21 February, 2022
This week’s menu plan was actually mostly dinners we always have. It was also a huge fail in that I forgot to take pictures of most things. Arghh!
I did make panini bread, which I’ve never done before, but everything else except the chicken gyros has been done before. Then, turns out, I didn’t really make chicken gyros. Basically, I made Greek spiced chicken in pitas.
Monday was supposed to be the paninis, but because I made the panini bread, we ended up switching the Monday and Tuesday meals. So, Monday was actually hamburger soup.
It was a little bit of clean up of some vegetables, so that was good. I used up my last zucchini that was languishing in a drawer in the bottom of the fridge and it didn’t even have any soft spots or dubious areas, so yay!
To make sure it was ready when I wanted it, I mixed up the starter yeast concoction for the panini bread and let that sit on the counter and ferment for 24 hours.
Tuesday, when I got home from work, I mixed up the panini bread dough using the fermented starter from the day before and got those risen and baked.
Turns out, if you think about it, a panini really is just a loaded grilled cheese. Throw in some deli meat, some cheese, squish it all together and give it some heat. Yummmm!
Wednesday, I cooked some frozen chicken breasts in the air cooker, chopped them up and tossed them on top of a Caesar salad.
Added some lemon juice and some Parmesan cheese to the mix, just to amp up the flavour a bit. Because i like it spicy, I tossed some Frank’s hot sauce on my chicken…the Caesar dressing mellows that out a little. Superb flavour pairing! Pretty sure mancub and his girlfriend used Ranch dressing, but what do they know?!
Thursday was a coil of farmer sausage, cut into coins, stirred up with onion and chopped up bell peppers. It was supposed to be a sheet pan supper but I cooked it with my braising pot because I hadn’t used it in so long…and the mancub wanted to help, so he was in charge of stirring and browning.
We made salt and vinegar roasted potatoes in the air fryer (it got a LOT of use this week) and they were amazing. The air fryer does a superior job of roasting so the outside is crisp and the inside is still fluffy (and freaking hot). Much more efficient than the oven, as well.
Friday was the chicken pitas. Again, I cooked the chicken breasts in the air fryer from frozen but I sprinkled them with Greek seasoning while they were cooking.
I made a yogurt tzatziki sauce that wasn’t authentic at all, but still so good.
- 1 cup Greek yogurt, or any plain yogurt you like
- 5 or 6 big green pickled olives, chopped – I used olives stuffed with garlic, because why wouldn’t I?
- 1 tsp of dill
- 1 tsp of lemon juice
- 1 tsp of Greek seasoning
- a chunk of cucumber, grated. The chunk I used was about 3 inches long. I enthusiastically grated my middle finger knuckle as well. I haven’t done that in years and it still hurts – both my pride and my nerves.
Mix well and let sit in the fridge until time to use it.
When the chicken was cooked, we just chopped it into pieces. I chopped up tomatoes, a cucumber and got some crumbled feta cheese. You could absolutely add onions if you wish, I recommend red/purple because they are mild – we didn’t have any so we didn’t bother.
Cut the pita bread in half and either open the pocket and stuff with the sauce, chicken, vegetables and cheese, or put the sauce, chicken, vegetables and cheese on a plate (or in a bowl) and use the pita, ripped into pieces, as the scoop to get the yummy stuff into your mouth.
Saturday, despite mancub and his girlfriend going to his dads to watch wrestling and visit, I made vegetable stuffed sandwiches. This is a family favourite and we’ve been making it for years.
I did try something a little different than usual this time, however. Normally, I just mix mayonnaise with some minced garlic, but this time, I used the little food processor attachment for my stick blender to mix. So smooth! What a revelation!
I mixed about half a cup of mayonnaise with 2 heaping tablespoons of pre-minced garlic (I’m back to buying the jars of chopped garlic from Costco) and I blended until smooth. Wow! No worries about vampires and the flavour! Woohoo!
Sunday, 3 pounds of pork ribs, which, if you think about it, isn’t actually that much. It must be about half bone. I rubbed them down with yellow mustard – no, you cannot taste it like you think you might be able to – then I covered them with a dry rub.
Dry rub ingredients:
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt (if you wish) – I only used about 1/2 tsp
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
Mix together. If you don’t want to rub the ribs with yellow mustard, put 1-2 tsp dry mustard powder in the dry rub mixture. It adds a little something/something and it is really very necessary.
Let the ribs sit with the dry rub on for probably an hour to an hour and a half (longer if you have time), then fire up the Instant Pot. I have an 8 quart and into that I put 1 cup of water and the metal trivet. Put the ribs on the trivet, standing up on their sides, curved around the inside of the Instant Pot liner. Set it on high pressure to cook for 20-25 minutes -because there were 4 healthy sized pieces of ribs, I went to 25 minutes. When it was done, I let it sit for 8 minutes because I was doing something else, then I released the pressure, but you could release the pressure right away if you want to.
Put the ribs onto a lined baking sheet and covered them with a sauce you like. I used a Memphis smoky barbeque sauce that I got the other day and wanted to try. Once they are doctored up, put them into the oven at 375F for about half an hour – this is not to cook them, it’s just to caramelize the sauce a little bit.
They came out fall off the bone tender but not stringy or overdone. I used to use the slow cooker to make ribs and have since changed my ways. I love the ribs tender but the slow cooker tended to make them overcooked tender if you left it to cook all day. This way only takes about an hour and the texture is indescribable.
Made some mashed potatoes and corn to go with the ribs….I contemplated making some baked beans to go with, but thought that might be a bit overboard…also, couldn’t find any in the pantry (I know I have them, just don’t know where).
That’s this week. Still haven’t managed to clear out much room in the freezer. We went to Costco on the weekend and I was forbidden to buy anything that would have to go into the freezer. It was difficult to adhere to! I wanted fish, shrimp, burgers, potstickers, taquitos….all the things! I wanted all the things! 🙂