What’s for supper? Vol. 9: Tortellini Entropy and Bread Machine Challah

What’s for supper? Vol. 9: Tortellini Entropy and Bread Machine Challah October 23, 2015

whats for supper

My mother used to eat leftovers for lunch, and sometimes for breakfast. Her method was to take whatever she could find, put it in a pot, douse it with the salsa that she bought by the half-gallon, and stir until it was all hot and horrible. You may think that she did this just so she wouldn’t have to share it with her eight locust children, but she actually liked it that way!  Although there is that disconcerting thing that happens to you when you’ve been a mother for a while, when you honestly can’t remember if you like something, or if you’ve just put up with it until it feels familiar, and that’s close enough.

Question of the week: Do you have a crazy food combination that only you think is delicious?


Omelettes (mushroom, leftover ham from last week, and cheese) and frozen hash browns, served with a shining lake of ketchup.

There are really only a few times when I feel like we have a really big family. When I stand over the counter cracking 36 eggs into a bowl is one of those times.

food blog eggs

I always catch myself thinking, “Why don’t they sell giant bulk egg?” I know they sell bags of frozen egg product, but can’t someone just make chickens bigger, so I can just be like, “I’ll take one egg, please, 48-oz. size, and a hammer. And this lamp, and that’s all I need.”



Hamburgers! Chips! Ice cream sundaes! I’m the best mother ever. Also I let them eat donuts

food blog donuts


and ice off the wading pool


food blog ice



This meal had such promise. The soup (recipe from Damn Delicious) was very fast to throw together, but it would have tasted much better if we had eaten it right away. But I made it in the morning and let it simmer all day, out of soup habit, and by the time we ate it, tortellini entropy had set in, and the spinach was not a pleasant color. I’ll make this recipe again, but I won’t overcook it.

And next time I won’t BURN IT *sob*. So depressing. I kept telling myself I couldn’t really taste the burn, but people who can’t taste burn don’t have to say things like that to themselves.

Does this look burnt? WELL, IT IS.
Does this look burnt? WELL, IT IS.


The quick garlic cheese bread was quick, and it was bread. I know it was also garlic and cheese because I put those ingredients in with my own two paws, but you sure couldn’t taste either garlic or cheese. It’s good to know there is a quick bread that doesn’t taste like dessert, but I’ll keep looking for a different recipe.  And someday, oh someday, I will master the art of Mixing Batter All the Way Down, so I don’t get Surprise Flour.


food blog cheese bread

So these are my new silicone pans! They were $2.99 at Aldi. All my loaf pans are rusty and gross, so I thought this would be a good time to find out if silicone is really so great. So far so good! The loaves popped right out, no trouble. My hope is that some kind of horrible petrochemical leeches into our food and we all turn into monstrous hybrids, half human, half Aldi loaf pan.


Either I invented something amazing, or I was very, very hungry on Tuesday.

Acorn squash mashed with butter and brown sugar,
topped with raw red onions,
topped with pulled pork,
topped with barbeque sauce,
shoved into my face with unseemly groaning noises.

Yeah, I was probably just hungry.



According to local son Moe Fisher, “They were so good! I ate until I almost puked!” No picture was available at publication.



We tried Aldi pizza dough for the first time. It stretched pretty well, and it tasted okay.  Kind of tough, but I never know if that’s a bad thing, or just a style of pizza dough. Anyway, it was cheap! I know you can make your own pizza dough, but I don’t feel like it. We make four extra large pizzas.

Oh, that reminds me, I saw an unspeakable thing at Hannaford (which is where I usually buy pizza dough) in the pizza ingredients section:

Bacon Dust Vegetarian Pizza Dough.

Yes. That is what it said. With those words together in one line on the label, like they actually meant something edible.

I tried to find a picture of it, but the closest I could come was this:

bacon dust vegetarian pizza dough

Does it make me a jerk that I didn’t blank out the guy’s name? It’s only because I think he’s a hero, that’s all.





Shakshuka may be at the apex of eggs-for-dinner recipes, though in Israel it is breakfast food, a bright, spicy start to the day with a pile of pita or challah served on the side. (It also makes excellent brunch or lunch food.) It’s a one-skillet recipe of eggs baked in a tomato-red pepper sauce spiced with cumin, paprika and cayenne. First you make that sauce, which comes together fairly quickly on top of the stove, then you gently crack each of the eggs into the pan, nestling them into the sauce. The pan is moved into the oven to finish. Shakshuka originated in North Africa, and like many great dishes there are as many versions as there are cooks who have embraced it. This one strays from more traditional renditions by adding crumbled feta cheese, which softens into creamy nuggets in the oven’s heat.

I’ve never made shakshuka before, but I’ve been assured it’s delicious, especially if you are drunk. Does it count if I wish I were? Here is the recipe we’re going to use.

Since some of the kids have the day off school, we’re going to seize the opportunity of actually being home, and make some challas to go with it. Here is a recipe for making the dough in your bread machine. (I don’t think that your bread machine will braid it for you, though, so you should do that part yourself.)

In the bucket of the bread machine, in this order, put:

1 1/2 cups warm water

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

6 cups flour (I used bread flour – not sure how important that is)

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

Make a dent in the top and put in

1 1/2 tsp. bread machine yeast


Set it to knead the dough.  Watch the dough ball — it should be smooth and elastic and not stick to the sides.  Add water or flour if necessary.

When the dough is done, divide it into four pieces.  Roll three pieces into snakes and braid them together, pinching it together at the ends.  Take the fourth piece, divide it into three, and braid it, too — then lay the smaller braid on top of the larger one.

Grease a baking pan and sprinkle it with corn meal.  Lay the loaf in the pan, cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place until it’s almost double in size.

Beat 2-3 egg yolks up with a little water and brush the egg wash over the loaf.  Sprinkle it with poppy seeds.

Bake uncovered in 350 oven for 20 minutes until the loaf is a deep golden brown.

You can slice it or tear it into hunks.


Okay, I probably wouldn’t have chosen a new recipe and homemade bread for Friday if I had remembered that we’re having a Hobbit birthday party on Saturday, but there it is. We are using a few ideas from An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery.

unexpected cookbook

You know I’ll let you know how it comes out, whether you care or not.


Last week, I skipped the InLinkz button, because it was giving me grief, and I didn’t think there was much demand for it anyway; but I’d be happy to put it back if people want. What do you guys think?  I’ll keep up the Friday food posts either way.

Don’t forget the question of the week!




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  • Here’s the link to my recipes for the week: http://franciscanmom.com/2015/10/23/7qtwfs-october-16-22-2015/
    My crazy food combination that no one else here will eat: gnocchi with cabbage.

  • Sara McD

    Only i will eat eggs over easy on top of oatmeal or leftover mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes.

  • Natasha Standen

    I think you can get ostrich eggs if you really need. Or am I thinking of burgers? 😉

  • I love the inlinkz button and it inspires me to actually post on my blog more than once a week, but whatever is best for everyone 🙂

    I don’t know if it’s such a crazy food combination… but I love hotdogs and applesauce, sans bun.

    This week was not the healthiest of dinners, BUT I didn’t bake, or make desserts, and I didn’t gain any weight and may have lost two lbs. Which is a mixed bag since I’m 26 wks pregnant, and SHOULD be gaining weight, but I was gaining it a little too fast (perhaps since I eat nachos as a bedtime snack?) so yep, glad to be more on track with that at least.

    Sat: I don’t even remember

    Sun: sushi date at home, Grandma babysat

    Mon: english muffin pizzas with pepperoni. I just put marinara sauce on english muffin halves, add cheese and pepperoni and bake at 450 until they’re golden brown

    Tues: homemade mac n cheese with ham. cheese was pre-shredded from a bag, but maybe I put out salad too?

    Weds: leftover mac n cheese, maybe salad?

    Thurs – baked panko chicken tenders (which I overcooked because my stupid meat thermometer kept saying they were not up to 160 even though they were obviously white inside), some kind of failure of an asian sauce on the side, butternut squash w/ butter and salt, and salad (aldi lettuces bag with nuts, parmesan, and balsamic)

    Fri – Leftovers. I want to serve applesauce with the chicken, but everyone in my family is extremely sensitive to sugar and I don’t know if it’s worth the chaos that will ensue afterwards.

  • Eileen

    My husband will squirt a bunch of Gulden’s spicy brown mustard onto a plate, open up a bag of pretzels and proceed to dip the pretzels into the mustard until it’s gone. I might think that’s weird, but half of Philadelphia does the same thing.

    I like salt on everything. Oatmeal, bagels, you name it. Actually, I’m trying to think of something I don’t like salt on. I’ll even eat eat birthday cake with some pretzels to give it some salt I switched to that Celtic Grey sea salt a couple of years ago. It’s supposed to be minerally balanced. I don’t know about that, but I do know that I don’t retain water anymore and my blood pressure is normal.

    Our meals this week were atrocious and unhealthy and revealed my family’s apparent Chick Fil A problem. I also never really went shopping for a big order of fresh groceries and our menu is a reflection of that. We were guests at a tailgate on Saturday. We gorged on Chick Fil A, hot dogs, and too many other things. Sunday was date night and my husband and I went out, big boys were at a Scout thing, little boys were at their cousins’. Monday I was a short order cook for the kids. Eggs, grilled cheeses, etc. By popular demand on Tuesday I made my copycat chick fil a nuggets. Wednesday was quiche with the crescent roll crust (made this twice last week but I love it). Thursday was crazy and I ended up ordering pizza and cheesesteaks. Friday was our family’s annual pilgrimage to the Great Pumpkin Carve in Chadds Ford, PA and as tradition would have it we stopped at a Chick Fil A on the way.

    • Anna

      I don’t think you can have a Chik-Fil-A “problem” unless it’s not having one nearby.

  • cirelo

    Ok, so on the egg point. We used to raise geese when I was young girl. Those geese would lay enormous eggs. They were at least like four eggs put together. Maybe you should consider raising geese, you could reduce your overall egg cracking time and instead enjoy a hissing, biting, swarm of smelly fowl! They also mow the lawn for you!

    • Rebecca Anderson

      My brother told our then 3 yo sister that our geese would ‘eat her’. She took him at his word and would run for her life whenever the creatures came near her. Don’t think we got any eggs though.

      • cirelo

        I actually think they might have eaten her– geese are terrifying!

  • Anna

    I don’t think I have any odd food combos that no one else likes. But I can be permanently turned off a food just by what it’s called, so I’m no good at liking random things. Like my husband’s family refers to creamed asparagus, a favorite dish of theirs, by the name “sparrow guts” and I just can’t eat it. Ditto for some recipe I have called “shipwreck.” I think it’s because there’s sauce with chips or something floating in it? But I think “train wreck” and there’s tomato sauce and, and, ugh.

    Sat: I don’t remember what happened last Sat. except that we made it to confession.
    Sun: ham with the rest of Culture Club contributing potatoes, baked apples, and raspberry crisp with ice cream.
    Mon: leftover ham and nutmeg muffins.
    Tues: beef roast in the crock pot; put it in with some red wine and an Italian dressing packet and people liked it and it made excellent gravy. Mashed potatoes.
    Wed: leftover roast etc.
    Thurs: ham and bean soup.
    Fri: grilled cheese or grilled pb or grilled pizzawich in the… jaffle maker I think someone some week said it was called. Broccoli – a vegetable!

  • Lydia

    I have on more than one occasion mixed Raisin Bran into vanilla ice cream.

  • Susan Mathis

    Simcha, when my boys were in 1st grade, their teacher brought in an ostrich egg and cooked it with them. It made enough scrambled eggs for the entire class (about 12 kids). With the price of chicken eggs these days, it might be worht you time to price ostrich eggs.

    • Rebecca Anderson

      Duck eggs are quite large, but they taste unpleasant. We used to use them in cakes though.

  • Rebecca Anderson

    ‘I know you can make your own pizza dough, but I don’t feel like it.’

    That sums up so many of my feelings about housekeeping.

  • MightyMighty1

    I love deep dish spinach pizza with pineapple. My husband will tolerate it, but nobody seems to see what I see, which is that this is amazing, especially from a particular pizzeria in my hometown…. 🙂

    I also like eggs on top of leftover spaghetti.