What’s for Supper? Vol. 8: Pan Roasted Woodchuck with Autumnal Vengeance

What’s for Supper? Vol. 8: Pan Roasted Woodchuck with Autumnal Vengeance October 9, 2015

whats for supper

Question of the week:

What’s your “Yay, It’s Finally Fall Weather!” dish? Something that you only cook or bake or eat at this time of year. It’s okay if it’s some kind of pumpkin spice bullshit. This is a safe space. Here’s what our week in food looked like:

SATURDAY Cheeseburgers; homemade fries; salad; cookies

Today it’s raining, and we’ve had a few frosts already, and have turned on the heat for the year. Love that cozy smell of toasted dust. But last Saturday, it was still warm, and Mr. Husband cooked the burgers outside: food blog burgers grill About a month ago, Aldi had this American cheese on sale for ten cents a package, so I bought an armful. Check it out: it has pictures on it. Not only that, but it looks like this one one side: food blog cheese 2 and this on the other side: food blog cheese 1 THESE ARE THE SAME TWO PIECES OF CHEESE, FOLKS. God bless America. I made fries using this cold oil method I just heard about. It’s supposed to be easier, less smoky, and just less hassle all around. food blog fries cooking The first batch definitely was less hassle; but then I had to make about five more batches, and the oil was already hot, so no more newfangled cold oil method for me. But they were good! And I never would have taken the plunge if I hadn’t thought the recipe would make things easier, so I’m glad. food blog fries Some of the kids sprinkled vinegar on their hot fries. Here I am, dealing with one of the slightly overdone ones: food blog burning fry If you squint, it looks almost liturgical.

SUNDAY Beef stew; popovers; apple pie

Beef stew and apple pie are my “Yay, it’s Fall!” dishes. For stew, I use a pretty basic recipe: Cut beef into small chunks, and shake them up in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. In a heavy pot, fry up some crushed garlic in a little oil, then throw the floured meat in, plus the extra flour. Fry it up until it’s slightly browned. Add some combination of water, beef broth, and red wine*. Add in cubed potatoes, chopped onions and carrots, diced tomatoes with juice (canned is fine), and string beans (frozen is fine). Add a few bay leaves, and add more liquid if necessary; or, if it’s not thick enough, make a little roux (flour and butter paste) and stir that in. Cover and simmer for several hours. If you have mushrooms, add them in an hour or so before serving. Oh, here’s a tip for feeding hot foods to babies: mix in a few frozen vegetables. This cools the food without diluting it: food blog corrie stew Tried this popover recipe for the first time. You make the batter in a blender. I ended up using the standing mixer with the whisk attachment, because a triple recipe of batter didn’t fit in the blender. Popovers are supposed to be light and airy, and they are supposed to puff up to great heights and then collapse when you pull them out of the oven. Mine were kind of dense and hearty, and just kind of sat there looking eggy. Everyone loved them anyway, and they sure were easy to throw together, so I will probably make them again, even if I don’t get the hang of it. food blog popovers I have now used that mini muffin pan exactly three times in six years: once to make mini quiches for a baby shower, once to make bacon roses for father’s day, and once for these popovers. I can’t use the spots in the middle, because I drilled holes in them to let out the grease for the bacon roses. I should have a TV cooking show called “The Stupid Kitchen.” So, pie! I had to make at least one pie before we ran out of apple orchard apples. I think Cortland apples are technically best for pie, since they are flavorful and keep their shape, but I love the taste of Mackintosh the best, so that’s what I use, even though they get mushy. I have plateaued in my pie crust-making skills, so I just bought some frozen ones and threw in a bunch of apple slices with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, a little flour, and some butter. Irene helped with the apple prep, but quickly discerned that there were too many damn apples food blog irene apples and went to watch Spiderman. *Pinecroft. It’s crazy cheap – maybe $3 a bottle – and it tastes completely okay for all your okay-wine-drinking needs.

MONDAY One-pan roasted chicken thighs with fall vegetables

A new recipe for me from Damn Delicious. I had to buy Brussels sprouts, which are unreasonably expensive, because a woodchuck ate pretty much everything in my garden this year. I planted peas, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, radicchio, spinach, basil, pumpkins, cucumbers, and Brussels sprouts, and every time I went out to weed or water, something else would be gone. Just chewed into oblivion, everything except one pumpkin. It was infuriating. garden pumpkin Next year, I’m buying a gun, and I’ll share my recipe for pan roasted friggin woodchuck with the vegetables of vengeance. Anyway, this recipe was a big hit.  My family loves anything with a balsamic vinegar taste. I associate balsamic vinegar with light, summery, Italian dishes, but it went really well with this cozy, autumnal meal. It was a really good dish for putting together in the morning and then chucking in the oven in the evening. And it looked GORGEOUS. And it’s a smorgasbord of vitamins, too. I felt like sending a picture to my pediatrician with the heading, “SEE?” food blog fall veg Oh, so butternut squash is much easier to peel if you cut the shaft off the round part, and peel them separately. I tried peeling the whole thing, and Benny thought it looked like a phone. I wanted to take a picture of her talking on the squash phone, but she wouldn’t let me, and insisted that she take a picture of me talking on the squash phone. So I let her, while thinking, “This is the kind of precious, overstaged nonsense that makes people hate mommy bloggers.” food blog squash phone I’m posting it here because the dog intervened. Also, plus, real reason: look how skinny I look! This is a trick of perspective. I’m super fat right now. Hey, here’s some chicken: food blog chicken and veg

TUESDAY Taco Tuesday!

Just regular old tacos with ground beef and spice from a packet, nothing to write home about. I stopped taking pictures at this point in the week, because it was mainly me driving around for hours and hours, and then me lying down and playing Tokyo to Corrie’s Godzilla: food blog kids

And yes, that is a treadmill with clothes draped on it.

WEDNESDAY Penne with sausage, peppers, and cheese

Cooked up some sweet sausages, fried up some peppers and onions, added a few cans of diced tomatoes, and mixed it up with pasta, jarred sauce, shredded mozzarella, and grated parmesan, and heated the whole thing in a casserole dish. We ate this meal approximately 946 times after I had the baby, so I’ve shied away from it for a while, but I think it’s time to put it back in the rotation. Another good make-ahead dish.

THURSDAY Hot dogs and beans for the kids; bruschetta and calamari for the adults.

We went out on the spur of the moment. Three cheers for having four teenagers in the house!

FRIDAY Ricotta spinach pasta

This is what we’re having today. It’s a Budget Bytes recipe. Her recipes are really reliable — they turn out just as described, and are usually fairly easy to put together. The ricotta gets creamy and yummy, and it is cheap, and you can totally use frozen spinach. Phew. Made it through the week. What’s you eat this week? And don’t forget the question of the week, la di da: What’s your favorite fall dish?

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  • Rebecca Fuentes

    I had baby #5 about 10 days ago, so our menu has been meals provided by my awesome playgroup friends. We serve them with a side of me being weepy and sentimental about what amazing friends I have.

    • simchafisher

      Aww, congratulations! Yeah, meals provided by other people are always my favorite recipe. Always. Hope you are recovering well!

    • Congratulations!

    • anna lisa

      Sweet!!! Hope the delivery went without a hitch. Did you name her Gianna? The first two weeks are the hardest, don’t you think?

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        Gianna Genevieve (Gigi), yes! It was not a smooth delivery, but we had good doctors and nurses who made the right call at the right time (I was in no shape to make it). Poor little girl had the cord around her neck and couldn’t descend or turn properly until they broke my water for me. Once she was out, she was healthy and perfect, and normal size for me, which the doctor couldn’t believe because her placenta was half normal size and her cord was very thin. I feel like we dodged a lot of complications. She’s a good sleeper, thank you God!

        • anna lisa

          Oh man, you are so, so lucky. How nerve racking.

          Isn’t it shocking that women go back and do it again? —
          or that there are so many billions of people walking around that all came into the world like THAT?

          I’m sorry it wasn’t easier for you, wow, wow, wow that you squeaked by without any other problems.

          I lost my sixth baby, a little girl (Angelina) in the fifth month. The only explanation they could come up with after her autopsy was that she became entangled in the cord. It was very thin and stretched.

          My second son Maximilian,had the cord wrapped very tight around his neck. He was born after only a few hours of labor unlike all of my other births, so I consider that to be divine intervention. It looks like divine intervention was at work with little Gigi too. 🙂 !

          • Rebecca Fuentes

            I am just so very grateful she’s here and safe. Four friends of mine miscarried this year . . . I won’t take her for granted.

        • Anna

          Congratulations! So glad she’s here safely; my third had a quadruple nuchal cord and I was grateful both for a doctor who calmly and quickly got him unwrapped and for a cord that was about twice as long as average (doc pulled it out afterwards to measure) and so didn’t pull tight enough to kill. So scary and such a relief when they arrive safely!

          And I love your side dish; I serve that postpartum too!

    • Eileen


  • Emily M

    Saturday: Came back from the farmer’s market with apples and sweet onions. Was going to fry them together à la Farmer Boy, but the apples were just too darn good to cook, so we ate them sliced alongside cornbread and some pulled pork I’d frozen when we couldn’t stand it any longer. Pickles and sweet mustard on the side.

    Sunday: Had some leftover pasta primavera, but husband will only eat vegetarian if it’s a penance. Made this stupid easy sheet pan chicken to go with. Will definitely be making this one all winter. Used panko instead of regular bread crumbs because why wouldn’t you? Possibility of salad.

    Monday: Husband working late. Leftover chicken for the kids, chili con carne from the back of the fridge for myself. Cornbread all around.

    Tuesday: Husband out late again. I had missed his call on Monday, so he brought me an Arby’s sandwich after I already ate. Had that warmed over. Kids ate popcorn and stuff.

    Wednesday: Husband home on time, but has to be up so early he goes to bed before the kids. I’ve pretty much checked out of food-based accomplishments at this point. I have salad, other peeps have leftovers and fried eggs.

    Thursday: Husband home early! Mini-golf and Panda Express.

    Today: My hankering for pierogi has coincided with discovering that the potatoes need to be used up posthaste. I’m not married to the recipe I tried last time. Maybe I’ll go with Martha’s.

  • Favorite fall dish… hmmm… homemade applesauce maybe. I made some a couple weeks ago and was shocked at how many apples make how LITTLE sauce. It is delicious though.

  • Amanda

    The closest I have to a fall dish is kielbasa skillet stew. It is very warming and hearty so I don’t often tend to make it in summer.
    Overall, this week’s dinners have not been much to write about. My husband has been out of town since Monday (coming home late tonight) and I completely lose my will to cook without an appreciative audience. The toddler won’t eat anything I make so she basically has had quesadillas every night, and I hate going to a lot of trouble just for myself so it was all about filling my stomach with the least amount of effort.
    Saturday: Out to dinner at an awesome burger joint. So, so good.
    Sunday: Homemade individual calzones, to use up the mushrooms and green pepper in the fridge on the verge of going bad.
    Monday: Left over mac and cheese
    Tuesday: Left over calzones
    Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner, leftover chocolate chip pancakes from the weekend and bacon. The toddler actually did eat this one.
    Thursday: Got fancy and bought a frozen pizza. Toddler took one teeny tiny bite and spit it out (seriously, who doesn’t like pizza?!! This kid drives me nuts when it comes to food)
    Tonight: some leftover pasta dish pulled out of the freezer.
    Next week will be better!!

  • I’ve been thinking about your pulled pork recipe and went back to what you posted but I have a question. How long did you cook it in the oven? You said several hours, does that mean 3? 4? I know it probably depends on how big the pork loin is. I don’t have a big enough slow cooker, it’s very small and all the recipes I google use a slow cooker. Thanks Simcha or anyone else!

  • anna lisa

    Sunday: Combat tacos at La Super Rica Taqueria with six of our kids. It rained so we couldn’t bbq at the beach like planned.. Odd to see water coming out of the sky.
    Monday: Pozole with a pork shank –everything just thrown into my big iron pot,and shoved into the oven. Itt wasn’t real Pozole because I put in butternut instead of hominy, and skipped the radishes. The meat was delicious and fell of of the bone easily. My puppy went out of her mind with happiness over that bone. Quesadillas made w/ hand made tortillas from Super Rica.
    Tuesday: “Clean out the fridge Spaghetti” Every veg. in there went into the meat sauce. tossed with shaved Parmesan, Arrugala and cherry tomato salad
    Wed. Pozole again
    Thursday: Fresh noodles, Spaghetti sauce from Tuesday.
    So sue me for being unimaginative. Nobody complained about repeats, and my house is SO CLEAN it’s gleaming. I’m extra inspired, with a new floor (thank you puppy, with the bladder problem) and new Kendall, midnight blue velvet couches/chair that I stalked for over a year at World Market. Acute buyer’s glow yo.–got such a good deal with my extra 20% off coupon on top of the sale price.

    I was going to make chicken today, but it’s in the 90s so forget it. Scrambled eggs and toast after the sun sets, sliced honeydew melon, and happy hour appetizers at the Boathouse for the parents who need a drink.

    • Tori

      Mmmmm, pozole. I haven’t made that in a while, I need to!

      • anna lisa

        I don’t know how I ever survived without soups and stews. Pozole is especially great when pork is cheap! I used to complain to my husband that he should have married a Mexican, because he loves Mexican food so much. I finally learned to cook like one. :)!

  • anna lisa

    btw Naked Corrie pic is divine. Those rolls. Oh. my. word.

  • Several comments: that vegetable dish looks great!
    If wearing chevron stripes is the trick to looking thin, I’m going shopping now.
    I have never had a popover.
    Looks like the linkup worked this time! 🙂
    And my favorite fall dish is anything that pairs well with corn muffins.

  • Anna

    Woodchuck of vengeance: we’ll join you and we’ll add raccoon too. Stupid things; we thought we might get to eat some of our corn this year, but noooo. And the woodchucks weren’t satisfied with eating the garden; they’ve been digging to try to destroy our foundation too.
    Favorite fall dish: glad I can make soup again! Easy, yummy, but no good when it’s 90 out.
    Sat: chicken that I sauteed with a bit of butter and a decent sprinkling of Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt (McCormick’s makes it and it’s SO good. I usually put in on flatbread since then it tastes just like pita chips, but it’s excellent with chicken too.) Sweet potatoes and pineapple and watermelon that wasn’t the greatest by this late, but the 3 y-o had “helped” with the shopping and wanted watermelon and since it was fruit and not junk, I said yes. He has happily eaten it all week.
    Sun: Sausage and white bean soup from my “twins are coming: prepare!!!” frozen meal stash. This is my husband’s favorite meal and I’d post the recipe b/c it’s good, but I don’t remember it right now. But it’s similar to that Tuscan soup and works well with deer sausage which is good b/c sometimes I have trouble figuring out what to do with all that venison. Then I ate again because I went over to the home of a refugee family we’re helping out through our parish. Helped with homework and the mom made boulani (sp?) which was, I think, potatoes and onions fried in a sort of pancake with sweet relish and/or sour cream (or maybe plain yogurt? not sure and no vocab to ask…) to dip it in. Really good, but I wished I hadn’t already eaten b/c boy, was I stuffed.
    Mon: no fettuccine, so we had rotini alfredo, along with the last of the Mediterranean chicken and carrot souffle that my 3 y-o had been begging to make and went to the store with me on Sat. just to make sure I bought carrots for it.
    Tues: Taco casserole with chips.
    Wed: husband grilled steaks (hot dogs for kids) since we need to finish up that side of beef before getting another one, plus he needed the tallow he trimmed off to can deer meat. Yay for getting a deer the first day of going out for bow season! (Usually bow season drags on and on and on…)
    Thurs: husband knew he’d eat a big lunch at work, so leftover hot dogs and taco casserole sufficed.
    Fri: husband fried catfish and fries and we had baked beans. We also had some Oblates over and the babies yowled lots and made actual conversation difficult.

  • lissla_lissar

    Did I tell you about the cold oil fries? Heh. They’re very good, but not so adapted to a big family, sorry.

  • Me

    As a single person who eats a lot of frozen meals at home alone, I really enjoy these posts and the glimpses of your and the commenters’ busy daily lives. They both reinforce my appreciation for the simplicity of my life and increase my yearning for a clan.

  • Tori

    Those veggies look gorgeous! I think my favorite “it feels like fall” recipe is for Pumpkin (yup) chocolate chip cookies. But they are not your typical pumpkin cookie. A lot of the liquid is cooked out of the pumpkin on the stove so the cookies are crispy and not mushy. I also make sure we have the Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Pie with Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce at least a couple times. Yum.

    Saturday: Creamy Mushroom and Rice Soup, salad. I usually really like this soup, but I found myself wishing we had wild rice instead of white rice for a better texture.
    Sunday: My parents made steak, baked potatoes and salad.
    Monday: Kielbasa (or Chewbacca, according to my two-year-old), sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. Simple, comes together quickly, and very satisfying.

    Tuesday: Fettucine Alfredo with salad. Another quick and tasty meal.
    Wednesday: Herb-crusted pork loin (not tenderloin, we are not that fancy), with roasted potatoes and salad. I cover the pork loin in Herbs de Provence, brown it on all sides and then roast it for about an hour, depending on weight. I usually make a pan gravy from the drippings, too.
    Thursday: Beef stroganoff and…salad.
    Friday: An extended family birthday party, we had tacos. And cake.

    Good week for salad, I guess!

  • Eileen

    Pot roast in the crock pot makes me think fall. Unfortunately, my kids would probably tell you BJ’s frozen meatballs in Ragu is what fall means to them.

    With pork being so relatively cheap and my effort to serve less chicken, we’ve been eating more pork than we normally do. This week, I made those carnitas in the crock pot. Oh man! What a hit. They’ll probably be a once a month thing in our house so long as pork prices stay down.

    Other than the carnitas, it was some sort of chicken and veggies for us all week long.

  • Eileen

    Have you tried pouring urine around the perimeter of your garden? Don’t know if it works on woodchucks, but it definitely keeps deer away – they’re a real nuisance here in Philadelphia area. You have to pour the urine around at least once a week and after every rainfall. It sounds weird and it wouldn’t bring as much satisfaction as shooting the critter and serving it up in a nice stew, but it might be worth a try.

  • You don’t need a gun to bag yourself a woodchuck. A plate of peanut butter in a crab trap with an axe will do.

    Dang whippersnappers, get off my lawn.