Tag Archives: frozen vegetables

Weekly Menus: Week of 2/26/2012

Gentle Readers, this week The Practical Cook was ready to accept a personal challenge. Excepting a very few fresh items, what could be made from what is at hand. You see, I do dearly love the grocery store. And sometimes I buy more than I should, or stockpile. This accumulates over time, and while I can make any one of 10 meals at any given time, I have to make those meals to deplete the inventory.

So this week is about not adding to the problem. What will I do? How will I adapt? Will this make me more grateful for the deep freezer or the fresh foods? Fear not, there are plenty of frozen veggies here at The Practical Cook Kitchen. So aside from the fresh fruit I bought today on my quest to buy 10 types of bacon, I’m buying milk.

Here’s proof, the Weekly Menus for this week:

Weekly Menus: 2/26/2012

Weekly Menus: 2/26/2012

And the very bare Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/26/2012

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 2/26/2012

Which means we’ll be eating:

Sunday: Dal and Rice
I have a cabinet full of both, time to man up and use them up.

Monday: Beef Stew
Slow cooker, meet my busy lifestyle. This takes some time in the morning, but it is low-fuss during crunch time. And you know what’s good in beef stew? Bacon, of which I have an abundance.

Tuesday: Leftovers
Perhaps I’ll combine meal one and meal two and put it in a tortilla.

Wednesday: Salmon and Greens
I have a wicked salmon craving right now, and the salmon I had last week was not 100% satisfying. Perhaps with some quinoa on the side?

Thursday: Sausage Surprise
I have sausage, and whatever else I put in there will be a surprise to even me. I’ll keep you posted. Probably some tomatoes, beans, and even a hint of chicken stock.

Friday: Bacon Squash Tart
This one needs to happen soon! I’m trying something new with puff pastry. We shall see what happens! If it fails, there’s always pasta.

Saturday: Dine Out!

Because if you’re like me, you have the added challenge of someone, ahem, bringing more food into your house when you leave town than gets eaten while you’re there! I only have one stomach you know who, and I’m not raising cattle.

Want to join me in the don’t buy much for a week challenge? What are your cupboard meals? Post a comment below! And there’s still time to vote for a favorite local bacon! Start filling out your brackets and taste testing, the results are coming for Bacon Brackets: Round 1 this week!

Send in your questions! We’ll be doing a mailbag edition soon. 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!)

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Tomorrow, Throw in the Dish Rack, Keep the Towel.


Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, Weekly Menus

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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Filed under Punt!