Friday, April 16, 2010

Things I Make for Sunday Dinner

This article is somewhat theoretical because I haven’t cooked anything for an “official” Sunday dinner… yet.  I have made lots of meals for family and friends over the years and many of these meals have been served on Sundays.  But this is the first time I’ve thought about menu planning for the new Sunday dinner campaign.  Following the guidelines from my Sunday Dinner Manifesto (cook something that doesn’t require too many ingredients, take too long to prepare, or create too many dirty dishes), I’ve decided to make a list of meals to try for my family’s future Sunday dinners.  The campaign officially started last week, but it was also My Aunt Alice’s birthday, which took precedence over Sunday dinner.  We had a great meal of pork roast, brown rice, roasted asparagus, and strawberry pie.  This could certainly make a wonderful Sunday dinner meal, but frankly, it’s a little too much work for me at this stage.  (My mom did most of the cooking and when you have lots of extended family around to help, I say go for it.  I’ll include these recipes when I decide I can handle this meal on my own, but for now, I’m taking a pass.)

Sunday Dinner Fare for the Lazy and Untested
1. Pizza.  This is a no-brainer and the meal I’m choosing for our Sunday dinner this week.  The major advantage to serving pizza is that everyone in my family loves it and I want to start the Sunday dinner campaign off with a bang.  It’s also something that everyone can help make and customize to suit their finicky taste-buds.  Since the main goal of this project is to have an enjoyable family meal that doesn’t make me crazy, I’ll admit that I’m planning on using refrigerated dough for the crust.  I know this is heresy in some circles, but hey, I have two kids under the age of 4 and I’ve misplaced all the pizza dough recipes we’ve been trying out in the past year.  Is this intentional?  Who knows, but we did move to a new house six months ago and lots of things have gone missing since then.  (Sometime I’ll write an article about how to organize a small kitchen into  “zones” so I can find things quickly and create spaces where several people can work in the kitchen at the same time.)  

We’ve tried lots of pizza dough recipes, including Barbara Kingsolver’s very healthy whole-wheat crust, which was too crunchy for the crust-haters in the family, although I liked it.  Our favorite so far was one for a pizza dough you make a day ahead and let rise in the refrigerator.  My husband was out of town when we made this and in the chaos of the week he was gone, it went missing.  

I’m going to keep looking for a dough that can be made ahead of time and maybe even try to adapt one of my favorite bread-dough recipes for the purpose, but for now, it’s refrigerated dough for us.  I think I have some homemade tomato sauce in the freezer, so I’ll dig that out and my dad brought us a country ham on his last visit so that will be the star ingredient of the “adult” pizzas.  We’ll have to see what else I have festering in the fridge come Sunday.  Of course, that’s the other main advantage of pizza… you can use up little bits of food you have left-over in the fridge.  Almost anything takes good on a slab of crunchy bread.