Tag Archives: frozen pizza

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.)

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Coming up Wednesday: Oooop!



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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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Weekly Menus: Week of 2/19/2012

Gentle Readers, it is that time again, when The Practical Cook looks into her crystal ball, or at least her crystallized freezer, and plans the meals for the week. Once again, she is also traveling during that week. And while that leads to some expertise in plane food (do NOT try the pizza), it is less conducive to complicated sit-down dinners.

Deep Fried Moonpie at The Pig in Chapel Hill: Speaking of Cravings

Deep Fried Moonpie at The Pig in Chapel Hill: Speaking of Cravings

And I have been craving some serious field research lately. I am having a moment like the Chairman did before creating Kitchen Stadium. I don’t think I’ll bite a whole pepper, but I want some new ideas. Spring can’t come fast enough.

So without further delay, here are the Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 2/19/2012

Weekly Menus: 2/19/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/19/2012

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/19/2012

Which will hopefully translate into:

Sunday: Something Traditional
You might even say “revolutionary.” Any guesses where we’ll be doing field research?

Monday: Frozen Pizza and Salad
Sometimes, it’s just best to Punt! in advance. This will be most necessary after our journey!

Tuesday: Salmon and Brussels Sprouts
I need more fish in my life, my brain needs all the support it can get. And I’m craving sprouts, don’t judge.

Wednesday: Tacos!
We need to use up some ground beef, and nothing says “festive” like tacos.

Thursday: Beans and Sausage
My kids could eat this constantly. I love it because the variations are endless, just choose a bean, a sausage, and a green. Tomatoes optional but encouraged.

Friday: Chinese Take-Out!
I feel an extreme need for Field Research coming on. I believe it will be a two-fer.

Saturday: Dine Out!
The problem with scheduling in advance is that I sometimes create my own cravings. Sigh. I’m not committing to where the dining will happen, but I’m thinking a lot about Turkish food.

Send your menus, leftovers, 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, Three Reasons to Host a Potluck.

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Top 10 Punt Ingredients

Does the Practical Cook make house calls? No, but she does answer her Batphone when the call comes in. This question comes to us from Alt.Country.Mom—what are the Top 10 punt items to keep in the pantry/freezer/general vicinity? Caveat—they have to work with fresh or local stuff, so not the number to the local pizzeria or burger joint.

A.C.M, here are the Practical Cook’s Current Top 10 Punt Staples, in no particular order and subject to change:

  1. Frozen pizza. Sure, I’m kind of violating the caveat (Cooking Legally will have to tell us if this is a tort infraction—I’m here to cook tortes, not break ’em), but it is very necessary. Serve with fresh veggies or a salad as an appetizer, a plate of artfully arranged fruit, and you’ve got extra time and energy to fight another day.
    **Disclaimer: if you punt too often with this one, the other team will catch on to your strategy. Use wisely.
  2. Alphabet Pasta

    Alphabet Pasta

    Dried pasta in a variety of shapes and sizes. This works with fresh or frozen veggies, jarred or fresh sauce, olive oil or butter, cheeses of all kinds, or in a quickie soup. Go for whole wheat or the “plus” variety made of chickpea flour when you can.

  3. Gnocchi or cheese tortellini. The Practical Cook will name names here. Trader Joe’s sells a shelf-stable gnocchi that is amazing, and cheese tortellini in the deli quick case that are inexpensive and delish. If you don’t have access to a TJ’s, scout your area for these gems in a brand/flavor you like. Gnocchi works like pasta, but is more interesting. Great in a tomato/sausage/kale/garlic one-skillet meal or with a fast faux pesto like the one used in Spaghetti Bird’s Nest. Cheese tortellini can be plain, sauced, or in a broth as a soup.
  4. Frozen veggies, various. The Practical Cook loves to eat seasonally, but sometimes soaking 2 lbs of collards for an hour to get the dirt off is not an option. In the PC freezer:  green peas, green beans, Brussels sprouts, corn, black-eyed peas, okra, greens, mixed peppers. Admittedly, some of this I froze myself, but everything is available commercially as well. Don’t be shy.



  5. Frozen edamame, shelled and whole. Yes, edamame is a frozen veggie, but it deserves a special mention. This can take any slightly Asian-themed meal up to the next level. Make fried rice with leftover veggies, rice, and an egg, add edamame, you’re there. Buy some sushi and extend the meal with edamame. In the pod, it’s an activity. Out of the pod, they are little protein bombs. My kids love them more than any other green veg that comes out of the freezer.
  6. Pot stickers or dumplings. Add #5 to #6 and avoid calling your local take-out joint. These gems are widely available now—find the brand and flavor you like and keep some on hand. Works with any number of veggies you can steam or stir-fry. A splash of soy sauce and you’re there.
  7. Eggs. If you’re diet precludes, please excuse. Otherwise, keep a carton of eggs by your side, or at least in the fridge, at all times. If you have the chickens to go with them outside, all the better! But seriously, you can always eat well if you have eggs. Make an omelet, frittata, sandwich, deviled, juevos rancheros, scrambled with toast or grits. Clearly, the egg council got to me. They do have good marketing. (Special thanks to loyal reader, Miss Clairol, for the Google assist on the gem of an egg commercial.)

    Sweet potatoes!

    Sweet potatoes!

  8. Potatoes, sweet and white. Find a coldish dark place, and keep both varieties on hand. They are almost meals by themselves, either can be served alongside any number of the items above, and with some toppings they are versatile and interesting too. The Practical Cook’s Dad sources sweet potatoes in restaurant quantities when the family yield is not sufficient, so you’ll see lots of sweet potatoes here. Look for an entire post on the subject in future days. White potatoes are perfect for picky eaters, good conduits for leftovers, and are also infinitely adaptable.
  9. Oatmeal. It’s not just good for your cholesterol, and it’s not just good for breakfast. Mark Bittman says so. It can be sweet or savory, and with fruit or something else on the side, you’re winning dinner.
  10. Plain yogurt. This has become indispensable as a food, condiment, and ingredient. Serve parfaits for a quickie dessert or snack, cool spicy food with a dollop of it, swap it in for sour cream or mayo. Make a smoothie with whatever fruit, fruit juice, or nut butter you have on hand. Remember, you can always add flavor to plain yogurt, but you can’t scrape the fruit off the bottom from the other stuff.

Tune in tomorrow for some thoughts about Fruit Aplenty. Till next time, keep the hotline ringing and the questions rolling in. Look for a special Valentine’s installment Monday. Something chocolate!

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