Tag Archives: summer foods

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: 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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5 Simple Summer Sandwiches and a Note About Hunger Relief

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is infinitely fond of variety and options on the table. For whatever reason, I become even more so in the summer. I just don’t want too much of anything (that’s not ice cold watermelon). Enter the open-faced sandwich plate.

Summer Sandwich Platter

Summer Sandwich Platter

I can’t even call this crostini, because I didn’t toast the bread. This is slices of bread with interesting toppings. Here’s what’s on the plate, starting with the tomato sandwiches at 9 o’clock and going clockwise.

1. Tomato. Just thick slices, a dab of mayo, a sprinkle of salt, and a healthy grind of pepper.

2. Cucumber, goat cheese, and dill. This was my favorite. I’ve eaten it three more times since.

3. Tangy Tuna Melt. Initially we melted some colby jack on the bread for tuna adherence, but dropped it in the second round. The tuna is just chunk light mixed with a touch of mayo and a very healthy dollop of sweet hot mustard from Trader Joe’s. Top it with sliced green olives, and The Practical Cooks Junior ate it up. This is shocking for the Eldest, who is not a fan. Give it a try.

4. Hummus with roasted red peppers. The Juniors love this combo.

5. Pickled beets with goat cheese and dill. Thinly slice some pickled beets and you’re on to something. This is a beautiful sandwich, and another favorite of the Juniors.

The Practical Cook's Table in the Summertime: Simple and fruit-filled.

The Practical Cook’s Table in the Summertime: Simple and fruit-filled.

What are your favorite sandwich combinations? Post a comment below, or Tweet my way with your ideas!

Special Note About Hunger Relief:I Support Kids Summer Stock Badge

I obviously think about food a lot. The converse, I also think about people who don’t have food a lot. Kids who are hungry can’t really enjoy the simple pleasures of summertime. When school is out, a key source of  nutrition is often missing for those in need. You can help.

Find ways to give back in your area if you’re outside North Carolina. Thanks for listening.

Send your kitchen confessions, challenges, and food 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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Believe it or not, and I do not, it’s almost time for Sunday Weekly Menus!

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How to Throw and Impromptu Cookout and Why You Should

Gentle Readers, there is nothing better than cooking out in the summer, unless it’s someone else doing the cooking. If you need an excuse to have a party or gathering, and really, who doesn’t, light a fire in the grill, and start dialing out. It’s a potluck on a grill, what could be easier?

Let there be fire! Chicken on the barbie.

Let there be fire! Chicken on the barbie. (As stated by an actual Australian.)

This past week, I had some truly delicious grilled chicken, consumed outside after the blazing heat had died down. Food tastes better outside. Food cooked over fire, better still. And if you supply the main and distribute the sides, it’s an easy occasion.

Outdoor dinner, summer style.

Outdoor dinner, summer style.

Here was the menu:

Grilled Chicken: Marinated overnight in a top-secret blend of flavorings and spices (top-secret because I could not read all of the labels of the myriad Asian chili sauces my hostess with the mostest used).

Grilled Chicken in Spicy Asian Marinade. Burnt skin was at a premium.

Grilled Chicken in Spicy Asian Marinade. Burnt skin was at a premium.

Corn on the Cob: Need I say more? Boiled, with butter and salt. Yum.

Corn on the Cob for the Win!

Corn on the Cob for the Win!

Watermelon: Again, I could eat my weight in this stuff, and it’s designed to be consumed outside.

Summer happiness = watermelon

Summer happiness = watermelon

Random Whole Foods Side Salads: I’ll confess, this was me. I was working up until the cookout, and my hostess graciously let me off the hook. I brought quinoa and some firecracker slaw. I am back to my quinoa addiction, a perfect summer food.

Whole Foods Quinoa and Firecracker Slaw: Working Mom Food

Whole Foods Quinoa and Firecracker Slaw: Working Mom Food

Watermelon Semifreddo: Days later, I’m still dreaming about this dessert. Courtesy of my friend over at The Professor’s Table, this is a happy marriage of something like an ice-box pie top with a boozy watermelon granita bottom. I am seeking the recipe, or will direct you to her site if she posts it there. I didn’t think I could love or crave watermelon more. I was wrong.

Watermelon Semifreddo: I Think I Love You

Watermelon Semifreddo: I Think I Love You

We all brought things to drink, everyone did work to make the meal happen, and we ate outside. It was relaxing, delicious, and memorable. All that a summer meal should be. So go, create a moment outside of your kitchen! Thank me later. (Or invite me now. :))

Outdoor wine table.

Outdoor wine table.

Special thanks to the Friday night crew. It was awesome: you continue to remind me why I love food.

What’s your favorite thing to cook on the grill? Post a comment below, or Tweet my way. I am on vacation, but listening.

Send your invitations, spare watermelon, 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!)

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On Friday: Not Quite Carbonara Recipe (or Vegetarians Welcome)!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 7/3/2011

Today’s weekly menus indicate a transitional period. The Practical Cook is still blogging remotely from a vacation spot, and the CSA ended last week. It’s possible that The Practical Cook’s parents will greet her return with loads of vegetables they “saved” for her (read: no other way to offload their zucchini).

Deviled Egg Illusion: Actually White Chocolate (with Paprika Sprinkles!)

Deviled Egg Illusion: Actually White Chocolate (with Paprika Sprinkles!)

So what follows are some guidelines and thoughts for next week’s menus. I should also note that I’ll be blogging about a chocolate shop I just visited in the coming weeks, which would also explain the high level of vegetarian or vegetable-rich meals listed below.

Chocolate Turtles from the Chocolate Tree

Chocolate Turtles from the Chocolate Tree

Weekly Menus: 7/3/2011

Sunday: Attending Pool Party with Burgers and Dogs
The trick here is to not eat what is not good. I’ve fallen prey to this party mentality before. I have nothing against burgers and dogs, in fact I love them, but only when they rock out. Otherwise, I’ll eat side items.

Monday: BBQ Chicken
An American Classic. Easy on the grill, super easy on the stove. Will blog my method at some point.

Tuesday: Whole Foods Family Meal
This is my Punt! upon returning from trips. It’s one of the least-expensive Whole Foods options, and is a main, two sides, and a salad that doesn’t cost a Whole Paycheck. Check it out.

Wednesday: Vegetable Melange
This is fancy for “I wonder what will be in my house when I get there.” Perhaps it will be an omelet or something on a tortilla, but I crave serious veggies after a trip. Somehow travel becomes a meat-fest.

Thursday: Dine Out!
Friends are in town, and there are some dietary restrictions. I’m thinking the local Indian joint is a winner. If not, I’ll Punt! and report about it.

Friday: Pasta Toss!
Clearly, I’m enthusiastic about getting back into the kitchen, what with the joyful punctuation. I need some parsley and tomatoes, and then anything else that sits still will go in. Possibly with some Golden Sherry, my new deglazing obsession.

Saturday: TBD
Usually we dine out, but I may sit this one out, since I have to travel again right away. Even I can only do so much field research, and another week away from the Practical Cook Test Kitchen may kill me.

But rest assured Gentle Readers, there will be many ears of corn and sliced tomatoes consumed in the coming weeks. And let’s not even talk about the cucumbers and onions. It is summertime, and the eating is easy. What are you eating this week? Post a comment here, or Tweet away.

Send your weekly menus 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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In honor of the Fourth of July, 3 Things I Want to Declare Independence From. Yes, more confessions are coming.

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