Tag Archives: punt

Weekly Menus: Week of 11/13/2011

Gentle Readers, another week, another complicated schedule for The Practical Cook. She had a most helpful conversation with a colleague this week about planning for the inevitable busyness. It is difficult to gear down your purchasing for such weeks, but it is quite necessary. Accept your limitations, and buy conservatively if you know you’re likely to Punt!

For me, that’s often a bag of salad, bread for school lunches, and fruit for variety. Use up what’s on hand, fresh or in the freezer. Nothing is more heartbreaking than buying and tossing food.

So, with that in mind, here’s the Weekly Menu plan:

Weekly Menus: 11/13/2011

Weekly Menus: 11/13/2011

And the minimalist Four-Square Grocery list (to be fair, I just finished the Trader Joe’s run from last week, so it’s extra light):

Four-Square Grocery List: 11/13/2011

Four-Square Grocery List: 11/13/2011

Which translates into:

Sunday: Veggie Chili and Cornbread
Makes a lot, feeds a crowd, creates leftovers.

Monday: Sausage, Pierogies, and Brussels Sprouts
Talking about pierogies makes me want to eat them, and Brussels Sprouts are a research project. Sausage just because.

Tuesday: Dine Out
Business calls, and I have no time to prep anything and pack for my trip.

Wednesday: Soup and Sammies
Easy meal. If there are leftovers, I’ll make soup out of them, or serve chili to soup haters.

Thursday: Spinach Quesadillas
Dice an avocado, heat some refried beans, done. I almost always have the makings for spinach quesadillas in the house.

Friday: Punt! (Travel Day)
I’m on a red-eye, and will be enjoying some Biscoff cookies and trail mix. The Practical Cooks Junior will be jealous.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Once I wake up, it will be time to continue the fried chicken research project.

How do you plan for travel? Do you cook ahead and freeze, leave takeout menus, or close your eyes and hope for the best? Share your tips and tricks in the comments section below!

Send queries, kudos, and credentials 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

Tomorrow, Restaurant Review: Chuck’s in Raleigh.

2 Comments

Filed under Punt!, Weekly Menus

Cinnamon Rolls in a Can: Good Morning Sunshine!

School has started here, and The Practical Cook is relying on the thought of coffee to wake up in a timely fashion. You see, Gentle Readers, I am a night owl. For those of you who wonder when I blog, and how I work it in amongst momming and working, I’ll tell you, coffee and insomnia are key players. But through my life, I’ve tried to squeak through with extra shut-eye in the AM. Not superlate, just not a 6 AM reveille.

The Practical Cooks Junior are reasonable in their sleeping habits, but the beginning of school requires an extra boost. And what, besides the smell of coffee, can get someone going in the morning? The answer? Cinnamon rolls. From a can. (Links to some beauty shots of TJ’s cinnamon rolls. Mine, at 6:17 AM, did not look like that.)

Here are the remains of my gift to the senses on the first day of school, iced by the Eldest.

The Remains of the Cinnamon Rolls from a Can

The Remains of the Cinnamon Rolls from a Can

However, I have discovered that the kiddos find some brands “too spicy,” and somewhat prefer the orange-flavored rolls. One day, perhaps I’ll make my own. Next go-round, I may even Punt! with biscuit dough and adjust the seasonings. But on this bleary-eyed morning, whomp goes the can. Thank you Trader Joe’s.

How do you feel about cinnamon rolls in a can? What’s your favorite smell to wake up to in the morning? C’mon you lurkers, post a comment.

Coffee and queries can be emailed 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

Up next, When in Doubt, Buy Pony Plates.

6 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, Punt!

Weekly Menus: Week of 8/21/2011

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is writing this with bleary eyes this morning post a trip down memory lane in the form of live music. This may be reflected in the simplicity of the menus that follow. Special shout-out to Illegally Cooking for the latte (decaf and skim, of course) that made this blog possible at all.

One item of note, going forward, I’ll try to note alternative food sources. IC pointed out that the menus seemed like clown cars sometimes, where I produced complex menus having bought practically nothing. I have a big pantry, a deep freezer, and a farming family, so I’ve got a lot of food on hand and incoming  not reflected on the shopping lists. Good question!

But for now, here’s the Weekly Menu:

Weekly Menus: Week of 8/21/2011

Weekly Menus: Week of 8/21/2011

The Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Grocery List: 8/21/2011

Four-Square Grocery List: 8/21/2011

The CSA from Brinkley Farms:

1 pk chorizo
2 lbs cucumbers
1 bag yellow corn meal

Which translates into:

Sunday: Tortellini and Sauce
We’re hosting Sunday night dinner for a fleet, so I’m making my life easy.

Monday: Beef and Veg
Just took this out of the freezer to thaw. We’re having steak with mushrooms, potatoes, and peas.

Tuesday: Grilled Cheese
Seriously, this is Punt! week. Lots of things happening with the beginning of school.

Wednesday: Farmer’s Market Surprise
My guess is this will turn into breakfast for dinner, a family favorite.

Thursday: Hot Dogs
Because sometimes, that’s the answer. May go crazy and do pigs in a blanket. I know, stand back.

Friday: Mexican
Flying Mayans in burrito or nacho form, or possibly a casserole of some stripe.

Saturday: Dine Out!

And now, The Practical Cook is going back to sleep. The working, walking, shopping, and cleaning will have to wait! Special happy birthday to my supplier of local cow, my big brother! Love you!

What’s on the menu for you all this week? Post a comment, or Tweet!

Send food pictures and blog requests 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

Up next, a review of the Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck!

Leave a comment

Filed under Punt!, Weekly Menus

Can this supper be saved? Yes, by Trader Joe’s

Gentle Readers, I hope it’s just us here in the confessional booth today. You see, I attempted to declare my independence from bottled salad dressing, but I fell in love. As food love goes, it often happens with a chance encounter at a friend’s house. Then, as I skipped gleefully and unattended down the aisles of Trader Joe’s the other morning after a successful camp drop-off, there it was.

Trader Joe's Romano Caesar Dressing, I Heart You

Trader Joe's Romano Caesar Dressing, I Heart You

Yes, I bought a bottle of my very own. (Along with many, many other things, having discarded the list; shopping for the pure joy of new food discovery, more on those items as I taste them.) The cashier commented on his love for the Romano Caesar Dressing as well. I’m starting to suspect this product has a cult following. And if you give The Practical Cook some dressing, she’s going to buy some Romaine to go with it. And make some croutons from scratch from the stale bread. (Heat some butter or olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat, add a  bit of minced garlic if you like, toss in thinly sliced baguette or cubes of stale bread, brown, sprinkle with parmesan cheese while still hot, eat. Preferably on a salad but straight up is good too.)

Butternut Squash Ravioli from Trader Joe's

Butternut Squash Ravioli from Trader Joe's

And then came the butternut squash ravioli. Bliss. I browned a large hunk of butter and some fresh sage, toss, toss, toss, a simple and satisfying dinner that everyone loved without any fuss in the kitchen. It was beautiful and delicious, the perfect end to a day of camp, swim lessons, and general chaos.

Simple Salad with Romano Caesar Dressing and Homemade Croutons

Simple Salad with Romano Caesar Dressing and Homemade Croutons

Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter and Crispy Sage

Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Ravioli with Browned Butter and Crispy Sage

It was a nice break from tomato-based sauces, and the sweetness of the ravioli went so well with the sage. The Youngest Practical Cook ate all of her sage (and the croutons) and left some ravioli.

Thank you Trader Joe’s, for saving my supper. I was steps away from collapse, but the simple elegance of the meal kept me going. I shall persevere and cook another day. And I forgive me for buying another bottle of salad dressing, and you just might if you try this stuff.

Do you have a favorite bottled salad dressing? Have you tried the Romano Caesar? Comments and confessions are welcome in the comments section, just below.

Submit your questions and thoughts 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

Tomorrow, a timely review of Locopops: Home of the Delicious Paleta.

Leave a comment

Filed under Can this supper be saved?, On the Table, Punt!

Weekly Menus: 7/24/2011

Gentle Readers, this Sunday’s post is dreadfully late, because The Practical Cook slept in. A lot. Which was then followed by walk with a hound dog in the heat of the day. Not very good planning. She seeks to redeem herself here, with some weekly planning, ninja-style.

Here’s what we’re having this week:

Weekly Menus: 7/24/2011

Weekly Menus: 7/24/2011

Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Grocery List: 7/24/2011

Four-Square Grocery List: 7/24/2011

CSA from Brinkley Farms:

1 pk sweet Italian sausage
1 qt red cherry tomatoes
1 lb roma beans

Which translates into:

Sunday: Zucchini Bake
Do I have to explain this one? It’s a good bake-ahead dish, and I plan to leverage it through the week as a “pizza topping.”

Monday: Salmon Cakes and Fried Okra
I have some leftover mashed potatoes, so this is perfect timing for a brain-growing meal.

Tuesday: Asian Night or Sammies and**Cake**
There’s going to be some field research on this evening, so I need a simple meal where I can nibble but not eat, and still feed the juniors. There will be cake, however. Birthday, mine.  🙂

Wednesday: Leftovers
Hello refrigerator surprise!

Thursday: Breakfast for dinner
Watermelon and grits, together again.

Friday: Beans and Rice
This is very likely to be Mexican, though it may morph if I have a chance to deal with the eggplant recipe I’m working on. Punt!

Saturday: Dine Out!
Food trucks, yes.

What are the Gentle Readers eating and cooking in this eat? Speak up by posting a comment below!

Send blog ideas and 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

Up Next, Faux Fried Okra!

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

A Case for Sunday Night Dinner

In the South, there’s a tradition of eating a fairly large Sunday dinner, and for the Practical Cook, this was at high noon growing up. In the summer, the table was especially full, complete with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and onions. I was down to my last cuke this Sunday, so opted for a jar of pickled beets, but the table was still pretty full.

Sunday Dinner with the Practical Cook

Sunday Dinner with the Practical Cook

This week, Gentle Readers, I’m cooking from my center, Southern Summer food. It’s familiar, it’s comforting, and it uses up a lot of what’s in the fridge. Life is busy, but Sunday dinner makes you slow down, if just to try one of everything on the table.

Sliced Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Mayo

Sliced Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Mayo

Sunday dinner is about catching up, relaxing, and serving more than the necessary amount of vegetables. There must be a main dish, a bread item (with honey and molasses available), sliced tomatoes, cukes and onions (pickled beets were a Punt!), a green vegetable, and something fried if at all possible. Potatoes are a nice addition, as is something in a casserole dish. Deviled eggs would not be out of place.

Princess Corn Muffins

Princess Corn Muffins

For dessert, if you can get there, pound cake, pie, or fruit-based desserts a la mode. I grew up in a farming family, and the habit of scrambling for calories at a big meal dies hard. When you work all day, you can eat like that. This is a sometimes meal for us now, but I encourage you to try your own version. Slow things down a bit, eat, talk, and enjoy leftovers the next day.

Sunday Dinner Time Means a Full Table

Sunday Dinner Time Means a Full Table

Do you cook a large meal during the week? For what occasion? Share your story in the comments.

Send your ideas and requests to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook good word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Tomorrow, Fried Squash with Soda Cracker Crumb Coating.

2 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, On the Table

Creating the Perfect Summer Picnic Platter

Gentle readers, this just in, summer is here in humidity, even if the calendar hasn’t caught up. The Practical Cook adores a picnic, and her picnic ideas are very much an homage to Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner. Perhaps it’s because he really loves, and has perfected cold fried chicken. Yes, open the confessional booth, the Practical Cook prefers cold chicken over hot.

For the vegetarian readers, fear not, a swap will be suggested. The key elements here are “fried” and “cold.”

And because I am practical above all things, I bought the fried chicken at the store. Yes, it’s not that this is a no-fried zone, it’s just I’ve never found the effort to be worth the mess and clean-up. Not when respectable cold fried chicken is available elsewhere.

So here is the composition of the Perfect Summer Picnic Platter (in Spring):

Summer Picnic Platter Featuring Cold Fried Chicken

Summer Picnic Platter Featuring Cold Fried Chicken

1. Cold Fried Chicken. Make your own, buy it, up to you. For the veggies, consider a nice fried corn fritter (or try one of the Dr. Praeger’s items made crisp and then at room temp). But seriously, if you’ve only had your fried chicken hot, now is the time to cross over.

2. Potato Salad. Again, make it, buy it, I won’t tell. This is deli potato salad, because Sunday had Punt! written all over it.

3. Green Veg. I was raised to eat a green veg at all meals, and the veg will change with the season. We had fresh green peas from the Brinkley Farms CSA, and they were served simply and worked nicely here. Later in the season, cukes and onions would be my recommendation. Also consider celery sticks, or a side salad.

4. Watermelon. Shy of an allergy, I don’t consider this optional. I recommend a pinch of salt on it early in the season, before it’s truly ripe in the heat of the summer.

Of course, this is meant to be eaten outside. There will be bits of fried and drips of watermelon juice everywhere, no matter the age of the diners.

What’s on your picnic platter? Comment or Tweet!

Send pictures of your hot-weather meals and ideas to  practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Like, like, like! Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

We’re keeping things cool tomorrow with Summer Rolls Recipe.

Leave a comment

Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, On the Table