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Apr 25, 2009 02:34 PM

Friday night dinners- I'm nosey!

I don't know about all of you, but we generally try to go out Frinday evenings, or what I really enjoy doing is, I make pizza on Friday nights. Understand, with a little 3 year old, we're sort of limited to the establishments. And as long as they are noisy, I'm willing to take him. But nothing where if he got tired and started to voice that, well, I don't want to disturb other diners. Fridays nights are special.

Anyway, I thought about making pizza or we possibly go out for pizza, then decided no, I wanted something a little different. But what?

No surprise to anyone, we are being careful with our dollars and I know this much, I did want cheese, lots and lots of gooey cheese, I guess my body is programmed for Friday night pizza and that's the one need that I had to meet.

Finally I decided on thick grilled cheese sandwiches with thick slices of fresh tomato. And because I had already cleaned them, split pea soup with ham. For dessert I made Crazy Coconut Pie. What prompted that was that yesterday on the boards there was some chatter about clafouti and I love that stuff. However, I didn't want to go to the store for fruit and I do want to use what I have. (watching those dollars again!)

The grilled cheese sandwiches were the best. Using a potato bread and lots of butter, I added some thick slices of fontina, a little shredded cheddar, and a healthy sprinkling of freshly grated parmesean. The time it took to cook the sandwiches on the grill, made the buttered bread nice and crunchy, yet soft, and the tomatoes were completely encased in a swaddling of gooey cheese. It is my opinion, Fontina, drips, oozes like no other cheese, I love that stuff. Oh my, and when we bit into the tomato, the warm juice was just to die for. We were soooo happy. These sandwiches were so big and rich, I could only eat half, but not to worry, the hubby he rescued me.

The split pea soup was really thick and creamy (no milk) but the peas had cooked down to a very creamy mix, and the carrots were cut larger, so you could tell they were carrots. I had added quite a bit of garlic while cooking the onions, and it was well worth it. I sauteed the ham in it, so the ham (from Easter) was well seasoned with garlic, and had brown crispy edges. Nice job.

The Crazy Coconut Pie with toasted coconut, let me tell you, it was so light and delicious!
Ok, so I cheated using canned whipping cream, oh what the heck, for entertainment value alone it was fun to play with. But the pie, if you want to call it that, there is no crust, the toasted coconut forms sort of a crunchy golden top, and with the light custard underneath, um, well it could get totally out of hand.

I have to really use restraint and not take a huge slice with this stuff, I literally can eat the whole thing. Only two eggs, but there's the sugar and all....well anyway, for a really simple dessert that is made from scratch (usually I make the whipped cream) it's a very nice dessert. It takes about 3 minutes to make, not counting the time to toast the coconut. But it really is worth it! And if you need an inexpensive dessert to bring to a party, this little pie with whipped cream, oh and don't forget the chocolate sprinkles, in my opinion is the dessert to do!

So my friends, that was my Fridany night dinner. A total hit.
Tell me now... how was yours?

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  1. This is very (widowed) sister has 3 sons as I do..(I still have 1 at home, adult, working, still in college)...she has always done pizza on Fridays--always; before her husband died, he always made his own pizza on Friday nights for the family...she still has pizza on Fridays (she orders out, but hey, she's in 'Jersey where you can obtain good pizza!) but sometimes there's a change-up: subs or nachos instead of pizza. Us, well, we've always done whatever on Friday nights but now that it's just #3 son and me, we do whatever we feel. Mostly, it's leftovers from whatever I've made all week long! Last night, I had chickpea stew (a leftover) and popcorn...son went out with a friend who's here for! A co-worker had been nuking Orville Redenbacker's single-serve every day this week for her 3:00 p.m. snack and it *drove* *me* *crazy* because I love popcorn...and I indulged last night with my own popcorn so it was definitely a hit for me.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Val

      Popcorn sounds perfect for Friday night!

      Yes the pizza night came about with my sons too, and it just has stuck. The other thing I like to do is Happy Hour, (kinda hard now with the toddler) but I'll make appetizers and have cocktails. Sort of the official kickoff to unwind after the week. Now that the little one is in school, I hardly have a need to unwind, but hey, traditions are hard to break!

      1. re: chef chicklet

        CC, I've heard of many families with the Friday Pizza Night own little family just never got into it, not sure the reason! Maybe because spouse (sadly now ex-spouse) never really LOVED it and considered it more lunch than dinner...yeah, that's big deal. Everyone's different. But even for my sister, the tradition lives on, even though their pizza maker has passed; he was quite the cook in his own right, made his own egg rolls, lovingly chopping up finely all that shrimp and cabbage and pork, rolling those egg rolls! I;ve only done it once and vow to do it again instead of buying frozen from the can freeze them after you roll them is what my sister said!

        1. re: Val

          Oh you sure can! They freeze beautifully! OH and how I do love egg rolls. You can get pretty creative with those things too, adding all sorts of things, and special sauces to dip them in. ooooo I'm getting hungry!

          And to make them together which is a blast, that's a wonderful way to share company. Well whatever your family tradition is or whatever your way of doing things is, it doesn't matter if it's pizza or spaghetti or egg rolls. Friday nights are special, they're the end of a week, people need to be encourged to celebrate and relax. If you are alone, celebrate the end of the week, put your feet up, and congratulate yourself for your efforts. I think my point is to take the time to appreciate each other, or oneself, and reflect on a week, be it a crappy one, or agood one, but to reflect, and try to have a good laugh and talk about it. We talk about the goofiest stuff on Friday nights, and everyone seems to congregate or call me,sort of a wrap up. We touch base every Friday night, whether we're able to share a meal or not.

          And so I am doing that with you and others on CH, just wrapping up the week. And to get things started, its easiest to talk about the food, and then go from there.
          Was it a good week?

          1. re: chef chicklet

            It WAS a good week...I still have a job so life is good right now and there IS food on the table! "Just wrapping up the week"...good way to say it, CC!

            1. re: chef chicklet

              I've tried freezing eggrolls after frying them, and reheating them in the oven to re-crisp. Do you freeze before cooking? How to you wrap them to keep the wrapper moist?

              1. re: happybellynh

                When I make lumpia or egg rolls, all of the contents are cooked. The pork the shrimp, the veggies, whatever is going to be wrapped. After wrapping them, some go on a sytrofoam flat piece, like what they place meat on. ( I actually run those through the dishwasher for things like this) and anyway. That's when they get put in the freezer. When I'm ready to use them I just heat up oil either in a shallow pan (cast iron or my deep fryer) and I put them in. They cook a little bit longer, but not much. That's the way my Filipino friend taught me, their like tamales, you make a huge batch, not just a few, share them or freeze them.
                I freeze them on a cookie sheet first, then wrap them on the little styroplate thing with double wrap of plastic. Same as I do for potstickers and wontons or shu mei. Easy and fast.

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  Thanks! I'll give it a try! I bet ravioli would work too...

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    so, I take it they are stil frozen when you put them in the oil? What type of oil do you use?

                    I bought some frozen (not yet fried) lumpia at a church event here in town today, but they fell apart when I tried to fry some this afternoon, and am trying to figure out what I did wrong....

                    1. re: susancinsf

                      hmm... don't know what to say. But I can say this, they sure need to be wrapped and rolled tight, and then, sealed with a little egg. Also, it's so important not to over stuff.

                      The best wrappers are the one that are crepe thin, they fry up beautifully.

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        alas, all your descriptors fit. Clearly, these were superior lumpia, but my frying technique must leave much to be desired. Will try hotter oil and a different pan...

        2. We had sausage & onion deep dish pizza Friday night. Deep dish is much easier than making a series of thin pizzas. Steak on the grill is another Friday night option.

          8 Replies
          1. re: blackpointyboots

            We are also a family with small child who likes to make pizza on Friday or Saturday nights. We just had a great one, using rye dough for the crust instead of our usual plain. Really gave a nice flavor....we use the Artisan Bread in 5 minute a day approach, which has revolutionized our pizza nights! But.....I digress. Or maybe I don't...

            Last night (Friday night) we had falafel with homemade pita bread (again, from the Artisan bread dough). Talk about quick and easy! We used a mix for the falafel , but it's still cheap, easy, tasty, and I can hide a lot of veggies in those pita pockets! YUM. Bonus is that our kiddo likes them, too.

            1. re: powella

              5 minute pizza dough? wow! Ummmmm I love falafel, I think I'm more intimidated than anything to make it. I don't know why, it just seems like its complicated. There are SO many flavors in good falafel, and you know we just don't thing about making it. I love it when I'm out, I always feel like I'm being so healthy! think more kids would love veggies if they could get them in this fresh as can be form. Hmm..Is it a good item for a toddlers lunch at preschool???

            2. re: blackpointyboots

              Everytime we see deep dish pizza on tv my husband always says, "when are you going to make me that?" And seriously I want to, I have no idea where to begin. I make just regular pizza. Do you use a special pan and how does the sequence of ingredients go?
              I am really curious now, cause you said it is "easier"!

              1. re: chef chicklet

                Friday night is usually 'girl's night' in my neck of the woods. Hubby goes off with the guys to shoot some pool and the girls have our weekly 'whine' down. We take turns at each others homes, which are on the same block, and even our dogs look forward to it.

                The menu is usually pretty simple to keep the conversation the focus. This time around it was veggies and dip, someone else brought cheese and crackers, and the hostess grilled burgers. Another friend brought a green salad, and someone else brought some wonderful mini cakes and tarts. And lots and lots of wine.

                It's become a real tradition and a great way to end the week.

                p.s. great post chef chicklet!!

                1. re: millygirl

                  Oh I sure remember those days, I really enjoyed my girlies. We all need to spend special time with our families, friends etc. Whether its the girls or the guys nite out, keep it fun and stay out of trouble, don't you talk about the week, and how either crappy it was, or how wonderful it turned out for you.

                  My best friend prior to babies, we would get together at my house usually, and we'd trash our bosses, or just let our hair down. I miss that. Well not the bosses, but the time we spent, and we bonded like sisters. Good for you, so much fun to appreciate your buds!

                  1. re: millygirl

                    Not a usual, but I had a girl's-night-in at my house this Friday! I was running an hour late (oops!) and surprised myself by not freaking out about it, and we all had a wonderful time! It was the best party I've had, I think. We had cheese fondue and chocolate fondue. I made banana muffins and snickerdoodles to dip in the chocolate. Roasted baby potatoes, asparagus, and kielbasa for the cheese. And the rest of the girls brought other dippers. It was SO much fun! Gruyere Fondue w/ Caramelized Shallots: Toblerone Honey Almond Fondue: I found little lotions called 'Boss Lady' for everyone- it was a perfectly girly night!

                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      oh my gosh what a lovely menu! everything sounds like it went perfectly together, and snickerdoodles to dip into chocolate!! omg, that sounds divine. Glad you relazed kn, and just went with it. So much easier than to wig out, which I tend to do, but working on being better about that...How perfect a night, the gals will be wanting you to do this more often!!!

                      Banana muffins must of been in the air, I made some big ones and little minis today. The teensy ones are gonzo. I was hoping to freeze them for lunches next week. (hah! we'll see how long they last!)

                    2. re: millygirl

                      wow, I want that. I mean, the tradition, lol.

                2. We bought a Big Green Egg last year and that prompted Friday night Pizza night for us. For months we had pizza every friday night. Then we decided to cut back on our bread consumption so we haven't been having pizza on Fridays recently.

                  Last night it was a girlfriends birthday so we had a dinner for her. She'd never had lamb and wanted to try it so I made a boneless leg of lamb. We had some asparagus risotto and a salad with it. Strawberry cake for dessert. That's not a typical friday for us...usually we'll grill up some fish and keep things simple.

                  The Crazy Coconut PIe sounds good. I thought I saw a recipe for it yesterday..on teh clafouti thread I thought(though I really haven't had time since I started that thread yesterday to sit down and really process everyone's responses yet so maybe I imagined that?). I can't find a recipe now. Would you mind sharing it?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ziggylu

                    Oh what a nice way to appreciate a good friend, and boneless leg of lamb? Wow, how'd she like it? Did you stuff it? I swear there is nothing better than the sauce or gravy that you get from lamb, so rich, and wonderful. Your entire menu sounds so wonderful, I am saving my own thread!!! Can't think of anything that sounds better than lamb and asparagus risotto I'm sure it was a hit. I'd say you out did yourself then to finalize with a Strawberry Cake? Goodness.
                    Was the batter pink with berries?? How perfect for a chick party! I really miss doing dinners with my girlfriends, and your menu is so appealing. Wahat a nice friend you are.

                    Oh the Crazy Coconut Pie, sure thing. So funny, there is one tiny little piece left, and there wouldn't of been that If I hadn't busted my hubby eating it out of the pie dish.
                    Crazy Coconut Pie

                    1 cup toasted coconut - 350 degrees for a few mins
                    Keep oven on...

                    Butter a pie dish well

                    Put into a blender:
                    3/4 stick of softened butter
                    4 eggs
                    2 cups milk
                    1/2 cup flour
                    3/4 cup sugar
                    1 1/2 tsp vanilla

                    Put all but the coconut into the blender & blend well
                    Then pour into a 9 inch pie plate and bake at 350 for 45 mins
                    (when knife comes out clean it's done)

                    This has a soufflé like quality to it. There is soft crust, a layer of custard, and the coconut stays to the top. Super Easy and Excellent..

                    sorry I didn't address your question - it is called a pie, but its like clafouti- sort of, but without fruit.

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      THanks so much. I'm definitely going to try making the coconut pie soon!

                      I did my leg of lamb on our big green egg. I stuck a bunch of garlic cloves in it, then covered it in cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Squeeze a couple lemons on it and let sit overnight. Then grill and enjoy! She did love it which was nice. I was worried she'd end up not liking lamb and thus not her birthday dinner. The risotto was a nice side with it. I never typically make risotto as a side dish, more as an easy main on nights I really don't feel like cooking. It was great with the lamb though. I tossed in some mint from the garden right before serving.

                      All in all a very nice spring dinner. Next Friday it will probably be back to grilled fish though! LOL (actually tonight was supposed to be grilled halibut but we ended up at the local mediterranean restaurant and it was their hummus and lentil soup for dinner instead).

                      1. re: ziggylu

                        Going to copy your menu first chance I get a good deal on lamb. We LOVE lamb, and it all just sounds so perfect together.... but now....about that cake???Did you put berries in the batter???
                        How did you do the cake?

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          Oops, sorry about not answering about the cake!

                          Well...I made this at my girlfriend's request. It is a cake with strawberries in the batter BUT it also calls for a box of jello and starts from a box mix. It was a bit too sweet for my taste. Quite moist though. I only used a very thin of icing between the layers and on top, none on the sides. It is quite pink!

                          Years ago, I did make a strawberry cake from scratch that had berries in it. No icing, it was more of a tea cake. I can't find the recipe anywhere though. I would love to find one that that doesn't use the jello and is less sweet than the one I made last night.

                          1. re: ziggylu

                            no worries about answering, I'm worse than anyone..maybe this thread went away, because I'm just seeing it again. oh well.
                            mmm to the strawberry cake! I don't know why, but I just love pink or strawberry cake.
                            Wondering, can one make an upside down strawberry cake????
                            must ponder that. I love pineapple upsidedown cake, and I'm craving cake. That or an apple pie. French apple pie, the one with only one crust, the cinammon crumble for the top. love that.

                  2. No Friday-specific traditions in our house, though it is the night we are most likely to open a bottle of wine. However, this Friday no wine involved. We grilled 4 bone-in chicken breast and a split chicken, smoking it over cherry wood. Inside I made some fresh baguettes [Rinehart recipe] and served on a platter with goat cheese, sun-dried tapenade, pesto and fresh diced tomatoes.

                    For dessert, a rarity in this house, I served a French tart with strawberries to celebrate the kid's birthday. Dough review is under the COTM thread. Dinner was so good, we repeated it tonight.

                    Half the chicken is in the fridge of a sick relative, and I hear it is making him very happy.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: smtucker

                      Geez, you did that after work? holy cow you're ambitious!
                      Your menu too, so well planned out, I am really mpressed! I just made split pea soup and cheese sandwiches!!! And I don't work! I need to hide this from my hubby!!!

                      I do love your idea with smoking the chicken over cherrywood.

                      Not to mention just how nice of you to do this for a sick relative, you gotta know they appreciate it, and I'm sure they are feeling much much better :)

                    2. Friday nighst are more casual in our house, cuz Dad usually makes it home to eat with me and the two jrs. so I try to make his faves, that don't require a lot of hands on & time, like tonight's beef short ribs!!

                      Last Friday night, for instance we had meatloaf, au gratin potatoes and green beans, one of his ultimates. Some Fridays we end up doing pizza, either homemade or takeout, sometime, in a pinch, frozen (i know, I know, but sometimes I need a break, gfs!) or just easy spaghetti with frozen (my homemade) meatballs & sauce, mac & cheese & nuggets for the kids or fish & shrimp, especially during Lent, which has just passed!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        Well even the meatloaf, and the au gratin potatoes, they aren't all so easy. I've been stumped with both of them at one time or another. I love Friday nights, there is just something special and different than any other night of the week. We catch up, and I guess ultimately it doesn't matter what we make, its just being together and talking. I've managed to make Fridays special for whatever reason, I'm so dramatic. I love my boys, and I just have to see them, and if they can bring their girls over all the better. Friends too, we talk or pop a movie in, I really value that time. Can't do it every single Friday night, with everyone, but we sure try. And now I want to talk with you all, and see what you did?
                        Chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, meatballs, fish and shrimp (that's what my Dad always made Friday night Fish Fry!) and i guess that's where I got this from.

                        Nice to read your posts, I look forward to hearing all about what you're cooking Phurstluv.
                        Cute moniker by the way!

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          Thanks, cc, appreciate it!

                          By the way, had the heel of the leftover meatloaf with the mashed pots & beef short rib gravy leftover from last night - feel like a porker in heaven! But I just love reheating the leftovers and even my 7 y.o. cleaned his plate for the third night in a row!!