Tag Archives: quick dinners

Weekly Menus: Week of 3/11/2012 (with bonus recipe: Savory Bread Pudding)

Gentle Readers, it is  confession time here once more. The Practical Cook is guilty of the sin of wishful thinking. I often wish for more time/energy/counterspace. If only (fill in the blank), I say, then I would (fill in the blank). In the month of March, I’m resolving to do more and wish less. To that end, the inventory clean-up continues. Yes, I really had that much food stockpiled.

Savory Bread Pudding with Rosemary and Onions

Savory Bread Pudding with Rosemary and Onions

The bonus recipe below reflects that, something I sold to The Practical Cooks Junior as savory bread pudding. The Eldest loved it, the Youngest liked it, TPC’s Mom enjoyed it.

So more simplicity, and meals I can make in advance. This week I’ll be prepping for a very special event, as the Eldest celebrates a birthday soon. There will be cake, she will be very specific, I must be prepared.

So for this week’s Weekly Menus, we have:

Weekly Menus: 3/11/2012

Weekly Menus: 3/11/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 3/11/2011

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 3/11/2011

Which translates into:

Sunday: Pita Pizzas and Salad
Nothing better than a pita pizza bar for picky eaters. Have it your way. And I can divest myself of some cooked mushrooms and spinach at the same time. Score.

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner
Yes, there’s more leftover bacon to be eaten. And I really crave biscuits right now.

Tuesday: Soup and Sammies
It’s hard for us to eat a whole loaf of bread, but we need it for school lunch. Thus this staple supper.

Wednesday: Pasta Bake
Read: like lasagna, made in advance. If I don’t get rid of all of the spinach and mushrooms, they’ll appear here. If I need to offload some butternut squash and greens, I’ll do more of a white lasagna thing. I’ll be sure to report back in.

Thursday: Leftovers
See above, that pasta bake will be large and in charge. Add a different salad, call it done.

Friday: Sausage and Greens
Served with either pierogie or gnocchi, as the Youngest has declared she does not like mashed potatoes. I know, she is slightly unamerican for saying it, but doesn’t fear swimming upstream.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Current plan is to stalk some food trucks!

What are you serving these days? Post a comment and share the inspiration!

Bonus Recipe: Savory Bread Pudding

Let’s be honest, this is really what I call chicken dressing, just altered to make it beefy. Goes great with leftover beef stew, tomato gravy, mushrooms, or as a light lunch with garlicky greens.

A little carby goodness to go with a big pile of chard.

A little carby goodness to go with a big pile of chard.

several slices stale, leftover bread, broken into pieces (to make about 4 to 6 cups of chunks)
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
~8 cups of beef broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons butter

1. Break up the leftover bread into chunks, which should almost fill your large mixing bowl. Add the rosemary and onion to the bowl. NOTE: I keep my stale bread in the freezer, and I don’t even bother to defrost for this recipe, because of the next step.

Rosemary for the win!

Rosemary for the win!

2. Meanwhile, bring the beef broth to a boil.

3. When the broth is boiling, add it slowly to the bread mixture, stirring and checking for consistency as you go. The brothier you make the pudding, the wetter it will be. I like some extra broth in the bowl, but not bread soup.

Mix the bread, the onions, and the rosemary.

Mix the bread, the onions, and the rosemary.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When it’s to your liking, add the egg, mix well.

5. While the bread mixtures sits a minute, butter a large glass or ceramic baking dish. Toss the extra butter into the bread mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees on the bottom rack for 10 minutes, and then another 30 to 45 on the middle rack at 325.

Enjoy!

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Coming up on Wednesday, One Ingredient, Three Ways: Salad Edition.

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Filed under Recipes, Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 9/11/2011

Gentle Readers, it is a reminder of another time, typing the date out for this week’s post. My thoughts are in NYC today, where I was living 10 years ago. Back to topic, here’s the plan for this week. The food is heavier, my vegetable supply is still outpacing my ability to shovel it into people (thinking “dinner party” here, raise your hand if you’re hungry and like veggies), and I really and truly want fall to be here.

Weekly Menus for This Week:

Weekly Menus: 9/11/2011

Weekly Menus: 9/11/2011

Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Grocery List (Puny this week): 9/11/2011

Four-Square Grocery List (Puny this week): 9/11/2011

CSA from Brinkley Farms:

2 delicata squash
1 bunch baby sweet white turnips
2 lbs red tomatoes
1 butternut squash

Which Translates To:

Sunday: Pizza and Salad
Let’s just call this pre-Punting shall we? I have a brutal Monday, and work I should be doing right now.

Monday: Sausage Burger
This is coming out of the test kitchen, part of Fig Week. I shall say no more.

Tuesday: Field Research
My list of places to review is growing at such a pace that this is necessary. (I’m in marketing, people, that’s called a “business case for eating out.”)

Wednesday: Steak and Greens
Arugula salad with goat cheese and a steak, probably some sweet potato fries. If you agree to eat fried okra with it, I’ll invite you over.

Thursday: Salmon Cakes
With TPC Jrs back in school, we must focus on brain growth.

Friday: Chicken Surprise/Leftovers
Let’s just see how the week goes.

Saturday: Dine Out!
If you’re not on Twitter following Food Trucks, I challenge you to do so in an effort to support one this coming Saturday. It’s like tailgating, with no effort on your part. If you’re not sure where to look, check out Yelp.com’s Food Truck/Food Stand category for your town.

Do you have a recipe/dish you make every week? Post a comment below. Tabula rasa people, open space, just waiting. I hear you lurking.

Send blog requests, questions, and ideas 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 tomorrow, it’s a virtual dinner party with a Surprise Cookbook Review and Pecan Rum Cake with Figs Recipe!

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The Joy of Pesto

Nothing screams fresh and bright like good pesto. Personally, I am a fan when it’s tempered with some sweet and juicy tomatoes diced atop the final dish. Last night, in a superheroic effort to save some on the brink basil, I made pesto with what was at hand. It was good, really good, but there was a blender fail. Can this pesto be saved? Read on.

The Journey Begins: Basil in the Blender

The Journey Begins: Basil in the Blender

I’m pretty sure I’ve always made pesto in the blender, but while my water was boiling furiously, and this picture is lovely, it would not blend. There was some language used that was less than gentle. But never fear, Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook soldiers on.

Pulverized Basil, or Pesto, in the Food Processor

Pulverized Basil, or Pesto, in the Food Processor

I heart my Kitchen Aid Food Processor more than I can say right now. A few seconds later, I had pesto and was able to complete the dish.

Tortellini with Pesto and Tomatoes

Tortellini with Pesto and Tomatoes

If I had a true recipe here, I would share it, but lean in and I’ll tell you a secret: you can make pesto out of almost anything. Yes, it’s true, as long as you have a few key flavor elements, it will work nicely.

The Elements of Pesto

1. Something Green. Basil is the leading contender, and I like to add a bit of parsley for brightness. But I’ve made pesto from spinach and just parsley before when basil went MIA.

2. Something Nutty. Though I’ve made pesto without nuts for family, I prefer the nuts. Toast them before for flavor, pine nuts are traditional, but walnuts are great, and I’ve used pistachios in a Greek version.

3. Garlic. Accept no substitutes.

4. Cheese. Parmesan or Romano are traditional, but feta and cottage are lovely too. Try a combo, and alter based on the flavor profile you’re seeking.

5. Olive Oil. Do not skimp or use crappy stuff. You can taste it in the final dish, pick a flavor you like and go for it.

Tips: Frankly, I toss all the stuff into the food processor (now that I’ve learned my lesson) and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste and adjust seasonings and elements to suit yourself. If it’s dry, add more oil, bland, add more cheese or green, or a little more salt.

And most importantly, make a big batch while you’re doing it, and freeze the leftovers in cubes, to be whipped out like a magician during a future feeding emergency.

Pesto Cubes Heading for the Freezer

Pesto Cubes Heading for the Freezer

Pesto is a natural with pasta, but try it over a stronger tasting fish or chicken. I had some of the best beef shortribs of my life that featured a pesto drizzle. Use your pesto in small portions, but with creativity, and you’ll never look back.

Are you a pesto fan? Purist or experimental? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below, or Tweet!

Send your basil 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, we conclude the week with German Chocolate Cake and Frosting Recipe.

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Filed under Can this supper be saved?, Punt!, Recipes