Saturday, October 27, 2007

Low Country Recipe for a Cold Night

Alright I posted today, but then I cooked dinner and I'm afraid I will forget what and how I did for dinner tonight. I think it's a new favorite with my audience. We had some Low Country Food. I think it may have been bastardized and could easily be further bastardized and turned into Grillards. (GREEEEE-ARDS). Tonight it was Shrimp and Grits.

For the Shrimp

Start with 1lb of BACON. chop the bacon and put into a skillet to brown. While it's browning, chop 2 ONIONS, 1 BELL PEPPER, 1 CU. MUSHROOMS. After bacon gets a little brown, add vegetables and cook until they begin to wilt. Bacon will be sticking to bottom of the pan and bacon grease will need to be drained. Add 1 cup of RED WINE. In a pot warm 1/2 cup of olive oil with 1/4 cup of butter and some of the discarded bacon grease. Add 1 cup of FLOUR. and stir. stir. stir. stir. this roux will turn blonde and then nutty brown. Let it go just beyond nutty brown. be patient! if it burns start over. Once roux turns brown add 2 cans of BEEF BROTH. watch out for steam! Stir well and add 2 cans DICED TOMATO. (If I'm not mistaken this is pretty close to an espagnole sauce, one of the mother sauces.) To bacon mixture, add 1 cup RED WINE. Deglaze pan and add all ingredients into your sauce. Add SHRIMP. As much as you like. I added 2lbs tails off. Add 1 tsp THIME, 1 tsp DRIED BASIL, 1 tsp BLACK PEPPER, 1 tbsp KOSHER SALT, 1 tbsp SEASON T'UP. (or your favorite season-all) Allow shrimp to simmer.

In a seperate pot add 2 cups WATER, 2 cups HEAVY CREAM and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of quick cook GRITS. Not instant!!! Stir and combine. Add 1 tsp SALT, 1 tsp SEASON T'UP (or your lesser season-all). Stir until grits get thick. After they get thick add freshly grated PARMASAN and about 1/2 cup MOZZARELLA. Stir until melted.

Mound grits in the bottom of a bowl. cover with ladles of the Shrimp Sauce.

Good heavens it was good. Even if I did cook it myself. We served it with small biscuits. Try it.

Well it's about Barbeque time!

I was thinking. I've given myself the title of "Mississippi Barbeque Princess" and I have yet to give a barbeque recipe. I've yet to discuss how-to or given a good tip for producing great Memphis style barbeque. In 1992 I wanted to be more involved with our cooking team. My sister and I would show up and we'd be gate guarders. For those who compete on the Memphis circuit, you know what a gate guarder is. It's important in that that person is responsible for keeping out spectators when there's a judge present. It's also the job you give to the new person who shows little signs of being adept at anything 'Que. My dad thought we were pretty and we were little more than decoration in a team shirt. I got fed up with being the girl at the gate. (Even if I was hung over!) Soon after we started cooking ribs in 1992 I talked my dad into believing that I could give a rib presentation. Back in those years ribs were different. All the cooking methods we use now were developed over time. (Maybe I should say that our ribs were different and not assign this to everyone.) In the early 90's we did a straight forward cooking method: skin ribs, marinate ribs, season ribs, cook ribs over a 220 degree fire for 6 or more hours. sauce ribs. serve ribs.

At Possum Town Pig Fest in Columbus Mississippi in 1992 my dad let me do the table presentation for our ribs. I'd heard his presentation and thought I could replicate it. Keep in mind that in 1992 barbeque was like the "Little Rascals" club the "he-man-woman-hater's" I can't be positive of it but from what I can find out, that table presentation was the first uttered by a chick. We went on to win that contest with those ribs and boy I was hooked! I noticed in 93 that no one would look me in the eye when I presented facts about the cooking process and would go so far as to ask my dad questions because they didn't buy my knowledge of the process. In 93 I started getting my tired and hungover butt up and going out with dad to cook those ribs so that he could in good concience say: don't look at me she cooked them.

In that time we had a huge problem with burnt ends. the ends of our ribs were always over done due to lack of protection. We came up with a way to help our ribs along, ensure that the ends were not only edible but also fabulous. If you're cooking at home, this is a great way to get ribs ready for a party the next day:

Start with a 1.5-2 lb BABY BACK RIB. This will work for as many slabs as you'd like to cook and will also work with a less expensive ST. LOUIS CUT RIB. (I don't know about spare ribs, my eletism won't allow me to try). Remove the membrane from your ribs. It's found on the underside close to the bones. If you use a knife or better a screw driver to slide along one of the bones you'll find the membrane and it's easily removed. *this is called 'skinning' your rib. (side note: this is why people boil their ribs to make them tender, removing this membrane eliminates that horrid and very non-barbeque step). After ribs are skinned it's your choice: to marinate or not to marinate. If you decide that you want to here's a marinade suggestion:

EQUAL PARTS UBON'S MEAT MARINADE AND APPLE JUICE with a cup of UBON'S SEASON T'UP. If those aren't on hand try SOY SAUCE, LEMON JUICE, APPLE JUICE, BALSAMIC VINEGAR and your favorite cajun seasoning.

If you decide not to marinate that is ok too. We've won and lost championships both ways. If marinading remove from marinade after 4 hours-24 hours. Lay out your ribs meat side down. I use UBON'S SEASON T'UP but you could use any of 1000 rib rubs. My suggestion is that you find one that doesn't start with salt as an ingredient. If your favorite starts with salt as an ingredient use 1/2 rib rub mixed with 1/2 paprika, garlic, black and red pepper mixture. Season your meat thoroughly, the ribs should be orange with seasoning. Flip and repeat. Rub to coat. Flip bottom side up again and coat with GRANULATED BROWN SUGAR . Flip and repeat. Rub to coat. The brown sugar helps mellow the rub and works well with pork. it won't burn or make the ribs too sweet. Let your ribs sit at room temp while you are fiddling with your fire. Get your smoker or grill to at least 200 degrees. I'd suggest a little higher. If you're using a barbeque grill, I'd suggest that you place a water pan under your grill to help with moisture. When you put ribs on to cook, make sure you rotate them in and out of your grill's hot spots. Every time you look at the ribs us a mist bottle with apple juice to soak them down. this also helps with moisture and color. Don't forget that old addage "if you're looking you're not cookin" BUT if you're forgetting about your ribs, they are burning right up. After 1.5 hours on 220-250 take ribs off. Lay out foil and place rib meat side up on foil. here is a great spot to get creative. Add HONEY, BARBEQUE SAUCE, APPLE JUICE, PINEAPPLE JUICE, PEACH PRESERVES, APPLE JELLY anything that you want that will melt and join with the juices from the ribs. Wrap in the foil and return to the grill for another 45 minutes. After 45 minutes place the ribs in a dry ice chest and close the lid. Do not open for an hour or two. If you're serving ribs the same day unwrap and put back on the 200 degree grill. When you unwrap, these ribs will be almost too tender. putting them back on the grill with help firm them up. You'll discard the juice that's in the wrap or add it to your water pan. Go ahead and add the sauce of your choice. After about 20 minutes your ribs are ready to eat.

My sauce is based of course with Ubon's. I take UBON'S SAUCE, HONEY, PRESERVES (any kind), AND BROWN SUGAR and run them through the food processor until smooth. A simple barbeque sauce if you don't have Ubon's as a base (you poor dear!) is: 1 Cup KETCHUP, 1 Cup VINEGAR, 1 tbsp YELLOW MUSTARD, 1/4 cup BROWN SUGAR, 1/4 cup HONEY, 1/4 cup HOT SAUCE. Cook this with preserves of your choice, and allow to thicken before adding to ribs. You will mop your sauce on your ribs several times. If the sauce is warm it will make the ribs a shiney red.

If you've precooked your ribs for tomorrow, remove them from the dry icechest and lay them out on the table to cool. Once cooled, refrigerate until an an hour an a half before serving and put on the grill to rewarm and sauce. Make sure your sauce is warm when mopping it on.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Chili Day in Mississippi

Today has been a cold and rainy one. I love this weather. You need a sweater here in the house because it's about 55 degrees. I did give in and turn on the heat for my little guy. Today was indeed a Chilli Day. When the weather turns like this everyone that comes to the restaurant gets a bowl of soup or chili. Daddy makes chili a couple of times a week just to keep us covered. His is one of the best chilis I've ever had. I've watched and i still can't get it just like him.

One of the side effects of a big change in the weather is the waking up snuggled down, but feeling awful. I had a great dog, Murphy. Murphy would start caughing about 10 hours before we'd have a weather change. we thought she was choking but it turns out she was having sinus problems. We had to sneak her benadryl in some cheese. I've been hoping to get the loaded cheese all day, but so far no such luck. My answer to that was to cook one of my favorite chili recipes. This one is easy because I didn't feel good. you can complicate it any way you want to.

Brown 1lb LEAN GROUND BEEF. Add an entire bag of SEASON BLEND (ONIONS, PEPPERS, CELERY, PARSLEY.) cook until onions become transparent. After browned, add 1 tbsp CUMIN, 1 tbsp CHILI POWDER, 1 tbsp RED CHILI PASTE (if you have it), 1 tbsp KOSHER SALT and 1 tablespoon PEPPER. Allow to incorporate. Add 1 can DICED TOMATOES, 1 can CHEAP HOT DOG CHILI SAUCE, 2 cans CHILI HOT BEANS, 1 can YELLOW CORN, 2 cans TAP WATER. Allow to simmer for 30 mins to 4 hours. (longer the better! in fact if you want it really good, cool it down and have it tomorrow night.) We had ours with a touch of cheese, sour cream and crackers. Always remember you season to your taste.

Quite possibly the most awesome "i don't feel good do I have to get out of bed" food.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Here comes Monday

And so ends another weekend. This one was especially good. We spent some time with my daddy's buddies at the deer camp. My little boy and his cousin spent the whole weekend out in the woods. Jacob came home with 2 splinters, 3 scrapes, 1 marshmallow induced burn, 5 non descript scrapes and one bee sting. All on his little hands. Somehow though none of those maladies kept him from chasing off down the road after a cow or colt or squirrel. Daddy got the boys these $0.88 plastic guns that you stick into a potato for ammo. Pump that gun and it will turn that potato plug into a projectile danger. I think that's what they used to hunt squirrels. Dad said that Jacob was in the golf cart with him friday afternoon while they were looking for wood for their fire and Jacob said, "Pop, this has been a good day." I'm pretty sure dad could have died then and not felt like he'd missed a thing. It thrills me to no end for my child to have the same kind of relationship with my dad as I did with his dad.

An outdoor weekend begs for food cooked outdoors. This weekend we had grilled hamburgers and hotdogs with some 'poppy beans' and chips. The patties and weenies were the cheap kind, but I'm not sure I've ever had a better burger.

We have a good friend, Mr. Bill Michaels, who used to cook with us competitively. Mr. Bill always brought a big pot and a butane stove and cooked Jambalaya for us when we were at a contest. It took him all day to cook. It was cooked start to finish outside. you could smell the chicken and the sausage all around. It was especially good when it got a little cooler. I loved his jambalaya so much that when I was planning my wedding I asked Mr. Bill to make some for me to share with guests at my reception. (There was only a little for us to take to eat later!) He is the master of Jambalaya. I've always tried my hardest to duplicate his and even with coaching, it just isn't the same. I've whittled down a recipe and plan to use my version tomorrow for lunch at Ubon's.

Boil a WHOLE CHICKEN. Remove cooked chicken and reserve liquids. I pull my CHICKEN and remove all skin. In a heavy bottomed pot put 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL 1 tbsp BUTTER and allow to melt together. As this melts add chopped ONION, BELL PEPPER, JALAPENO PEPPER (If you're awesome!) and a fresh chopped TOMATO. Allow this to turn pretty close to brown. add 2 cups LONG GRAIN WHITE RICE. Stir the rice around and let it get familiar with the veggies and the fat. Don't let the rice brown, but make sure it gets at least pretty shiney and a little opaque. Add reserved chicken stock. You'll need at least 4 cups or so. To this add about 1 tbsp SEASON'T UP (or your favorite cajun seasoning if you're not awesome), 1 BAY LEAF, SALT AND PEPPER to taste. put a lid on this and don't check it for a few minutes. give the rice time to cook in your flavored liquid. check occasionally in case you need to add more stock. Last 15 minutes of cooking add all PULLED CHICKEN, SLICED SAUSAGE. Here I'm going to add some pulled pork (because Mr. Bill ALWAYS does.) You can also add shrimp, crab, or almost anything else you need to get rid of in your fridge.
I serve with cracers, maybe cornbread depending on how it turns out, and a salad.

Come try it!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Spending more time in the kitchen

Well, it's been a long hard week. Today was a slammed day which is always good in the restaurant business. We don't have but about 60 seats so we're not a huge restaruant. Since we're small, when we get started before 11am we know that it's going to be a big day. We are training someone new in the kitchen and to her credit she did a great job, worked hard and tried harder. It's always an interesting process. Even people who know how to cook, can make anything out of almost nothing don't just know how to work a line. If you've been in the kitchen, you know what I mean when I say that its easy to get in the weeds and loose pace. Today was a prime example of that in the weeds feeling. It's overwhelming if you're new in the kitchen. It's worse if you've been doing it and can't get it under control.
In my past professional life I did hospice as a social worker. Every day I was faced with issues surrounding a family member's dying process. I was "the girl who came to talk" about dying. You see, with this as your first professional experience, it's pretty hard to get worked up about 8 tickets sitting in line waiting to be completed. Oh I freak out. But I'm lucky in that I don't freak out then. Dad came out front today and said "Leslie, go make a loop and pull some weeds," and 3 minutes later we were done. I'm a chronic list maker. I've been known to make a list of my lists. I will rewrite a list 10 times. Orders waiting to be filled are just small lists. You see, these folks are hungry, but they aren't dying!

Today I did a rescue on some meat for my dad. Last year we had a function serving roast beef and grilled chicken. Daddy got some beautiful shoulder clod roasts and burned them right up. They were tastey, but as moist as a cardboard box. Daddy freaked a little and said for me to do something. So I made a beef veloute. Before that day, Daddy wouldn't bother learning the word 'veloute'. He said it was nothing but gravy. This delicious velvety mother sauce is more than gravy! This sauce can serve as a vehicle for anything you cook. Keep in mind that I'm used to making this for the masses so I make it a couple of gallons at a time, so I'm whittling this down as best I can.

Chicken or Beef Veloute

Equal parts BUTTER and FLOUR. Melt butter and add flour. If you use 2 tbsp butter, use 2 tbsp flour. The butter/flour mixture becomes a roux. Let this cook for just a little bit, at least 30 seconds, so that the flour and butter can bind. Add 1 cup BEEF OR CHICKEN STOCK. watch out for steam will hurt! Wisk this together well. You will probably have a paste, don't freak out. get the lumps out and add more stock. repeat. The sauce will not reach full thickness until it comes to a soft boil. Once you've got the sauce going add whatever you want. With a chicken veloute you can add cooked potatoes, bacon, cheese, scallions, salt, pepper, seasoning and you've got a rockin potato soup. Or add chopped rosemary, parsley, salt, pepper and seasoning and serve over grilled chicken. With the beef, add some worcestirshire, soy sauce, garlic and spices and do a rescue on your dry ole roast, dry ole meatloaf, or add potatoes, carrots and browned stew meat and have lunch.

Oh yeah...In Yazoo City this weekend? for our specials. I'm sure I'll be in the kitchen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A very long day

Yesterday I found out that somehow our catering service was triple booked for today. We had to deliver lunch to Rolling Fork (40 miles west), Lexington (40 miles north east) and to the Parker Roark House (also known as 'home' to my mom and dad). Finding this out on a Monday after being gone all weekend is pretty bad in the restaurant world. Monday is our order day. We get a grocery truck on Tuesday. Most Mondays find us out of almost everything. Yesterday was no exception. We were out of beans, potato salad, slaw, dessert, rolls, everything necessary to feed our crowds on Tuesday. We scrambled yesterday and luckily our friends working for us helped us plan for today. We started early this morning furiously restocking our standard sides for both the restaurant and for our catering trips. In the midst of all this we fried our awesome chicken and got everything else ready.
I will admit I was pretty freaked out yesterday. I told my husband last night that for a few minutes it could have gone either was either off to Whitfield State Hospital or going to be ok. Luckily I didn't find Chuck E. Cheese standing at my oven baking pizza and struedel. (OK, that's the best picture I can come up with to indicate insanity.)
This morning we had a kitchen full of folks, each handling something that had to be done to get us open for lunch. When I'm in full blown freak out mode, I always forget that Ubon's Slaw is the easiest thing I've got to do. Try it:

Empty 2 bags of CABBAGE SLAW MIX into a bowl. Add 2 tsp BLACK PEPPER, 1 tsp KOSHER SALT, 1.5 tsp UBON'S SEAZN'T UP (if you don't have it use one of your lesser awesome cajun seasoning mixes) and 1/4 cup SWEET PICKLE RELISH. Mix thoroughly. Add about 1 cup of COLE SLAW DRESSING. Mix again.

This is our official side order for the Big Apple Barbeque Block Party. After making thousands of pounds of this stuff you reach a point where you can make it by feel. By the Way....I hate to measure anything. It's great to experiment and learn to trust your judgement. It's cooking! You can treat it like science but why? We have a rule that if it's gross, we'll throw it out and go to MacWhatever.

When Daddy started learning how to cook Boston butts, we had some awful stuff. Every now and then he'd get it right, and I think those times were an accident. Daddy has never been one to sorta do something. We had so much sourdough bread one winter that I still can't handle the smell. I digress. We had so much pork that Daddy decided to experiment to get rid of it. We've used it in jambalaya...that works. We've used it on salads...that works. But Smoked Meat Soup is a disaster. It was a MacWhatever night. Daddy, never one to throw anything away unless necessary, put the soup in the cat's bowl. The cat sniffed, gagged and ran away. It never hurts to try though.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A new week

Each Sunday morning Daddy and I spend a few minutes planning out our weekly menu. Lots of it is set in stone: Fried chicken EVERY Tuesday, Chicken Strips EVERY Friday. We've recently added catfish to the weekends and it's starting to take off. It's hard to beat Daddy's fried catfish. One of the hardest things to do in a restuarnat is to keep it fresh while pleasing your customers who have their favorites. Thursdays were our Chicken and Dumplin' day for a couple of years. We had a group of guys that came in every Thursday...I called them the Dumplin' Gang. (Adorable old geezers...don't tell them I'm writing about them!) But other than the Dumplin Gang, everyone got tired of dumplins. So we changed the daily special to meatloaf. Now I'm going to tell you we've got the best meatloaf I've ever had, none of that ketchup topping junk. I have a friend who expects a reminder text message on meatloaf day. But our crowd started thinning out again. Now we're doing both.
It's our job to think of what people might want to eat, what is different, and what is economical. Mondays are the grocery order day and lots of times they are the days when we've got to be creative because we've got some sausage and that's about it. I've started having Monday as our soup(ish) and salad day. Tomorrow is Gumbo and Red Beans. (oh yeah, we've got sausage!)
I started making these Red Beans and Rice years ago and will debut them at the restaurant tomorrow. Traditionally Red Beans and Rice are served on Monday for just the reason I'm serving them, they are good, filling and incorporate what I've got fresh and on hand. Try these if you can't come by and have a bit with us:

Red Beans and Rice

In a large stock pot add 3tbsp OLIVE OIl and heat. Add 1 CHOPPED ONION, 1 CHOPPED BELL PEPPER, 1 CHOPPED CELERY STALK, 1 tsp MINCED GARLIC. (A modified miripoix). Once translucent add 3 tbsp FLOUR and cook until you have a fairly dark roux. To the roux add 2 OR 3 cups BEEF OR CHICKEN STOCK. While this thickens, open and drain 3 or 4 cans of 1/2 dark red 1/2 light red KIDNEY BEANS. Add 2 cans CRUSHED TOMATOES, then the kidney beans. To this add 1tbsp to 1/4 cup of UBON'S SEASN'T UP (or your favorite cajun seasoning). Add 4 inch pieces of SAUSAGE. (I'm using cajun pork sausage...cheaper the better). Allow to simmer for about 1 hour or more. 30 minutes before serving, remove 1/2 cup of red beans and process in food processor, or us a sieve. This will help to thicken and add texture.

Serve over rice. Each bowl receiving sausage.

**here's a secret. I will add about 2 Tbsp of UBON'S BBQ SAUCE and CAYENNE PEPPER to my roux to make it darker and add more flavor.

Call me at the restaurant and I will fix you up Red Beans and Rice and you can pretend you spent the afternoon cooking for your grateful family!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

It was our day

Well, after a season of not great results Ubon's redeemed themselves at Cleveland's Octoberfest. I'd like to congratulate Dr. Swinestein and City Hogs for a close race. This contest was so much like the 'old days.' (No I didn't get drunk, ditch my dad and spend the day under a tree nursing a wicked hangover.) This trip we spent time with our friends, The Sassy Sows, Delta Smokers, Dr. Swinestein, City Hogs, Ronnie Hamelton's team, judges and volunteers, organizers and reps. We were in touch with Mark West from 10 Bones (who also had this day as his in Covington...1st place rib and shoulder with a GRAND.)

We had our entire team there. Craig and Lori, Jen and Kevin, Brian and V, Mom and Dad, Doc and I. This trip we also had all our kids there, Aden, Sara, Jacob, Erin and Claire. We also added my neighbor Jim this trip. It was so good to have the entire team there. I think when we go this long without all cooking together, we forget that we all have jobs and that it's so much easier when everyone is there to pull his/her own weight. On top of that, we really like each other.

I've got to give some love for today's hog. Brian always says 'we all did it' when we win with a hog, but truth is he's been up all night, he's who's perfected that pig and while we help him when we can, he's the man behind the pig. It seems that Brian has figured out what needs to happen to end with a great product. I'm proud of all of us, but very proud of him. This hog was one high class hog.

No recipe today. Just a big smile for getting to spend time with all our friends this weekend.

for Ubon's....1st place Brisket 1st place whole hog 2nd place shoulder 3rd place rib. Grand Champion for the Whatever it's Called so you get a place in the Jack Daniels Lottery and overall Grand Champ. it was a good day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On the Cookin Trail

We're off to Octoberfest tomorrow. I'm excited to go. I usually see lots of people that I was friends with at Delta State.
There is a little controversy with Memphis In May. (I think that's an UNDERSTATEMENT) has been created to deal with many of those controversies. The MBN is forming to fill the void that Memphis in May left a long time ago.
Any way (after my plug for Memphis Barbeque Network) this year's Octoberfest is doing its second year with blind finals judging. Lots of teams are less than thrilled with this. Mostly us old folks. We're going to adjust but it's not our prefrence.

We are going to be cooking some pretty good chicken for competition

Competition Chicken
take chicken thighs, legs, breast and debone.

season the chicken with your favorite citrus and pepper seasoning.
Smoke chicken until almost done. about 30 minutes begin mopping chicken with this yummy sauce:
put sauce in smoker or heat on a stove before you start mopping.

your favorite bbq sauce (Ubon's of course!) blended with honey and peach jam.

This sauce is great on meatballs too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Today's the Day!

So I guess I'm going to start blogging. I guess this is a good bit like thinking aloud but with the written word. My plan is to throw out some of my day to day stuff to encourage and discourage people from thinking...hey I can fry a mean chicken so I think I should open a restaurant.
My dad started working on his barbeque techniques in about 1987 or so. I can remember eating some crappy pork. He started out with an old propane tank that someone with a blow torch turned into a smoker. We started competing in 1989. Our first contest was in Cleveland, MS at Octoberfest. This weekend is our 18th Octoberfest competition. Our team has changed over the years. We've gone from a fabulous party team to a bunch of old folks who bring their kids and turn in early.
I can remember one Octoberfest while I was at Delta State. (Maybe it's bits of all 4 years and I don't really remember an entire one at all.) My roommate and I took my cousin and our friend Paul out to the college bars after a long afternoon of drinking. I found out that it's not good to take a couple of older brother types out to places where your college friends are mackin'. I should have known it wasn't a good idea when they locked some dude in a port-o-john because he was being obnoxious. One contest since I've been married I shot tequilla with Linda Hitt and my mom and well if you were there remind me. I spent the entire next day of competition sitting under a tree with a wicked hangover. I think Linda judged us the next day and still calls out for the 'Bad Roark' to come play.
We've had fun. About 4 years ago my dad was downsized from Mississippi Chemical. He started working on the restaurant then. About 3 years ago I agreed to join his maddness and enter into the restaurant business. Some days I can capture the absolute fun that we have going to competition. Some days I can see that it's possible to continue wishing and hoping and working. Some days feel like 4:30 at a contest when you're trying to pack up, repack, clean up and know you didn't make it to the finals.
How about a little recipe I tried this week. It's weird, but it is yummy. We couldn't decide between BBQ meatballs and spaghetti. This was our compromise:

BBQ Spaghetti
1lb ground beef, 1 small onion, 1 egg, 1/4 cup bread crumbs mixed together. Roll into 2 inch balls and brown.
3 cups your favorite BBQ sauce (as long as it's Ubon's!), 2 cups bottled marinara sauce, 1/2 caramelized onion
I prepared 1 box angelhair

After meatballs are browned, add them into the bubbling sauce. Let them simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove meatballs and toss sauce with pasta. Arrange 2-5 meatballs on top of pasta for serving.

My 4 year old loved this.