June 23rd, 2018

From Our Table: A new groove for the adults

By Medicine Hat News on May 9, 2017.

Every September since I started writing my column in 1999 I’ve talked tearfully about my four boys as each started school, then returned to school every new school year. This fall was the hardest school year yet with all four leaving for university and yes for the first time we experienced “the empty nest.” We knew it would be hard but we had no idea just how hard.

After the first school year with everyone away the majority are now back home. Our oldest Josiah graduated with his finance degree and has decided to stay on in Lethbridge for now. Everyone else is home including a new addition to the family, Zachary’s labradoodle puppy Ezekiel. Oh endless adventures in our family to say the least with four boys and three dogs.

I missed having everyone home very much but must admit I did start to like having a consistently clean house. Some of our friends have also talked about this adjustment to adult children moving home. My favourite comment was “Welcome home but don’t cramp our style.”

I’ve suggested to my family that we try to be ‘invisible’ in that no one should be able to walk into a room after you’ve left it and tell what you were doing or eating or wearing (or not wearing anymore!). Easier said then done. However we are all learning.

The Smith household has a new groove. We are learning to live together as adults and the exciting part is it’s working out! One of the best parts for me is the cooking. I now have more options for meal prep and I love that!

Our youngest son Benjamin lived in a home in Edmonton with someone who loved to cook and did it very well. Fortunately he is now becoming an excellent cook. From artisan bread to zucchini bake he’s really grown as a chef extraordinaire.

Last weekend he cooked an amazing supper for us. I’d like to share a couple of his recipes with you. They are delicious and I’m sure they will be every bit as big a hit in your home as they are in ours.

Enjoy the spring sunshine.

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Cheesy Ranch Potatoes

Servings: 10

9 red potatoes

1/2 cup ranch dressing

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 cup cheddar, shredded

1/4 cup chives, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 F/200 C.

2. Slice the potatoes in half, lengthwise, then slice each half lengthwise three times and across four times, to cube.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop in chopped potatoes, cook 10 minutes.

4. Drain potatoes. Mix together ranch, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Put on potatoes and toss to mix.

5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until nicely browned.

6. While still hot, top with cheddar and chives.

7. Serve warm.

Robust Ribs

Servings: 4-6

2 racks pork ribs (about 3-4 pounds each)

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 cup of red wine

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp allspice

1 -19 oz can tomato sauce

3 Tbsp tomato paste

Preheat oven to 250 F/125 C.

Clean the ribs (remove membrane or score) and pat dry.

Place the ribs in a foil-lined roasting pan, and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Add about one-quarter inch of water (about one-half cup) to the pan.

Seal the top of the roasting pan with foil and bake for 2 hours or until ribs are very tender.

Place wine, brown sugar, vinegar, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and allspice in a saucepan.

Simmer the sauce for at least 45 minutes and season to taste. The sauce should be rich and thick.

Raise oven to 350 F/180 C.

Remove ribs from roasting pan. Pour off all fat and water, and baste ribs with sauce.

Bake an additional 20-30 minutes. (You can stop and re-baste halfway through.)

Cut ribs and serve with additional sauce.

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