apples and heavy cream.

Brisket always results in quite a bit of rendered fat, which of course we all know better than to throw away, right? Right. 


Short version: Chopped chicken patties, leftover mashed potatoes and cheese, raw cabbage

Long version: My plan had been to have eggs with the mashed potatoes, for a quick workday meal. But then I got all the leftover chicken patties from the school lunch, so instead I chopped those up and fried them in butter to re-heat them. They ended up kind of like chicken nuggets, I guess.


Short version: Grillades, rooster rice, raw cabbage

Long version: I used the saved brisket fat to brown the meat before braising it, and then the remainder of the brisket liquid to cook it.

I very much enjoy the alliteration of "rooster rice," but it also happens to be factually accurate, as I made the rice with a jar of rooster stock that didn't seal when I canned it.


Short version: Leftovers, frozen peas

Long version: The one child who loves sandwiches finished up the barbecue rooster meat. Poppy had a chicken patty and rice. The other boys had brisket and the rest of the leftover mashed potatoes and cheese. They all had the peas.


Short version: Meatloaf, roasted potatoes, pureed calabaza, sauerkraut, raw cabbage, Mexican wedding cookies

Long version: I made the cookies in the morning with Poppy, mostly because I have a lot of nuts on hand and Mexican wedding cookies use almost as much nuts as flour. I used this recipe, but I added a bit of salt, because every recipe needs a bit of salt.

I also made the dough entirely in the food processor, as I had to use it anyway to grind the walnuts. This worked fine, although it is a very thick, stiff dough, so I had to scrape it and rearrange it a few times in the processor.

Because these are rolled in powdered sugar after they're baked, they're not a great cookie-jar cookie--they get a bit sticky--and I certainly wouldn't send them to school as a snack, but they were a fun weekend cookie.

The only reason I made roasted potatoes with the meatloaf is because I had the two cookie pans that could be rinsed off and used again before being washed, so I used one for the meatloaf and one for the potatoes. 

Also, I had all that fat in the refrigerator that needed to be used. In addition to the brisket fat, which was a bright orange from the tomato sauce I had put in with the brisket, I had the bright yellow chicken fat taken off the top of the rooster stock before I canned it.

So cheery.

Perfect for roasting potatoes. I finished off the brisket fat and used a little of the chicken fat, too. It made for some very tasty potatoes.

Okay, your turn! What'd you eat this week?


mbmom11 said...

A week of going to the store everyday and spending a fortune, and it still feels like I'm cooking the same old things.
Fri- Sam's club trip with boys and husband, as we were out of meat and other bulk purchases. However, I did not buy macaroni noodles as they were sort of pricy at Sam's. Came home to make tuna salad for husband's dinner , and found only a handful of noodles. (Pasta chomping son at it again). I did not want to run to store again, So I opened a blue box of Mac and cheese and hijacked a bit of the dry noodles for the salad. I cooked the rest of the noodles as Mac and cheese for some of the boys, and one boy had cereal I think.
Sat- homemade pizza with pepperoni or sausage, salad for husband.
Sun- spent more at Walmart to fill in the gaps .husband had salad as he had to go give an exam, kids had grilled cheese and chips, applesauce.
Borownies because our German guests were arriving and my daughter wanted to offer them a a typical American dessert. However, the girls got in late so I showed them where the bathroom was and they went to bed.
Mon- spaghetti, red sauce, pesto, broccoli, garlic bread. Another pan of brownies (as the first one didn't last), though the guests ate ice cream. Took guests to Walmart so they could buy snacks.
Tues- guests were going to another students house for dinner, so we had a free night. I had turkey sandwich, grilled cheese for some kids.salad for husband. One girl showed up early and needed dinner- oops- but she wanted to try Taco Bell, so daughter took her thru the drive thru. All part of the American experience. The other girl had gone to Culver's and came back raving about the milk shakes, so we'll have to make sure first guest gets there too .
Wed- chicken and vegetable stir fry, rice, Ramen noodles, crumb cake from breakfast for dessert. I did got to walmartcagain for rolls and some other items
Thurs- miserably cold and rainy again- winter back for one more round. Walmart again for drinks, yogurts, and corned beef for the weekend. Hamburgers- fried in pan and not on thd grill- too wet and cold, chicken strips, fries, corn, peas, broccoli , nice steak rolls. Cream cheese pound cake or Chocolate chip cookies for dessert. The cookies came out on the thin and dark side- I baked during my virtual class and kept forgetting them. But at least one son loves them like that, and the others will dunk them in milk. Guests had tried toasted brownsugar poptarts after school- a big hit- but were tired at dinner. They came down later and had the left over burgers.

If you do make more cream cheese, I recommend Martha Stewart's cream cheese pound cake recipe. Most in my family love it. It tastes even better the second day if it lasts that long.

Kristin @ Going Country said...

mbmom11: Although I always enjoy reading your weekly cooking, I'm particularly fascinated this week to see what a German teenager is trying and liking on their first trip to this country. Never would have occurred to me that Poptarts would be a hit.

Karen. said...

Only thing of note this week was that I tried a NYT recipe. I find that often they use things I don't, like, y'know, anise pods, or tahini, both of which are nice but are simply not on hand.

Anyway. I got chicken breast halves on sale and I wanted to do something that wasn't some usual casserole-y sort of thing. The recipe on NYT said to cut or pound them to 1/2" thick and dredge them in a really thick ranch sauce (basically ranch dressing with extra mayo and dill), pan-fry til caramelized and the meat done (total about 12 mins), and serve with reserved ranch. No one complained though there were varying levels of actual like. So that was good.

The only other thing I have to add is this situation with animal fats. I have tried and tried and tried to use rendered meat fats for foods and I just don't like them. It's so sad! My father-in-law makes pie for us (two more this week, not sad at all) and he uses lard, but depending on how the crust came together, I either can or totally cannot eat it.

Butter. I just like butter, evidently. *shakes head at self*

Kit said...

Friday-spaghetti with cheese, broccoli, lemon bars, those peanut butter cookies Kristin made and gave the link for, which were the best peanut butter cookies I've ever had.
Saturday-shepherd's pie - leftover pot roast and gravy, beefed up (sorry) with hamburger, and mashed potatoes, broccoli
Sunday-macaroni and cheese, salad
Monday-cabbage soup, fresh bread
Tuesday-enchiladas, peas
Wednesday-turkey loaf, baked potatoes, roasted carrots

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Kit: Oh yay! I'm glad you liked them as much as we did.

Anonymous said...

Hello, this week we ate:

Sunday - Winter melon soup, cheese bread.

Monday - Baked acorn squash, breakfast sausage patties, last of the cheese bread.

Tuesday - Was on my own this night so I made a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Apple to go with.

Wendsday - Grilled catfish, pineapple, and new potatoes.

Thursday - Leftover catfish was made into patties and crisped up with the help of panko, topped with tartar sauce on a bun makes a good sandwich...also finished off the pineapple.

Friday - Tonight I'm thinking spaghetti with meat sauce, green salad to go with.

Happy weekend everyone!

Anonymous said...

crockpot chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, salad
cheese ravioli lasagna, salad
leftover cheese ravioli lasagna, brussels sprouts
cottage pie, brussels sprouts
leftover cottage pie, brussels sprouts, salad
and for tonight chicken breast sandwiches, sauteed cabbage

Kristin @ Going Country said...

Karen.: Not into animal fats in anything sweet. I've had the same issue with lard in pie crusts. I can usually taste it.

Daisy said...

I love seeing how one meal leads to another at your house. That happens to some extent here, too. Mainly, dinners become parts of future lunches or meats become part of a soup. With no kids in the house, only 3 adults with slower than molasses metabolism, quantities (serving sizes!) have to be smaller than your young ones'.

JP2GiannaT said...

My only-during-Lent meals are lentils and a dish we call "Lent eggs". Halved boiled eggs covered in a homemade cream of mushroom soup, topped with buttered bread cubes, then baked. It's an odd dish and my husband isn't a huge fan of it, but it's meatless.