The Big Birthday Dinner

I did it. Bit the bullet and cooked “The Big Birthday Dinner” for Merl’s big day. Well, birthdays really aren’t all that exciting when you get past a certain point. I don’t remember where that point is, because we passed it soooo long ago. But, we try and drum up a little enthusiasm anyway because having another birthday is better than the alternative, and if nothing else it’s an excuse to pig out.

You always have to consider your audience, so I made this dinner heavy on the meat and starch. The only thing that would have made him happier would have been gravy, but I couldn’t figure out how to work it in there. There’s always next year.

Merl loves him some pork ribs, so I we had some of those. Future daughter-in-law doesn’t like pork, so I cooked a couple game hens in the old Showtime Rotisserie oven. That way Merl didn’t have to spend much time at the grill, and both my ovens were otherwise occupied, and I was already at my multi-tasking limit.

He loves baked beans, so we had those. Others would rather have potatoes, so we also had some hasselback potatoes too. Thought I had green beans but didn’t, so we had corn on the cob and some broccoli, just so there would be an actual veggie in there somewhere. We did have salad with creamy cilantro dressing, which is kind of like a Pollo Loco salad. AND, I made some Parmesan rolls from scratch. Then we topped that all off with some chocolate waffles for dessert. Whew! I don’t think I should have to cook for at least a week after all that. I may never get the kitchen clean again.

I’ve already posted my rib recipe and the recipe for my favorite dry rub, which I used on the game hens. Corn I just boil for ten minutes, then brush the ears with butter and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Broccoli gets steamed, then topped with butter and seasoned salt. No magic there. But I’ll give you recipes for baked beans, hasselback potatoes, parmesan loaves, creamy cilantro dressing, and chocolate waffles.

Enjoy! I’m taking a nap!!!

OMG Pretzels

pretzels done

OMG! That’s what I say every time I eat these. Oh yeah, they’re that good. Making bready things is sometimes a crap shoot for me. Sometimes things turn out great. Sometimes not so much. I’m hardly a champion bread maker. But these babies never fail, for which I’m sooooo grateful!

The dough handles like magic. It always amazes me. The pretzels are slightly sweet and fluffy, like one of those mall pretzels we all know and love. You can make them plain with butter and a little salt (my favorite). You can have yours coated in cinnamon & sugar (my son’s favorite). Or you can have them smothered in garlic butter and Parmesan cheese (maybe that’s my favorite) Hmmm……love me some pretzels in any way, shape or form!


Free At Last!

I’ve been on call for jury duty this week. The horror!!! Yesterday I was in danger of getting stuck on a trial expected to last three months. It was a nail biter, but luckily the judge set me free.

By then, it was late afternoon, I didn’t want to cook (reoccuring theme), but really wanted some comfort food. After all, I’d just dodged a bullet. So I made some quick chili beans and cornbread.

chili bens and cornbread

Southerners, don’t bother telling me chili has no beans, and there’s no cheese in cornbread. Honey badger don’t care. I’m at that point in life I’ve dubbed the “decade of decay”, somewhat depressing but also freeing. I cook what I like and I pass it along. Sometimes it’s actual cooking, sometimes, like last night, it’s thrown together out of cans. I only have to impress my stomach, and it was happy last night!