Friday, April 1, 2011

Dry Ribs with Couscous and Broccoli

Follow-up from the taco dinner: official ranking= 8.25.  No matter what the numbers have been, the tacos were so far the best.

Okay, onto the ribs.  This is another dinner of which we already have a regular in place that is kind of similar.  Heck, its probably called Studham Ribs by now.  Visiting family members are always treated to a round of ribs, cheesy potatoes and Ally's Baked Beans since Scott got his Big Green Egg smoker/bbq last year.  The ribs are always great and very saucy and just plain yummy!  The sides don't help to lighten the meal and you usually go into food coma after devouring too much but its so yummy!  This recipe not only calls for BAKING the ribs for 8-10 hours but also calls for a DRY RUB...and then 2 healthy sounding sides, VEGGIES, to boot!  The future wasn't looking too bright for this meal.

This time we actually remembered to prep the ribs the night before.  Ryan tried each ingredient individually as he did with the taco recipe.  Brown sugar was of course a favorite.  Paprika?  Not so much.  Ryan: "We're actually going to put THAT on the ribs?!  But it will ruin them!"  Too funny.  After the night-before's success with following the directions, he relented and added it to the mix. Our next challenge was to remember to put the ribs in and at the right time.  I'm historically terrible at this.  I often forget until its too late.  I've tried to make up for some time with a higher temp... don't do it.  Just cook it the next day. On this day, we got it right.

With all the seasonings, I anticipated a nice aroma to waft through the house similar to when there's a pot roast in the crock pot.  There was a bit of a scent but not really one that makes your hubby say "Wow!  Dinner smells good!  What's for dinner?" as he enters the house.  As dinner time approached, we started on the sides.  The couscous recipe included a lot of ingredients to be put in before the actual couscous which meant for a good deal of chopping.  It seemed potentially interesting too: onions, mushrooms, chicken broth, cilantro, and tomatoes were included.  Still not a lot of aroma though.

This meal turned out to be "ehh, so-so".  It was really missing any real flavor.  Although the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender, it didn't stack up to any recent ribs we've either smoked or had at area restaurants as far as flavor.  We ended up adding some bbq sauce we had on hand.  The couscous was alright, mostly because it was something different than we typically eat.  The broccoli was a bit yellowed and was lackluster too. Even with all that, the kids loved it! I think they have such an "Oooooh!  Ribs!  Yummy!" mentality they would have given it a high score regardless.  Their's were 10's, ours 4's... overall score: 7.

There was one thing I got out of this meal: growing up, we did almost always have a protein, a starch and a veggie like this book does.  Our portion sizes of the protein weren't big enough to feed an army, either.  I hadn't really thought about that before.  Thanks, Mom!

Another thing to note: I believe this cooking thing is really taking hold for the kids.  Ally made another concoction for lunch (heated, chopped lunchmeat ham on toasted buns with fruit-enhanced maraschino cherry juice with additional fruit) and for desert(some sort of cookie dough with white chocolate chips and ice cream cookie dough).  Ryan had no reservations about eating it and wanted another sandwich at lunch.  They haven't spontaneously cleaned the kitchen yet but I'm still hoping that'll come with more practice but I'm not holding my breath.

Tomorrow night is our Date Night so no special cooking.  The kids' typical dinner during our date night is box mac and cheese and carrots but I'm thinking that won't suffice after this week... which is a very good thing.  One thing I've noticed, I'm actually consistently cooking with 'real' foods!  The only thing that I can think of off the top of my head that was in a box was the pasta.  That may seem silly to some but it feels really good!  I often settle for a bag with pre-mixed, pre-sauced, pre-salted meals due to time constraints and to avoid having food spoil before we'd eat it.  It's worth it and more fun now that I have some company in the kitchen and a family really appreciating the food served, whether they are thrilled with the meal or not.

Next up (maybe on Sunday): Sweet Indian Chicken with Rice and Spinach Salad.  Hopefully we'll end this week on a high note.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

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