Two nights in a row now I’ve spent a little extra time on supper and been really pleased with the results. In both cases, the extra time meant a little more thought going into planning what I was going to do with the food than usual more than anything else, but that’s often the case with a good meal.

Last night, I made smothered pork chops with au gratin potatoes and green beans. The extra planning required came from the fact that I was using a technique and a recipe that I had not used before to make the chops. One inch thick pork chops would usually go on a grill, not into a hot pan with some salt and pepper to be browned lightly until a mushroom, onion, and garlic gravy gets dumped over them to simmer for a while. They turned out a little more done than they would have if I had grilled them (Medium Well instead of Medium), but the gravy was really nice with them.

Tonight, I made whole wheat penne with italian sausage and mushrooms in tomato sauce. I normally don’t use whole wheat pasta, but we’re trying to eat a little healthier, so I thought we would give it a try. I do know that whole wheat pasta doesn’t get as flavorful as easily as semolina pasta does, so I put a little more salt in my water than I normally do and took the pasta out of the water sooner to put into the sauce. I figured, the sooner I could get the pasta into the sauce, the more flavor the pasta would absorb. I’m glad that I didn’t wait any longer than I did, because even with almost 10 minutes of swimming in the tomato sauce, the pasta just barely had flavor. I’m gonna miss semolina.

That is something. I’m having trouble finding semolina flour in my area. I’m not sure whether I should be going to a specialty market for this or what, but I’m not finding it at any of my local supermarkets. I’m wondering if anyone else is having trouble finding certain staple goods like this one.