Tag Archives: easy meal plan

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!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 3/11/2012 (with bonus recipe: Savory Bread Pudding)

Gentle Readers, it is  confession time here once more. The Practical Cook is guilty of the sin of wishful thinking. I often wish for more time/energy/counterspace. If only (fill in the blank), I say, then I would (fill in the blank). In the month of March, I’m resolving to do more and wish less. To that end, the inventory clean-up continues. Yes, I really had that much food stockpiled.

Savory Bread Pudding with Rosemary and Onions

Savory Bread Pudding with Rosemary and Onions

The bonus recipe below reflects that, something I sold to The Practical Cooks Junior as savory bread pudding. The Eldest loved it, the Youngest liked it, TPC’s Mom enjoyed it.

So more simplicity, and meals I can make in advance. This week I’ll be prepping for a very special event, as the Eldest celebrates a birthday soon. There will be cake, she will be very specific, I must be prepared.

So for this week’s Weekly Menus, we have:

Weekly Menus: 3/11/2012

Weekly Menus: 3/11/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 3/11/2011

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 3/11/2011

Which translates into:

Sunday: Pita Pizzas and Salad
Nothing better than a pita pizza bar for picky eaters. Have it your way. And I can divest myself of some cooked mushrooms and spinach at the same time. Score.

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner
Yes, there’s more leftover bacon to be eaten. And I really crave biscuits right now.

Tuesday: Soup and Sammies
It’s hard for us to eat a whole loaf of bread, but we need it for school lunch. Thus this staple supper.

Wednesday: Pasta Bake
Read: like lasagna, made in advance. If I don’t get rid of all of the spinach and mushrooms, they’ll appear here. If I need to offload some butternut squash and greens, I’ll do more of a white lasagna thing. I’ll be sure to report back in.

Thursday: Leftovers
See above, that pasta bake will be large and in charge. Add a different salad, call it done.

Friday: Sausage and Greens
Served with either pierogie or gnocchi, as the Youngest has declared she does not like mashed potatoes. I know, she is slightly unamerican for saying it, but doesn’t fear swimming upstream.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Current plan is to stalk some food trucks!

What are you serving these days? Post a comment and share the inspiration!

Bonus Recipe: Savory Bread Pudding

Let’s be honest, this is really what I call chicken dressing, just altered to make it beefy. Goes great with leftover beef stew, tomato gravy, mushrooms, or as a light lunch with garlicky greens.

A little carby goodness to go with a big pile of chard.

A little carby goodness to go with a big pile of chard.

several slices stale, leftover bread, broken into pieces (to make about 4 to 6 cups of chunks)
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
~8 cups of beef broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons butter

1. Break up the leftover bread into chunks, which should almost fill your large mixing bowl. Add the rosemary and onion to the bowl. NOTE: I keep my stale bread in the freezer, and I don’t even bother to defrost for this recipe, because of the next step.

Rosemary for the win!

Rosemary for the win!

2. Meanwhile, bring the beef broth to a boil.

3. When the broth is boiling, add it slowly to the bread mixture, stirring and checking for consistency as you go. The brothier you make the pudding, the wetter it will be. I like some extra broth in the bowl, but not bread soup.

Mix the bread, the onions, and the rosemary.

Mix the bread, the onions, and the rosemary.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When it’s to your liking, add the egg, mix well.

5. While the bread mixtures sits a minute, butter a large glass or ceramic baking dish. Toss the extra butter into the bread mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees on the bottom rack for 10 minutes, and then another 30 to 45 on the middle rack at 325.

Enjoy!

Email questions, pictures, and strokes of brilliance 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 on Wednesday, One Ingredient, Three Ways: Salad Edition.

2 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 2/12/2012

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook has finally gotten wise in her old age. When a week calls for multiple “cook and take” moments, make the same thing. Why stress out if you can batch-cook (or at least batch-shop)? This week I’ll be making cornbread twice for special occasions, once in a tractor pan and once as corn muffins. Chocolate-dipped strawberries, same thing. I almost made four different dishes (for four different events), but decided it would be better to actually attend the events as opposed to nap through them.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

But I digress. Here’s how the Weekly Menus shaped up:

Weekly Menus: 2/12/2012

Weekly Menus: 2/12/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/12/2012

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/12/2012

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Cornbread and veggie chili
Two for one here. I’m making Tractor Cornbread by special request, and I am going to test another bean recipe from the Bean by Bean Cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon. Winning.

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner
It is cold, windy, and miserable here (I mean hello, get over yourself winter). That says “grits” to me. I’m Southern, what can I say.

Tuesday: Sammies and Soup
One of my favorite ways to repurpose leftovers and clean out the freezer, as you know!

Wednesday: Potluck!
Though my friends in the U.K. are surely shivering at the word and the notion, it’s a school potluck, and we’re taking corn muffins. The students are providing dessert, and rest assured, I’ll report on it.

Thursday: Taco Night!
Simple, festive, is there anything more fun?

Friday: Leftover Surprise
We are continuing our quest to eat down our reserves. I want to go into the weekends (when we often do field research) with a cleaner fridge.

Saturday: Dine Out!
This should be an adventure. More on that upcoming.

What do you take to potlucks, cookouts, etc? Do have a go-to dish?  Post a comment below. It’s fun. I promise.

Food challenges, thoughts, recommendations? Email me at 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, just in time for Valentine’s Day: M & M’s Smackdown, Peanut vs Peanut Butter.

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 1/8/2012

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook has a quandary. It is winter in name, but not functionally so. My body wants stews and soups, but it’s tuna on a bed of greens weather outside! This week’s menu reflects my questionable relationship with the weather.

Without further delay, here are the Weekly Menus for this week:

Weekly Menus: 1/8/2012

Weekly Menus: 1/8/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Grocery List: 1/8/2012

Four-Square Grocery List: 1/8/2012

Which means we’ll be eating:

Sunday: Fish and vegetable OR Soup and Sammie
I want something simple here, and we’re recovering from a round of the infamous stomach bug that’s running rampant, so I want to be flexible.

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner
Because I’m beginning the research for a bacon tasting, this is necessary. With pancakes, blueberry buckwheat pancakes. (Veselka, I miss you, and I’ll be coming to see you before too long. Hugs.)

Tuesday: Indian
Working on some Vegan recipes. Stand by.

Wednesday: Pork Noodle Soup
This is a day I won’t be working on Vegan recipes. I’m a culinary paradox, I accept that.

Thursday: Tortellini with sauce and salad
These are my long days at work right now. I need to have something The Eldest Practical Cook Junior can work on and that will be eaten with little fuss.

Friday: Leftover Surprise
Clean-up day! Let’s see what’s left, and what it becomes.

Saturday: Dine Out!
As always, if you have suggestions for great food that needs to be field tested, let me know!

What do you serve when the weather unexpectedly changes seasons on you? Stick with the plan or Punt? Post a comment below, or Tweet!

Email suggestions, questions, challenges, and whatnot 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

Up next, What Not to Eat: Feeling Green?

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 12/25/2011

Gentle Readers, if there were ever a perfect time for casseroles, slow-cooker meals, take-out, and leftovers, this is that week. The Practical Cook will be indulging in many of those tactics herself, in the thin guise of “field research.” I feel, as the last week of menus for the year, this should be some sort of trumpets blaring occasion, but alas, it is but a practical one.

Weekly Menus, Week of 12/25/2011:

Weekly Menus: 12/25/2011

Weekly Menus: 12/25/2011

The  Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Shopping List: 12/25/2011

Four-Square Shopping List: 12/25/2011

Which means:

Sunday: Leftovers
Schedules this year mean the heavy lifting happened before the actual day. Tomorrow is about Santa Cereal (small boxes of the extra sugary stuff) and relaxation.

Monday: Dine Out!
Will be conducting some important field research. I shall dutifully report in if all goes well.

Tuesday: Sammies
Are you sensing a theme here? I’ll be cleaning the house, there are some carrots I desperately need to pickle, and apple butter doesn’t stir itself.

Wednesday: Salad with Salmon
Thinking healthy options are the way forward this week. Fine, that also means I’m getting my cholesterol tested soon, and my mental acuity can use all the salmon it can get.

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
Perhaps eggs, perhaps something in the oatmeal line.

Friday: Dine out!
I will be ready to move on something Fried at this point, let’s see if I withstand that urge.

Saturday: Pasta and Sauce
Gearing down and getting back to the normal schedule. Cleans out the freezer, too!

What do you serve for Christmas (if you celebrate), and when do you celebrate? Post your comment below!

Send presents and 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

Up next, Reviving the At-Home Tradition.

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 12/11/2011

Gentle Readers, this week is the calm before the storm. Holiday season is here, but The Practical Cook gets to breathe just a bit before plunging into the next round (a.k.a., cookie production). This week’s menus are straightforward and organized to create leftovers for the next day. Also, I’m dusting off a personal classic dish, one I’ve not made in a while and that hearkens a return to the kitchen and to cooking for people: Chicken Bowl. More on that later this week.

Here we go, Weekly Menus for this week:

Weekly Menus: 12/11/2011

Weekly Menus: 12/11/2011

The Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Grocery List: 12/11/2011

Four-Square Grocery List: 12/11/2011

Which all adds up to:

Sunday: Fish and Veg
I think this will be salmon and frozen veggies of some stripe, possibly with orange-cranberry couscous.

Monday: Chicken Bowl
This faux Asian delight is chicken and broccoli with green onions atop rice served in a bowl. Yes, the name is overwhelmingly creative, I know.

Tuesday: Leftover Delight
Marketing. We’ve been doing leftover surprise, this version will delight.

Wednesday: Beans and Rice
Don’t know which flavor path this will take. I’m thinking it will be a large pot of black beans served over rice, maybe with some mango on the side.

Thursday: Taco Night!
Going for the classics here.

Friday: Nachos?
Great way to use up the accumulated leftovers from the week!

Saturday: Dine Out!
It feels like a good week to research fried chicken some more. Because, you know, fried chicken won’t research itself.

What are you cooking these days? Post your ideas, thoughts, etc. in the comments below!

Questions, deep thoughts, cookies? Email 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

Up next, An Ode to Bread.

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 11/6/2011

By the time you read this, The Practical Cook will be sporting a set of mouse ears and frolicking about Disney World. Yes, it has finally happened. From the person who swore her children would never wear pink, we’ll be heading to the land of princesses. However, it is a fantastic opportunity to see how the food scene has evolved over the last 20 years. Look for more on that topic in the days to come.

So now you see the need for planning, eating up leftovers, and flexibility. The resulting Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 11/6/2011

Weekly Menus: 11/6/2011

And the limited but necessary Four-Square Grocery List:

Four Square Grocery List: 11/6/2011

Four Square Grocery List: 11/6/2011

Which all means:

Sunday: Dine Out
Fingers crossed, hoping we’ll be dining with royalty, if you know what I mean.

Monday: Frozen pizza and salad
This day was built for a Punt!

Tuesday: Fridge Surprise!
As in Surprise! What’s still good in there?

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner
Craving eggs and bacon, side of cheese grits.

Thursday: Stew, to be determined
It may be time to bust out the slow cooker and make some mafe.

Friday: Wraps!
This is just hand-held stew, but I plan on selling it.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Any suggestions for must-try places?

How do you clean out the fridge before leaving town? Post your tips and tricks in the comments section below!

Send your menus, ideas, or snacks 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

Tomorrow, in honor of EPCOT: What is up with dancing, anthropomorphic food?

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus