Back to School Menu
It is back to school time, and you don't know what's for dinner; here is
a menu that everyone in your family will enjoy. Don’t expect your clothes to
fit after this one, but trust me it will be yummy. Hopefully, you’ll have leftovers
for another evening, preferably when it’s raining as it is today. The soup can
be made with either broccoli or cauliflower, you pick. You can use heavy cream,
half-and-half, or light cream. I compromise and use half-and-half. Garnish it
with slivered ham if you want, but I don’t think garnishes are necessary for
your family. It can be made up to three days in advance. You can skip the Boston
Cream Pie because you’re gonna be full but it’s delicious anyway. You can also
make it in advance. The meatloaf can be made ahead just don’t bake it until
dinnertime. Mashed potatoes should never be made ahead.
Broccoli or Cauliflower Cheese Soup
The Perfect Meatloaf
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Homemade Biscuits (cheat and use the Gullah Gourmet Mix)
Boston Cream Pie
Broccoli or Cauliflower Cheese Soup:
1 lb broccoli or cauliflower, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cream (you’re choice)
Salt and pepper
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, chopped
3 tablespoons minced jalepeno peppers
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
Place the broccoli or cauliflower in a steamer rack set over simmering water
and steam until just tender, about 6 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop
the cooking and drain. Chop finely and set aside.
In a soup pot melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add flour
and cook stirring constantly for about 3 minutes. Whisk in the broth and cream.
Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce
heat to low and simmer stirring occasionally until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, heat the remaining butter over low heat. Add
onion and sauté until soft but not golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms,
and jalapenos and sauté until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes longer.
Transfer to the cream mixture. Add broccoli or cauliflower and cheeses and cook
over low heat until the cheese melts. Do not allow to boil. Serve.
The Perfect Meatloaf:
Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze:
1/2 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons vinegar (any type)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup milk
1 lb ground chuck
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground veal
2/3 cup crushed saltine crackers, about 16
1/3 cup minced parsley
For the glaze, mix all ingredients in small pan, set aside. For the meatloaf,
heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in medium skillet. Add onion and garlic;
sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Mix eggs with salt,
pepper, thyme, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and milk. Add to meat in large
bowl along with crackers, parsley and cooked onion and garlic. Mix with fork
until evenly blended and mixture doesn’t stick to the bowl. If it sticks add
milk. With wet hands, pat mixture into 9x5-inch loaf shape. Place in foil lined
baking pan for easy clean up. Brush with half the glaze. Bake until crisp, about
1 hour. Cool at least 20 minutes and serve with the remaining glaze.
The Perfect Mashed Potatoes:
2 lb russet potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup milk or cream, warmed
Put potatoes in a large saucepan; add water to cover and ½ teaspoon salt.
Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender when pierced
with a knife, about 15 – 20 minutes. Drain potatoes well and return pan to low
heat. Rice the potatoes into the pan or use a food grinder (or just mash them).
Do not use a food processor. Add butter and milk, salt and pepper. You may need
more salt than called for.
Wesley’s Pole Beans:
2 lb Pole beans
4 beef bouillon cubes
Trim the strings and ends from the beans and break them into bite sized
lengths. Add water to cover them in a large saucepan along with the bouillon
cubes. Bring to a boil and let boil for about an hour. You really want them
to take on a dark color. Add water to the pot as necessary .
Boston Cream Pie:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Vanilla custard (recipe follows)
Chocolate glaze (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms
with waxed paper. Grease and dust pans with flour; tap out excess. Sift flour,
baking powder, and salt into small bowl. In a medium bowl with an electric mixer
on high speed, beat eggs 3 to 4 minutes until thickened. Gradually beat in sugar
until fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed beat in butter, vanilla and 1/3
cup hot water just until blended. Add dry ingredients and beat on low speed
until just blended. Pour into pans dividing batter evenly. Bake 25 to 30 minutes
or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely
in pans on a rack. Run a knife around the edges and turn out on a rack. Remove
waxed paper. Place one layer bottom side up on a serving plate. Stir vanilla
filling and spread over cake up to ½ inch from edge. Top with second layer top
side up. Cover top with glaze. Use a serrated knife to cut the cake (pie).
Vanilla custard filling:
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
3 egg yolks
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
In a medium saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk until blended.
Gradually whisk in milk. Place over medium low heat. Cook, stirring constantly
until mixture comes to a boil. Boil one minute, stirring constantly. Remove
In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks. Gradually whisk in half of milk mixture.
Gradually whisk yolk mixture back into saucepan. Return pan to medium-low heat
and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from
heat. Add vanilla and butter. Stir until butter melts. Cover surface with plastic
to prevent a film from forming. Poke a few holes in it with a knife; let cool
15 minutes then refrigerate for 2 hours.
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
In a small saucepan, bring cream and coffee powder to a boil, about 1 minute.
Remove from heat, add chocolate, and whisk until chocolate melts. Stir in corn
syrup and powdered sugar. Let cool until slightly thickened.