Tag Archives: salads

Weekly Menus: Week of 7/7/2013

Gentle Readers, summer is going full tilt here at Team Practical Cook HQ. Between blistering heat, monsoons, and a rain of toads (fine, a single gecko looking escapee), life has been wonderfully busy. Still not a lot of kitchen time, but we are cooking, and we are eating together, and we are trying new things.

This gentleman attempted to sell us insurance from a water fountain at Carowinds.

This gentleman attempted to sell us insurance from a water fountain at Carowinds.

Last night we visited Korea, and this happened. That was formerly Kalbi (ribs), Edamame, and BiBimBap. I didn’t have a chance to shoot the empty dumpling plate. The Youngest even tried the fish cakes that came as part of the round of free appetizers. Chopsticks were wielded with a vengeance.

TPCs Jr left not a trace at Minga in Chapel Hill.

TPCs Jr left not a trace at Minga in Chapel Hill.

So the grocery list continues to be about fresh fruits and veggies, and snack food. The focus is on learning to be strong swimmers and as much adventure as we can cram into a few weeks. Above all, keep your head up and your hands in the air.

Wave your hands in the air like you just don't care. (Goldrusher at Carowinds)

Wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care. (Goldrusher at Carowinds)

So this week’s weekly menus are:

Weekly Menus: 7/7/2013

Weekly Menus: 7/7/2013

And the Four Square Grocery Shopping List is:

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

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

Which all means:

Sunday: Pasta and Salad
At the request of The Eldest PC, we’re having carbonara and a Ceasar Salad. Simple, comforting, easy to make.

Who needs croutons? We use chow mein noodles.

Who needs croutons? We use chow mein noodles.

Monday: Spinach Quesadilla
Straight back from college, this has become our quick meal of summer. It’s a little different each time, and crazy easy to make. Look for a post soon about how to make Ranchero Beans from canned pintos in a flash.

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Tuesday: Omelets
We are egg-crazy right now. Great way to feed greens to TPCs JR, and infinite variety. Add toast for crunch, or possibly some grits. Win!

Green eggs frying in the pan . . .

Green eggs frying in the pan . . .

Wednesday: Sammies!
Also known as Mama Tapas, we are doing a lot of open-faced sandwiches. Cheese and apple, tuna salad, guacammus (another test kitchen experiment, results pending), you name it, we’ll try it.

Open-faced tomato sammie, or tapas!

Open-faced tomato sammie, or tapas!

Thursday: Leftover delight!
We have more travel in our future, so we are constantly trying to eat down our supplies as opposed to buying more. This meal will be whatever is left atop a bed of greens. Slightly frostbitten veggie corn dogs may be an entree. It is not glamorous, but it is necessary!

Friday: Not Dogs
Though I’ve lost some enthusiasm for hot dogs after seeing my first hot dog eating contest (I just saw pictures of the winners before–I have looked into the heart of food darkness, and this is it), I’m still craving them. Last week it didn’t work out to eat hot dogs on the 4th, as is required by US Law, so I’m delaying.

Saturday: Dine Out!
So much great outdoor dining to do. I’ve got a date planned with my foodie gal pal who never steers me wrong! Field research commence!

What do you eat when you’re on vacation? Do you dine out, cook big family style meals in, snack? Post your comments below!

Questions, comments, SPF? Send 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! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Wednesday: Adapted Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 3/24/2013

Gentle Readers, technology is wonderful until it is not. Apologies for the errors/reposting/general high tech hijinks of the last post. Something happened in the editorial and publishing process. On with the show. Today’s weekly menus is going to break form as I continue to attempt to improve inventory control.

The Practical Cook's Cereal Warehouse

The Practical Cook’s Cereal Warehouse

In assessing a week honestly, sometimes I’m just not going to have the opportunity to cook a lot. I have aspirations, and I’m going to blog about the discipline of cooking soon, but buying more food than we need is just not helping.

The Freezer Before the Intervention

The Freezer Before the Intervention

Lean in, I will confess: I haven’t used a coupon in weeks and weeks. And weeks. Perhaps we’ve grown out of using a number of the items on sale, or we just don’t need that much of any one thing. Our travel schedules (and it is plural, TPCs Jr are in very high demand) dictate more meals out, or with friends, or to meet business obligations. So we eat simply at home, or make use of the leftovers, or draw from our vast war chest of pantry options.

My Road Food Survival Kit

My Road Food Survival Kit

The net of it is, our time is the priority right now, and it takes time to plan/shop/buy/put away. If we reduce that load, we get time and money back. I’m not advocating giving up cooking, far from it. Just acceptance that one must take the long view. Weekly snapshots may look like nothing but restaurant time, but there’s a lot of oatmeal and salad in between.

Quinoa and tofu add substance to this Whole Foods salad. I thinned the Thai dressing with lemon juice.

Quinoa and tofu add substance to this Whole Foods salad. I thinned the Thai dressing with lemon juice.

So this week’s grocery list: milk, bread, eggs, bananas, cereal, walnuts. Basically the food of the Southern Snowstorm, with some variety tossed in.

And the weekly menus are:

Sunday: Indian
I’m field testing another new place. Be on the lookout for some reviews.

Monday: Fried Chicken
Again, another review. And yes, I’m running again, and faster than ever, thank you for asking. Also, yes, I got my cholesterol checked and I’m fine. Moral of this: I eat a whole lot of oatmeal and salad you don’t see. I may put together a post around all the oatmeals I’ve loved. Long view, take the long view.

Tuesday: Soup and Sammies
TPCs Jr and TPCs Mom will be at the helm again, so we are looking for simple and healthy. Add some fruit, and call it a meal.

Wednesday: Leftover surprise!
It is better to eat the food you have than buy new and have to throw more out. I have no idea what this will be, but it will be exciting. There are so many options when you are looking to clean out the fridge.

Thursday: Malaysian
More field testing with one of our favorite teams. If you haven’t tried Malaysian food, google and seek. With some luck, I’ll have a guest post before long.

Friday: Dine Out
Again, honest prevails here, we are traveling and looking forward to some exciting food adventures!

Saturday: Dine Out
See above.

How do you manage your inventory? Post a comment below, or Tweet my way!

Questions, quibbles, compliments? Email 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: Corned Beef Hash Recipe!

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Three Salad Ideas for the New Year

Gentle Readers, may those among us who did not strap on the cookie jar like a feedbag cast the first baked good. It’s New Year’s Resolution time again, and I’ve got a few. I’ve extended the deadline on my one pull-up resolution of 2012. Don’t be a hater, they are very very hard. 2013 will be my year.

2013 will be the year of the pullup. I swear.

2013 will be the year of the pullup. I swear.

Also, if you know someone precise, someone who likes exact measures, let’s say an engineer, and she places a scale in front of your cookie cabinet, that is so not holiday feng sui. Just saying. I will not name names here, but will simply call her 5FeetofFury.

Chicken Jolt Salad with Espresso Cheese, Apples, and Dijon-Sherry Vinaigrette

Chicken Jolt Salad with Espresso Cheese, Apples, and Dijon-Sherry Vinaigrette

Back on point, it’s salad time here at Team Practical Cook. We’re all tired of rich food at this point. Here are 3 salad ideas to get you started:

1. Caesar Salad with Fried Onions: While you think this is not a health food, read on. The trick here is to use a lot of lettuce, not so much dressing, and something different for the crunch. That’s the point. The fried onions from Trader Joe’s are extremely satisfying, and not a complete calorie bomb. I like their dressing too. The Practical Cooks Jr are both big fans of onions instead of croutons because the salad is easier to eat. And that is really the point, isn’t it?

Trader Joe's Romano Caesar Dressing, I Heart You

Trader Joe’s Romano Caesar Dressing, I Heart You

2. Just Add Fruit: Dried or fresh, nothing brightens up greenery like something sweet. I find the combination satisfies my hunger and keeps me from craving other forms of sweetness. I’ve been on a blackberry and toasted almonds kick lately, but always keep dried cranberries and Honeycrisp apples on hand. Also, orange sections or mango chunks: both pair well with leftover salmon or tuna.

Blackberries and Toasted Almonds on Herby Greens FTW!

Blackberries and Toasted Almonds on Herby Greens FTW!

3. Salad Bar: This is not a new concept, I think the 80s got the patent on this one (remember when Wendy’s and Pizza Hut relied on this to lure you in for lunch?). However, it works at home and is worth a reminder. Buy 2 types of lettuce (or spinach plus lettuce) and let the people choose A vs B. It works. It’s not “eat a salad or leave the table,” now it’s “which one do you prefer?” Stay with the basic formula, greens, something sweet, something crunchy, something salty/cheesy, and ranch for emergencies.

Take it from the pros like Whole Foods, Salad Bars work.

Take it from the pros like Whole Foods, Salad Bars work.

So my journey into 2013 begins. What’s your resolution? Or your favorite salad? Post a comment below, or Tweet my way!

Send your digital scales to someone else. For questions, comments, or strokes of brilliance, 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!)

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Coming up Friday, First Time Fast Foodies.

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The Week of Salads: Not Just for Rabbits

Gentle Readers, sometimes The Practical Cook has to take a break from field research, and move into field greens research. After a punishing schedule of fried and bacon, it was time for the week of salads.

Chocolate, Meet Bacon. <3

Chocolate, Meet Bacon. ❤

What started out as a detox week (no desserts, no drinking) because a quest to reboot the system, so to speak. It is very easy to lose sight of one’s sense of hunger, to finish food you don’t want or doesn’t taste good, to eat it because it’s there, because you’re bored, because it’s Tuesday.

Leftover mango salsa, some beans, a bit of cheese = insta-salad.

Leftover mango salsa, some beans, a bit of cheese = insta-salad.

The Practical Cooks Junior are remarkable in knowing their limits. I applaud them, and hope they don’t lose that. When they announce that they’re full, we say, “it’s good to know when you’re full.” Nothing more. Working on relearning that lesson.

Awesome Thai dinner at Koh Samui in San Francisco

Awesome Thai dinner at Koh Samui in San Francisco

What I have found: I have enjoyed food more this week after the detox week. Admittedly, that’s aided by being surrounded by colleagues and friends who love food, in San Francisco.

And I really loved the salads too. Here’s my favorite.

Strawberry Spinach Salad, You're Haunting My Food Memories

Strawberry Spinach Salad, You’re Haunting My Food Memories

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Pecans and Ricotta

Slice and macerate some strawberries lightly, in sugar or balsamic, up to you. Toss a salad with spinach, the strawberries, pecans (toast them lightly in the microwave for more flavor, or don’t if you want a milder flavor, top with ricotta if you’re out of (bingo) or don’t like goat cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic.

For real, I almost ate two of these back to back. Salad makes you slow down and chew. Food is to be enjoyed, not inhaled. Try a week of salads and let me know what you create, and what you discover. Post your favorites here in the comments section, or send a Tweet.

Send your lettuces and bacon bits 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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It’s almost time for Sunday, Sunday, Sunday: Weekly Menus.

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Salad Bar Secrets: Don’t Hate the Leafy Green

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook loves a good salad bar, sneeze guards and all. First, there are the myriad veggies all prepared and waiting, and second, endless combinations. This one goes out to the salad haters (eyes on you CaptCranky). You know, the people who swear they’d rather croak than eat a salad every day, because it’s too hard, too expensive, too boring, too girly, etc. Bring.It.On.

Composed salad from work with berries, nuts, and goat cheese.

Composed salad from work with berries, nuts, and goat cheese.

The Practical Cook’s Guide to Winning Salad

1. Rebrand  it. Are you salad-phobic or salad-curious? How about if your lunch or dinner was something something on a bed of greens? There, all better now.

The Great Tuna Salad Experiment

The Great Tuna Salad Experiment

2. Dressing is the enemy. Yeah, I said it. Most of the dressings you’ll find are gloppy and narsty. And they weigh a lot, thus costing you more, too. Use sparingly, dilute with vinegar or lemon juice, and focus on other items. I’m a fan of chopped egg with a healthy splash of olive oil and balsamic. Avocados are good for this too. Healthy fatty goodness.

The Practical Salad

The Practical Salad

3. Top it with meat. Normally I’m an all-veg salad girl (though past my salad days, Wonder Woman), but sometimes I crave protein. I heart the Whole Foods salad bar, and just across from it is the smoked meat bar. Yes, that’s a slab of brisket on the top. Take that. Think outside the bowl, people. (Also note the grapefruit to counterbalance and remind me why I don’t want to be on statins.)

Brisket on a bed of greens.

Brisket on a bed of greens.

4. Tomatoes are heavy. Simple rule, you will pay an arm and a leg for tomatoes and their like. Get one or two, not a half dozen. If you need a box of tomatoes, you’ll find them in produce.

Wedge Salad Update

Wedge Salad Update

5. Salads aren’t all green. There are lovely fruit salads, potato salads, etc. Consider a salad plate or meal composed of multiples. Beets, grapefruits, etc. are all out there, waiting to be your lunch.

Beet and citrus, potato, and Caesar salad from Foster's

Beet and citrus, potato, and Caesar salad from Foster's

Where do you stand in the great salad debate? Make your opinion known, or I’ll simply post a comment and attribute it to you. 🙂 Or Tweet.

Weigh in on salad ideas 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!)

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Coming up tomorrow, Kitchen Tool Talk: Three More of My Favorite Things.

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