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What are you having for dinner? (wanna share your recipe?)

Grape Jelly Meatballs

- 1 64oz frozen bag of “home style” meatballs
- 1 big ole jar of grape jelly
- 1 half a jar of Heinz Chili Sauce

- Add ‘em all to the slow cooker and cook on “low” for 3-4 hours.

Serving (today) w/ mashed potatoes & sweet corn 🌽

(I’d rather serve with Mexican street corn, & churros… or tostones & guacamole (I’m feeling Latin); but my parents would thump me for being “fancy”. Kay’okay fine. Midwest comfort food it is. Mashed potatoes and buttered corn up!)

CAN be served with virtually anything.
- Appetizers &/or Tapas for dinner
- Rice/Noodles/Potatoes
- Chow Mein (veggie, chicken, shrimp)
- etc.

VARIATIONS
*** CHICKEN meatballs LOVE strawberry jalapeño jelly
*** ITALIAN meatballs & TURKEY meatballs love tomato jam
 
So I started making this… beef barley stew… aaaaaaand just decided that peeling carrots could f*ck off. Seriously. It was a carrot peeling snit. Worthy of a 2yo. Who is adamant they’re almost 3.

But??? Chopping peppers was okay??? So I chopped a lotta peppers, and added rice. Voila.

Pepper Steak Stew

identical to the above recipe. Minus carrots & barley. Adding a whole lotta stoplight peppers & a handful rice.

Totally different soup. Love that, about soup.
 
decided that peeling carrots could f*ck off
Right??! Good for you! I saw Julia child make a stew where she didn’t even cut the damn vegetables or the meat. I think we call that a boil, but it was an a-ha moment for me: “put stuff in liquid and apply heat. You like salt? Go for it.”
 
I made lentil Pattie’s but it wasn’t working in the oil on the stove top. The recipe didn’t call for an egg, just flour as a binder. So after making three soft greasy falling-apart Pattie’s I reversed ship. I was almost out of oil and the pan was polluted with black bits. So I added an egg and more flour but the mixture was still pretty soft. I made loose Pattie’s and baked them in my “air fryer” (countertop oven with air fry setting) and I realized that I had made… savory lentil cookies.

All this time I hadn’t realized that bean and grain Pattie’s are cookies—are biscuits, are granola bars—in savory form. Which then made me wonder if people deep fry cookies? Probably. I usually like my veggie Pattie’s deep fried, like fritters or like what-are-those-called Greek garbanzo balls? Not kofta. Not kebab. Not gyro. You know what I’m talking about. Sort of like a hush puppy.

I’m rambling. Midday strong tea.
 
I made spaghetti pie.

I had made an almost vegan ragú sauce a few days ago and needed to use it so I made the spaghetti pie. Very umami! The idea is pretty simple.

First I made the ragú, which had a lot of ingredients since it was supposed to be plant based. Here’s the recipe I based it on. I’m not sure if it was someone on here that recommended Ottolenghi? I halved the recipe, and used shiitakes instead of oysters. Was worried they would be too funky but they weren’t at all. Also mine wasn’t vegan because I thought I had coconut cream but I didn’t so I used heavy cream. Also used moong dal instead of lentils and my barley was already cooked so I just added it at the end. It kind of seems like you’re just making a soupy barley and lentil dish, but they really do end up giving meat vibes. Also I was surprised that this ragu had no Italian herbs, only cumin. I didn’t have cumin so I used caraway, coriander, smoky paprika, and chili powder.

One of the ingredients in the ragú is rose harissa. I had made imitation harissa a while back based on something like this recipe. Store it in a jar covered with olive oil in the fridge.

Today I made the spaghetti pie based on this recipe

I used whole wheat spaghetti because that’s what the food bank gives out. I cooked it then mixed with butter, eggs, and nutritional yeast because I didn’t have Parmesan. Pressed into a buttered pie pan. Topped with cottage cheese mixed with minced fresh oregano and parsley (yay patio plants!). Then covered with the ragú. Baked at 350 for about 40 minutes then topped with shredded Manchego because I didn’t have mozzarella and baked til that melted.

Very satisfying dish! My first time making.
 
- Italian Chicken Sausage - Boiled, cooled, sliced. Layering the bottom of a pie crust or casserole dish
- Red Chard or Rainbow Chard or Spinach - sautéed with garlic & olive oil & salt/pepper, scattered over the sausage
- Grilled onion - ditto
- Mashed Potato - smooshed on top

Whacked into a hot oven until it’s hot through.

Comfort Food

Or?

Sausage & Potatoes / Bangers & Mash boozy food.
 
Whacked into a hot oven until it’s hot through.
I was told that I’m teaching a cooking class next year. For high school level. And it will be either 90 or 120 mins once a week. The class will have 10-12 students. We currently only have one stove and I’m lobbying to get two. Even with two four-burner ranges, I want to go light on stove top cooking as it’s a bit more nuanced and plus harder for a group to do. The other day I heard a recipe for roasted oyster mushroom (turned into something like chips) and I thought—that’s it! Explore how many things we can wham in a hot oven. And bake too sometimes. And make chopped salads—with roasted everything as toppings.
 
Ham & Bean Soup

My dad makes the BEST Ham & Navy Bean soup (combo navy & great northern), so I stick to other variations when I’m at his house.

Today’s is kind of a Creole multi-bean

If I were at my own home I’d just grab a handful, each, from my bean stores. Since I’m at my parents house, I just bought a bag’o’mixed beans 😎

NOTE : I very rarely put amounts & weights on things, because half the time I’m cooking for 2, and the other half cooking for 20 people -plus leftovers to freeze- means I’m using a ginormous pot / amount of ingredients. It’s the RATIO that’s important, if anything is, and soup is so forgiving even that is …eh, make it how you like… not actually important. The weights I do mention are usually just reminders to me’self about the volume I was making at the time. Because if it was 2-5lbs of meat? Hot sauce, or other tiny quantity ingredients, are served at the table. But 20lbs of meat? Might get a quarter cup of hot sauce added, kind of thing.

Beans
- 2lbs of Bob’s Red Mill 13 bean or Goya 16 bean
- Half pound extra of dried black eyed peas (ham loves 😍 black eyed peas)

Meat(s)
- Leftover Ham Bone w/marrow
- Couple pounds of chopped ham meat or ham shank
- (Optional) couple pounds of any other meat creature or sausage (pretty much anything except beef/lamb -chicken, duck, pheasant, quail, rabbit, pork, etc.- BUT if you skip the ham bone? A meat medley including beef/lamb AND white wine, makes a cassoulet style awesome bean & meat soup )
- (Optional) Bacon before & after (to rend the fat for cooking, and to crumble on top).

Veg
- Garlic
- Onion/ Bell Pepper/ Celery
- Bay Leaf(s)

Grain
- White Rice (cooked & served separately, rather than cooked in)
- OR Grilled Crusty Bread for dunking (lovelovelove beans&toast!)
- (Optional) Flour to Roux it up for a thicker stew.

Fat(s)
- Olive oil, or bacon, or olive oil AND bacon

Liquid
- Chicken Stock or Water

Method

1. Soak beans overnight (rinse & resoak as often as hourly to reduce gas)
2. Sauté veg in olive oil or bacon grease until translucent
2.5. Dust with flour and stir until flour gets golden if you want stew
3. Add beans, meats, liquid, & simmer for 2-3 hours.
4. Serve with a scoop of rice (or grilled crusty bread) & crumbled bacon.
 
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Ham & Bean Soup

My dad makes the BEST Ham & Navy Bean soup (combo navy & great northern), so I stick to other variations when I’m at his house.

Today’s is kind of a Creole multi-bean
^^^ Throwing Another Mouse In The Pot ^^^

- Bone broth
- Frozen beans
- Frozen Greens
- Frozen Trinity (onions, celery, bell peppers)
- Big can of chopped fire roasted tomatoes
- Chicken & Pork Sausage

And zeh almost empty pot is now brim full, again, with only 5 minutes worth of tipping things in.

Will simmer for an hour and use my toast as a spoon.
 
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