Skip to main content

Sunday Dinner - #Write31Days

Sunday dinner was kind of a big deal in our family.  Some of my earliest memories from around the age of six was Sunday dinner at Aunt Jeanette's house.  We lived near by and I think all of her family came to our house on Friday nights and we went there on Sundays.  Then when I went to Cedarville University (College then), I lived with Aunt Jeanette for two years.  All of her kids were married by then or away from home, but on Sunday everybody came for dinner.  There were kids everywhere creating all sorts of fun chaos.  The adults were involved in discussions about everything from raising kids to work to politics to discussing the Sunday sermon(s).  After dinner the women all did the dishes and talked some more while the men found the football game of choice on the TV.  Later we might go for a walk, play games, or just talk some more.

When I was in high school, we didn't live near any extended family, but Sunday dinner was still a special meal.  Mom and Dad usually cooked a roast beef or a chicken in the oven and it was ready to eat when we got home from church.  We usually sat the table with the nicer dishes and it was a meal different from the others of the week.

Having a special meal on Sundays is something I still like to do, but there are challenges to that living here in Niger, y'all!  For one thing, there aren't many meals I can put in the oven that won't be burnt to a crisp before our three hour church service is over.  I've tried roast beef here, but I don't's just not the same as mom's.  Sometimes I put something in the crock pot, but it doesn't seem that special.  So what we've ended up doing is actually very simple, but still special.  On Sundays we cook either steak or lamb chops.  It's actually a fast meal as I cook them on the stove-top in the skillet.  I brown the meat first and then season with salt and pepper and liquid Maggi, turn it over and do the same with the other side.  If it's lamb, I'll also add either dried or cut up fresh mint to the meat.  Once the meat is browned, I turn it down low, cover it, and let it cook about 15 minutes.  While the meat is cooking, I cook either rice, potatoes, or pasta.  Today I cooked pasta and then made pesto to go with it.  I pulled a bag of carrots out of the freezer, and voila! dinner.  

The carrots were easy today, but some time back in February, I bought them at the market, washed them all, peeled them, cut them up, and put them in the freezer.  Just so you know that there aren't frozen carrots available at the grocery store!

I have never in my life eaten or made pesto until we ended up with a jungle of basil plants.  I cannot use them fast enough and they grow like weeds.  Literally.  They drop their seeds and replant themselves.  All we do is water them.  Sometimes when I make pesto it has been too oily.  Today I reduced the oil and it seemed too dry.  So if anybody wants to give me pesto making tips, I'd appreciate it!

Here is my pesto recipe:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese (I just used Parmesan and not nearly 1/2 cup because I'm hoarding my cheese that came all the way from America!  And because John is lactose intolerant, but he can tolerate a small amount of Parmesan.)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I think this is too much; I would advise you to add in a little at a time until it's the consistency you like.)
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts (I didn't have either so I used pecans, and again, it's my hoarded supply, so I put in just a few nuts)
3 medium sized garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste.
Whirl the garlic and nuts in the food processor.  Then add in the rest of the ingredients and process until the right consistency.

Sometimes on Sunday we make a drink we learned to like from our days in Nigeria called a Chapman.  It's basically a mix of Blackcurrent syrup, Sprite, Fanta, and bitters.  We don't have any bitters, so we use a tonic, which is pretty bitter.  It's very refreshing after you've sweat and sweat during church! :)  On our honeymoon we went to a dinner theater called the Harlequin and we got these glasses.  They are our special Chapman glasses.  

So, that's Sunday dinner at our house.  Quick, easy, but still something special.


podso said…
This brought back memories of my childhood! We still have a special Sunday dinner most weeks, but it's more like what you make. or left overs, but always a "main" meal. We love to have company for Sunday dinner too if it's something I can make ahead. It seems to be a dying thing, but we like to keep up the Sunday dinner tradition.
Hannatu said…
Podso, yes we often had company for Sunday dinner. But here I'm so tired by the time church is over that it is the day of the week I am least likely to have company. Which makes me kind of sad.

Popular posts from this blog

Practice Hospitality

My mother-in-law, Jean, is an amazing person with many gifts.  One of the first things I noticed about her when I was but a young bride, was her gift of hospitality.  It was nothing for her to invite a large group of people over, make each one feel welcome, cook a big meal,and seemingly do it without stressing herself out.  I don't know if hospitality just came naturally to her or if she learned it.  In this picture you can see Jean throwing a party for a class she taught in Nigeria.  

I believe that for me it has been a learned skill.  My parents were hospitable and it wasn't unusual for us to have guests over (though usually not as many at a time as my mother-in-law would do!).  But when I started living on my own, I had to learn hospitality.  The first time I invited somebody over for a meal, the lid got stuck on the pot of vegetables, I put too much salt or soda or something in the muffins, and I forgot to serve milk and sugar with the hot drinks.  I've gotten much bett…

2016 in Review

Let's take a look at the year 2016.

January's big events were the dedication of the Tamajaq New Testament, our annual Spiritual Life Conference, helping friends find a house, a trip to visit missionaries in the bush, attended a big wedding, and celebrated John's birthday. It was a pretty busy month.  My January picture is from our trip to the bush and shows baobab trees.  

February was a little less crazy.  John started taking moolo lessons.  February is the time of year when the fresh fruits and veggies are in season so I did a lot of work to freeze veggies for the hot months ahead.  This picture isn't terribly exciting, but a year after the church burnings this church we helped plant back in 1989 finally had a new ceiling and a fresh coat of paint.

In March we attended another big wedding, froze more veggies, celebrated Easter, and visited a church in another town.  John and I have visited a lot of churches in the past three years as he has done research for his doctora…

Meat Roll-ups

Tonight I made meat roll-ups.  And I got to use some ingredients that made food prep much easier than normal!  I did make two batches of rolls so that John could have a lactose-free meal.

The first thing to do is to brown some hamburger.  With the main batch I stirred a tin of mushroom soup into the browned meat.  For John's batch, I stirred in flour, some almond milk, and seasonings just enough to moisten it, but not to make it really runny.  In Niger, I would make it the second way since we don't have tinned soup.

Next I made a batch of biscuit dough using Bisquick.  Of course, in Niger, I have to make the biscuit dough from scratch.  I mixed it up with the almond milk.  Once the dough is rolled out in a strip, spread the meat mixture on it.  Roll it up like you would cinnamon rolls and cut into slices.  Lay the slices on a cookie sheet and cook in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes.

While they're baking, I browned fresh mushrooms in butter (in Niger I would use tinned mushroo…