Tag Archives: easy dinners

Weekly Menus: Summertime Edition

Gentle Readers, when did summer become busier than the school year? Lots of fun in the queue, but my calendar is openly weeping. Combined with the heat and training for upcoming 5k for Wounder Warrior Project, and I’m more focused than ever on efficient, seasonal, light eating.

Meze platter from Bosphorus: endless variety, light and amazing.

Meze platter from Bosphorus: endless variety, light and amazing.

My friend and food muse, SassySpice, teased me the other night about my fruit obsession, but it’s true–healthy transportable water, with some sugar, that’s what it is.

Fruit: The Cookie Antidote

Fruit: The Cookie Antidote

Plus, I’ve done some serious field research recently courtesy of my fellow pig fan from the Left Coast, Chinese5Spice. No regrets, but this week must be simple food one can eat outdoors or after a trip to the pool.

Pork Belly Buns from Lucha Tigre: Run Don't Walk (Cucumber makes it healthy)

Pork Belly Buns from Lucha Tigre: Run Don’t Walk (Cucumber makes it healthy)

Which means this weeks weekly menus are as follows (and yes, apparently I tried to sneak an extra day into the week there, good job me):

Weekly Menus: 6/16/2013

Weekly Menus: 6/16/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List (complete with another round of ingredients for another birthday party!):

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/16/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/16/2013

Which all translates to:

Sunday: Salad
I am going to unapologetically combine a field research trip  (bulk bin cereals) to the Whole Foods with a raid on their salad bar. I really crave this. Upcoming post on tips and tricks on what you get there–please post yours in the comments!

Better to top your salad with a little barbecue than a lot of ranch.

Better to top your salad with a little barbecue than a lot of ranch.

Monday: Fish and Quinoa
This meal serves both TPCs Jr, one who loves fish (The Youngest) and one who loves quinoa (The Eldest). High protein, light, and infinitely variable, I highly recommend you give this one a try. Serve with either a hot green veggie or a cold cold salad.

Salmon and Arugula over Quinoa: It rocked

Salmon and Arugula over Quinoa: It rocked

Tuesday: Hummus and Falafal
You can make hummus from practically anything, and it’s usually way better than any commercial product, and in consumable quantities. I’m either going to do a blend of chickpeas and edamame, or use white beans and lime. Leftover chips or toasted (aka, getting stale) bread as an accompaniment.

Wednesday: Pasta and Salad
It’s carbonara time I think. Or perhaps diced fresh veggies and a light lemon sauce.

Not Quite Pasta Carbonara with Spinach

Not Quite Pasta Carbonara with Spinach

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
We’re in high biscuit production mode here. They make a great portable breakfast, toast and reheat well, and I want to be that old lady who can whip out light and fluffy biscuits without breaking a sweat. Game on.

Inspired by Rise in Durham's Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Biscuit. Yes, it was that good.

Inspired by Rise in Durham’s Fried Green Tomato and Pimento Cheese Biscuit. Yes, it was that good.

Friday: Leftovers in a Quesadilla
Sounds more purposeful this way, don’t you think? These were a huge hit last week, so we’re going for Round 2.

Saturday: Dine Out!
This will be pizza, as we celebrate another birthday with friends. More cake, more festivities, and another pack-up to travel.

Carrot Cake Decorated with Care by TPCs Jr.

Carrot Cake Decorated with Care by TPCs Jr.

What’s on your table this summer? Post your comments below, including your tips and tricks for the Whole Foods Salad Bar (which seems to be a shared addiction). Or Tweet my way. I don’t bite. Unless you’re bacon.

Send cold foods, good ideas, and actual 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! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up Wednesday, by popular demand: Jeepney in NYC Reviewed!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Creamy Corn and Roasted Pepper Soup Review (and Bonus Recipe)

Gentle Readers, there are few things that are simpler and more diverse than soup. Yes, scratch soups are awesome, and I’ve got many a previous post on them. However, when you have 10 minutes to feed the troops, it never hurts to have some Punt! options on hand. Enter the line of Trader Joe’s boxed soups. Often available as organic and low-sodium, they, to use the vernacular, rock.

Creamy Corn and Rosted Pepper Soup from Trader Joe's

Creamy Corn and Rosted Pepper Soup from Trader Joe’s

Today we’ll be reviewing the Creamy Corn and Roasted Pepper Soup. Do not mistake this for a red pepper, it is in fact a green one. The soup is not overly think, and has a distinct Southwestern flair. I’ve found many of the soups run fairly sweet, and this is no exception. Well balanced, it was a hit with the whole of Team Practical Cook.

It's not easy being green, soup.

It’s not easy being green, soup.

But wait, there’s more! Feeding vegetarians, growing vegetarians, is no simple task. To make this meal more substantial, we doctored the soup. Here’s how.

Creamy Corn and Roasted Pepper Soup Recipe Suggestion

1 box Trader Joe’s Cream Corn and Roasted Pepper Soup
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
1/2 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained
handful of crushed tortilla chips

In a medium pot over medium heat, bring the soup to a boil. (Tip, open and pour it into the pot, do not add the box whole.) When the soup comes to a simmer, add the chickpeas and artichoke hearts. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve, topped with a smattering of crushed tortilla chips.

Chickpeas and artichokes add protein and dimension to the soup, chips add crunch and bring out the corn flavor.

Chickpeas and artichokes add protein and dimension to the soup, chips add crunch and bring out the corn flavor.

If you like heat, consider garnishing with fresh or pickled jalepeño in a fine dice.

This soup is truly delicious, and making it a more complete meal is obscenely easy. You can thank me later. Perhaps with the extra time you can make some cookies.

Are you a fan of boxed soups? Have you tried the Trader Joe’s line? Do you think I live in the store? Comment below.

Send your kitchen confessions, food dilemmas, and poundcakes 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! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up next, it’s Sunday Sunday Sunday! Weekly Menus Time.

Leave a comment

Filed under Punt!, Recipes

Weekly Menus from Barcelona: 10/7/2012

Gentle Readers, it is time once more to hit the road on business travel, this time it’s Barcelona. Thanks to the great number of you who have shared suggestions of where to go, and what to eat and see. Meanwhile, back at the home front, The Practical Cook’s Mom is once more to the kitchen rescue.

Sorry Mom, I’m up blogging, I haven’t packed, and there’s no way I’ll make it to the grocery store before I board a plane tomorrow. Good luck.

Here’s what’s been suggested so far (a mash-up of TPC’s Mom and The Practical Cooks Junior, who are becoming quite adept menu planners):

Weekly Menus, 10/7/2012 are potentially as follows:

Sunday: Veggie Chili
This will be my recipe, plus sammies. It’s great comfort food, and good for leftovers.

Veggie Chili Simmering

Veggie Chili Simmering

Monday: Burritos
Could be a new filling, could be the veggie chili inside. I won’t tell.

Tuesday: Leftovers OR Breakfast for dinner.
Add a salad, call it a meal.

Wednesday: Frozen Pizza and Salad
It’s so easy, and everyone likes it.

Veggie Nachos Perfected! With pickled jalepeno on top, for good measure.

Veggie Nachos Perfected! With pickled jalepeno on top, for good measure.

Thursday: Nachos
This would be at the request of TPC’s. Their theory is that I could make these after I land because it’s easy and scalable. True genius those two.

Crispy Salmon Cakes

Crispy Salmon Cakes

Friday: Salmon Cakes
Though the Eldest is holding strong as a vegetarian, the Youngest loves fish, so I’m trying to balance the two. I will probably serve with sweet potato fries and a green veg, and potentially sub a faux chix patty for the Eldest.

Saturday: Dine Out
We’re going to a tapas place in town, just so the Juniors can have the experience, too.

Meanwhile, my menus look like this:

Tapas, tapas, tapas, tapas. Churros.

But no eels. And please hold the frutas del mar! (That does not even sound good to me, I can tell it’s a trap.)

What are you eating this week?

Send questions, queries, and untold wealth 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!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up Wednesday, Update from Barcelona

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 9/2/2012

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is barely able to recognize her own kitchen. It seems like I haven’t seen it all summer. But school is in, time for school lunch prep, class snack, and quick dinners.

Don't overlook the afterschool snack!

Don’t overlook the afterschool snack!

One quick note. Don’t overlook the power of the post-school snack. I remember well my Granny leaving out a snack every day when I came home from school. It’s a time to unwind, relax, reconnect. Take the time to put something out, or use that time to finish what didn’t get eaten in the lunchbox.

And now, Weekly Menus for this week:

Weekly Menus: 9/2/2012

Weekly Menus: 9/2/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/2/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/2/2012

Which translates into:

Sunday: Indian Food
We shall see what this is. Probably a simple dal and rice. Potentially some bread or a green.

Monday: Salmon and Greens
Not sure if the Eldest will eat fish, but the Youngest is a fan. Working through how to serve this as a single meal without becoming a short-order cook.

Tuesday: Soup and Salad
Lots of small leftovers. I can make soup for lunchboxes too!

Wednesday: Eggy Pasta
We’ve been relying on pasta with some form of protein added in. The favorite is eggy pasta, a riff on carbonara. I know the purists will shoot me down for the lack of bacon, but so be it.

Thursday: Burritos
Sweet potatoes, black beans, and the inevitable bit of leftover rice.

Friday: Pork Chops, Pierogies, Greens
Theory here is the pierogies and greens (plus applesauce) will be enough of a meal without the pork chop for the Eldest. To be determined.

Saturday: Dine Out!

What’s your go-to weeknight meal? Any vegetarian favorites? Share your comments below!

Send your bacon, your wit, and your legitimate 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!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

On Wednesday, The Art of Leftover Surprise.

Leave a comment

Filed under Snacks, Weekly Menus