Friday we had a party at Shasta’s house with more people than we can shake a stick at, and several stayed over at our house. I had no idea how many were staying here until we actually settled down for the night (it’s not that the number was bad, it’s just that I did not know if it would be two or fifteen). It was nine- The HG and her family, a family of three ladies, and two single lads.
Saturday some of us went up north to a giant five acre discount store for a few hours, and then we came back for another BBQ at Shasta’s- a birthday bash this time, for Pip and the Dread Pirate Grasshopper. Breakfast was eggs. lunch was sandwiches, and then BBQ burgers for dinner.
I still did not know how many houseguests I would be having Saturday night, some left, but somebody new came, and when it all settled, I only had two- Mop Top, and a different single gal than the ones we’d had before.
Sunday morning breakfast was the crockpot grain cereal
Because we stay in town all day Sunday, and we were having two additional, different houseguests over Sunday Night (Mop Top’s parents), I needed a plan for dinner.
I have done this before and it worked well- I put frozen porkloin in the crockpot topped with the sauce for ugly burgers. We cook it on high all day, since the pork is frozen, and by the time we get home, it’s done easily shredded, and good on top of whole wheat buns. I tweaked it a bit by adding some extra balsamic vinegar and some Annie’s Organic maple ginger dressing to it. We went off to church, and after church we had a family picnic with three extras over at the HG’s and Strider’s house, and then we had evening services, and then we came home, this time with the Mop Top, and his parents, who were coming to visit our house for the first time.
And one crockpot had not been plugged in at all, and the other had stopped working very, very early in the process. So there was no dinner ready as planned.
This is my favorite plan B recipe for fall and winter months. It’ s not precisely a recipe, as the extra ingredients do vary, but there are three basic ingredients that never vary, and every time I make this, somebody asks me for the recipe;
Two or three pounds of polish sausage- depending on what is on hand and how many eaters we will have. Dice this roughly and begin frying it in the largest soup pot you have, or one that holds about a gallon.
When it’s fragrant and a little brown around the edges, start adding cans of beans. I don’t have an exact amount nor a precise ration of types- I use canned black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. I must have the black beans. I thought I had to have pinto, but yesterday we had no pinto and it was still delicious. I used at least six cans of beans (16 oz each, maybe one or two more), and I never drain them- all the contents of the can goes into the soup.
Add: some minced dried onion- I add about 1/4 cup or more.
Fiesta Chili Powder- to taste. I usually add about a Tablespoon
Garlic- about 4 tablespoons
one jar of salsa (about 16 ounces), your favorite kind.
Those are the key ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste. Continue heating, adding other ingredients as desired.
More liquid- beef, pork, and chicken broth. Tomato juice. V-8 juice- what do you have? Water? That’s fine, too, just add more spices.
Corn if you like
Peppers if you like
Ripe tomatoes. Mop Top’s mother brought me some ripe tomatoes from her garden, so that is what I used- I diced several and put them right into the soup. I could also have put them through the blender to help thicken the soup a big. Sometimes I put one of the cans of beans through the blender to thicken it some.
Heat to simmering. Add cheese if desired (we don’t), Serve over rice or with cornbread. We did cornbread because one of the Progeny could grind the corn-meal and flour and make the cornbread batter (and bake it in muffin papers) while another Progeny and I mixed up the soup and yet another set the table, while another unloaded and loaded the dishwasher (how do small families cope with these sorts of crises?).
The meal was a success, and we had enough leftover that I am going to bring a jar or two of it to church to share with our adopted college students.
The Mop Top’s parents are delightful, delightful people. It’s no surprise that they produced a Mop Top who is worthy of our Pip. (GRIN).
Monday morning breakfast was more crockpot grain cereal, green smoothies, and omelettes for those who wanted omelettes. Then we took them to the Rattery to get their advice on finishing it up for the Moppips to live in after they get married in May.
Yes, much rejoicing. The rejoicing is much tempered, however, by the discover that the Mop Top’s mother has cancer again. She had it four or five years ago and it was clear, but it has returned. That’s actually why they were able to come this weekend- they are on their way north for further scannings and testings and discussions about what treatment options will be.
Many prayers on her behalf would be most welcome.
Update: We got good news on the Mop Top’s mother. She does need to do radiation treatment and take hormone blockers once again, but the prognosis is good, much better than expected. We are praising God.