Well, here it is. Sunday. My favorite day of the week. One of the reasons it's my favorite day is because God gave it to us as a day of rest. I am always ready for a good rest by the end of the week, aren't you? I think God was brilliant to come up with the idea and I appreciate that He geve us this sweet gift every single week! It's up to us to make it a restful, refreshing time.
I have always been big on Sunday Dinner. We usually have a rather large meal around noon or thereafter, and it comes complete with a nice table setting (nothing fancy, just table cloth and napkins and perhaps candles) and dessert. I love having the family around the table, relaxing and enjoying the Meal of the Day. It's THE meal of the day because it's the only one I cook on Sunday. Why? Because I need a break from my regular grind too. I like to prepare Sunday meals that I can do ahead or meals that can be tossed into a crock pot or into the oven to slow cook while we are away at church. Even if we don't make church, I still like to make Sunday meals this way.
Today we had a most scrumptious meal that is over-the-top simple to make and it tastes like you really fussed. I am not a gourmet type of cook, but instead I would call myself a home-style cookin' cook. That doesn't mean I won't try something fancy or gourmet-ish, but generally, my meals are very basic and hearty. The menu today looked like this:
Apple Tossed Salad
Country Barbecued Ribs
Baked Potatoes and Baked Acorn Squash
Cranberry-Apple Crisp & Ice Cream
Remember all those apples I was telling you about a week or so ago? The ones I have labored over and peeled and processed until I was ready to throw them to the chickens? Well, they're back!!! I'm using what's left in the garage, and since they are still nice and crisp I'll use them as needed, not committing myself to them nor completely releasing myself from them either. Today I peeled and sliced apples and put them into a buttered casserole dish along with some fresh cranberries. The recipe for Cranberry Apple Crisp is one of my all-time favorites from Susan Branch. If you've never had the pleasure of perusing her book Autumn From the Heart of the Home, you really must borrow it or buy it for yourself. It's packed with fabulous recipes, ideas for making home more homey, sweet quotations and more. Plus, every single page is hand-drawn and hand-written (and reprinted, of course) by Susan, herself.. I love taking the book out every autumn, and the recipes are so good that I use it all year long. For a sampling of her recipes, click here.
Cranberry Apple Crisp
4 large green apples, peeled & sliced
1 c. fresh cranberries (I've used frozen and craisins)
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. oats
3/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. nutmeg
1/3 c. butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 375*. Butter a square baking dish. Place apple slices and cranberries in the pan. Mix remaining ingredients well and sprinkle over fruit. Bake 30-40 minutes or until golden. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
I usually mix my crisp up and set it aside to bake later just as I'm pulling the dinner out of the oven. By the time we are done eating, the crisp will be done and we can have it for dessert hot-out-of-the-oven or wait awhile and eat it warm later on.
The Country Barbecued Ribs are a snap to make when you plan ahead. I just put my ribs into a cake pan or roaster and sprinkle them well with salt and pepper, Cover them tightly with foil and bake them at 300* for 3-4 hours. Drain off all the liquid and fat and either continue cooking in the oven with your barbecue sauce or you may refrigerate them or freeze them for another time. I refrigerated mine last night, knowing that I would finish cooking them today. I baked my already-cooked ribs for another 2 hours (covered with foil) on low heat (300*) with the barbecue sauce so the sauce would caramelize onto the ribs and infuse them with flavor. Here's the sauce I used, but you can use any barbecue sauce you like.
Delicious Barbecue Sauce
1 c. ketchup
1/4 c. lemon juice (fresh is best)
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. horse radish & mustard (half of each)
1 T. grated onion (or dried minced)
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
Simmer this over low heat for about 10 minutes. It improves with age so store some for later use.
I pour this entire recipe over a 9x13" pan of ribs and cover with foil. Check ribs as they bake to make sure they don't go dry. If dry, add a little water. I haven't done it yet, but I think you could finish off the ribs in the crock pot too!
Tip: When pork ribs are on sale, buy as many as you can and cook them all in large roasters or foil pans. Drain off the fat and then freeze in portion sizes you want to make when you need a quick meal or for a meal to take. This method is also nice when cooking for large crowds.
While the ribs are baking for 2 hours, be sure scrub and prick your potatoes, rub them with olive oil and sprinkle with course salt. Cut your acorn squash in half, remove seeds and place them cut-side down on an oiled baking dish. Put the veggies in together with the ribs and everything will be ready to eat when the ribs are done. Adjust the oven temperature and slide the cranberry-apple crisp into the oven whilst you eat dinner and in a half hour, dessert is served!
Enjoy your Sunday Dinner and your Sunday Rest.
It's not what's on the plates that matters,
It's what's on the chairs.