Tag Archives: carrots

Weekly Menus: Week of 10/14/2012

Gentle Readers, what a whirlwind it has been. Hard to believe that it’s time to carve pumpkins, plan costumes, and eat a lot of deep-fried food. Well, the latter may be a unique Team Practical Cook tradition, but still. Full write-up of our visit is coming on Wednesday, but here’s a preview.

Deep Fried Mini Cinnamon Rolls with Bacon Sprinkles

Deep Fried Mini Cinnamon Rolls with Bacon Sprinkles

As we also weighed in at the standards and measures center, you may notice that this is a bit of a detox week on the menu. The last few weeks of travel and the upcoming cholesterol check necessitate some communing with carrots.

Enough chatter, here are this week’s weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 10/14/2012

Weekly Menus: 10/14/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 10/14/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 10/14/2012

Which all adds up to:

Sunday: Salad and pasta
This will probably be a walnut/tomato/goat cheese fest. I’ll imitate the salad in the pasta.

Monday: Breakfast for dinner
Served with a big fruit salad, this is a guaranteed winner. Good opportunity to push eggs and feed the Youngest grits, her favorite. Trying to balance her favorites with a need for vegetarian meals (which she does not always love).

Tuesday: Leftovers
It’s turned a little cold, so I may thaw some stock, add the leftovers, and call it soup.

Wednesday: Polenta with mushrooms and spinach
One of my new favorite quick meals from Trader Joe’s, the sliced polenta serves as an interesting based for a lot of nutritious toppings.

Thursday: Salmon cakes
This is a vegetarian compromise. The Eldest probably won’t eat them, but I can serve her a faux chicken patty instead.

Friday: Beans and rice
A family favorite, I plan on making Cuban-style black beans and rice, freezing the leftovers.

Saturday: Dine out!
Perhaps it is tapas time?

What is your favorite fall meal? Pumpkin based? Post a comment below! The crickets won’t mind.

Send deep fried items, menu ideas, and cooking questions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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On Wednesday: The Deep-Fried Review of the N.C. State Fair or I Can’t Believe I Ate That.

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Roasted Spring Vegetables Recipe

Gentle readers, having just returned from a week in Las Vegas, The Practical Cook is very ready to consume some simple roasted veggies. Though I’ve hear there is great food to be found in Vegas, I am never given the opportunity to actually eat any of it, as I am there for work. So frequently it’s a standing dinner consisting of hastily gathered apps or something like this:

This was lunch AND breakfast.

This was lunch AND breakfast.

For which I’m grateful, calorically speaking, but I have eaten this before. It’s not breaking new ground for me. But I digress, let’s talk about the candy of the vegetable world, shall we?

The first meal I was able to sit and eat, possible the greatest club sandwich ever. And yes, there is bacon.

The first meal I was able to sit and eat, possible the greatest club sandwich ever. And yes, there is bacon.

Roasted Spring Vegetable Recipe

mixture of any of the following: carrots, spring onions, baby turnips, potatoes, parsnips
healthy dollop of olive oil
generous sprinkling of salt

Toss the bite-sized veggies with olive oil, and then salt. Don't hold back on either.

Toss the bite-sized veggies with olive oil, and then salt. Don’t hold back on either.

1. Preheat the oven to between 375 and 400 degrees, depending on how much time you have.

2. Prep the veggies: clean, peel, cut into bite-sized pieces, etc.

3. Place the dollop of oil (healthy!) into a glass baking dish. Toss in the veggies, stir to coat.

4. Sprinkle with salt (generously!). Salt makes the dish.

5. Roast, stirring occasionally, until veggies reach a state of desired awesome. More roasting equals more sweetness, do not be afraid. Remove and serve with a starch and a main, or use as a burrito filling, etc. The onions are sweet and wonderful, so don’t skip this if you can.

Healthy, happy lunch. Salmon, couscous, and roasted spring veggies.

Healthy, happy lunch. Salmon, couscous, and roasted spring veggies.

Bring on the vegetables of spring! What’s your fave spring vegetable to roast? Post a comment below!

Ideas, questions, wisecracks? Email them all to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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On Sunday, it’s Weekly Menus, Memorial Day Edition!

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Chicken Chowder Recipe, or Just Add Corn

Gentle Readers, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. This week, I had planned the simplest of beans and rice for Sunday dinner, but alas, I had a half-portion of dried black beans and no time to correct the misfortune. So I punted. Here’s the result.

Chicken Chowder: Simple Comfort Food

Chicken Chowder: Simple Comfort Food

Chicken Chowder Recipe, or Just Add Corn

There is no reason to call this chowder except for the corn. I decided that anything with corn in it could legitimately be called a chowder. I’ll leave you to piece through the logic there.

olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 or 3 handfuls of shredded cabbage
1/2 or more frozen corn kernels
2 cups of shredded chicken, shredded from a rotisserie chicken
1 to 2 cups cheating chicken stock
1 can white beans, rinsed

1. In a medium sized pot, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Toss in the onion, carrots, celery, and seasonings. Saute for a few minutes until onion is softened, stirring on occasion.

2. Add the cabbage, corn, and chicken, and some of the stock. Heat until cabbage is cooked and the corn is heated through, 7 to 10 minutes. Add more stock as needed.

3. Add the white beans, mashing a few up to thicken the chowder, and heat for a few minutes more. Adjust seasonings, serve.

Chicken Chowder with Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley

Chicken Chowder with Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley

This was so simple, and so satisfying. Both of The Practical Cooks Junior ate it, though The Youngest preferred the “grains” served with it (Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley with Chicken Stock). And I’ve got stock and chicken leftover for my chicken pie, score!

Do you feel that corn turns soup into chowder? Post a comment today! It’s so very painless, I promise.

Got questions, requests, or a bunch of leafy greens? Email them to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Where did this week go? It’s time for Sunday’s Weekly Menus!

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Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe, or Thanks, Mom

Gentle Readers, as I type this, my mom is in my kitchen cooking while we recuperate from lingering germs. This post is dedicated to her, for this Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe is hers, though I feel certain I’ve taken a few liberties. I am, after all, her daughter. There are as many chicken soup recipes as there are moms, but like many of you, I’m pretty sure mine is the best. Thanks, Mom.

The Practical Cook's Mom's Homemade Chicken Soup

The Practical Cook's Mom's Homemade Chicken Soup

Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe

I made this yesterday by purchasing a rotisserie chicken, boning it, making stock, and using some of the meat in the soup. Enjoy.

splash of olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/4 cabbage, rinsed, dried, and sliced into strips
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (try Easy Chicken Stock)
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (rotisserie chickens are great for this)
2 cups egg noodles (dry)
salt and black pepper to taste

1. In a medium soup pot, heat the olive oil over a gentle medium heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add onion, carrots, and cabbage, stir. Season with thyme and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook until veggies soften, a few minutes.

The Practical Cook's Mom's Ingrediente Segreto: Cabbage

The Practical Cook's Mom's Ingrediente Segreto: Cabbage

2. When veggies are to your preferred softness (don’t go too far, they’ll cook more), add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. When the stock is boiling, add the chicken and egg noodles. Reduce the heat to medium-low, making sure the stock is still simmering, and cook the egg noodles for 7 or 8 minutes, until they are done.

Sautee the veggies until they're a bit soft.

Sautee the veggies until they're a bit soft.

3. Taste the soup, season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve in a special bowl, and kiss each recipient on the head when you hand them a spoon.

Chicken soup = Love

Chicken soup = Love

Do you make chicken soup when someone’s sick? Share your thoughts (or your mom’s recipe) by posting a comment below!

Send your tea and sympathy to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up next, Surviving the Salad Bar.

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Extremely Practical Slaw (or Punting! with Cabbage)

Well, hello June, where did you come from? Summertime means grilling. Grilling means burgers. Burgers mean slaw. Do what? Yes, if you’re Southern, you know about the Carolina-style hamburger: chili, slaw, mustard, and onions. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! And if you’re going to make slaw for this or any other purpose, I’ve got the recipe for you.

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

Goaty McBeet Burger with Slaw

You see, slaw is a running joke in the Practical Cook’s family. It is one of the only things the Practical Cook’s Mom makes that TPC won’t eat. You heard me mom, I don’t care if you’ve gotten a new pepper grinder that doesn’t shoot whole peppercorns into it (more like I gifted my family with a new one), or banned celery seed from the kitchen. Let’s not even talk about that green plastic 1970s bowl. I love my mother, I love her cooking, I have my own slaw recipe, and here it is.

Extremely Practical Slaw Recipe

These are some guidelines, which you can further adapt to suit your own tastes. I’ve adapted this recipe from the very talented Anne Byrn, best known for her Cake Mix Doctor series, from What Can I Bring? (Full disclosure, I once worked for the publisher.) The simplicity of this recipe involves the food processor. Personally, I would attempt without it or a mandoline, or some such chopping device.

Off with your head, cabbage!

Off with your head, cabbage!

1/2 a large head of cabbage, or 1 small one, trimmed, cored, rinsed, and sliced small enough to shove into a food processor chute, courtesy of the family farm
2 carrots, washed and peeled
1/4 to 1/2 sweet onion (make sure it is a sweet, not just a white, yellow, or red)
scant 1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup sweet pickle juice (as in the juice you drain from the sweet pickle jar), or rice or white wine vinegar if you don’t have pickle juice on hand
1/4 cup or more pickle relish
1 or 2 Tablespoons sugar (don’t overdo it, especially if you’re using  a lot of sweet pickle relish)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s, or my fave, a mix of 3/4 teaspoon Lawry’s and 1/4 teaspoon Ms. Dash

1. Shred the cabbage on the 1/4 inch shredder disc on the food processor.

Cabbage Shredded!

Cabbage Shredded!

2. Change the food processor disc to the smallest grater. Process the carrots and onion.

Carrot and Onion in the Chopper

Carrot and Onion in the Chopper

3. Put all shredded items into a large bowl, creating a well (hole) in the middle. Add the seasonings. Stir. Taste. Adjust seasonings as needed. Chill to meld flavors. Eat!

Serving suggestions: on a burger, beside a burger, on a hot dog, beside a hot dog. On a rueben. Slaw is very versatile, don’t fear the cabbage! And the Goaty McBeet Burger recipe will be coming soon.

Practical Carolina-Style Burger with Slaw

Practical Carolina-Style Burger with Slaw

Do you have a family recipe reject? Share your stories here in the comments section, or Tweet away!

Send your recipes and suggestions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Like, like, like! Press “like” on Facebook today! Thank to everyone for helping to earn our very own name: facebook.com/practicalcook)

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Coming up next, Kitchen Tool Talk!

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One Ingredient, Three Ways: Rosemary Edition

When the yard gives you herbs and spices, take some scissors with you and harvest them. Several years ago, the Practical Cook took out some yard aggression on those standard “builders’ bushes” and replaced them with rosemary and lavender. It was a good decision. Now, not only is the end of the walk more attractive, it smells better, too. Bonus, rosemary is a versatile ingredient.

Rosemary Flourishing

Rosemary Flourishing

Let it be known that there’s a reason I’m not called the Practical Gardener. I do not have the gift or the patience. (Visit my friends over at You Should Grow That! for all things gardening.) However, even I am capable of growing and not killing rosemary. Give it a whirl.

Quick rosemary tutorial video:

Here are three ways to use rosemary as an ingredient:

1. Baked goods. Don’t go hog wild here, rosemary is strong stuff. But add a pinch or two of finely chopped rosemary to your favorite biscuit or cornbread recipe and make the everyday gourmet. Also great in scones to balance the sweetness (try it with orange-cranberry scones in particular).

Hello, Hello, This Is Rosemary

Hello, Hello, This Is Rosemary

2. Vegetables. Just last week, I made a whole meal around rosemary, from the Skillet Potatoes to the Spring Carrots. It doesn’t take a lot to add punch, and the flavor profile changes with the vegetable, so you don’t just feel like you’re gnawing on a shrub the whole meal.

Layer Potatoes and Seasonings

Layer Potatoes and Seasonings

Spring Carrots with Orange and Rosemary

Spring Carrots with Orange and Rosemary

3. Fish. Nothing is simpler or easier to clean up than fish en papillote (unless it’s fish in foil, as shown here). For this dish, I used a pound of cod, spring onions, the juice of 1/2 lemon, slices from the other half of the lemon, olive oil and a dab of butter, salt and pepper, baby spinach leaves, and two good-sized sprigs of rosemary. Bake in foil in a 400 degree oven, on a baking sheet for support, for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. Keep an eye on it.

Preparing the Fish in Foil

Preparing the Fish in Foil

Cod in Foil with Lemon, Rosemary, and Spinach

Cod in Foil with Lemon, Rosemary, and Spinach

How do you like your rosemary? Leave a comment here, or Tweet away.

What’s in your garden? Send photos to practical cook at gmail dot com. Or post a comment here, or connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Like, like, like! Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Stay tuned for the Summer Picnic Platter.

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