Tag Archives: summer menus

Weekly Menus: Birthday Week Edition, 7/28/2013

Gentle Readers, I am once more writing from the road. This week I’m continuing my birthday celebration–it’s one of those milestone ones, so I’m making it last. A candle in every cake I say! Even pancakes.

Adapatable Pumpkin Pancakes Stack, Birthday Style.

Adapatable Pumpkin Pancakes Stack, Birthday Style.

But we still have to heat amongst various travel obligations. How to meal plan for lots of dinners out and time away? Limit the fresh stuff, buy only what you can eat, and consume a lot of eggs and cereal. More on that in the next blog.

German Chocolate Cake Slice, Birthday Style

German Chocolate Cake Slice, Birthday Style

My Four Square Grocery List is therefore usually: milk, bread, salad, fruit (bananas plus a berry or stone fruit), avocados (we are addicted, so this is a weekly thing). Every other week, cheese and eggs. We can go for long stretches on just these things. Fresh produce is coming in from my family farm, so it’s eat as you go. Such as these figs with prosciutto. Dreamy.

Figs with prosciutto, crafted by The Youngest. TPCs Jr are big fans .

Figs with prosciutto, crafted by The Youngest. TPCs Jr are big fans .

So typical Weekly Menus are:

Sunday: Dine Out
I’m in NYC, so I’m doing field research. Italian? Cambodian? Brunch? Yes, yes, yes.

Malaysian dessert with a candle, complete with singing, from Laut in NYC.

Malaysian dessert with a candle, complete with singing, from Laut in NYC.

Monday: Pasta and Salad
The simplest of all meals, because you can add bacon and eggs and/or garden veggies, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of olive oil. Yes, you do have to keep your pantry and fridge stocked with a few basics, but keep supplies low.

Cheesy Rainbow Pasta Toss in the Toss Phase!

Cheesy Rainbow Pasta Toss in the Toss Phase! Use the pot’s residual heat to help blend everything.

Tuesday: Quesadillas and Ranchero Beans
Our go-to for fast food. Spinach quesadillas are a snap, and it’s not hard to fake long-cooking beans from a can.

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Spinach Quesadilla and Ranchero Beans

Wednesday: Open Face Tuna Melt
This is the surprise hit of the summer. Can of tuna, drain, small amount of mayo, healthy dose of Dijon mustard, sweet relish, splash of hot sauce. Put on bread, sprinkle cheese, toast. Serve in squares with fruit.

Peanut Butter Tuna Salad on Celery: Mobile Lunch

Peanut Butter Tuna Salad on Celery: Mobile Lunch

Thursday: Sausage and Pierogie
This is one of those family favorite meals. Super-easy as well. Serve with applesauce and Brussels sprouts.

Friday: Tapas
We’ll be serving whatever is left, tomatoes and cukes from the farm, apples and cheese, on bread that’s been toasted.

Open-faced tomato sammie, or tapas!

Open-faced tomato sammie, or tapas!

Saturday: Dine Out!
More adventure eating fun. Or perhaps a nice long round of batch cooking. 🙂

What are you eating this summer? Send your ideas! We’re eating a lot of food with chopsticks: Burmese, Korean, Japanese, Chinese. Food just tastes better that way! The runner up with with our hands: Ethiopian, Indian, Pakistani. It’s been quite the world tour.

Where we eat many meals these days--in the air!

Where we eat many meals these days–in the air!

Send extra candles, good ideas, and 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! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up (next) Wednesday: An Ode to Eggs, Recipes for Survival **Due to the total publish fail on my part, we are going to delay this post a week. Will be back on track Sunday with menus and ideas!**

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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.)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up Wednesday: Adapted Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe!

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Weekly Menus: Birthday Edition, Week of 6/9/2013

Gentle Reader, what a week. I didn’t think it was possible to overdo on Challah French Toast, but it is. After an amazing trip to NYC, fueled by sampling some of the oddest things I’ve ever tasted, I just wanted to eat cereal for breakfast. Also, I discovered that my Challah French Toast easily bested any I had in New York. Thank you Cook’s Illustrated.

Challah French Toast from Grey Dog.

Challah French Toast from Grey Dog.

For the extreme tasting, may I introduce you to balut. Things to note, I do not always pay enough attention to the fine print. I heard “duck egg” and at a Filipino restaurant, “not containing shellfish.” What I missed, “fertilized.”

Thanks to @lynxbat for this before picture. Duck eggs, looking innocent. Balut @ Jeepney.

Thanks to @lynxbat for this before picture. Duck eggs, looking innocent. Balut @ Jeepney.

I will do a full review of Jeepney soon (really amazing experience, great food), but meanwhile, special thanks to my partner in crime, @Lynxbat, who offered to name our appetizer halfway through. It was the highlight of the trip, though I only managed three bites before I backed down.

The whole patio stopped to watch. I have not yet realized what I've signed on for.

The whole patio stopped to watch. I have not yet realized what I’ve signed on for.

So this week features a return to normal, with cake for The Youngest Practical Cook Jr. The weekly menus are:

Weekly Menus: 6/9/2013

Weekly Menus: 6/9/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List (note that The Youngest TPC Jr added “pairs” as a request, in the right place even!):

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/9/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/9/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Ribs and Cornbread
We are planning ahead, and have a big day. So simple and easy is best–we bought ribs prepared, and we’re going to add something green plus cornbread for The Youngest’s celebratory birthday meal. There will be travel, soccer, and swimming in this as well, and one of two cakes (Birthday Carrot Cake!) plus ice cream, so easy wins.

Real Vanilla Beans: The key to an amazing cream cheese frosting

Real Vanilla Beans: The key to an amazing cream cheese frosting

Monday: Pizza
We have leftovers, add a salad, and call it a day. I love summer.

Tuesday: Veggie Quesadillas
Whatever is left in the fridge will be chopped and roasted, slapped into a tortilla, covered with cheese, and served. Sliced avocados make it fancy.

Wednesday: Salmon and Quinoa
What can I say, we’re fans of the high-protein light meal. Add broccoli and everyone’s happy.

Salmon and Arugula over Quinoa: It rocked

Salmon and Arugula over Quinoa: It rocked

Thursday: Beans and Rice
This will probably be just black beans and rice, optional tortilla. A favorite and easy to take outside.

Black Beans and Rice: Simple and Satisfying for Dinner

Black Beans and Rice: Simple and Satisfying for Dinner

Friday: Leftover delight!
I suspect this will involve eggs to stretch the bits and pieces of the week.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Currently seeking the best chicken and waffles, and new and different pork offerings. I may be traveling to discover this. Woot!

The Youngest TPC Wrote and Illustrated a Story about NYC: I love this

The Youngest TPC Wrote and Illustrated a Story about NYC: I love this

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Post a comment, send a tweet, share a condolence or two. I’m listening.

Send your extra birthday wishes, questions, and chicken and waffle suggestions 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.)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up Wednesday: Cereal in Review: Chocolate Almond Granola from Trader Joe’s

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Weekly Menus, Al Fresco Edition: Week of 6/2/2013

Gentle Readers, summer is a great time to establish some goals. The Practical Cooks Junior have established theirs already, and they are as follows: eat outside as often as possible, take night walks no less than 2 times a week, swim daily, travel often. The Youngest is still convinced she can sell the team on Australia as the big vacation, but alas, that will have to wait.

Outdoor dining for the win!

Outdoor dining for the win!

The last week of school is a Herculean push of activities, many of them popsicle-based. Please note, I checked, and the “fruit-based” had more grams of sugar than the store-brand red/purple/orange pack. Read the labels, and when you can, make your own.

Al fresco requires gear: hat, sunglasses, bug spray, SPF.

Al fresco requires gear: hat, sunglasses, bug spray, SPF.

In the spirit of al fresco dining, with a side of last week of school, here are this week’s menus:

Weekly menus: 6/2/2013

Weekly menus: 6/2/2013

And the Four Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/2/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/2/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Italian!
Crostini and a light lemon sauce on pasta for the win! Carbs can be warm weather friendly, don’t fear them. It’s a great one-pot dish, ideal for transporting outside. If some falls on the ground, toss it to the birds. Goat cheese on crisps is the simplest appetizer in the world, and wow is it good. Damn you Whole Foods Cheesemongers–I’m a sucker for a sample.

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.

Monday: Dine Out!
Lots of obligations this week. I’ll be doing some field research though, so stay tuned.

Tuesday: Salad
It’s hot, and I crave lettuce and watermelon. Sometimes at the same time. Tie it together with feta and a white balsamic, some basil in chiffonade form, and you’re in business.

Summer happiness = watermelon

Summer happiness = watermelon

Wednesday: Pasta with broccoli
A request from TPCs Jr, the key here is to put more broccoli than pasta.

Cheese Rainbow Pasta Toss, Unicorns Not Included

Cheese Rainbow Pasta Toss, Unicorns Not Included

Thursday: Burritos
Another request from my offspring. To dine outside, simply assemble inside, wrap in foil, and transport. Spicy food in hot weather is your friend.

Friday: Frozen Pizza
School is out, time to party! Oh wait, was that my out loud voice?

My other weakness, padron peppers. They are not spicy, just salty and delicious.

My other weakness, padron peppers. They are not spicy, just salty and delicious.

Saturday: Dine Out!
We’ll be visiting a new country, I don’t know which one yet. If you have ideas, let us know! Summer is a great time to try new things–without the time pressure, life gets simpler. And dining culturally is an easy way to keep the learning going without being so obvious. When your child names the food she’s eating in French, run with it.

I will admit, I’ve fallen off the CSA and Farmer’s Market bandwagon, strictly because of time. However, outdoor dining is inspiring me to rejoin the flock. Our meals are simple and portable, so fresh ingredients are a must. Help us out with our field research, challenge us to try your favorite ice cream. Post it in the comments box below! There’s plenty of room.

Clusterfluff is shorthand for ice cream peanut butter crack.

Clusterfluff is shorthand for ice cream peanut butter crack.

Send patio furniture, insect repellant, and actual feedback 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.)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Up next on Wednesday, Obika Mozzarella Bar Reviewed!

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