Sunday Family Dinner

All the Smokey Goodness..and Then Some!

November 2017 Fam Din
Ever since brother got a Traegar Grill/Smoker, we have been living the glorious all-the-smoked-goodness life! So it was no surprise that for his birthday family dinner, he volunteered to take on the entrees. Hey-I wasn’t going to argue with the birthday boy!

We quickly got the munchkins involved. Here’s Maya and Luna making a bechamel. I mean, what 12 and 8 year old doesn’t know how to make a bechamel???

November 2017 Fam Din
And of course, safety first when the rugrats are cooking. Good thing Bella and Princess Leia are such conscientious supervisors.

November 2017 Fam Din
And while the kiddos went to town, I whipped up cocktails. Since brother is a whiskey and bourbon fan, I mixed up a batch of my Boozy Fall Punch (yeah…I’m a little late on posting this).

It had all kinds of autumnal things like bourbon, brandy, apple cider, pomegranate juice, blood orange soda, cinnamon sticks and chopped up fruit.

It was boozy. It was tasty. Mission Accomplished.

November 2017 Fam Din
The cocktails packed a punch! So we noshed on a Charcuterie Platter….because you know how much we love our cheeses and cured meats!

I just realized the La Tur cheese from Murray’s below kind of looks like a mini-cheesecake. But trust me, it was la tur-rific!

November 2017 Fam Din
Seestrah T also made these cute Mini French Onion Bread Bowls as a second appetizer–recipe courtesy of Tastemade.

November 2017 Fam Din
Think of French Onion Soup…but in dip form! And in its own little bread bowl! Brilliant!

And gosh darn it, it was scrumptious!

November 2017 Fam Din
Quick cooking/eating break for a picture!

November 2017 Fam Din
Can’t forget the dudes!

November 2017 Fam Din

Now on to the food!!!

First up, brother smoked a ginormous side of salmon. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t love salmon. I don’t hate it and I’ll eat it–but of the fishes, it’s not my fav. But when brother busted out this Smoked Salmon he smoked low and slow with mesquite wood pellets, I WAS ALL ABOUT IT!!

It was SUPER moist and had the lightest bit of smoke. The added capers and fresh lemon juice helped to cut through the fatty fish and it was perfect!

November 2017 Fam Din
Not to be outdone by the aquatic beasts, he also did up a huge platter of Smoked Beef Ribs.

November 2017 Fam Din

They were, they were….one word.


November 2017 Fam Din

This time around, I was in charge of the sides. First up! Mac and Cheese!

And as you recall, I enlisted Maya and Luna to help out. No idea why N popped in…maybe to try to get in on the credit I suppose. That big seestrah of ours….

November 2017 Fam Din

I make Mac and Cheese quite often but I was listening to a Bon Appetit Pod Cast on the way into work and decided to give their BA’s Best Macaroni and Cheese a shot.

Let me tell you gang, there’s a whole ton of various cheeses in this business — Fontina, Gruyere, White Cheddar and Parmesan. But I decided to go big and added Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack.

I mean, I didn’t want them to feel left out.

And instead of making Maya hand shred all the cheeses, we busted out the food processor. She was definitely pleased with that decision.

November 2017 Fam Din
How did it turn out?

Quite good!

Ridiculously cheesy… but I guess 6 different cheeses will do that to a dish. But yes, I definitely recommend it. It’s quite easy to make and the end result is on point!

November 2017 Fam Din

With all that protein and 200 pounds of cheese, I figured it would be good to have some veggies. So I pulled together a quick Sauteed Kale and Swiss Chard situation. I quickly sauteed some garlic, shallots and chili flakes in some olive oil and threw in a bunch of Lacinato Kale and Swiss Chard. After they were lightly wilted, I finished it with a douse of red wine vinegar to brighten things up.

Eat your veggies right?

November 2017 Fam Din
Before dessert, most of us cleaned up a bit and someone took a nap. Oh that Leia, she’s a reliable one.

And if you’re wondering what Bella was doing, I can only assume that she was upstairs ordering take-out while watching Minecraft videos on YouTube.

November 2017 Fam Din

When we asked brother what he wanted for his dessert, he almost instantaneously replied “flan”.  And I’ve got to tell you, I was surprised. I’ve known him all my life and had no idea that the man liked flan that much!

We were dumbfounded….

Seester N’s F.I.L. has a great flan recipe so we immediately tasked her with the job. She used these cute ramekins to make individual sized flan.

November 2017 Fam Din
And to kick things up (it was brother’s bday after all), she spiked the adult flans with rum!

The Creamy Rum Flan was perfect! Creamy (I know, it’s in the name), light and was the most delectable finish to our meal!

November 2017 Fam Din
Here’s one of the munchkins caught in the act….we do pass on great habits, right?

November 2017 Fam Din
And with that, brother’s Family Dinner was a wrap! Here’s to you V! ❤

November 2017 Fam Din


This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Boozy Fall Punch, Various Wine
Appetizers: Charcuterie Platter, Mini French Onion Bread Bowls
Entrees: Smoked Salmon, Smoked Beef Ribs
Sides: Bon Appetit’s Best Macaroni and Cheese, Sauteed Kale and Swiss Chard
Dessert: Creamy Rum Flan

Sunday Family Dinner

Southern Comfort Fare for Sunday Family Dinner

September 2013 Fam Din

For September’s Sunday Family Dinner, we decided to jump back to North America and head down South for our inspiration. Southern American Comfort Food to be exact.

You know….the type of food that kind of sticks to your ribs but is OH-SO-GOOD! Worth every calorie.

September 2013 Fam Din

So we gathered the fam to my seester T’s house on a September Sunday—which just so happened to be one of the craziest, scorching last days of summer. (Which explains why our hair was done up like fräuleins to combat the heat!)

And how cute are my seesters‘ with their fams?


To combat the heat and toast our monthly Family Dinners, we started off with cold, refreshing cocktails—my version of a Sparkling Hard Lemonade. Freshly made lemonade, vodka, citrus soda, lemon slices, and fresh mint sprigs all in a mason jar….to keep with the Southern theme. 🙂

Sparkling Hard Lemonade

And what’s a Southern meal without collard greens?

Collard Greens

Eldest seester, N, stewed down these green beauties with this lovely ham hock. Salty, porky, slightly bitter and just darn tummy -lovin’!

Ham Hock

And since we were dabbling in the South, I had to channel Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Matherson, and Mary-Louise Parker. know what I’m talking about….

Fried Green Tomatoes

My version was quick, crispy, slightly tart and deep fried.

So. Good.

Fried Green Tomatoes

I also took the lead with our main dish…..Crispy Fried Chicken.

It was a no brainer that I opted for Chef Thomas Keller’s beloved Lemon-Brined Fried Chicken. It’s one of the most popular dishes from his restaurant Ad Hoc and after trying it, I don’t doubt it!

The recipe is not difficult but it does take time. The citrus and herbaceous brine makes the chicken so incredible juicy and aromatic. And the crust–when done well, it becomes surprisingly light and almost feathery!

We did have a little trouble with our chicken as we fried them in Dutch Ovens on the outside barbecue burners. But since the burners couldn’t hold a consistent level of heat, we kept on having to adjust the temperature and move the chicken around. Nothing too crazy but it did take a bit longer than expected.

Fried Chicken

Unfortunately these photos didn’t do it justice (I went from using my DSLR to my iPhone) but the rest of our dinner was just as scrumptious! Seester T made rich Mac & Cheese and down-home delish Cheddar Biscuits with Sausage Gravy. There was also some grilled corn but I just couldn’t fit it in my tummy!

Southern Family Dinner

Now I’m told that original Southern Comfort Food was rich and filling in order to give folks the sustenance and energy to do a full day of hard, physical work. We DEFINITLEY didn’t do any of that after inhaling this goodness but we DID take a 15 minute stroll around the block. 🙂 Better than nothing, right?

And then we came back from our walk to have some dessert….

Caramel Apple Pie a la Mode that was INSANELY good. So good that I actually didn’t feel bad about eating it after our gazillion calorie dinner.

As I said before….Worth Every Calorie.


Caramel Apple Pie a la mode

And with that dear friends, we wrapped up another successful Sunday Family Dinner!

October’s Theme?

New England Fare! Lobstah’s and shellfish beware! 🙂

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Sparkling Hard Lemonade
Appetizers: Fried Green Tomatoes
Entrees: Crispy Fried Chicken, Cheddar Biscuits with Sausage Gravy, Mac & Cheese, Collard Greens
Dessert: Caramel Apple Pie a la Mode