Tag Archives: fast weeknight meals

Weekly Menus: Week of 8/11/2013

Gentle Readers, another week, another road trip. One of the biggest challenges is coming home to an empty kitchen. So I try to shop and plan accordingly. I’ve been stocking the pantry with healthy snacks, and we’ve got fruit in the fridge that can last a bit longer.

Peaches: I'm addicted to you.

Peaches: I’m addicted to you.

I’m eating peaches and nectarines like it’s my part-time job, so no waste there. Quesadilla fixings hold for a bit, so that’s also at the ready. And eggs, which I waxed on about last time, are always there.

So the very light Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: milk, bread, eggs, fruit. On hand, Almond Bars, cereal, pasta. I can live a long time on these things. It’s like shopping for a snowstorm, only add fresh items. I am Southern you know.

Southern Survival: Milk, Bread, Eggs

Southern Survival: Milk, Bread, Eggs

The weekly menus:

Sunday: Dine Out!
Otherwise, rotisserie chicken would be my dinner weapon of choice.

Speedy Salad: Strawberries, rotisserie chicken, almonds, goat cheese, greens.

Speedy Salad: Strawberries, rotisserie chicken, almonds, goat cheese, greens.

Monday: Frozen Pizza
That’s what it’s there for. Just add salad and fruit, welcome home.

Tuesday: Open-Faced Sammies
This has been a real break-through this summer. We’ve done tomato, tuna, egg salad, and more. I think the “stuff to bread” ratio is much better, and we fill in the blank with celery, carrots, salad, fruit. It’s working for us.

Some nice person gave me a canteloupe at the car wash. It's a hybrid of canteloupe and honeydew. Delightful.

Some nice person gave me a canteloupe at the car wash. It’s a hybrid of canteloupe and honeydew. Delightful.

Wednesday: Spinach Quesadillas
This is podcast night, and I need to make food efficiently so I can get on air. Making anything in a cast-iron skillet makes it feel like homemade to me.

Thursday: Pasta Primavera
We got a garden-load of veggies from TPCs Parents. Looking forward to some combo tossed with pasta. Simple and to the point.

Friday: Stir-Fry
I have some frozen rice leftover, eggs, and more vegetable bits. Add soy and ketchup, steam some edamame, break out the chopsticks.

Leftover Fried Rice

Leftover Fried Rice

Saturday: Dine Out!
More field research! Another country, perhaps Malaysia? 😉

Send your dinner inspiration my way! It’s almost time for school again, so we’re warming up the lunchboxes. What are you cooking? Post a comment below!

Send bugspray, sharp cheddar, and your cooking secrets 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: The Big Easy in Review: Eating in New Orleans

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Soy Chicken Review: Friend or Foul Fowl?

Gentle Readers, lean in close, it’s confession time. For many many years, I was a vegetarian but not a particularly good one. I was more of a cheesetarian, with a side of veggie burgers. Now that TPCs Jr have declared themselves to be vegetarians, I feel far more invested in expanding their diet.

Bubbling Hot Tofu Soup from Vit Goal

Bubbling Hot Tofu Soup from Vit Goal

All of that said, it boils down to a simple conundrum: I like tofu, they do not. The Youngest could write an ode to her dislike of the stuff, but I have not yet thrown in the tofu-water soaked towel. So while I’m not crazy over the idea of “meat substitutes,” I use them. I would much prefer each meal to be a lovingly prepared and balanced variety of veggies, legumes, and more, but let’s keep it real people.

Gardein Teriyaki Chick'n Strips

Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips

Enter Gardein Teriyaki Chick’n Strips. I typically find soy chicken one of the more noxious offerings, but TPCs Jr loved it at a local Chinese place. So I bought a package as an experiment. OMG. They probably lace the sauce package with fairy dust, but this stuff is actually good.

I can't believe it's not chick'n!

I can’t believe it’s not chick’n!

First, it is chicken strip shaped, but the texture is way better than typically found. Second, the sauce is nicely balanced. It has umami. It’s a blend of salt, tang, and sugar that works. Cook some rice or noodles, steam some broccoli, pan-steam a few veggie dumplings, boil some edamame. Dinner is served.

Full fake Chinese meal!

Full fake Chinese meal!

And it is served at 1/4 of the price of getting the exact same thing at the local Chinese place. I still consider this cheating, and file it as “vegetarian junk food,” but it is incredibly good. The three of us can plow through a package, so for a large appetite group or more people, you may want to double down.

I won't lie, this soy chicken is tasty.

I won’t lie, this soy chicken is tasty.

Highly recommended for anyone who has to work and feed gourmands. I still hold out hope they’ll fall in love with tofu (they eat edamame by the bushel), but until then, to the Gardein I go.

What’s your stance on meat substitutes? Post a comment below or Tweet my way. I look forward to hearing from you!

Send your witticisms, deep thoughts, 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.)

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Coming up Sunday, it’s Weekly Menu Time! or How to Cook in Chaos.

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Filed under One Ingredient Three Ways, Punt!

Weekly Menus: Week of 3/18/2012 (with Snack Week Bonus)

Gentle Readers, what a week it has been. First, apologies for the lateness of the post, between birthday preparations for the Eldest (raising a foodie is NOT easy during this time of year) and recovering from an ill-timed stomach bug, The Practical Cook has had her hands full. Special thanks to The Practical Cook’s Mom, who stepped in and ran the show. However painful it was personally, it does make for excellent blog fodder.

Lessons learned this week:

1. Keep the house stocked with some bland things, crackers, soup, bread, etc.

2. Teach your children how to prepare their own breakfast. You never know when you’ll need to ask them to do it.

3. Have a back-up plan. Always, always have Plans B through D in mind.

So happy birthday Eldest! The Birthday Carrot Cake is baked, and we’re getting ready to frost it for your decorating pleasure. Food is that much more fun for me because of you.

Birthday Carrot Cake Decorated

Birthday Carrot Cake Decorated

Another busy week ahead, so here are the Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 3/18/2012

Weekly Menus: 3/18/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 3/18/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 3/18/2012

Which translates into:

Sunday: Dine Out!
The birthday girl will choose the establishment, stay tuned.

Monday: Frozen pizza and broccoli
Simple, simple, simple

Tuesday: Sammies and Soup
Potentially BLTs.

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner
I feel the need for pancakes in the near future.

Thursday: Sausage and Greens
More freezer clean-up, prepping for the start of the CSA soon.

Friday: Fridge Surprise
Perhaps we’ll just eat leftover birthday cake, as if there will be any.

Saturday: Dine Out!

And for Snack Week:

Monday: Mandarin oranges and crackers

Tuesday: Parfaits with the letter “V” written on the top

Wednesday: ???

Thursday: Trail Mix

Friday: Blueberry Muffins, milk, and grapes

What are you cooking this week? What is your emergency plan for food when things go awry? Post a comment below!

Send cake and presents 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, How to Find the Best Restaurants in Town.

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