Tag Archives: eggs

Weekly Menus: Week of 9/29/2013, Fall Edition

Gentle Readers, it has been a crazy week, and it’s just getting started. The day kicked off with losing a contact lens. Not as big of a deal in the modern era of disposable lenses, I’m just not certain it fell OUT of my eye and is not lodged somewhere in there. Thank you Autumn pollen for making my eyes itch, the root cause here.

We've been burning a lot of fuel in the last few weeks. Goal!

We’ve been burning a lot of fuel in the last few weeks. Goal!

But I digress, however much this may explain the lateness of my blog post and my lack of depth perception. This week I’m continuing to test pumpkin-based items, all of them. It made for an interesting shopping cart. We drew some looks. We’re also batch cooking in order to prep for some upcoming travel, and because we can.

Which means this week’s weekly menus are:

Weekly Menus: 9/29/2013

Weekly Menus: 9/29/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping list is:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/29/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/29/2013

Which all translates loosely into:

Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie
We missed doing this in a previous week because of time, so a lazy Sunday is the perfect opportunity to get it made!

Monday: Veggie Chili
We are considering making this in advance as well, because it serves so many purposes and gets better sitting around. Nachos, burritos, lunchboxes: yes, please.

Tuesday: Salmon and Quinoa
Freezer staples, we are continuing to work through an inventory of stock. High in lean protein, this meals suits everyone.

Salmon and Arugula over Quinoa: It rocked

Salmon and Arugula over Quinoa: It rocked

Wednesday: Soup and Sammie
We hit a bread overstock that’s leading me to bread pudding and sandwich nights. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is a family favorite. Add some honeycrisp apple slices (TPCs Jr are now referred to as “Applesauruses” as I haven’t gotten to eat a whole apple in I don’t know when), and you’ve got a meal.

Homemade Tomato Soup with Toasted Pimento Cheese

Homemade Tomato Soup with Toasted Pimento Cheese

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
We are breaking new ground here–we just had omelets with mushrooms, spinach, cheese, and avocado for lunch. They are more veggie than egg, and so satisfying that we can certainly run the full round of Sunday activities without flagging.

Green eggs frying in the pan . . .

Green eggs frying in the pan . . .

Friday: Burgers and Fries
This is my craving, and we have ground beef to use up. The fries will be homemade sweet potato. I love fall, even if I can’t see it correctly.

Meet my new BFF: burger from G2B Pub with sweet potato fries

Meet my new BFF: burger from G2B Pub with sweet potato fries

Saturday: Dine Out!
Time to scope some new territory, where will it be? I’m thinking Durham . . .

TPCs Jr demolished a Korean meal: I paid $56 and left hungry. Welcome to my future.

TPCs Jr demolished a Korean meal: I paid $56 and left hungry. Welcome to my future.

What is your favorite pumpkin item? Want to be a guest blogger? Send it my way. Slots open for all forms of drinkable pumpkin–I won’t touch that stuff with a proverbial 10-foot straw.

Send Jack-o-Lanterns, pies, and pancakes 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: Smoothie Time–Tips and Recipes for Drinking Your Nutrition

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Soft Foods That Don’t Suck: Ideas for Eating with Braces

Gentle Readers, one of my very favorite parts of eating, is the chewing of food. While that may sound funny, endless studies indicate that chewing makes you feel full, and I’ve certainly found that to be true. Texture matters. A lot. So many foods are hated (looking at you tomatoes and coconut) because of less than flattering descriptions of their mouthfeel.

The Eldest transformed into a teenager overnight, complete with braces and a digital native's gift for the craycray-eyed "selfie."

The Eldest transformed into a teenager overnight, complete with braces and a digital native’s gift for the craycray-eyed “selfie.”

So why am I crafting endless meals around soft food? Meet The Eldest Practical Cook Jr, newly minted into the world of braces. As anyone who has every had their teeth monkeyed about with can tell you, it hurts. Add to this the challenge of a lunch period that has been sliced down to nearly nothing (seriously, try eating in 15 minutes or less, not easy), and you’ve got trouble.

Easy to use lunchbox food.

Easy to use lunchbox food.

PB and J’s are a little challenging to consume quickly, chips are out, carrot sticks are out, apples are out. How can I provide food that is nutritionally sound, reasonably interesting, and palatable to the rest of us on occasion (so we can use leftovers in lunchboxes)?

Kale and Spinach Bites from Trader Joe's: Nutrition Doesn't Have to Suck

Kale and Spinach Bites from Trader Joe’s: Nutrition Doesn’t Have to Suck

3 Soft Foods That Don’t Suck

1. Kale Spinach Bites. Special thanks to TraderJoesMom for bringing this one to my attention! (Yes, a classmate’s mom works at TJ’s, and she is currently my hero for having tried everything on both herself and her kids.) These bites are actually delicious, and I plan to try my hand at making them from scratch. They are much like spanikopita without the crust, and work well at room temperature.

Don't miss these Kale and Spinach Bites from Trader Joe's. I'm working on a recipe now.

Don’t miss these Kale and Spinach Bites from Trader Joe’s. I’m working on a recipe now.

2. Drinkable Yogurt. This is a two-fer: calcium, calories, and a potentially reusable container for me to pack with homemade smoothies. The blender is getting a workout these days. The combinations are infinite. Look for a feature next week on smoothie ideas and recipes.

Raspberry Mango Smoothie? I say yes.

Raspberry Mango Smoothie? I say yes.

3. Soup. Again, seems obvious, but one of my favorite tricks is making stock from the carcass of a rotisserie chicken. You’ve then got the basis of a soup, plus add in a little of the leftover meat, noodles, and cabbage and carrots. There’s some chew, but also plenty of easily accessible calories. Try Mom’s Chicken Noodle Soup for a simple recipe. It was a hit with everyone.

Other things that are soft: poached eggs. My brunch from Beaufort Grocery Company, just because I miss it and remember it fondly.

Other things that are soft: poached eggs. My brunch from Beaufort Grocery Company, just because I miss it and remember it fondly.

More thoughts and reviews coming. There’s nothing like a food challenge to start the creative drive. We are busily blending, stewing, steaming, and serving things on the side to make a single meal work for all of us, with potentials for leftovers to be served in lunch. Share your ideas! The options have certainly evolved past the milkshakes and mashed potatoes period post my wisdom teeth extractions!

The Practical Cook's Mom's Homemade Chicken Soup

The Practical Cook’s Mom’s Homemade Chicken Soup

Send your good wishes, bright 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 Sunday: Weekly Menus, It’s Finally Fall Edition

Leave a comment

Filed under Can this supper be saved?, Punt!

Ode to Eggs: One Ingredient, Three Ways

Gentle Readers, it’s that time again. It seems like TPCs Jr and I are in our suitcases more than we are out of them. But have no fear, we have meals to cover the in between times. This summer, the overwhelming winner of the protein Olympics has been the incredible, edible egg.

Sunflower Yellow Egg Yolk from Farm Fresh Egg

Sunflower Yellow Egg Yolk from Farm Fresh Egg

On its own, or in something, eggs have saved the day on multiple occasions. Here are some ideas on how to bring more eggs into your lunch and dinner plans.

Eggs on asparagus with lardons from Guglhupf. It's like a salad, right?

Eggs on asparagus with lardons from Guglhupf. It’s like a salad, right?

One Ingredient, Three Ways: Eggs

1. Egg Salad: The classic and a fantastic way to use up eggs that are on the edge. I boil mine just enough: using the 5 minutes of boiling and 10 minutes of sitting method. Cool, shell, toss with just a touch of mayo, a healthy dose of Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Delightful.

Eggs on their way to becoming egg salad.

Eggs on their way to becoming egg salad.

2. Pasta Tossed with Eggs: We fake carbonara all the time here. Eggs make a fantastic sauce tossed with pasta. Beat three eggs with some olive oil, grated Parmesan or Romano, and juice from half of a lemon. Toss fresh herbs in to taste. Toss with hot pasta, using the residual heat of the pasta and pasta water that clings to drained pasta to form the sauce and just cook the eggs. Toss with chopped bacon or quick pan roasted cherry tomatoes, or leftover grilled zucchini and squash. Sigh.

Not Quite Pasta Carbonara with Spinach

Not Quite Pasta Carbonara with Spinach

3. Eggs on Salad: Either hard-boiled and diced or egg salad itself, this is a great way to use very little dressing and make a big impact. I always do this on the work salad bar with balsamic and olive oil to dress. Really fattens up a dull salad nicely, while avoiding the salad bar cream-based dressings that are full of who knows what and nasty.

The Practical Salad

The Practical Salad

Dinner or lunch, no problem. Eggs are not just for breakfast anymore! What’s your summer meal these days? Post a comment below!

Croque Madame? Oui. (From Vin Rouge)

Croque Madame? Oui. (From Vin Rouge)

Send your farm fresh eggs, your insightful questions, and lucrative deals 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

Up next on Sunday: Weekly Menus, NOLA style.

4 Comments

Filed under One Ingredient Three Ways

Weekly Menus: Week of 8/4/2013 (What Happened to Summer Edition)

Gentle Readers, could you please send out an APB for summer? August, really? Tomatoes are here, corn is here, and I’m eating anything that involves watermelon. I had forgotten how much I enjoy the subtle crunch that fresh corn and diced zucchini provide to any number of dishes. I was in a bit of a food rut, and I find myself newly inspired and ready to meet some old ingredient friends in the kitchen again.

The Tower of Tomatoes from Guglhupf!

The Tower of Tomatoes from Guglhupf!

First order of business, I’m going to the farmer’s market this week. Second order, we are eating fresh when possible again, because we have more exciting food travel on our horizons, including New Orleans. I haven’t been since before Katrina, so please send your suggestions and thoughts for must-eats!

My lunch almost every day last week. Summer craving: tomatoes and cheese!

My lunch almost every day last week. Summer craving: tomatoes and cheese!

Now, the Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 8/4/2013

Weekly Menus: 8/4/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 8/4/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List: 8/4/2013

Which all translates to:

Sunday: Dine Out!
First I must conclude some more field research. So far this week I’ve remembered I love chicken liver, met a vegetable mix at G2B in Durham that I want to make at home and possibly marry, and rekindled my dessert romance with sticky toffee pudding.

Grilled vegetable melange, I love you.

Grilled vegetable melange, I love you.

Sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream from Piedmont Restaurant.

Sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream from Piedmont Restaurant.

 

Monday: Salad
If you need to ask why, see the above paragraph. I love salad though, with it’s infinite possibilities. This will be a clean out the crisper drawer variety.

Tuesday: Pasta Surprise
I see a primavera in my future. Fresh herbs, lemon, good romano. Yum.

Wednesday: Omelets
I miss omelet bar, so we shall eat it again. A dab of this and that, featuring whatever we have or buy at the Farmer’s Market. Plus some good bread.

Thursday: Sausage and Pierogie
A family favorite, I may try my hand at Savoy cabbage as well, another favorite from one of my favorite local chefs, Carrie at G2B.

Savoy cabbage with bacon and almonds from G2B.

Savoy cabbage with bacon and almonds from G2B.

Friday: Dine Out!
Travel calls again, and I can’t wait for this one. Beignets for dinner? I have no objection.

Saturday: Leftovers?
We will probably do more adventure eating, but I recommend Saturday as movie and leftovers night. We have found all sorts of ways to make finger food healthier and fun. Try savory popcorn mixes, small sandwiches, and cut veggies and fruit. Peanut butter and celery is a favorite here right now.

What’s on your table this week? Share your meal ideas and New Orleans secrets! Post a comment below or say hello on the Twitters.

Send extra weeks of summer, tomatoes, and good wishes 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

Up next (on Wednesday): An Ode to Eggs–One Ingredient Three Ways

2 Comments

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Birthday Week Edition, 7/28/2013

Gentle Readers, I am once more writing from the road. This week I’m continuing my birthday celebration–it’s one of those milestone ones, so I’m making it last. A candle in every cake I say! Even pancakes.

Adapatable Pumpkin Pancakes Stack, Birthday Style.

Adapatable Pumpkin Pancakes Stack, Birthday Style.

But we still have to heat amongst various travel obligations. How to meal plan for lots of dinners out and time away? Limit the fresh stuff, buy only what you can eat, and consume a lot of eggs and cereal. More on that in the next blog.

German Chocolate Cake Slice, Birthday Style

German Chocolate Cake Slice, Birthday Style

My Four Square Grocery List is therefore usually: milk, bread, salad, fruit (bananas plus a berry or stone fruit), avocados (we are addicted, so this is a weekly thing). Every other week, cheese and eggs. We can go for long stretches on just these things. Fresh produce is coming in from my family farm, so it’s eat as you go. Such as these figs with prosciutto. Dreamy.

Figs with prosciutto, crafted by The Youngest. TPCs Jr are big fans .

Figs with prosciutto, crafted by The Youngest. TPCs Jr are big fans .

So typical Weekly Menus are:

Sunday: Dine Out
I’m in NYC, so I’m doing field research. Italian? Cambodian? Brunch? Yes, yes, yes.

Malaysian dessert with a candle, complete with singing, from Laut in NYC.

Malaysian dessert with a candle, complete with singing, from Laut in NYC.

Monday: Pasta and Salad
The simplest of all meals, because you can add bacon and eggs and/or garden veggies, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of olive oil. Yes, you do have to keep your pantry and fridge stocked with a few basics, but keep supplies low.

Cheesy Rainbow Pasta Toss in the Toss Phase!

Cheesy Rainbow Pasta Toss in the Toss Phase! Use the pot’s residual heat to help blend everything.

Tuesday: Quesadillas and Ranchero Beans
Our go-to for fast food. Spinach quesadillas are a snap, and it’s not hard to fake long-cooking beans from a can.

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Wednesday: Open Face Tuna Melt
This is the surprise hit of the summer. Can of tuna, drain, small amount of mayo, healthy dose of Dijon mustard, sweet relish, splash of hot sauce. Put on bread, sprinkle cheese, toast. Serve in squares with fruit.

Peanut Butter Tuna Salad on Celery: Mobile Lunch

Peanut Butter Tuna Salad on Celery: Mobile Lunch

Thursday: Sausage and Pierogie
This is one of those family favorite meals. Super-easy as well. Serve with applesauce and Brussels sprouts.

Friday: Tapas
We’ll be serving whatever is left, tomatoes and cukes from the farm, apples and cheese, on bread that’s been toasted.

Open-faced tomato sammie, or tapas!

Open-faced tomato sammie, or tapas!

Saturday: Dine Out!
More adventure eating fun. Or perhaps a nice long round of batch cooking. 🙂

What are you eating this summer? Send your ideas! We’re eating a lot of food with chopsticks: Burmese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese. Food just tastes better that way! The runner up with with our hands: Ethiopian, Indian, Pakistani. It’s been quite the world tour.

Where we eat many meals these days--in the air!

Where we eat many meals these days–in the air!

Send extra candles, good ideas, and 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! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up (next) Wednesday: An Ode to Eggs, Recipes for Survival **Due to the total publish fail on my part, we are going to delay this post a week. Will be back on track Sunday with menus and ideas!**

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 10/21/2012

Gentle Readers, fall has arrived. It’s a little bit cool, and everything has turned to pumpkin, including beer, which makes me shudder in horror, but I digress. However, it’s also time for persimmon pudding, which I must encourage you to try if you haven’t. The taste is something like a spunky pumpkin bread pudding, and it is the childhood smell of autumn for me.

Persimmon Pudding from Crook's Corner. Almost as good as TPC's Mom makes.

Persimmon Pudding from Crook’s Corner. Almost as good as TPC’s Mom makes.

Let all of this add up to say, I’ve been in the kitchen, and feel inspired for having done so. So inspired that I challenged a professional cook to a sausage gravy battle. That might have been unwise, particularly because he makes biscuits at scale, but go big or go home I say. I’ve got a cast iron skillet and I’m not afraid to use it.

Which means the menus for the week are as follows:

Weekly Menus: 10/21/2012

Weekly Menus: 10/21/2012

The four-square grocery shopping list:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 10/21/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 10/21/2012

Which all adds up to:

Sunday: Beans and Rice with Avocado
We tend to like a simple Sunday meal. Though we may top it off with dessert and Wii at our favorite gastropub. The Juniors are popular, and their social schedule often requires creative booking.

Monday: Omelet Bar
Spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and good cheese. Some bread from Le Farm, some preserves purchased at the state fair, call it a win.

Tuesday: Pork chops with spatzle
It’s fall, and time to cook some apples and sear some pork chops, that’s what I say.

Wednesday: Polenta, pasta, or dine out?
We’re hosting a very special guest from the West Coast this evening, so we’ll have to do additional recon and agree on this meal. Something simple to accommodate the demands for attention that are surely going to ensue.

Thursday: Frozen Pizza and Salad
I’ve got a business obligation, so it’s time to break out the Punt! dinner.

Friday: Biryani
I’m going to try this for it’s ability to be vegetarian and meat-filled without much hassle. We shall see.

Saturday: Dine out!
Time for some field research. Details pending!

Where do you stand in the Great Pumpkin debate? Do you like it in your coffee? Your beer? Make your voice hear today. The comments section is open for business. Your vote counts. 😉

Send your pre-carved pumpkins, persimmons, and excess Halloween candy 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 Monday: Polenta with Egg, Mushrooms, and Spinach

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

An Ode to Fat: Vegetarian and Beyond

Gentle Readers, it is not a well-kept secret that The Practical Cook is overly fond of food. As such, I’m naturally skeptical of any kind of diet craze. At a basic level, I don’t want to give up any category of food. Full respect for people who have found they live better by doing so and maintaining it.

Beef Filet Charring in Bacon Fat

Beef Filet Charring in Bacon Fat

But don’t look for me to go all Paleo or heaven forbid, no-fat. So while I do not judge, I will tell you this: even as a youngster during the height of the “Snackwell” craze, I thought that was crazy. How can foodless foods be satisfying?

The Practical Cook’s Ode to Fat: 3 Reasons to Love It

1. It fills you up. I’ve never understood eating certain things low or no-cal when the point of eating is fuel and being full. In my experience, avoiding this only leads to eating more.

Avocado sliced in the halfshell.

Avocado sliced in the halfshell.

2. It’s necessary to live. I didn’t say you had to eat 3 meals a day at KFC, but stop thinking of fat as the enemy! You are not at war with it.

Sartori Salad with Apples and Walnuts

Sartori Salad with Apples and Pecans

3. It tastes good!!! I will fully admit being the person who eats the fat on steaks and chops when no one is looking. And sometimes when they are. It tastes like sunshine.

Sunflower Yellow Egg Yolk from Farm Fresh Egg

Sunflower Yellow Egg Yolk from Farm Fresh Egg

A Few of My Favorite Fats: Walnuts, Avocados, Cheese (OMG, I heart cheese), Peanuts/Peanut Butter, Olive Oil (the good stuff), Eggs, Bacon Grease, Liver, Salmon

Clusterfluff is shorthand for ice cream peanut butter crack.

Clusterfluff is shorthand for ice cream peanut butter crack.

That is obviously not an exhaustive or even completely coherent list, but you get the drift. I eat a lot of salad, and I prefer olive oil and balsamic over commercial dressing, but I don’t skip the olive oil (or the egg when available). And before anyone heaps health advice on my head, know that while eating this way (again, see a lot of salad and exercise), I’ve dropped many many points off of my lipid panel.

Now is the time to come out of the closet. Raise your hands with me and proclaim your love for fat. The comment area is below, and the line forms here.

Send your high-calorie foods, deep thoughts, and general challenges 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 Sunday, it’s, wait for it, Weekly Menus, Travel Edition!

2 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Philosophy