Tag Archives: leftovers

Weekly Menus: It’s Finally Fall Edition, Week of 10/20/2013

Gentle Readers, wow, what a week. I managed to sit down to eat 3 or 4 actual meals in the span of a week–the rest were food grabbed on the run. Not to downplay the awesome that is Barcelona, but work travel is not the same as leisure travel. Being immersed in a different food culture always makes one think about their own.

Ham and cheese with a side of cafe con leche from Tapa Tapa in Barcelona.

Ham and cheese with a side of cafe con leche from Tapa Tapa in Barcelona.

Barcelona is driven by local, fresh, and reasonable portions. It’s a great concept, and one to which I subscribe. One of the best things I ate all week was this humble croqueta, which was akin to a mildly cheesy chicken pot pie in croquette form. We found it by turning down a side street in a non-touristy neighborhood famed for its cakes. (Guess what in that sentence prompted me to hop off the tour bus.)

My favorite from the week: a chicken, vegetable, and cheese croqueta from El Canalla.

My favorite from the week: a chicken, vegetable, and cheese croqueta from El Canalla.

In a random chance, I also had a rather interesting conversation about sustainable food with someone high up in one of the major international food corporations. We talked about Michael Pollan and the tension between profit and sustainable, especially as pertains to meat. I don’t envy him his job.

Fresh ingredients fill the markets in Barcelona.

Fresh ingredients fill the markets in Barcelona.

But I digress. Look for inspiration from Barcelona appearing in posts for the next few weeks. I respect a culture that is not fussed about diet crazes and every new trend. Barcelona has strong foodways that are built to be flexible and incorporate new traditions. I love that. Visiting always makes me want to go back again.

Eggplant fries with honey and lime from El Canalla. OMG good.

Eggplant fries with honey and lime from El Canalla. OMG good.

Which means my menus for the week are:

Sunday: Leftover surprise
I’ll be eating whatever TPC’s Mom left in my fridge. Surprise! Sometimes, even oatmeal or cereal is enough after traveling.

Monday: Tapas!
Figs and cheese? Tomato bread? Prosciutto and melon? I’m not sure what I’ll combine, but it will be small bites of whatever is in the store.

Fig filled with marscopone and jamon from Cervezeria Catalana.

Fig filled with marscopone and jamon from Cervezeria Catalana.

Tuesday: Spinach Quesadillas and Beans
Simple and direct, one of our favorite easy meals. We’ve got a lot going on this day.

Wednesday: Bratwurst and Pierogie
Just add Brussels sprouts.

Thursday: Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage in Brown Butter Sauce
One of my favorite easy meals courtesy of Trader Joe’s. Served with a green salad, and you’ve got a multi-colored delight for dinner. It’s worth browning some sage in butter–it’s just fun.

Friday: Nachos!
Using up the last of our leftover veggie chili, I’m pouring it over chips, topping it with cheese, and serving it up with a side of guacamole.

Saturday: Deep Fried Everything
This might be our N.C. State Fair Day, and we have a long list of things to eat. Apple fritters, corn, fried okra, and whatever the “it” thing is in deep-fried. We are so ready.

Ironically, I never saw this brand of water in Barcelona, but saw it promptly in NYC upon landing.

Ironically, I never saw this brand of water in Barcelona, but saw it promptly in NYC upon landing.

Have you been to your state fair already? What should we find and consume? No deep-fried goodness too strange. We’ll try it on video even. Post your challenge below!

Farewell Barcelona, see you next time.

Farewell Barcelona, see you next time.

Send your winter squashes, your mad carving skills, and your airline miles 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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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.)

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Coming up Wednesday, by popular demand: Jeepney in NYC Reviewed!

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Weekly Menus: 4/28/2013

Gentle Readers, it’s about to get real here in TPC-land. We are finishing an amazing weekend of back-t0-back birthday parties, soccer practice and book club (woot!), and we are tired. May is one of the most challenging months for me professionally, because the tech event circuit kicks into extreme high gear.

My Life: Half of Calories Consumed Are in Transit

My Life: Half of Calories Consumed Are in Transit

So for the month of May, starting now, I’m dialing back to posting twice a week: Wednesday and Sunday. I’ll focus mainly on recipes and reviews, the two most popular categories, with video when I can manage it, along with the standard Weekly Menus. If you have an objection, or better yet an idea for a guest blog and the content for it, speak now.

5K Training Continues: The Eldest is still in the lead.

5K Training Continues: The Eldest is still in the lead.

My time has been focused on bringing TPCs Junior ever more into the process of planning, cooking, and cleaning, and it’s fantastic. This is time-consuming, as I can do it faster myself, but incredible rewarding long-term. We are efficient when we work as a team, and all of us learn from it. Highly recommended if you’ve been doing lone wolf in the kitchen.

Enough preamble, now for the Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 4/28/2013

Weekly Menus: 4/28/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/28/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 4/28/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Potato Hash
I haven’t quite decided what this means, but I have leftover baked potatoes, sausage in the freezer that needs to be cooked, and a dream. I sold it based on the name–there is such power in naming things, as my friend and fellow podcaster is teaching me–the idea will surely follow.

Time Flies: Retro Picture Alert,The Annual Planting of the Potatoesotatoes

Time Flies: Retro Picture Alert,The Annual Planting of the Potatoes

Monday: Spaghetti and Meatballs + Salad
This week we are eating around the world a bit. When I make menus with TPCs Jr, it provides a great frame for creativity.

Meatballs in the Oven

Meatballs in the Oven

Tuesday: Sammies
Busy day, simple menu. Toasting sandwiches, putting them on a platter, adding fruit: all of these tricks turn the mundane into the profound. (See Simple Sandwich Ideas for more.)

Summer Sandwich Platter

Summer Sandwich Platter

Wednesday: France, Visiting
Fine, we’re not really breaking out our passports, but we are going out to eat French food. We have a tradition of “visiting” countries via their food. We started this game with the cantankerous Waldorf, who challenges everyone with trivia about the country we’re in. Great fun is had by all. More on this in Wednesday’s Blog.

Thursday: Mexican
Nacho night! This is a huge crowd favorite, a fast and delicious meal that everyone can help prepare.

Veggie Nachos Perfected! With pickled jalepeno on top, for good measure.

Veggie Nachos Perfected! With pickled jalepeno on top, for good measure.

Friday: Leftover Surprise!
Time to clean out the pantry. And I do adore a challenge. I’ll let you know what happens.

Saturday: Dine Out!
I’m heading to dinner with a friend who likes to try new places like I do. Hopefully we’ll be able to provide a review of a new find!

What’s your favorite kind of food (ethnicity/culture/etc) to eat? We’re always looking for new ideas! Post a comment below. I’m listening.

Send your extra hours of sleep, kitchen challenges, and general mayhem 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: It’s a Small (Food) World: Traveling by Way of Cuisine

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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.)

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

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Weekly Menus: Week of 4/7/2013 (with actual meal plans!)

Gentle Readers, what a long strange trip it has been. By that, I mean business and vacation were back to back in the last couple of weeks, and I’ve eaten my way along both coasts of these United States. Strangely, I now have intense cravings for Malaysian food, perhaps because BestieForce has been in both places. Yes, those are unicorn chopsticks.

BestieForce! Just add unicorn chopsticks.

BestieForce! Just add unicorn chopsticks.

And yes, I woke up in the middle of the night, jetlagged and craving this, Roti. Reviews of the two Malaysian restaurants are pending, and rumor has it I may learn to cook the sticky dessert rice I kept eating as well. Stay tuned.

Roti from Banana Leaf in San Jose, CA

Roti from Banana Leaf in San Jose, CA

But back in realityville, I came home to a reasonably clean kitchen and a fairly blank slate. You can see I’m not done globetrotting from the menus though. There’s an international festival at school this week, but we tend to eat that way all the time.

Sticky Rice with Mango from Banana Leaf

Sticky Rice with Mango from Banana Leaf

Without further delay, here are our weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 4/7/2013

Weekly Menus: 4/7/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 4/7/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List: 4/7/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Salad!
I’ve been craving this for days. Though I managed a few of them over the last couple of weeks, it was not as often as it should have been.

Monday: Indian
I have some cauliflower that needs roasting, and I may try my hand at the sauce that goes with the roti pictured above. Plus chickpeas. Though my recent trip to Roti Boti has spoiled me on this front. Sigh, food memories . . .

The largest, fluffiest naan I've ever seen. You can ignore the adage to not fill up on bread at Roti Boti.

The largest, fluffiest naan I’ve ever seen. You can ignore the adage to not fill up on bread at Roti Boti.

Tuesday: Stir fry OR Breakfast for dinner
Depending on time and leftover supplies, I’ll make the call. I feel certain I know which the Jrs will choose. I have a half gallon of milk that needs to be consumed quickly, and eggs too. I’m thinking it’s time to make Waffles in bulk. Perhaps to be served with chicken?

36 Waffles

36 Waffles

Wednesday: Dine Out (Germany!)
We’re celebrating someone cranky’s birthday (cough cough Wadorf), and the Jrs have decided to go German on this one. Our tradition is to visit a new “country” (via food) and then ask a lot of trivia questions about that country during dinner. It’s great fun, give it a try.

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Thursday: Mexican
It’s been too long since we have had our simple and traditional spinach quesadillas at home. Perhaps I’ll make sopapillas to go with. Mmmm. Dessert.

Carbonara from NYC!

Carbonara from NYC!

Friday: Pasta and Salad
Clean up hitter for the week. I may attempt carbonara again to polish off the last of the eggs. The Jrs are big fans, especially now that they are eating bacon again.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Looking forward to this one.

Questions, comments, topics? Email me at 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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Next on Wednesday, Reader Questions and Feedback! (Submit Yours Today!)

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Weekly Menus: Week of 12/2/2012

Gentle Readers, if someone find November, please return it promptly. Really? I was last-minute for Thanksgiving, and now I’m behind for Christmas–not cool. But I digress. This next week is a travel week, which means lots of forward planning. Today I’ve accomplished more than one typically does in a week. Now I just need to pack for said travel week. Details. I’ll be the one in the mismatched shoes.

Okay, maybe not mismatched shoes.

Okay, maybe not mismatched shoes.

For food this week, the weekly menus are:

Weekly Menus: 12/2/2012

Weekly Menus: 12/2/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List (in advance!):

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 12/2/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 12/2/2012

Which all means:

Sunday: Leftovers, surprise
It’s hard to get rid of everything before a trip. I’ve eaten all I can, have at it.

Monday: Soup and Sammie
We’re in the process of testing a number of boxed soups. This test continues, with some favorites being nominated for a second round. The roasted red pepper and tomato soup is a Trader Joe’s staff favorite for a reason.

Tuesday: Mexican!
This could be beans and rice, it could be tacos, who knows.

Wednesday: Pasta with Green Peas
Again, a suggestion. I’ve got a lot of pasta on hand, but TPC’s Mom has the helm. I look forward to finding out what happens.

Thursday: Pizza and Green Veg
This could be frozen pizza (3 out of 3 members of Team Practical Cook like the roasted veggie pizza from Trader Joe’s: cheeseless even), or it could be TPC’s Mom’s Tomato Pie, which is a similar idea in pie form.

Friday: Vegetable Tart and Salad
I’ll be back, and it will be time to tartify anything that’s leftover and eat a salad for the first time in a week.

Saturday: Dine Out!
We’re on a roll for trying new places. We’ve had Cuban and Singaporean in the last couple of weeks. What will be next?

Viewer questions coming soon. If you’ve got them, post them in the comment section below. It’s fast and painless, no bow required.

Send your spare time, good ideas, and extra energy 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: Soup Review: Trader Joe’s Mushroom Soup Two Ways.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 11/18/2012

Gentle Readers, this post comes to you while The Practical Cook is deep into field research in New York. So planning menus is somewhat difficult. Plus, this marks the week when so many Americans will be cooking at home, in some cases for the first time this year.

Some thoughts: don’t panic, enlist help, don’t try to make everything.

With those directives in mind, here are the weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 11/18/2012

Weekly Menus: 11/18/2012

And the Four-Square Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 11/18/2012

The Four-Square Grocery List: 11/18/2012

Which all means:

Sunday: Dine Out in NYC

Monday: Salad
After traveling, I’m crave simplicity.

Tuesday: Tomato Soup and Sandwiches
I’m working on a piece about doctored soups. This will be the second round of trials. There’s a point where it’s too hard to convert the soup and easier to make it, that’s what I’m testing for!

Wednesday: Pizza and Salad
The simplest solution to the pre-Thanksgiving warm-up.

Thursday: Turkeyless Thanksgiving
Yeah, I said it out loud.

Friday: Leftovers
With a list of carbs that long, why cook more food? I am a big advocate of repackaging. It’s a great opportunity to make soup or transform leftovers into a roll-up. Cranberry sauce is a powerful connector.

Saturday: Dine Out!

What’s on the menu for you this week? (I will fully admit that I’ll be craving Indian or Chinese after Friday, anything but leftovers!) Post a comment below, I’m listening!

Send your queries, questions, and quips 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, One Ingredient, Three Ways: Cranberry Edition.

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