Tag Archives: weekly menus

Weekly Menus: Casserole Edition, Week of 11/3/2014

Gentle Readers, another week flies past, and it’s ever closer to one of my very favorite holidays, Thanksgiving. Bring on the yams and stuffing/dressing/cornbread pudding. Truth be told, I have rarely met a casserole I wouldn’t eat. Not all of them are works of brilliance, but when you add a can (or box) of condensed soup to something, I’ll likely consume it. I’m not proud, I’m Southern, and that’s just how it is.

Mexican Squash Casserole

Mexican Squash Casserole

But I digress. I’m in a health challenge with a friend in preparation for the season of cookie eating (to quote her, we need to be at top form so we can bathe in mashed potatoes in the holiday season with a complete lack of guilt), so my casseroles are going to have to be contained to sides and veggies right now. I look forward to more entree development as the season progresses.

Yes, that is squash casserole on top.

Yes, that is squash casserole on top.

So here the list of weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 11/3/2013

Weekly Menus: 11/3/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 11/3/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 11/3/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Salad Delite
Spelling intentional. I wish to hearken the days of cottage cheese consumption during the 1970s. That’s how I feel rolling into my yearly cholesterol check for work. This will be an everything in the fridge salad, and I actually look forward to it. (I may avail myself of the Whole Foods salad bar, which means adding squash casserole on the top–yum.)

Shredded beets and two cubes of tofu, yes please. Whole Foods Salad.

Shredded beets and two cubes of tofu, yes please. Whole Foods Salad.

Monday: Tuna Melts
We delayed eating these as we ran short on time before Halloween (the answer was veggie corn dogs, cut up in small bites so as not to muss our makeup).

We use the force . . . of the microwave for a quick meal before Trick or Treating.

We use the force . . . of the microwave for a quick meal before Trick or Treating.

Tuesday: Chicken Marsala
It’s a good week to make a simple but fancy dish. Goes great with rice or mashed potatoes and, wait for it, green been casserole. If you’ve not tried the condensed portabella mushroom soup from Trader Joe’s, along with their fried onions, now is that time.

Trader Joe's Portabella Mushroom Soup

Trader Joe’s Portabella Mushroom Soup

Wednesday: Pasta with Broccoli
Perhaps with the addition of veggie Italian Sausage? I’ve been pondering a hearty pasta meal and haven’t decided on my favorite combo yet.

Thursday: Beans and Rice (or Spinach Quesadillas)
We are always worn down by Thursday, so simple and hearty is the call of the day.

Friday: Meatloaf and Mashed Squash
We have some delicata squash calling our collective names. I could turn it into a casserole with a few dried cranberries and a crushed walnut topping. I do love this season.

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Delicata Squash Ater Being Attacked by Wild Dogs, or Rather, The Juniors

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Delicata Squash Ater Being Attacked by Wild Dogs, or Rather, The Juniors

Saturday: Dine Out!
We have a date with one of our favorite local chefs and her Wii. It’s been too long.

Snack of the Week: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

Snack of the Week: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

I would love to hear your favorite casserole combos. Shoot me a Tweet or post a comment below. It’s wide open and ready for your call.

Send your condensed soups, fried onions, and 1950s recipes 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 Sunday–Weekly Menus with Tapas Bonus Recipes!

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 10/27/2013, N.C. State Fair Edition

Gentle Readers, so much for good intentions! Apologies for the delayed posting, but this weekend has been slam-packed with fall festivities. Let’s run down the list, shall we: pumpkin selecting, pumpkin carving, costume provisioning, bowling with friends (do not take on POTUS2040), Neko Case, soccer, and the N.C. State Fair!

Fear the pumpkin uprising!

Fear the pumpkin uprising!

We are full up to our eyeballs with pumpkin and deep-fried, shaken and not stirred. Thank goodness it’s a school holiday so I can recover. As a result of all of this, you’ll find a grocery list that’s light on pumpkin but otherwise very heavy on vegetables and ease of use.

Dinner Grits, an idea whose time has come.

Dinner Grits, an idea whose time has come.

I found that we were less crazed about the deep-fried aspects of the fair this year. Perhaps because we haven’t held back the previous years, the novelty has worn off in favor of rides and games. However, I continue to display hound-dog like accuracy in discerning one fried food from another, and could detect the difference in funnel cake vs Krispy Kremes at several hundred feet and in an competitive smell environment. It’s a gift and a curse.

We tried the new deep-fried red velvet Oreos with cream cheese drizzle. Good, but not my favorite fried.

We tried the new deep-fried red velvet Oreos with cream cheese drizzle. Good, but not my favorite fried.

None of us were interested in the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe, the new offering at the fair this year. They need to work on the KK McGriddle–think doughnuts and pig people, not cow! We also bid farewell to The Pork Chop Shop.

Farewell Pork Chop Shop. #blessyourheart

Farewell Pork Chop Shop. #blessyourheart

In a testimony to my kids’ amazing manners, we were offered free sheets of ride tickets not once, but twice, from folks who had to leave before using their allotment up. Thank you to both donors–you are reinforcing the use of “please and thank you” with several underlines and an exclamation mark or two.

Free ride tickets paved the road here: the swings.

Free ride tickets paved the road here: the swings.

But I digress. On to this week’s recovery Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 10/27/2013

Weekly Menus: 10/27/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 10/27/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 10/27/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Spinach Quesadillas
My pantry staple, and a good quick end to a long day at the fair. We paired them with homemade refried black beans (which really just means rinsing a can of black beans and heating with some salsa of your choosing, mashing a few of the beans with the back of a spoon to thicken the texture, and then thinning and simmering with a bit of water).

Monday: Salmon and Couscous
Did I mention I had to get my cholesterol checked soon? Every year right after the fair. Sigh.

Tuesday: Nachos
A great way to use up a little of this and that. We have another pack of veggie chili to go. When you add mushrooms and avocado, you can make something pretty interesting.

Veggie Nachos Perfected! With pickled jalepeno on top, for good measure.

Veggie Nachos Perfected! With pickled jalepeno on top, for good measure.

Wednesday: Thai Tofu
I have a jarred sauce I need to try. I’m going for broke and pairing with the much maligned tofu.

Thursday: Tuna Melts!
High protein and interesting courtesy of being open faced and sprinkled with cheese, we go for a bit of hot sauce kick and a lot of pickle relish.

Peanut Butter Tuna Salad Being Invented

Peanut Butter Tuna Salad Being Invented

Friday: Pasta Primavera or Omelets
Read: I need to use up little bits of vegetables accumulated during the week.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Adventure dining awaits, I look forward to see what it will be!

Raising Rock Stars: Before the Neko Case Concert at DPAC

Raising Rock Stars: Before the Neko Case Concert at DPAC

What’s your fall quick meal these days? Don’t say pumpkin or I’ll scream. We always strive for something simple and attractive pre-Halloween candy march. Post a comment below, let me know you’re out there!

Send your deep-fried, exercise tips, and non-gummi Halloween candy 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 (or thereabouts), Pumpkin Madness Take 2! Oh there’s more.

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes, Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 10/6/2013, Travel Prep Edition

Gentle Readers, this week I must start with a mea culpa. I was traveling last week, and forgot what day it was until I was back, and thus missed the Wednesday publishing cycle. From the amount of mail I received on the topic (none), I can tell there was a public outcry. So I will publish said Smoothie article this week. Meanwhile, look what I got to eat last week:

Biscotti and Cookie Platter at Babbo in NYC. OMG good.

Biscotti and Cookie Platter at Babbo in NYC. OMG good.

Yes, it was that delicious. A tip for anyone who is in NYC and hasn’t been to Babbo. If you go when it opens, right at 5 pm, you can snag a seat at the bar and eat. Highly recommend the pasta tasting menu or just eating around the menu at your leisure. Don’t skip the Brussels sprouts and the biscotti.

The Beer Festival Tasting Glass. Durham, NC

The Beer Festival Tasting Glass. Durham, NC

But I digress. My real life is quite a bit less glamorous but equally delicious. This week I went to my first beer tasting. I learned that there are many horrific beers in the world that taste like fruits and lawn clippings. I also found quite a few local brews that were delightful, and an interesting Pecan number that I’ll need to investigate. Shockingly, my favorite part was the food, especially the pairings, such as provided by my friend Carrie from G2B Gastropub. The andouille sausage with a little mustard was ideal beer food.

The inimitable Chef Carrie from G2B Gastropub in Durham, NC!

The inimitable Chef Carrie from G2B Gastropub in Durham, NC!

Okay, enough, I actually do cook sometimes too. The tasting of all the pumpkin things continues. A full report is coming soon.

Pumpkin Cake Doughnut with Latte Glaze from Rise. Hellooooo nurse.

Pumpkin Cake Doughnut with Latte Glaze from Rise. Hellooooo nurse.

Fried Green Tomato with Pimento Cheese Biscuit from Rise in Durham, NC. Just because.

Fried Green Tomato with Pimento Cheese Biscuit from Rise in Durham, NC. Just because.

 

Here’s what’s happening on this week’s menus:

Weekly Menus: 10/6/2013

Weekly Menus: 10/6/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery list (a little lean as I use up what’s here and plan to shop more heavily next week before  I travel):

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 10/6/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 10/6/2013

Which all translates to:

Sunday: Steak and potatoes
I’m feeling red meat today, and the weather is a little autumnal. Perhaps the potatoes will be sweet or an acorn squash instead. If you’re not tossing winter squash in your cart regularly, you’re missing out!

Monday: Veggie Chili
This keeps getting delayed in lieu of other fast meals that don’t generate leftovers, but I’m making it this time, even if I have to freeze it for later!

Tuesday: Omelets
These were such a huge hit the other night, complete with quick sauteed spinach and portobello mushrooms that we’re doing it again. TPCs Jr are huge mushroom fan, and we’re committed to trying all of the types. That’s our schtick.

Wednesday: Pizza!
We’ve got a social to attend, and well, we all love pizza. Honestly, I could eat it 3 times a day. In fact, I’ve had to add it to my things not to leave unattended in the house list, as I will eat cold pizza until I founder. It’s a different food group that hot pizza, and I actually prefer it.

Thursday: Salmon and Couscous
We have to get more healthy fat in our diets. Plus I need to try to stay smarter than my offspring. I plan to tell them this and serve myself the largest portion. I’ll keep you posted on the results.

Friday: Mexican!
Probably burritos or quesadillas to accommodate the braced on, but we may be able to pull off nachos. Yum!

Saturday: Dine out!
So many possibilities, we often lament we only have 3 stomachs between us.

What do you do to prepare for a trip? Buy easy prep food, eat down the supplies? Share your tips in the comments area  below!

Send your make-ahead food ideas, chocolate covered peanuts, and pumpkin-themed whatnot 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, Smoothie Recipes and Tips (I Promise This Time)

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 9/29/2013, Fall Edition

Gentle Readers, it has been a crazy week, and it’s just getting started. The day kicked off with losing a contact lens. Not as big of a deal in the modern era of disposable lenses, I’m just not certain it fell OUT of my eye and is not lodged somewhere in there. Thank you Autumn pollen for making my eyes itch, the root cause here.

We've been burning a lot of fuel in the last few weeks. Goal!

We’ve been burning a lot of fuel in the last few weeks. Goal!

But I digress, however much this may explain the lateness of my blog post and my lack of depth perception. This week I’m continuing to test pumpkin-based items, all of them. It made for an interesting shopping cart. We drew some looks. We’re also batch cooking in order to prep for some upcoming travel, and because we can.

Which means this week’s weekly menus are:

Weekly Menus: 9/29/2013

Weekly Menus: 9/29/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping list is:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/29/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/29/2013

Which all translates loosely into:

Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie
We missed doing this in a previous week because of time, so a lazy Sunday is the perfect opportunity to get it made!

Monday: Veggie Chili
We are considering making this in advance as well, because it serves so many purposes and gets better sitting around. Nachos, burritos, lunchboxes: yes, please.

Tuesday: Salmon and Quinoa
Freezer staples, we are continuing to work through an inventory of stock. High in lean protein, this meals suits everyone.

Salmon and Arugula over Quinoa: It rocked

Salmon and Arugula over Quinoa: It rocked

Wednesday: Soup and Sammie
We hit a bread overstock that’s leading me to bread pudding and sandwich nights. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is a family favorite. Add some honeycrisp apple slices (TPCs Jr are now referred to as “Applesauruses” as I haven’t gotten to eat a whole apple in I don’t know when), and you’ve got a meal.

Homemade Tomato Soup with Toasted Pimento Cheese

Homemade Tomato Soup with Toasted Pimento Cheese

Thursday: Breakfast for Dinner
We are breaking new ground here–we just had omelets with mushrooms, spinach, cheese, and avocado for lunch. They are more veggie than egg, and so satisfying that we can certainly run the full round of Sunday activities without flagging.

Green eggs frying in the pan . . .

Green eggs frying in the pan . . .

Friday: Burgers and Fries
This is my craving, and we have ground beef to use up. The fries will be homemade sweet potato. I love fall, even if I can’t see it correctly.

Meet my new BFF: burger from G2B Pub with sweet potato fries

Meet my new BFF: burger from G2B Pub with sweet potato fries

Saturday: Dine Out!
Time to scope some new territory, where will it be? I’m thinking Durham . . .

TPCs Jr demolished a Korean meal: I paid $56 and left hungry. Welcome to my future.

TPCs Jr demolished a Korean meal: I paid $56 and left hungry. Welcome to my future.

What is your favorite pumpkin item? Want to be a guest blogger? Send it my way. Slots open for all forms of drinkable pumpkin–I won’t touch that stuff with a proverbial 10-foot straw.

Send Jack-o-Lanterns, pies, and pancakes 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: Smoothie Time–Tips and Recipes for Drinking Your Nutrition

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 9/22/2013

Gentle Readers, I’ve decided that Fall makes me hungry. There’s no other explanation for the number of hours I’m currently spending dreaming about my next meal. For the sake of sparing my feelings, let’s pretend this is a seasonal affectation and not a constant state. As the weather cools, I think more about warm and hearty foods.

Veggie Chili Simmering

Veggie Chili Simmering

Also, larger portions at dinner mean warm lunches the next day. We are currently putting the Thermos Food Jars (I love them) through their paces. Here’s how, with this week’s weekly menus:

Weekly Menus: 9/22/2013

Weekly Menus: 9/22/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/22/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/22/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner
A perennial favorite, this is a good excuse to make pumpkin pancakes (a team favorite right now), biscuits, or even baked cheese grits. All great possibilities for batch cooking that’s eaten through the week.

Light golden-brown biscuits!

Light golden-brown biscuits!

Monday: Not Dogs and Fries
Simple and from the freezer, plus using up some of the cabbage I bought for Chicken Noodle Soup last week as slaw. This is the vegetarian junk food meal you don’t have to be guilty about.

Hot Dog from The Pig with Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish

Hot Dog from The Pig with Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish

Tuesday: Veggie Chili or Lentil Chili
More stews and one-pot dishes! This will feature standard legumes or the fast cooking lentil. Great vegetarian choices to be paired with cornbread or my new favorite Cheese Sticks from Trader Joe’s (review coming). Great for the lunchbox the following day as well.

Wednesday: Tuna Melts
Because we’ve been eating so many hot lunches, the bread had to head to the freezer. It’s breaking out now as open-faced tuna melts. We discovered it’s the one way we all like tuna salad. Not overdressed, a little kick from hot sauce, and way pickley.

Can't decide between a tuna melt and a peanut butter? Choose both.

Can’t decide between a tuna melt and a peanut butter? Choose both.

Thursday: Gnocchi with Pink Sauce
A break from the standard pasta, we are all deeply in love with the creamy organic tomato sauce from Trader Joe’s right now. There is a story here, coming soon, of why I am redoubling my love for the store.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Extra Crispy Sage

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Extra Crispy Sage

Friday: Leftover Delight
We can only eat so much, I know that there will be food left, and there’s no better time to watch a movie and munch the best of the previous week than a Friday.

A lot of little leftovers can add up to a whole meal.

A lot of little leftovers can add up to a whole meal.

Saturday: Dine Out
So many options, plus outdoor eating with a fall chill!

Fall says latte to me--but never ever pumpkin ones.

Fall says latte to me–but never ever pumpkin ones.

What’s in your kitchen these days? I’m looking for good one-pot and stew ideas. I feel a slow-cooker edition coming on! Post your comments below, or send a Tweet my way.

Send bright ideas, rashers of bacon, and pumpkin cupcakes 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: Soft Foods that Don’t Suck–Braces Edition

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 9/15/2013 Edition

Gentle Readers, what a long strange week it has been. The Eldest PC now has braces and transformed into looking like a teenager, complete with the challenges inherent in feeding one whose mouth hurts. School is in full swing, and we soldier on, attempting to make all practices, rehearsals, and social outings. Sound familiar?

The Eldest transformed into a teenager overnight, complete with braces and a digital native's gift for the craycray-eyed "selfie."

The Eldest transformed into a teenager overnight, complete with braces and a digital native’s gift for the craycray-eyed “selfie.”

So this post will be short and to the point as we prepare to dash to yet another event. The challenge is making meals that the Eldest can eat successfully with potential for lunchbox appearances. All ideas welcome. Which means this week’s menus look like:

Weekly Menus: 9/15/2013

Weekly Menus: 9/15/2013

And the Foursquare Grocery Shopping List is:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/15/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 9/15/2013

Which all translates to:

Sunday: Rotisserie Chicken
I have soup on the brain, and potentially a pot pie, so another rotisserie chicken for us!

Monday: Chicken Noodle Soup
Planning to make TPC’s Mom’s version, with cabbage, broad egg noodles, and carrots. Soft but flavorful!

The Practical Cook's Mom's Homemade Chicken Soup

The Practical Cook’s Mom’s Homemade Chicken Soup

Tuesday: Gnocchi
On the request list for a while, this will also be good with diced leftover rotisserie chicken tossed in a pink sauce with a few red pepper flakes. Overcooked broccoli on the side.

Wednesday: Mexican
Spinach quesadillas or potentially Flying Mayan burritos. We’ve been away from our friend the sweet potato too long.

Hello beautiful sweet potatoes.

Hello beautiful sweet potatoes.

Thursday: Indian!
Dal, rice, and palak paneer for the win!

Palak Paneer, Done Really Well by Saffron Chapel Hill

Palak Paneer, Done Really Well by Saffron Chapel Hill

Friday: Leftovers
If I make it through the week without a meltdown, I’ll virtually high-five everyone. Leftovers is my version of the kitchen victory lap.

Saturday: Dine Out!
So many places are opening in the area, including new food trucks, and it’s time to start eating!

What are your favorite easily chewable foods? Send ideas our way, post a comment or a Tweet!

Send good ideas, questions, and lucrative speaking offers 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 next on Wednesday: How to Doctor Store-Bought Food and Win!

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Busy Family Edition, Week of 9/8/2013

Gentle Readers, it’s important to know when to cry uncle. Though I’ve spent twice the amount of time in the kitchen lately than I did over the whole summer, I’m still dreadfully behind. We are in the process of becoming real swimmers here at TPC gym, along with the start of school shenanigans and plenty of travel stirred in. Therefore, I’m taking a break this week and will blog again next Sunday.

Use the pumpkin puree, get orange pancakes!

Use the pumpkin puree, get orange pancakes!

Here’s what I’m working on in the test kitchen:

  • School Lunches that are reasonable shelf stable and not just peanut butter and jelly.
  • Pumpkin everything. We’ve successfully made pumpkin pancakes from scratch, now we are off to conquer pumpkin bread, pumpkin pasta sauce, and potentially a burrito. This is a seasonal trend I support ONLY in it’s actual form. You can save your pumpkin-flavored lattes, beers, and Oreos. Yes, I said that out loud.
  • Dosa. I want to be able to expand my pancake/crepe repertoire, and this is the next frontier.

For this week’s menus, it will look something like this: TPC’s Mom brings her kitchen to mine and makes amazing food my kids would never eat for me.

Persimmon Pudding from Crook's Corner. Almost as good as TPC's Mom makes.

Persimmon Pudding from Crook’s Corner. Almost as good as TPC’s Mom makes.

I will dutifully stock the kitchen with the basics and then politely get out of the way. Just like the header on this blog shows, there’s a special relationship in the kitchen between generations, and I love the fact that TPCs Jr have the opportunity to eat some of the things I did (and probably complained about at the time, as is my job as offspring).

So to the store for milk, bread, eggs, and lunchbox treats!

The Practical Cooks Junior Train for a 5k.

The Practical Cooks Junior Train for a 5k.

The door is always open for kitchen challenges and good lunchbox ideas! Send them my way in the comments section, on Twitter, or by inviting us over to dinner. 😉

Send good luck, post suggestions, and extra hours in the day 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 Next Sunday: More Weekly Menus and Recipe Ideas

2 Comments

Filed under Weekly Menus