Tag Archives: easy weeknight menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 4/21/2013

Gentle Readers, spring is now officially here. Now is the exact time I start feeling guilty about not getting to the farmer’s market more often. Life has intervened, and Saturday mornings have been claimed by sports instead of bright-yellow egg yolks. I need to work on finding some balance there.

Sunflower Yellow Egg Yolk from Farm Fresh Egg

Sunflower Yellow Egg Yolk from Farm Fresh Egg

Meanwhile, I’m spending more time in the kitchen, which is a good thing. I’ve had some truly inspiring food conversations as of late. Look for more recipes in development, and more video. Still contemplating 2 posts per week instead of 3. My high-tech world keeps colliding with my food world in terms of people, topics, and time, so we shall see.

But alas, these pollen induced musings are not why you’re here (though why you are, I’m sure I don’t know). Here are this week’s menus:

Weekly Menus: 4/21/2013

Weekly Menus: 4/21/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery shopping list:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/21/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/21/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Soup and Sammie
I have some leftovers to attend to, and some pork bones in the freezer. I predict pork noodle soup in the future. With extra Sriracha, in spite of my better judgment.

Pork Noodle Soup with Mushrooms and Siracha

Pork Noodle Soup with Mushrooms and Siracha

Monday: Dal and Rice
This will be intentional leftover food. I had some amazing dal over the weekend, and was reminded how simple it was to make. Indian food at home does not have to be a 3-ring circus. I can make bread, rice, and dal, simple veggie side, in 45 or less. You can too.

Sunday Dinner: Indian Edition (Dal, Black-Eyed Peas and Corn, Rice, Buttermilk Okra)

Sunday Dinner: Indian Edition (Dal, Black-Eyed Peas and Corn, Rice, Buttermilk Okra)

Tuesday: Breakfast for Dinner
Because I am a Bacon-of-the-Month club member, that’s why.

Wednesday: Leftovers
Midweek gets tiring and hard, so time to rely on good work from earlier days.

Thursday: Portobella Caps and Salad
Working on refining this recipe. Stuffed with a warm bean filling, but I’m considering adding bacon (leftover from earlier in the week) or topping with panko and broiling for the finish.

Portobella Caps with Warm Bean Filling

Portobella Caps with Warm Bean Filling

Friday: Steak and Potatoes
We have a lot of meat to use up in the freezer, and I’m getting better about remembering to thaw it. Go team!

Saturday: Dine Out
We may venture out of town a little bit to do some food reviews. TPCs Jr grow restless.

What are you cooking for springtime? Have you transitioned to lighter fare? Post a comment, send a tweet, say Hi on Instagram. I’m out here.

Send ideas, random challenges, and food 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! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Wednesday: Food Rodeo Review, New Finds on New Turf.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 4/7/2013 (with actual meal plans!)

Gentle Readers, what a long strange trip it has been. By that, I mean business and vacation were back to back in the last couple of weeks, and I’ve eaten my way along both coasts of these United States. Strangely, I now have intense cravings for Malaysian food, perhaps because BestieForce has been in both places. Yes, those are unicorn chopsticks.

BestieForce! Just add unicorn chopsticks.

BestieForce! Just add unicorn chopsticks.

And yes, I woke up in the middle of the night, jetlagged and craving this, Roti. Reviews of the two Malaysian restaurants are pending, and rumor has it I may learn to cook the sticky dessert rice I kept eating as well. Stay tuned.

Roti from Banana Leaf in San Jose, CA

Roti from Banana Leaf in San Jose, CA

But back in realityville, I came home to a reasonably clean kitchen and a fairly blank slate. You can see I’m not done globetrotting from the menus though. There’s an international festival at school this week, but we tend to eat that way all the time.

Sticky Rice with Mango from Banana Leaf

Sticky Rice with Mango from Banana Leaf

Without further delay, here are our weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 4/7/2013

Weekly Menus: 4/7/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 4/7/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List: 4/7/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Salad!
I’ve been craving this for days. Though I managed a few of them over the last couple of weeks, it was not as often as it should have been.

Monday: Indian
I have some cauliflower that needs roasting, and I may try my hand at the sauce that goes with the roti pictured above. Plus chickpeas. Though my recent trip to Roti Boti has spoiled me on this front. Sigh, food memories . . .

The largest, fluffiest naan I've ever seen. You can ignore the adage to not fill up on bread at Roti Boti.

The largest, fluffiest naan I’ve ever seen. You can ignore the adage to not fill up on bread at Roti Boti.

Tuesday: Stir fry OR Breakfast for dinner
Depending on time and leftover supplies, I’ll make the call. I feel certain I know which the Jrs will choose. I have a half gallon of milk that needs to be consumed quickly, and eggs too. I’m thinking it’s time to make Waffles in bulk. Perhaps to be served with chicken?

36 Waffles

36 Waffles

Wednesday: Dine Out (Germany!)
We’re celebrating someone cranky’s birthday (cough cough Wadorf), and the Jrs have decided to go German on this one. Our tradition is to visit a new “country” (via food) and then ask a lot of trivia questions about that country during dinner. It’s great fun, give it a try.

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Thursday: Mexican
It’s been too long since we have had our simple and traditional spinach quesadillas at home. Perhaps I’ll make sopapillas to go with. Mmmm. Dessert.

Carbonara from NYC!

Carbonara from NYC!

Friday: Pasta and Salad
Clean up hitter for the week. I may attempt carbonara again to polish off the last of the eggs. The Jrs are big fans, especially now that they are eating bacon again.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Looking forward to this one.

Questions, comments, topics? 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! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Next on Wednesday, Reader Questions and Feedback! (Submit Yours Today!)

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Weekly Menus: Week of 3/17/2013

Gentle Readers, while practice makes perfect, blog posts are not an ideal forum to test this theory. Apologies for the lateness of the post: a beautifully constructed installment was written, and then something went terribly and technically wrong and all was lost.

Irish Brown Bread at Rest

Irish Brown Bread at Rest

Alas, we soldier on! Lessons learned from this week (having flown over the handlebars teaching The Eldest Practical Cook Jr bike safety): pick up, dust off, keep going.

Sunday Night Vegetable: Carrot Cake

Sunday Night Vegetable: Carrot Cake

Another lesson learned: when you’re short of time, ask for help. TPCs Jr stepped up this week to write the menus and lists with a little bit of help. The Eldest, a lefty like me, has handwriting remarkably similar to mine. As we celebrate her birthday this weekend, I feel we may also celebrate a new TPC staff member.

Without further adieu, the weekly menus:

pc_blog 197

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 3/17/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 3/17/2013

Which translates into:

Sunday: Corned Beef and Cabbage
This is the late lunch menu, as we’ll be serving pizza at the birthday party. The slow cooker makes it easy, and the Irish brown bread makes it special.

Hot Bread Calling Out for Butter

Hot Bread Calling Out for Butter

Monday: Sammies
Hello leftovers. Combine the bread, add a special mustard (spicy, grainy, etc, you decide), and you have a meal fit for royalty.

Tuesday: Pasta
I’m going to add salad to that and call it a day.

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner
Corned beef hash perhaps? With toast or cornmeal pancakes? So many good options.

Thursday: Soup and Sandwiches
Whatever has not been consumed another way becomes soup. Add tomatoes to enrich and soften the beef, call it dinner.

No, really, I'll take one of everything: Swedish pancakes, corned beef hash, hash browns, eggs, and coffee.

No, really, I’ll take one of everything: Swedish pancakes, corned beef hash, hash browns, eggs, and coffee.

Friday: Nachos
TPCs Jr chose this to make Friday an easy cooking day for me. Thanks guys!

Saturday: Dine Out!
Field research suggestions? Send them my way!

How collaborative are you with your menus? Do you ask for input or dictate the schedule? Post a comment below! And now, I’m off to make a Birthday Carrot Cake!

Comments, questions, and quips can be emailed 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.)

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Coming up Wednesday, Leftover Salad, a Recipe of Sorts.

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Weekly Menus: 2/3/2013 The Juniors Edition

Gentle Readers, there is great power in being able to put food on the table. For the past few years, The Practical Cooks Junior have been training in the culinary arts, and now it’s their time to shine. As I’m traveling for business this week, the Juniors have stepped up. They created the meal plans, with some oversight, and they are going to cook with adult supervision.

Thoughtful eaters make good cooks. The Practical Cooks Junior at work.

Thoughtful eaters make good cooks. The Practical Cooks Junior at work.

For school lunches, I’ve brought more things in that they could just toss in a lunchbox without much prep: yogurt, squishable applesauce, fruit cups, bagels, phoney baloney for sammies, etc.

A few tips for anyone who needs to prep before: watch and chop salad and leave it in the salad spinner, buy at least one frozen entree, shredded cheese is a good alternative for people without knife skills.

What I learned: It is more expensive to shop for convenience and redundancy. Worth it for peace of mind and still cheaper than eating out constantly, but notably pricier.

Easy to use lunchbox food.

Easy to use lunchbox food.

Go team, I couldn’t be more proud. Take pictures for me.

Weekly Menus, Junior Edition:

Weekly Menus: 2/3/2013

Weekly Menus: 2/3/2013

The Four Square Grocery Shopping List: 

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/3/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/3/2013

Which translates to:

Sunday: Pizza and Salad
I have carefully selected various vegetarian-friendly pizza option for the freezer. Choice matters, even here. There are also two types of salad, complete with the requisite crunchy toppings.

Frozen pizza options.

Frozen pizza options.

Monday: Leftovers
Even when traveling, there are things to be cleaned up. I depend on leftovers for those quick weeknight meals. I would almost rather toss away something freezer burned than not save it and have it when needed!

Tuesday: Pasta and Carrots
The Juniors have a decision here as well. If they feel ambitious, cheese tortellini with sauce. If they feel like field research, I bought Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Veggie Lasagna. It’s a smaller portion and sounded pretty good. We shall review it one way or the other.

Vegetable Lasagna from Trader Joe's--field testing to begin soon!

Vegetable Lasagna from Trader Joe’s–field testing to begin soon!

Wednesday: Soup and Grilled Cheese
This meal was a big success the last time we cooked for TPC’s Dad in a practice run, so here it is again. Featuring either tomato or red roasted pepper soup, this is a great starter meal, and perfect for the chilly weather we’ve been having.

Thursday: Spinach Quesadilla and Beans
Don’t fear the cast iron skillet! With shredded cheese and prewashed spinach, this meal is a snap. We shall see if the Juniors convince TPC’s Dad to try cutting an avocado.

Friday: Dine Out!
I’ll be home, and we shall do a victory lap together! Juniors choice! Though by this point they may be confident enough I can ask them to cook for me. At that point, we’ll start higher math and I’ll get them to do the taxes as well.

Next stop, what's a 1099?

Next stop, what’s a 1099?

Saturday: Dine Out!
Guests in town, and plotting the best spot to take them!

Do you remember cooking your first meal? What was it? Share your memory in the comments box below, or send me a Tweet.

Send your questions, quips, and confessionals 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.)

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Up on Friday: For the Love of Marshmallows: One Ingredient, Three Ways

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Weekly Menus: Week of 1/13/2013

Gentle Readers, when the weather is so lovely outside, it is hard to think about cooking inside. Yesterday I even went to a cookout, which has put me in mind of all the fresh spring ingredients coming soon. That said, I’m still not tired of kale and butternut squash.

Wintertime Grilling: Steak, Fish, Corn, Rice with Chimmichurri

Wintertime Grilling: Steak, Fish, Corn, Rice with Chimmichurri

It’s a chaotic schedule next week for Team Practical Cook, and here’s what’s happening menuwise. The weekly menus are:

Weekly Menus: 1/13/2013

Weekly Menus: 1/13/2013

The Four-Square Grocery list:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 1/13/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 1/13/2013

Which all translates to:

Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie
I need to use up some pie crust and leftovers, and this will serve as lunch through the week for me. So it may seem like a heavier dish, but served with salad, I consider it the warm sandwich alternative.

Monday: Salad and Soup
Because it’s Monday and it’s easy. Perhaps something with kale in it.

Tuesday: Pasta and Veggie
The Practical Cook’s Dad will be at the helm this night, so I need something I can bake ahead or make fast and leave. Debating between the pumpkin ravioli or the sweet potato gnocchi. The Eldest is getting to the point where she can make this meal herself. (TPC Pride!)

Pumpkin Ravioli is a huge hit with Team Practical Cook

Pumpkin Ravioli is a huge hit with Team Practical Cook

Wednesday: Burgers and Fries
Another day, another business obligation for me, so another make ahead meal. As I’ve mentioned before, burgers are actually a great choice because you can leave veggie vs meat options with very little additional work for the cook.

Thursday: Fish and Greens
The plan is to make cod fingers and see if the Jrs choose to eat fish. The Youngest has done so on occasion, and The Eldest might. Regardless, the greens and other sides will provide options for a complete meal.

Friday: Pierogies, Fauxsages, Cabbage
More things to use up, and inspired by a friend’s excellent wielding of a cast-iron skillet for his meals. Looking for a single dish dinner here.

Saturday: Dine Out
Field research in the house!

Does weather trump season for you when meal planning? Post a comment below, the crickets are chirping and the space is wide open.

Questions, comments, strokes of genius? 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! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Wednesday, Restaurant Review: Tonali in Durham!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 12/16/2012 (Holiday Prep Time Edition)

Gentle Readers, never has it been more challenging to sit down and write with an upbeat message. It is difficult not to focus on the tragic occurrence in Connecticut. I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of community and connection as means of healing.

TPCs Junior learn how to light the candles.

TPCs Junior learn how to light the candles.

This past week, Team Practical Cook was fortunate to be invited to a Chanukah meal, a first for us. It was a great experience, full of tradition and modified for the vegetarian TPCs Junior. Everyone had a role to play, from lighting the candles to blessing the bread and wine.

Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup in progress.

Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup in progress.

These small moments are the ones I’m reflecting on as I prepare for the upcoming weeks. We are attending a Moravian “Love Feast,” which features coffee and sweet rolls. We’re celebrating friends and family with a number of holiday meals and open houses. Truly a time to count one’s blessings and remember those who are in need.

Small hands reaching for the Challah.

Small hands reaching for the Challah.

With that in my mind, this week’s menus are:

Weekly Menus: 12/16/2012

Weekly Menus: 12/16/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 12/16/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 12/16/2012

Which all means:

Sunday: Sammies
Simple and delicious, we’ll be downing a few before our social event begins.

Monday: Veggie Chili
Great hearty warmth to fight the chill. I may try my hand at a garlicky white version of this, with kale or spinach.

Tuesday: Breakfast for Dinner
Pumpkin Pancakes or potential biscuit experiment. Yes, please.

Wednesday: Christmas Tapas!
We’re reciprocating from our Chanukah invite. Our house rule is everyone gets to eat their favorite stuff in small bite-sized form. It’s the easiest and best way to do a relaxed holiday meal ever.

Thursday: Pirogies and Borscht
Craving both, and planning to source homemade pirogies and make the borscht.

Latkes frying in the pan.

Latkes frying in the pan.

Friday: Arepas and Crepes (or Dine Out!)
Again, craving plus reminded of a new place in town I need to research. We’ll see what energy levels determine.

Saturday: Pasta and Salad
I have some pumpkin pasta I’m ready to try, and looking to wrap the week up simply in preparation for a LOT of cookie consumption/production.

Peace.

Peace.

What’s on your cookie list this year? Wednesday’s blog is about the cookie jar, and I’d love to include some new inspiration! Post your favorites in the comments area below! Or drop me a line or a Tweet.

Send your cookies, cards, 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!)

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Coming up Wednesday: Christmas Cookie Countdown, What’s Up This Year.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 12/9/2012

Gentle Readers, what a delight it is to be back in the kitchen. The time of holiday food-gift making is upon us. This year, it’s cookie time, with a side of spiced nuts. Surprise. I’m back from Las Vegas, where the tourist sections rival Texas in portion size. So this week’s menus are an exercise in restraint, in preparation for cookie time.

World's Largest Fortune Cookie: Tao in Las Vegas

World’s Largest Fortune Cookie: Tao in Las Vegas

Weekly Menus for this week:

Weekly Menus: 12/9/2012

Weekly Menus: 12/9/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 12/9/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List: 12/9/2012

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Frozen Pizza and Salad
This is not technically in the kitchen, but I have an event to attend, and TPC’s Dad is at the helm. Of his many many life skills, feeding burgeoning foodies is not among them. Rather than risk them cooking a full meal, I’m keeping it simple.

Monday: Pork Chops and Sides
When the vegetarians are away, the omnivore will play. I think some spicy sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts are in order here.

Tuesday: Polenta Delight
We’re having a special guest over, and it’s time to break out yet another version of polenta! Mushrooms, spinach, and what? TBD.

Wednesday: Latkes and ??
I have never made latkes, and I don’t know what goes with them, but I fully intend to a) find out and b) help make them. Happy Chanukah to all who celebrate!

Thursday: Mexican
Long week, tough crowd, Mexican for the win. Burritos or quesadillas, with a side of beans. I am afraid I’m going to have to learn how to do sweet plantains at home as well. They are in very high demand by TPCs Junior.

Friday: Soup and Sammie
Hoping to make veggie stock and try some soup ideas. If not, another boxed soup test will happen. Options, always keep the options open.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Scouting some new places in Durham! As always, send your suggestions.

What are you making for food holiday gifts? Post your ideas in the comments section below. Or just send me a sample. 😉

Send your latkes, your spare presents, 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!)

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Coming up Wednesday, Telling the Truth About Food: Picky Eater Updates.

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