Tag Archives: feeding kids

Weekly Menus: Casserole Edition, Week of 11/3/2014

Gentle Readers, another week flies past, and it’s ever closer to one of my very favorite holidays, Thanksgiving. Bring on the yams and stuffing/dressing/cornbread pudding. Truth be told, I have rarely met a casserole I wouldn’t eat. Not all of them are works of brilliance, but when you add a can (or box) of condensed soup to something, I’ll likely consume it. I’m not proud, I’m Southern, and that’s just how it is.

Mexican Squash Casserole

Mexican Squash Casserole

But I digress. I’m in a health challenge with a friend in preparation for the season of cookie eating (to quote her, we need to be at top form so we can bathe in mashed potatoes in the holiday season with a complete lack of guilt), so my casseroles are going to have to be contained to sides and veggies right now. I look forward to more entree development as the season progresses.

Yes, that is squash casserole on top.

Yes, that is squash casserole on top.

So here the list of weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 11/3/2013

Weekly Menus: 11/3/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 11/3/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 11/3/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Salad Delite
Spelling intentional. I wish to hearken the days of cottage cheese consumption during the 1970s. That’s how I feel rolling into my yearly cholesterol check for work. This will be an everything in the fridge salad, and I actually look forward to it. (I may avail myself of the Whole Foods salad bar, which means adding squash casserole on the top–yum.)

Shredded beets and two cubes of tofu, yes please. Whole Foods Salad.

Shredded beets and two cubes of tofu, yes please. Whole Foods Salad.

Monday: Tuna Melts
We delayed eating these as we ran short on time before Halloween (the answer was veggie corn dogs, cut up in small bites so as not to muss our makeup).

We use the force . . . of the microwave for a quick meal before Trick or Treating.

We use the force . . . of the microwave for a quick meal before Trick or Treating.

Tuesday: Chicken Marsala
It’s a good week to make a simple but fancy dish. Goes great with rice or mashed potatoes and, wait for it, green been casserole. If you’ve not tried the condensed portabella mushroom soup from Trader Joe’s, along with their fried onions, now is that time.

Trader Joe's Portabella Mushroom Soup

Trader Joe’s Portabella Mushroom Soup

Wednesday: Pasta with Broccoli
Perhaps with the addition of veggie Italian Sausage? I’ve been pondering a hearty pasta meal and haven’t decided on my favorite combo yet.

Thursday: Beans and Rice (or Spinach Quesadillas)
We are always worn down by Thursday, so simple and hearty is the call of the day.

Friday: Meatloaf and Mashed Squash
We have some delicata squash calling our collective names. I could turn it into a casserole with a few dried cranberries and a crushed walnut topping. I do love this season.

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Delicata Squash Ater Being Attacked by Wild Dogs, or Rather, The Juniors

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Delicata Squash Ater Being Attacked by Wild Dogs, or Rather, The Juniors

Saturday: Dine Out!
We have a date with one of our favorite local chefs and her Wii. It’s been too long.

Snack of the Week: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

Snack of the Week: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

I would love to hear your favorite casserole combos. Shoot me a Tweet or post a comment below. It’s wide open and ready for your call.

Send your condensed soups, fried onions, and 1950s recipes 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 with Tapas Bonus Recipes!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 5/12/2013

Gentle Readers, sometimes one must say “uncle.” Last week, in the midst of an extremely busy period, I failed to post the blog as promised. I heard no roar and outcry, and instead opted to grab an extra hour of sleep, thus doubling my total. I wish that last were a math flub. Life is busy, incredibly so, and I’m always looking for another way to stretch time and do one more thing.

My favorite food critics: The Practical Cooks Junior

My favorite food critics: The Practical Cooks Junior

So apologies for anyone who was counting on the Chorizo Hash Recipe, it’s coming your way soon. Confession: I am human, extremely so, and trying to manage an awful lot while spending time with my kids and trying to stay healthy. Sometimes I succeed, other times I don’t.

Life on the road is challenging. Quick calories are often the only choice.

Life on the road is challenging. Quick calories are often the only choice.

However, as the Jrs and I celebrate Mother’s Day today, fresh off a week where TPC’s Mom (and TPC’s Dad, a hero in this story) watched the kids while I traveled, I am reminded of what actually matters. Thanks to all for making this journey count.

My not glamorous breakfast of choice.

My not glamorous breakfast of choice.

And now, courtesy of input from the team, the weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 5/12/2013

Weekly Menus: 5/12/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 5/12/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 5/12/2013

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Fish and Greens
At the suggestion of The Youngest TPC Jr, it will be salmon. Possibly with a citrus glaze, beside couscous and greens.

Orange Salmon, Broiled Asparagus, Accidental Butternut Bulgar

Orange Salmon, Broiled Asparagus, Accidental Butternut Bulgar

Monday: Salad
Detox begins again. I actually ate a number of delightful kale salads in Las Vegas, much to the merriment of my burger eating compatriots.

Tuesday: Quinoa with Chickpeas
From The Eldest, no idea why this popped in her head, but let’s go with it.

Quinoa with Beets, Chickpeas, and Dill

Quinoa with Beets, Chickpeas, and Dill

Wednesday: Meat loaf and Mashed Potatoes
On occasion I like to be extremely traditional. Let’s see how the Jrs take to it.

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
A family classic, we will be working on biscuits and grits again soon.

Fluffy little buttermilk biscuits!

Fluffy little buttermilk biscuits!

Friday: Vegetable delight
Fridge cleanup, and I’m thinking Mediterranean as the tying element.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Raleigh perhaps? Time to explore new ground!

Working on a series of food travel adventures. Post a comment below for areas you’d like to see covered! Nominate your town or a place you love to eat. I’m listening.

Send your lattes, questions, 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

Coming up Wednesday, this time I mean it, Chorizo Hash Recipe!

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 5/5/2013 (Vegas Baby)

Gentle Readers, it’s that time again. In my professional life, May hearkens the beginning of conference season. The big ones. The ones where I’m transported back to my college days where I find myself working as hard as I did before final exams, where days slip one into the other. Then, it’s time to execute, and someone you find the energy.

Not Practical Shoes: Over/Under Odds on Falling?

Not Practical Vegas Shoes: Over/Under Odds on Falling?

All of this takes fuel, and some forgiveness on the lack of originality. This is what menu planning is for, really, to cover you when you need to go on autopilot. Plus, TPC’s Mom will be at the helm in the kitchen, and she has her own views on what’s for dinner. (Did you like how I phrased that? I’m very diplomatic.)

Oatmeal Toppings at Grand Luxe Cafe: Golden Raisins, Brown Sugar, Milk, Bananas

Oatmeal Toppings at Grand Luxe Cafe: Golden Raisins, Brown Sugar, Milk, Bananas (My Glamorous Vegas Breakfast of Choice)

So here are some guidelines, the only request that holds firm is nachos, requested by TPC’s Jr. The proposed weekly menus are as follows:

Weekly Menus: 5/5/2013

Weekly Menus: 5/5/2013

Which means The Four Square Grocery List was very light (no wasting of food!):

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 5/5/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 5/5/2013

All translating into:

Sunday: Rotisserie Chicken and Rice
They are on sale on Sundays in many places, and kicking of the week simply has many advantages.

Monday: Chicken Salad with Grapes
Advantages include leftovers early in the week! I had a salad the other night with duck confit and grapes, and this is a low-lift rendition, unless of course you have duck confit just waiting to be used. If so, proceed and please invite me over.

Tuesday: _______
This is an extra busy night, and I’m going to let TPC’s Mom fill in the blank. I can only imagine it will be a casserole or one-pan dish, and I’ll probably wish I was there eating it. Favorite include tortilla casserole, tomato pie, lasagna.

Wednesday: Nachos!
TPC’s Jr can make this, with a bit of help turning on the oven and opening a can of beans. I look forward to what happens. Please take pictures Mom.

Thursday: Pizza and Salad
I am not without humanity–there are frozen pizzas and salad in the house.

Friday: Vegetable Delight
I’m Southern, deeply so. Oftentimes growing up, one meal would be the clean-up hitter–a mix of every vegetable known to mankind. Great way to use up leftovers, often served with Beans and Franklins (as I used to call them) and/or Deviled Eggs. I will get off the plane hungry, and this already sounds good.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Though I will undoubtedly be up to my eyeballs in cocktail party food, Fried, and bacon-laced items, we will still dine out. It’s a family tradition, and one the Jrs and I very much enjoy. I’ll be ordering a salad.

Watch for the food posts from Vegas this week on Twitter. What kind of menus do you leave when someone else is in your kitchen? Do you prep food in advance? Leave money for pizza? Post your comments below!

Send good luck, lucrative offers, 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: Oooop!

2 Comments

Filed under Punt!, Weekly 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.)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 4/14/2013

Gentle Readers, what a week it has been. Lots of eating going on, including TPCs Jr politely ordering cactus tacos and spatzle. Their tastes are diverse. No idea why.

The Practical Cooks Junior Train for a 5k.

The Practical Cooks Junior Train for a 5k.

In this spirit, they’ve offered feedback on the menu, and I’m going to test a few things in the kitchen. It’s time to shake things up.

Speaking of shaking things up, there are some changes coming to the blog. If there’s not a strong objection from the masses, I’m cutting down to blogging twice a week, with a goal of bringing more to each entry. There will be more guests on board soon–more voices–and more multimedia. I miss making videos, and I’ve started podcasting in my work life, so who knows what could happen here.

But some things stay the same, and that includes weekly menu planning, and here they are:

Weekly Menus: 4/14/2013

Weekly Menus: 4/14/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/14/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/14/2013

Which all translates into:

Sunday: Rotisserie Chicken Salad
I’ll have mine on greens, and TPCs Jr will likely have it on the side. This is an easy meal I’ve missed being able to make.

Chicken Jolt Salad with Espresso Cheese, Apples, and Dijon-Sherry Vinaigrette

Chicken Jolt Salad with Espresso Cheese, Apples, and Dijon-Sherry Vinaigrette

Monday: Dine Out! (Pizza and Salad)
It is odd for me to have my dinner plans made for me, but not know my dining companions. A very cool idea from my friend who is organizing the Digital Marketing for Business conference, there are speakers’ dinners. I’m on a panel about Sexism in IT, that should make for lively dinner conversation.

Tuesday: Nachos
This is sponsored by TPCs Jr. I have no complaints, we haven’t had this lately. My challenge is shoving as many vegetables into the mix as possible.

These veggie nachos come loaded.

These veggie nachos come loaded.

Wednesday: Fish and Greens
Probably fish packets, with citrus and herbs, and something green on the side. Starch to be determined.

Thursday: Pork chops!
Again, I’ve missed these. And with advanced planning, perhaps I’ll remember to take them out of the freezer to thaw!

Beautiful Pork Chops

Beautiful Pork Chops from Brinkley Farms

Friday: Leftover Surprise
I look forward to the surprise. I think it may be pork and mango on a bed of greens.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Not gonna lie, pretty excited about this one. There’s a Food Truck Rodeo, and I’ll be doing a joint review of it with fellow blogger VeggieMacabre. Oh, this will be epic. We’ve been planning this for over a year, and schedules finally lined up. I plan on eating one of everything, because that is what I do. Game on.

What are you cooking these days? I need an infusion of new ideas, or a challenge. Post a comment below. I accept all challenges that won’t kill me (shellfish and Nutella, well the latter won’t kill me, but my complaints will certainly be heartfelt). Or Tweet my way. I am listening!

Send avocados, salad ideas, and good intentions 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

Next up on Wednesday: 3 Salad Ideas OR Greens with Envy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Can This Supper Be Saved? Waffle Ingredient Substitution

Gentle Readers, how sweet it is to be in the kitchen again. A near-normal week has meant actual cooking! Of course, as is the hazard when one has been away, some ingredients were past their prime, and in one case, missing altogether!

Prepping Waffles for the Freezer

Prepping Waffles for the Freezer

Breakfast for dinner was on the meal plan, and waffles were to be the centerpiece. They are relatively easy to make in bulk, and they use up a lot of milk, which was nearing expiration time. However, I was missing wheat germ.

Blueberries atop Whole Wheat Waffles

Blueberries atop Whole Wheat Waffles

Let’s hear it for cereal. You know the kind in a box? It’s made from wheat when it’s not something like Cinnamon Toast Crunch (not a cereal, they lost the name). I took two of my heartier cereals, put them in the food processor, and let it blend. I added roughly the equivalent to the batter, and let it sit a little extra time to absorb the liquid.

Pulverized Cereal

Pulverized Cereal

It worked. We could taste a little bit of the cereal (Cracklin Oat  Bran was the key component, and left a slight cinnamon taste), and a little of the texture (similar to pecan waffles), but they were good. Far better to take the chance when the batter was almost ready to go than to stop and try to change the meal.

Breakfast for Dinner: I almost forgot, I bought more grits too.

Breakfast for Dinner: Featuring grits!

Admittedly, I should have checked the pantry for a back-up on that one before starting the recipe. However, even the most Practical Cook can overlook the obvious sometimes. The key lesson here: keep going. Food doesn’t have to be that hard. Just keep cooking.

Lightly Browned Waffles

Lightly Browned Waffles

What’s the strangest substitution you’ve ever done? Post a comment below, or Tweet away!

Questions, meal plans, cereal? Email them 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 Menu Time!

2 Comments

Filed under Can this supper be saved?