Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dads' Favorites: Mac and Cheese and Barbecue Ribs

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! Whether you are a father, grandfather, godfather, step father, foster father, or even a spiritual father as a priest, I hope last Sunday was a great day filled with lots of love.

I have fun spoiling the awesome dads in my life on Father's Day, and there are a lot of them! It can make for a busy day traveling around making sure we spend time with everyone, but it's good to remember what a blessing it is to have so many people that we love so close - especially thinking of the recent losses of one of my husband's grandpas as well as one of mine. They are dearly loved and very missed. All in all, on Sunday my kids got to be with all of their grandfathers, two of their great grandfathers, and of course their own dear dad and my wonderful husband who has taken on the challenging and rewarding role of stay at home dad. I'm so thankful for all the love, care, and guidance he gives to our kids every day.

We ended our crazy dad-filled day with dinner at my dad's house where I served up some of the favorite recipes of the dads in attendance. My dad's favorite, according the family cookbook, is barbecue ribs. We never ate them that much growing up, but I think that I may be partially to blame since I have always been terrible at eating meat on the bone. If it was my fault, I think I made it up to him. Even though it was my first time making the recipe, it turned out great; succulent, tender pork  smothered in the best barbecue sauce I've ever had - there was definitely a lot of finger licking! Homemade makes the difference! My husband's favorite is macaroni and cheese. I once again turned to my grandma's recipes in the family cookbook, and he said it was the best mac and cheese I've ever made. I only made a couple slight tweaks with the shape of the pasta and topping it with cheese crackers instead of bread crumbs.  I've got to say that our family cookbook never fails and is one of the best things I own. Here's to the family cookbook, and of course here's to you Dad!

Barbecued Ribs

Cut baby back ribs into pieces with 2 ribs in each piece. Parboil in water for about 30 minutes until
getting tender and the fat is pretty much gone. Transfer ribs to baking pan. Cover with barbecue
sauce. Cook at 350 until meat falls off the bone. (I found that this will take between 2 to 3 hours.)

Barbecue Sauce
3 cups ketchup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water from parboiling ribs
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 onion - minced
3 Tablespoon vinegar (or 1/2 cup dry white wine)
6 cloves garlic - minced
dash of Worcestershire sauce 
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
optional: 1 Tablespoon liquid smoke
                lemon and orange slices 


Macaroni and Cheese 

1 box cavatappi pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
cheese crackers and melted butter
1. Cook pasta until tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt 1/4 cup butter in sauce pan over low heat until smooth and bubbly. Stir in flour.
3. Remove from heat and stir in milk - adding the mild at little at a time, stirring occasionally to the mixture doesn't get lumpy. Add salt and pepper. Return to heat and bring to a boil for about a minute.
4. Mix together the pasta, white sauce, and shredded cheddar cheese. Put in a large casserole dish and top with crushed cheese crackers that have been mixed with melted butter.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. 

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