Tag Archives: pork chops

Spatzle Time! (With a recipe)

Gentle Readers, sometimes a perfectly good plan goes terribly wrong. The other day, with pork chops on the menu, I wanted to make a simple side. I looked in the freezer for pierogie. Nada. Okay, gnocchi. And that was out of date. So now what?

Spatzle with pork chops, apple sauce, and green beans.

Spatzle with pork chops, apple sauce, and green beans.

Stop, spatzle time.

I love spatzle. TPCs Jr love spatzle, and it’s really very easy to make. I’ve tried more complicated recipes, but this is the one that works every time. If you’ve never tried spatzle, now is the time! A great simple side or a vegetarian dish if you add some cheese.

Spatzle in all their fried glory.

Spatzle in all their fried glory.

Do you have to have a spatzle maker? No, but they are awesome and inexpensive and make the whole process so very simple.

My spatzle maker at work.

My spatzle maker at work.

Fool-Proof Spatzle Recipe

1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
butter (for frying)

1. Combine all ingredients. Mix well but don’t overmix.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Drop spatzle batter into the boiling water either through a colander or BEST through your spatzle maker.

3. When the spatzle float, they’re done. You can eat them now, OR you can fry them in butter. Guess which I would suggest?

Enjoy! Have you ever had spatzle? Schnitzel? Post your comments below. I’m waiting.

Send your questions, brilliant ideas, and general witticisms 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, Weekly Menus!

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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 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 8/19/2012

Gentle Readers, it can’t be that time again, but it is. Sunday is menu time, and this week’s list involved a bit more planning and strategery. Though I can scarcely believe it, school starts again soon. Naturally, that happens when I’m traveling for business. Small countries have been invaded with less planning.

Which means I’m keeping things simple, stocking up so that the week after this one will go smoothly, and generally trying to hang on to summer with two hands. It has been a great ride, and I’ve eaten some amazing food.

But enough waxing poetic, here are the menus for the week:

Weekly Menus: 8/19/2012

Weekly Menus: 8/19/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 8/19/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 8/19/2012

Which translates into:

Sunday: rotisserie chicken
The ultimate Sunday punt. They’re on special, I can make stock with the carcass and turn the leftovers into insta-lunch.

Monday: pork chops
I’m craving them, and I have apples and peaches that need to find a good home.

Tuesday: salad and soup
I’m committed to the idea that fall is here. Soup that is not gazpacho is my stake in the ground. Farewell summer heat, bring on soup.

Wednesday: pancakes
Life interrupted and we had to delay our pancake test run. Trying again this week, three courses, same as before! Plan on multitasking and making waffles at the same time to freeze.

Thursday: gnocchi
I haven’t broken these out in a while. I’m thinking potentially with a lemon tomato sauce. We shall see.

Friday: Indian!
Craving it, but haven’t had time to make dal in a while. Going to try to make enough to freeze in portions.

Saturday: dine out!
First I go to a spa, then I dine out in San Francisco. I’m pretty sure I’m winning Saturday.

Today’s question is in advance of Wednesday’s article. Tell me what your insta-lunches are–what do you grab to eat when you have no time. Post a comment below, email me, or Tweet it to the world. Look forward to hearing from you over the sound of the crickets.

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, Fast Food at Home (like really fast).

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Weekly Menus: Week of 6/16/2012

Gentle Readers, it is so very good to be back in the kitchen. Finally, access to food on a regular basis, and the simple bliss of cereal. The vegetable choices are exploding, and I’ve gotten a couple of great challenges to work on in the test kitchen (both involving using up found ingredients, more on this upcoming). School’s out, appetites are in.

Typical lunch for me last week. Not optimal.

Typical lunch for me last week. Not optimal.

Thanks for some fantastic feedback this past week. Knowing that I’ve made a difference in just one person’s dinner, that I’ve convinced just one person to try cooking again, that makes it all worthwhile. Thank you.

On the menu this week:

Weekly Menus: 6/17/2012

Weekly Menus: 6/17/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/17/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/17/2012

The CSA from Brinkley Farms:

1 lb filet beans
1 cantaloupes
1 green summer crisp lettuce
1 bundle Swiss chard
1 bundle carrots

Which all translates to:

Sunday: Lasagna and Salad
This has been on the request list for some time. I make veggie lasagna, sometimes red and sometimes bechamel, and sometimes hybrid. I’ll report on the outcome. Great way to use zucchini and mushrooms, not just spinach and red peppers.

Monday: Juevos rancheros
One of our most popular meals to date. I love that everyone can size the meal according to their needs. The Eldest Practical Cook Junior can easily out-eat me on this one.

Juevos Rancheros, Practical Cook Style.

Juevos Rancheros, Practical Cook Style.

Tuesday: Sammies!
There’s some bread that needs to be used up, so it’s sammie time!

Wednesday: Pasta Night!
That gets an exclamation because we’ve been highly experimental here in the test kitchen thanks to eating Big Night style a few weeks back. The Juniors have strong opinions here. Wonder how that happened?

Linguine with slightly creamy lemon sauce and asparagus. I wanted to swim in it.

Linguine with slightly creamy lemon sauce and asparagus. I wanted to swim in it.

Thursday: Steak and Potatoes
Believe it or not, this is the hardest meal to sell in. Still working on how to serve mashed potatoes and steak in a way everyone likes. I think it’s texture.

Friday: Pork chops and chard
I heart pork chops. The local ones we get taste like bacon. That is all. 🙂

Saturday: Dine Out!
The Eldest, due to the unfortunate breaking of her ankle on her birthday, has not had her traditional birthday meal at the establishment of her choice. This will be that night. I can’t wait to see what happens.

What are you cooking these days now that school is out (assuming it is), and the weather has turned a bit (assuming it has)? Post a comment below. I am hungry and ready to read some good ideas!

Send your queries, kitchen confessions, and secret ingredients 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 on Monday, Reviews from the Road, San Diego Style!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 6/3/2012

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is unsure where June came from, but it has arrived. The good news is with it comes lots of great vegetables. It also means the end of school for most, and more meals to plan! But, never fear, we will be addressing summer lunches in an upcoming post.

For now, let’s see what’s on the menu for next week. After some serious time away from the kitchen, it is back to eating down the stores and enjoying the bounty of the season and the CSA. So the weekly menus are:

Weekly Menus: 6/3/2012

Weekly Menus: 6/3/2012

And the limited Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/3/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/3/2012

The CSA from Brinkley Farms:

2 lbs cucumbers
1 bag lettuce mix
2 pointed head cabbages
1 bundle red beets
1 bundle chioggia beets

Which translates into:

Sunday: Pigs in a blanket, sweet potato chips, veg
The Jrs have been requesting sweet potato chips, and the pigs in a blanket are simple and a sure-fire hit.

Sweets in the Oven

Sweet Potato Chips in the Oven

Monday: Pasta and salad
We haven’t eaten much pasta lately, it’s time to go for the basics. The last week of school is a busy one, and this is easy!

Tuesday: Juevos rancheros
Mainly because I both like to say and eat it. With black beans. And green onions. Which I am currently obsessed with.

Wednesday: Pork chops, greens, and cooked apples
I heart Brinkley Farms pork chops a lot. If you haven’t had a thick-cut pork chop lately, run don’t walk. Cooked apples are a great way to use up less than crispy apples. I can’t abide a mealy apple.

Beautiful Pork Chops

Beautiful Pork Chops from Brinkley Farms

Thursday: Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, green veg
I am determined to make meat loaf work for the family. There will be add-ins and toppings, which will include bacon. Or guanciale.

Friday: Pizza and salad!
School’s out for the summer, birthday party on the horizon. There will be wildness. Here’s hoping something gets eaten.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Birthday girl’s choice. We shall report on what that is!

And this week features a special project, Birthday Cake! It will be Birthday Carrot Cake per request. The Practical Cooks Junior are big fans, complete with Cream Cheese Frosting. The theme: fairies. Wish me luck. What are you cooking these days? Share your ideas in the comments section below. It’s fresh as a clean sheet of paper, just awaiting your culinary delights!

Mime jokes, licorice, and Nutella can be quarantined by sending 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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Up next, Can this supper be saved? The Practical Cook is challenged to create a meal plan from the contents of a loyal reader’s freezer! Game on.

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