Tag Archives: weekly menus

Weekly Menus: Labor Day Edition, Week of 9/1/2013

Gentle Readers, never has a holiday been more confusingly named or welcomed with more open arms. Hello, Labor Day, we need you. A bit of a break after the bustle of school starting, recovery from travel season for me, it’s time to roll up sleeves and cook again. How to do so without too much labor? Invite yourself to someone else’s cookout.

Tea wth the Ladies Who Lunch: China Edition

Tea wth the Ladies Who Lunch: China Edition

I’m bringing a dessert, or a salad, or both. But I digress. The weather is getting cooler, and more cooking ahead is possible. Seize the day, or at least the weekend, between naps.

Turmeric Tea from Samovar: Gold, Spicy, Amazing

Turmeric Tea from Samovar: Gold, Spicy, Amazing

For this week, the weekly menus are:

Weekly Menus: 9/1/2013

Weekly Menus: 9/1/2013

And the Four-Square Grocery List is:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 9/1/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List: 9/1/2013

Which all means:

Sunday: Rotisserie Chicken
It’s been too long. Great for eating and reusing in salads, plus stock from the bones. Will serve with Brussels sprouts and glazed carrots, or mac-n-cheese if I run low on time.

Speedy Salad: Strawberries, rotisserie chicken, almonds, goat cheese, greens.

Speedy Salad: Strawberries, rotisserie chicken, almonds, goat cheese, greens.

Monday: Not Dogs?
Since we’re heading to a cookout, we may do one lighter meal on this Labor Day. There are great options for vegetarians and for anyone looking to balance their caloric consumption.

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

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

Tuesday: Veggie Chili
Breaking out the Red, Gold, and Green Veggie Chili here, in honor of the fall that finally feels like it’s on the way. Perfect to make ahead and eat for a while in different forms.

Veggie Chili Simmering

Veggie Chili Simmering

Wednesday: Salmon and Couscous
Light and simple, I think I’ll pan-roast this and serve with confetti veggie couscous (aka, use the last bits of diced veggie up from previous meals, shhh, don’t tell).

Orange Salmon, Broiled Asparagus, Accidental Butternut Bulgar

Orange Salmon, Broiled Asparagus, Accidental Butternut Bulgar

Thursday: Egg Sammies
If we’re short on time, the eggs will be scrambled or fried. More time = egg salad sammies. This was a favorite summer meal in my youth, and it’s fun to recapture a little of that feeling as we start the school year.

Eggs on their way to becoming egg salad.

Eggs on their way to becoming egg salad.

Friday: Leftover Delight
The Eldest asked what this was, and I told her it was marketing. She got that. Friday is a clean-up hitter today. Prep for Saturday practice, recover from a week of early rising, gather around the table and enjoy.

Saturday: Dine Out!
We’re on the hunt for a new country to visit. All suggestions welcome!

What’s on your grill this season? Send ideas this way, post a comment or send a Tweet!

Send extra hot dogs, hours of sleep, and brownies 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: Road Salad, A How-To Survive Guide.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 8/18/2013

Gentle Readers, this August is far more marathon than sprint. I will spend more time in restaurants and other people’s kitchens than my own. That is the challenge and the beauty of life. I’m learning quickly that buying less is more, and now is the time to rely on the war chest that is actually my freezer and pantry. Depression era thinking has never been a more useful skill.

Frozen pizza options.

Frozen pizza options.

Once more on the road, we are celebrating with NYC friends this week. Obviously, I love to eat in this city. I love the street food, I love the random hole in the wall places, and I deeply love the latte from the barbershop in Williamsburg that I hope to revisit. But I digress.

Lamb gyro, extra hot sauce, from The Halal Guys!

Lamb gyro, extra hot sauce, from The Halal Guys!

This summer has been about community around the table–wherever that table may be. From my fellow CloudBunny who opened her home to us in New Orleans to the dynamo that is my Bestie Bride, food happens where it happens, and the people you are with are the most important part. Summer is a time to break from routine and live. We’ve done that.

One shot latte from The Parlor. It was dreamy.

One shot latte from The Parlor. It was dreamy.

Here’s what we’re eating this week:

Sunday: Malaysian food
If you haven’t tried this wing of Asian cuisine, get thee to the Google and find some near you. It’s a wonderful fusion of a lot of different cultures. Lucky us, this is the wedding dinner we’ll be attending. A blend of curry and spice without ridiculous heat, I’m a fan.

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: Street Food
I don’t know what it will be, perhaps Halal Cart or just a gyro, but I plan to enjoy it. A lot. I encourage you to go out and find what’s happening locally foodwise in the street. Some great ideas to be had, some great food to be eaten.

Street food in Barcelona: juice bar style.

Street food in Barcelona: juice bar style.

Tuesday: Salad and Pasta
Recovery food for us, we can always make something out of the pantry. It’s good to reset the palate back to normal after a lot of travel. I think this may just be a penne with red sauce night, side of Caesar salad.

Pasta with red sauce FTW!

Pasta with red sauce FTW!

Wednesday: Steak and Potatoes
It’s been too long since I went traditional. Let’s see what happens!

I am still missing this ribeye. Hello again.

I am still missing this ribeye. Hello again.

Thursday: Salmon and Green Beans, Bed of Couscous
As back to school looms near, so emerges my inner Betty Crocker.

Friday: Pizza!
Again, something we’ve not had a ton of, seems like a good time to start.

Smiling does not improve turkey bacon's taste. Just saying.

Smiling does not improve turkey bacon’s taste. Just saying.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Believe it or not, I’ll be in SF, and I think dinner should be about bacon.

Thanks for all of the suggestions you’ve sent my way. Keep it up! I am still seeking fabulous fried chicken and the very best in chocolate covered bacon. Game on!

Send bagels, egg and cheese on a roll, and Halal cart food 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, Snack Wisdom: Travel Foods.

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Weekly Menus: Week of 8/11/2013

Gentle Readers, another week, another road trip. One of the biggest challenges is coming home to an empty kitchen. So I try to shop and plan accordingly. I’ve been stocking the pantry with healthy snacks, and we’ve got fruit in the fridge that can last a bit longer.

Peaches: I'm addicted to you.

Peaches: I’m addicted to you.

I’m eating peaches and nectarines like it’s my part-time job, so no waste there. Quesadilla fixings hold for a bit, so that’s also at the ready. And eggs, which I waxed on about last time, are always there.

So the very light Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: milk, bread, eggs, fruit. On hand, Almond Bars, cereal, pasta. I can live a long time on these things. It’s like shopping for a snowstorm, only add fresh items. I am Southern you know.

Southern Survival: Milk, Bread, Eggs

Southern Survival: Milk, Bread, Eggs

The weekly menus:

Sunday: Dine Out!
Otherwise, rotisserie chicken would be my dinner weapon of choice.

Speedy Salad: Strawberries, rotisserie chicken, almonds, goat cheese, greens.

Speedy Salad: Strawberries, rotisserie chicken, almonds, goat cheese, greens.

Monday: Frozen Pizza
That’s what it’s there for. Just add salad and fruit, welcome home.

Tuesday: Open-Faced Sammies
This has been a real break-through this summer. We’ve done tomato, tuna, egg salad, and more. I think the “stuff to bread” ratio is much better, and we fill in the blank with celery, carrots, salad, fruit. It’s working for us.

Some nice person gave me a canteloupe at the car wash. It's a hybrid of canteloupe and honeydew. Delightful.

Some nice person gave me a canteloupe at the car wash. It’s a hybrid of canteloupe and honeydew. Delightful.

Wednesday: Spinach Quesadillas
This is podcast night, and I need to make food efficiently so I can get on air. Making anything in a cast-iron skillet makes it feel like homemade to me.

Thursday: Pasta Primavera
We got a garden-load of veggies from TPCs Parents. Looking forward to some combo tossed with pasta. Simple and to the point.

Friday: Stir-Fry
I have some frozen rice leftover, eggs, and more vegetable bits. Add soy and ketchup, steam some edamame, break out the chopsticks.

Leftover Fried Rice

Leftover Fried Rice

Saturday: Dine Out!
More field research! Another country, perhaps Malaysia? 😉

Send your dinner inspiration my way! It’s almost time for school again, so we’re warming up the lunchboxes. What are you cooking? Post a comment below!

Send bugspray, sharp cheddar, and your cooking secrets 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: The Big Easy in Review: Eating in New Orleans

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Weekly Menus: Week of 8/4/2013 (What Happened to Summer Edition)

Gentle Readers, could you please send out an APB for summer? August, really? Tomatoes are here, corn is here, and I’m eating anything that involves watermelon. I had forgotten how much I enjoy the subtle crunch that fresh corn and diced zucchini provide to any number of dishes. I was in a bit of a food rut, and I find myself newly inspired and ready to meet some old ingredient friends in the kitchen again.

The Tower of Tomatoes from Guglhupf!

The Tower of Tomatoes from Guglhupf!

First order of business, I’m going to the farmer’s market this week. Second order, we are eating fresh when possible again, because we have more exciting food travel on our horizons, including New Orleans. I haven’t been since before Katrina, so please send your suggestions and thoughts for must-eats!

My lunch almost every day last week. Summer craving: tomatoes and cheese!

My lunch almost every day last week. Summer craving: tomatoes and cheese!

Now, the Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 8/4/2013

Weekly Menus: 8/4/2013

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery List: 8/4/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List: 8/4/2013

Which all translates to:

Sunday: Dine Out!
First I must conclude some more field research. So far this week I’ve remembered I love chicken liver, met a vegetable mix at G2B in Durham that I want to make at home and possibly marry, and rekindled my dessert romance with sticky toffee pudding.

Grilled vegetable melange, I love you.

Grilled vegetable melange, I love you.

Sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream from Piedmont Restaurant.

Sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream from Piedmont Restaurant.

 

Monday: Salad
If you need to ask why, see the above paragraph. I love salad though, with it’s infinite possibilities. This will be a clean out the crisper drawer variety.

Tuesday: Pasta Surprise
I see a primavera in my future. Fresh herbs, lemon, good romano. Yum.

Wednesday: Omelets
I miss omelet bar, so we shall eat it again. A dab of this and that, featuring whatever we have or buy at the Farmer’s Market. Plus some good bread.

Thursday: Sausage and Pierogie
A family favorite, I may try my hand at Savoy cabbage as well, another favorite from one of my favorite local chefs, Carrie at G2B.

Savoy cabbage with bacon and almonds from G2B.

Savoy cabbage with bacon and almonds from G2B.

Friday: Dine Out!
Travel calls again, and I can’t wait for this one. Beignets for dinner? I have no objection.

Saturday: Leftovers?
We will probably do more adventure eating, but I recommend Saturday as movie and leftovers night. We have found all sorts of ways to make finger food healthier and fun. Try savory popcorn mixes, small sandwiches, and cut veggies and fruit. Peanut butter and celery is a favorite here right now.

What’s on your table this week? Share your meal ideas and New Orleans secrets! Post a comment below or say hello on the Twitters.

Send extra weeks of summer, tomatoes, and good wishes 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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Up next (on Wednesday): An Ode to Eggs–One Ingredient Three Ways

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Weekly Menus on the Road: Week of 7/14/2013

Gentle Readers, this post will break traditional format as we at Team Practical Cook gear up for a week of field research. Many of you probably have similar experiences of needing to shut down a kitchen for a week during summer break, winter holiday, etc. How do you plan for both absence and for road eating?

Cafe con leche: Breakfast of champions

Cafe con leche: Breakfast of champions

Here’s The Practical Cook Method:

1. Stop shopping. This may seem obvious, but it’s my best tip. There’s more food in your house than you think. Stop buying more interesting things, and face up to whether you’re going to eat that rare Asian noodle snack pack from the 80s.

The Practical Cook's Cereal Warehouse

The Practical Cook’s Cereal Warehouse

2. Eat at home. The best way to prepare for time away is to commit to eating what you have. I’ve not been doing so well at that, but I did have 22 CheezIts and 1/2 a cupcake for lunch yesterday. Not my proudest moment.

Can you blame me for eating my babysittiing payment on the spot? Cupcakes for lunch, not recommended. #sugarcoma

Can you blame me for eating my babysittiing payment on the spot? Cupcakes for lunch, not recommended. #sugarcoma

3. Turn home snacks into road snacks. What can you take with you? If it’s a road trip, your options expand. On a plane, I heart Biscoff cookies, but sometimes one is stuck with just the pretzels. That’s not cool. I love Trader Joe’s Almond bars (like a granola cookie), dry cereal in any form, and trail mix. Do not be without food on a plane. Trust me.

Trail Mix Melted and Reformed = Trail Bark (Yum)

Trail Mix Melted and Reformed = Trail Bark (Yum)

4. Make a plan for road meals. I’m not advocating mapping your entire trip according to Yelp, but establish some targets for food while you travel. Are you going to eat breakfast out for every meal? Can you do sandwiches for some of it? What kind of food is the regional specialty? Are you allergic to the local fare? Do some research, ask friends, and open yourself to possibility, but avoid either eating fast food you could get anywhere or going 4 star everywhere and then entering the poorhouse afterward.

Barbecued pork bahn mi on homemade bread. Wow. Just wow.

Barbecued pork bahn mi on homemade bread. Wow. Just wow.

5. Don’t go it alone. If you’re traveling with family, no matter the age of the offspring or relations, run a benevolent dictatorship. If you’re going to a beach house, don’t agree to cook every meal, distribute the wealth. If you’re going to a destination, find out from each person what constitutes a food win. For instance, we’re going to try Burmese food, a birthday request from the Youngest (yes, TPCs Jr are awesome, thanks for noticing). We’ll also do CalMex for the world’s biggest taco fan, The Eldest.

The Jrs take on the Big City!

The Jrs take on the Big City!

Last tip: if you have a chance to eat an avocado in the wild, buy tamales from someone selling them in a back alley, or try ice cream flavored with foods you can’t identify, do it. And then send me a picture. This is vacation time!

Got ideas, suggestions, or can’t-miss eats? Post in the comments, Tweet me, or email! I look forward to sharing the adventure with you. Perhaps even a stray video review or two. 🙂

Restaurant recommendations, bacon samples, and good ideas can be sent 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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**Team Practical Cook is taking a rare break and leaving the laptop behind. Follow our field research on Twitter and Instagram! We’ll be back, recipes at the ready, Wednesday, July 24, 2013.**

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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.)

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Coming up Wednesday: Adapted Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 6/30/2013 Confession Edition

Gentle Readers, today’s post is about habits. For better or worse, we fall into them. Today, having gotten used to not blogging after a week’s hiatus, I almost forgot to post this. That’s how quickly a habit can change. Equally true are good habits. I never ran a step in my life that wasn’t required by a class or a rabid animal until I started attempting fitness a few years back.

My Third Race: 5k to Benefit Wounded Warrior Project!

My Third Race: 5k to Benefit Wounded Warrior Project!

Now I feel itchy if I don’t try to run. Slow as I may be, I’m still faster than the couch.

For my confession: I’ve fallen out of the habit of going to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. I miss it. I know there are ingredients waiting for me there. It’s easy to go into neutral and coast. I want to fight that. So I’m confessing here. Next week is another chaotic ride, but I’m going to do better.

Celebrate your independence from hothouse tomatoes! Bring on summer!

Celebrate your independence from hothouse tomatoes! Bring on summer!

It’s easy to survive on Peanut M and M’s, but I need more salad. It’s great to go out to eat and try new things, but I miss my kitchen. I think  it’s time to host a dinner party or a tea (or perhaps a lemonade and cookies function in honor of the heat). The Jrs and I can wear party dresses and I can remind myself why I love food.

My Life on the Road: Unicorns and Chocolate

My Life on the Road: Unicorns and Chocolate

So back to better habits, which can form as easily as the bad ones. Thanks to everyone for riding this ride with me. I appreciate your feedback and support. It makes all of this possible.

My dinner twice last week. Chicken and waffles!

My dinner twice last week. Chicken and waffles!

Without further adieu, this week’s menus are:

Weekly Menus: 6/30/2013

Weekly Menus: 6/30/2013

The Four-Square Grocery List is:

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/30/2013

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 6/30/2013

Which all translates to:

Sunday: BLT Salad
After being mocked for eating a low-bacon to lettuce ratio, I’m hitting the test kitchen for this one. Stand by.

Whole Foods Salad Bar, I love you.

Whole Foods Salad Bar, I love you.

Monday: Wings
I may make them, I will eat them. But I’m not going to skimp on the celery and the carrots. I crave food found in nature right now after weeks upon weeks of insanity.

Tuesday: Veggie Burgers
Tis the season for grilling out. I actually like these as well. I know it’s a bit of a cheat, but I’ll make the sides from scratch, and there will be fruit on the side.

Wednesday: Dine Out(side)!
We’ve got plans, and I look forward to them. More on this as they emerge. Team TPC is doing some exploring.

Thursday: Not Dogs
Can you tell I’m on a veggie kick? I was also challenged to find new ways to use TVP. I’m thinking about this, and it reminded me to make a batch of hot dog chili with the stuff. It’s a particularly Southern thing, more sauce that foodstuff, and perfect vegetarian junk food with slaw on a not dog.

The iconic hot dog who applies condiments to itself.

The iconic hot dog who applies condiments to itself.

Friday: Carbonara
We’ll have bacon in the house, and this meal is a great end to the week. Comforting, filling, and a reminder that we’re home.

Saturday: Dine Out!
We are hitting up a new country, let’s find out which one. I’m voting Korea.

Does summer change your habits for better or for worse? Confess here, I’m listening and probably guilty of the same. Post a comment below.

Send forgiveness, questions, and vine-ripened tomatoes 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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Up next, The Whole Food Salad Bar, A User’s Guide.

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