Tag Archives: CSA

Weekly Menus: Week of 8/5/2012

Gentle Readers, this has been a whirlwind summer for The Practical Cook and the Juniors. We have often found ourselves lacking the sheer stomach space to consume all we want to try. Not a bad problem to have, I know. However, it has also meant a real lack of kitchen time. I think I’ve cooked in other people’s kitchens more than my own!

The magic quadrant of pancakes from #projectpancakes

The magic quadrant of pancakes from #projectpancakes

Not a bad skill to acquire. Last night’s #projectpancakes was a huge success, as you can see. We field tested a couple of mixes with add-ins for a tough crowd. And there was bacon. That was less of a hard sell. Wright’s Hickory Smoked, the victor from Bacon Madness, again reigned supreme.

Underline your panckaes with bacon. For emphasis.

Underline your panckaes with bacon. For emphasis.

However, I find myself lacking inspiration. I resubscribed to Everyday Food, on my iPad. Let’s see how that format goes, if I use and enjoy it as much. So here’s what I’ve got for the week. Would love to hear from you all, what you’re cooking and eating these days. I also wonder if I’m going to be able to get up at 6 AM again before too long–schooltime draws near!

Totally counts as a vegetable. Cucumber gimlet for the win!

Totally counts as a vegetable. Cucumber gimlet for the win!

But alas, back to the late days of summer. Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

Weekly Menus: 8/5/2012

Weekly Menus: 8/5/2012

And the four-square grocery shopping list:

The still lean Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 8/5/2012

The still lean Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 8/5/2012

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Italian
We’re being treated to a 3-course meal featuring pork. Part of my ongoing quest to learn to cook Italian courtesy of the cantankerous Waldorf.

Monday: Eggplant something
This will be Turkish (broiled and pureed, a smoky base) or Italian (oregano/thyme plus a hit of red sauce and mozzarella)  in nature. TBD.

Tuesday: Leftover surprise
This may change because now we need to do some field research this week. So it may be Mexican and leftovers may be lunch.

Wednesday: Field Research (Dine out!)
I am fortunate enough to know a couple of local chefs, and the Juniors have demanded a seat at the table. Since summer is the perfect time to stay up late, we’re going out more than usual! I will reveal our mission in a future guest blog by the Juniors themselves.

Thursday: Beef and Veg
Because both of these things need to be eaten, work in volume, and can be frozen for the future.

Friday: Dine Out!
More field research! There are not enough meals in the day. Truly.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Though this may very well turn into leftover surprise. Or a salad! I adore the Whole Foods salad bar on a Saturday. The challenge of not building a $20 salad and the infinite variety!

Share your summertime cooking strategy (or eating strategy works too)! Post a comment! The crickets and I await your feedback.

Send confessions, challenges, and inspiration 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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Coming up Wednesday: Kitchen Tool Talk, More of My Favorite Things.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 6/24/2012

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook must confess something, yet again. Please lean in close. Last week, I patently ignored my Weekly Menus. Wednesday is my CSA day, and it involves a visit to the Carrboro Farmer’s Market. At said market, there is a food cart from The Pig in Chapel Hill. The Eldest Practical Cook Junior can read. The Youngest Practical Cook Junior is not afraid to place an order. They had allowance money in their pockets and are experts at collaboration.

Hot Dog from The Pig with Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish

Hot Dog from The Pig with Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish

Two hot dogs later, we ended up having salad for supper. Thus is the rhythm of summer. A bit chaotic and vegetable fueled, with a fair bit of pig thrown in. Alas, I try, but bacon follows me.

Bacon Family Photo: We Just Can't Help Ourselves

Bacon Family Photo: We Just Can’t Help Ourselves

But I shall fight the good fight, and I’m putting out a menu again this week. However, I encourage you to fill your house with vegetables and then commit to using them. It’s summertime, and the meals should be easy.

Summertime starts with corn on the cob!

Summertime starts with corn on the cob!

So here is my weekly menu (aspirational):

Weekly Menus: 6/24/2012

Weekly Menus: 6/24/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery List to back it up:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/24/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/24/2012

The CSA from Brinkley Farms includes:

1 dozen eggs
1 bundle swiss chard
1 bundle carrots
1 lb red tomatoes
2 green peppers

Which may or may not translate into:

Sunday: Cookout!
Happy birthday to The Practical Cook’s Mom. You don’t look a day over <redacted>. We’re having burgers, dogs, and watermelon, with a bunch of sides I’m not actually making. My SIL rocks, as does TPCM. I am however bringing Scotch Chocolate Cake:

Gratuitous Scotch Chocolate Cake Pecan-Side View

Gratuitous Scotch Chocolate Cake Pecan-Side View

Monday: Salmon, Green Beans, Potatoes, Fruit
The other joy of summer, guests! We are hosting almost once a week these days, and we are happy to be doing so this night. It’s a great time to cook a little bigger than usual, and break out some traditional favorites. For one of our guests, fruit is not optional, and it’s a great addition to the table in the summer.

Tuesday:  Sausage and Pierogies
I just have to keep the freezer clean! Still laden with the spoils of the winter and spring, I’m going to cook something heavier but string out the consumption of it.

Wednesday: Tapas Night!
If I get near the Farmer’s Market, I will buy something extra. I have goat cheese and bread at home, I can top it with a green and call it crostini. Mama Tapas, as we call it at Chez TPC, can be any series of small bites. Great way to use up bits and pieces of leftover food.

Crostini with Broccolini

Crostini with Broccolini

Thursday: Dine Out!
Okay, I’ve got an event. More on that, follow my Twitter stream for more details. I plan to leave the at-home team with either sammies or lasagna. Let’s see if it goes to plan.

Friday: Spinach Quesadillas
This says, Punt! I know I’ll be tired, there’s a big week ahead, and I predict feelings of laziness and exhaustion. Martha won’t mint this recipe, but the kids will eat veggies.

Saturday: Dine Out!
There is always more research to be done! Send a suggestion my way, and I’ll put it on the list!

Do you find yourself cooking more extemporaneously in the summer? Do you cook at home more or less now? Post a comment today! It’s free AND easy.

Send your birthday candles, fire extinguishers, and veggies 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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Coming up Wednesday, Nuevo Southwestern Salad Recipe!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 6/16/2012

Gentle Readers, it is so very good to be back in the kitchen. Finally, access to food on a regular basis, and the simple bliss of cereal. The vegetable choices are exploding, and I’ve gotten a couple of great challenges to work on in the test kitchen (both involving using up found ingredients, more on this upcoming). School’s out, appetites are in.

Typical lunch for me last week. Not optimal.

Typical lunch for me last week. Not optimal.

Thanks for some fantastic feedback this past week. Knowing that I’ve made a difference in just one person’s dinner, that I’ve convinced just one person to try cooking again, that makes it all worthwhile. Thank you.

On the menu this week:

Weekly Menus: 6/17/2012

Weekly Menus: 6/17/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/17/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/17/2012

The CSA from Brinkley Farms:

1 lb filet beans
1 cantaloupes
1 green summer crisp lettuce
1 bundle Swiss chard
1 bundle carrots

Which all translates to:

Sunday: Lasagna and Salad
This has been on the request list for some time. I make veggie lasagna, sometimes red and sometimes bechamel, and sometimes hybrid. I’ll report on the outcome. Great way to use zucchini and mushrooms, not just spinach and red peppers.

Monday: Juevos rancheros
One of our most popular meals to date. I love that everyone can size the meal according to their needs. The Eldest Practical Cook Junior can easily out-eat me on this one.

Juevos Rancheros, Practical Cook Style.

Juevos Rancheros, Practical Cook Style.

Tuesday: Sammies!
There’s some bread that needs to be used up, so it’s sammie time!

Wednesday: Pasta Night!
That gets an exclamation because we’ve been highly experimental here in the test kitchen thanks to eating Big Night style a few weeks back. The Juniors have strong opinions here. Wonder how that happened?

Linguine with slightly creamy lemon sauce and asparagus. I wanted to swim in it.

Linguine with slightly creamy lemon sauce and asparagus. I wanted to swim in it.

Thursday: Steak and Potatoes
Believe it or not, this is the hardest meal to sell in. Still working on how to serve mashed potatoes and steak in a way everyone likes. I think it’s texture.

Friday: Pork chops and chard
I heart pork chops. The local ones we get taste like bacon. That is all. 🙂

Saturday: Dine Out!
The Eldest, due to the unfortunate breaking of her ankle on her birthday, has not had her traditional birthday meal at the establishment of her choice. This will be that night. I can’t wait to see what happens.

What are you cooking these days now that school is out (assuming it is), and the weather has turned a bit (assuming it has)? Post a comment below. I am hungry and ready to read some good ideas!

Send your queries, kitchen confessions, and secret ingredients 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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Coming up on Monday, Reviews from the Road, San Diego Style!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 6/3/2012

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is unsure where June came from, but it has arrived. The good news is with it comes lots of great vegetables. It also means the end of school for most, and more meals to plan! But, never fear, we will be addressing summer lunches in an upcoming post.

For now, let’s see what’s on the menu for next week. After some serious time away from the kitchen, it is back to eating down the stores and enjoying the bounty of the season and the CSA. So the weekly menus are:

Weekly Menus: 6/3/2012

Weekly Menus: 6/3/2012

And the limited Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/3/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/3/2012

The CSA from Brinkley Farms:

2 lbs cucumbers
1 bag lettuce mix
2 pointed head cabbages
1 bundle red beets
1 bundle chioggia beets

Which translates into:

Sunday: Pigs in a blanket, sweet potato chips, veg
The Jrs have been requesting sweet potato chips, and the pigs in a blanket are simple and a sure-fire hit.

Sweets in the Oven

Sweet Potato Chips in the Oven

Monday: Pasta and salad
We haven’t eaten much pasta lately, it’s time to go for the basics. The last week of school is a busy one, and this is easy!

Tuesday: Juevos rancheros
Mainly because I both like to say and eat it. With black beans. And green onions. Which I am currently obsessed with.

Wednesday: Pork chops, greens, and cooked apples
I heart Brinkley Farms pork chops a lot. If you haven’t had a thick-cut pork chop lately, run don’t walk. Cooked apples are a great way to use up less than crispy apples. I can’t abide a mealy apple.

Beautiful Pork Chops

Beautiful Pork Chops from Brinkley Farms

Thursday: Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, green veg
I am determined to make meat loaf work for the family. There will be add-ins and toppings, which will include bacon. Or guanciale.

Friday: Pizza and salad!
School’s out for the summer, birthday party on the horizon. There will be wildness. Here’s hoping something gets eaten.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Birthday girl’s choice. We shall report on what that is!

And this week features a special project, Birthday Cake! It will be Birthday Carrot Cake per request. The Practical Cooks Junior are big fans, complete with Cream Cheese Frosting. The theme: fairies. Wish me luck. What are you cooking these days? Share your ideas in the comments section below. It’s fresh as a clean sheet of paper, just awaiting your culinary delights!

Mime jokes, licorice, and Nutella can be quarantined by sending 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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Up next, Can this supper be saved? The Practical Cook is challenged to create a meal plan from the contents of a loyal reader’s freezer! Game on.

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Weekly Menus, Memorial Day Weekend Edition

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook wishes you a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Here’s hoping you’re getting to take some time off and be outside somewhere. Preferably with watermelon. Without it, I don’t think one can fully celebrate. But I am deeply Southern that way.

Watermelon is key to celebrating Memorial Day. As important as the white shoes rule.

Watermelon is key to celebrating Memorial Day. As important as the white shoes rule.

I digress, as usual. This week, I’m actually in my own kitchen, cooking. Wow, what a concept! However, I have several upcoming guest blog posts. I have been out eating other people’s food, and talking to anyone and everyone about food. I know, it’s not an easy task, but someone must do it. I am here for you.

Rainbow Jell-O in order! Not mine, but I plan to tell you all about it.

Rainbow Jell-O in order! Not mine, but I plan to tell you all about it.

Worry not, at least one guest post will be dedicated to bacon. Bacon on bacon. I shall say no more for now, but I hope that guest poster is reading this and making a bacon lattice as we speak.

On to the Weekly Menus for this week:

Weekly Menus: 5/27/2012

Weekly Menus: 5/27/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 5/27/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List: 5/27/2012

My CSA from Brinkley Farms:

1 dozen eggs
1 pk pork chops
1 bundle rainbow carrots
1 lb cucumbers
1 qt. yukon gold potatoes
2 lbs zucchini

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Chicken, veggie, TJ’s brown rice medley, and fruit
We’re having guests, I’m craving comfort food, and half the people present could eat their weight in fruit. Thus the detailed listing.

Monday: Dine Out!
We’re eating out a couple of times in order to cover requests made by each of the Juniors. This is what compromise looks like in a foodie family.

Chinese Tapas, the phrase coined by the Eldest as she calmly ordered half the appetizers.

Chinese Tapas, the phrase coined by the Eldest as she calmly ordered half the appetizers.

Tuesday: Leftovers!
Because I will die under the weight of them if I don’t serve them regularly.

Wednesday: Ham and Cheese Sammies with Sweet Potato Chips
This is a recipe TPC’s Mom made growing up, and she fed it to my kids last week. Now they’re hooked, and we’re blogging it.

Thursday: Beans and Rice, Mexican Style
I’m overrun with tortillas, and I am pro any reason to eat avocado.

Friday: Beef and Bok Choy
I just like the sounds of it. This will be experimental in an attempt to convince the Jrs to eat both.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Though I may advocate for staying home and eating leftovers, or a salad. Road food is killing me softly.

Send kitchen challenges, kind words, and charming anecdotes 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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Coming up Wednesday, Peach Blueberry Crisp Bars Recipe. It’s like a crisp, in bar form.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 5/13/2012

Gentle Readers, this week’s menus come to you full of jet-lag and fond memories of the West Coast. Whatever they do to salmon there makes it taste like flowers and sunshine. But I digress. I had my traditional recovery meal upon landing and waking back up: cereal. I really miss cereal when I travel.

Recovery Cereal

Recovery Cereal

This week is a straightforward set of menus, let’s dive in, shall we? Weekly menus are as follows:

Weekly Menus: 5/13/2012

Weekly Menus: 5/13/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 5/13/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 5/13/2012

The CSA from Brinkley Farms:

2 white stemmed boc choi

1 bag lettuce mix

1 bag arugala

1 bundle regular kale

1 bundle celery

And that all translates into:

Sunday: Leftovers!
We went out for Italian to celebrate the Youngest’s triumphant return to the ballet stage. The honoree almost fell asleep in her pesto. Many leftovers to be had.

The Juniors Celebrate Big Night Style

The Juniors Celebrate Big Night Style

Monday: Italian?
This is an exciting turn of events. Waldorf is cooking for Team Practical Cook on location. How well do I share my kitchen? Let’s find out. I suspect the cuisine will be Italian, but a full report will be issued at some point.

Tuesday: Steak and Potato
There was a lot of steak talk last week, and now I’m craving one. Problem solved.

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner
Probably omelet bar with either biscuits or corn cakes on the side. Potentially grits for the Youngest Practical Cook Junior.

Thursday: Salmon and Veggies
I’ll use whatever we get at the market, plus salmon. We need to eat more fish!

West Coast Salmon, Mexican Style

West Coast Salmon, Mexican Style

Friday: Beans and Rice
Don’t know the cuisine yet, but I’m feeling some comfort food in the works. Perhaps Peruvian.

Saturday: Dine Out!
There’s a spreadsheet of place I have yet to try. If it’s good, look for a restaurant review in the near future. Don’t hesitate to shout out some options. I keep a running list from anywhere and everywhere. Bacon and Fried Chicken get preferential seating, but anything you say is the “best ____ ever” will go on the list.

My Road Food Survival Kit

My Road Food Survival Kit

What food do you miss most when you are on the road? Post a comment below, or Tweet my way. I am going to brew up a spot of tea and relax for a bit longer.

Send your challenges, queries, and kitchen confessions 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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Reviews from the Road: More Field Research from San Francisco: From Bacon to Curry and Back Again.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 5/6/2012

Gentle Readers, it is time once more for The Practical Cook to hit the road for some field research. More like her job is taking her to 3 cities interspersed over a span of 6 weeks, but let us pretend it is a culinary journey, shall we? So once more the kitchen will be turned over to The Practical Cook’s Mom. Thanks in advance. I know my children will refuse to eat my cooking for a month after this.

The Moveable Honeybun Cake Feast

The Moveable Honeybun Cake Feast

A PSA and hint as to my destination. I plan to avoid the treat that is not a treat. As I have not yet packed, shopped, or even completely finished my plans for this trip yet, I shall get right to business.

Weekly Menus are as follows:

Weekly Menus: 5/6/2012

Weekly Menus: 5/6/2012

The Four-Square Grocery list will be (lean because TPC’s Mom brings a U-Haul’s worth of food with her.Yes, I’m related.):

The Four-Square Grocery List: 5/6/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List: 5/6/2012

No CSA this week, I’m doubling down next week.

Which translates into:

Sunday: Rotisserie Chicken and Veg
I’m thinking salad and something potatoey. Possibly home fries, just to prove to my kids that I can cook them just like my mom, in an blatant attempt to maintain their loyalty in my absence.

Monday: Chicken Potpie
My mom will be whipping up a recipe she’s been wanting to try. Hope she takes pictures.  (She’s serving it with sweet potatoes and kale. I’m doomed.)

Tuesday: Sammies/Leftovers
Gotta eat down the stores!

Wednesday: Beans and Franklins
I used to call them that, and still do in my head. Just owning it. This will be served with slaw and okra. Because my mom is Southern like me, and can feed my children piles of vegetables only to have them rejoice. Sigh.

Thursday: Taco Night!
Served with salad and pintos. The Eldest Practical Cook is very fond of them “ranchero” style, or whole. If someone in your crew doesn’t go for refried, try whole and see if it makes a difference. (Or you can try serving this with Bok Collards, as I had last night. Eyes on you Blended Familia.)

Friday: Pizza and Salad
I’ll be back for this meal, and I’m betting my mom serves it with black-eyed peas and corn, or broccoli. It’s Dinner Without Borders as far as she is concerned.

Saturday: Dine Out!
The Youngest will be selecting our destination to celebrate a special day. I can not predict the outcome, but will keep you posted. She is a woman of discerning taste.

What is your favorite (or your kid’s favorite) dish from Mom? We’ll share the results next week, just in time for Mother’s Day. Post a comment below! I vote for my Mom’s sweet potatoes, followed by any dessert that comes out of her kitchen. Thanks Mom, I will bring back surprises.

Send anything but the San Francisco treat 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, The Great Dishwasher Debate: To Rinse or Not to Rinse, I Answer That Question

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