Meal Plan: January 22 – 28

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Our fave - Rach!

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m making an effort to plan our meals as a way to reduce our grocery budget and prevent wasting food. Here is the plan for this week:

  • Monday January 23: Rachael Ray’s Spring Chicken (#121 in 365 Recipes – the link takes you to a similar recipe)
  • Tuesday January 24: Rachael Ray’s Boo-soto (#312 in 365 Recipes)
  • Wednesday January 25: Guys’ Bible Study = leftover night
  • Thursday January 26: Girls’ Bible Study = leftover night
  • Friday January 27: Roast beef sandwiches with homemade bread and au jus dip (this is a bit of an experiment – roast beef isn’t really available although raw beef is fairly inexpensive so I’m going to bake bread and broil a steak and put it together with my imported au jus dip!)
  • Saturday January 28: Rachael Ray’s 3 Beans and Chicken (#33 in 365 Recipes – link is a similar recipe)
  • Sunday January 29: Rachael Ray’s Tacochili Mac (#25 in 365 Recipes)

Can you tell we love Rach? She’s a constant cooking companion and teacher around this house. She’s become even dearer since she’s only 1 of the 2 cook books we brought with us to Zambia. Ben and I prefer eating leftovers for lunch rather than going out or doing sandwiches so we usually have enough for 4 portions at every meal.


Cheesy (Penne) Spaghetti

September 2, 2011 § 3 Comments

Laura Menenberg's Cheesy (Penne) Spaghetti

I made this for my family because, well, I was craving it. It truly is to die for…maybe we should skip the whole Africa thing and just move to Italy! It makes a nice end of summer light dinner with fresh-from-the-garden basil. Here is the recipe with a couple of secret ingredients not usually found in spaghetti sauce!

2 packages of Penne pasta

1 pound ground beef

1 1/2 large Walla Walla sweet onion chopped

6 cloves garlic pressed (or chopped)

1 green jalapeno pepper chopped (with or without seeds, depending on desired spice)

1 tsp cinnamon

salt and pepper to taste

4 cans chopped tomatoes with juice

1 pound mozzarella cheese sliced to small pieces

10 leaves fresh basil chopped


Bring water to boil and cook noodles as directed. Brown the meat, add the onions, garlic, jalapeno. Season with cinnamon and salt and pepper. When the meat is fully cooked, add the tomatoes. After the tomatoes are heated through, add the cheese and stir while it melts into the sauce. Serve with sauce on top of noodles. Garnish each dish with basil, salt, and pepper. Enjoy your cheesy goodness!



Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2010 § 1 Comment

I am thankful for…

  • my God and savior
  • my husband
  • our families
  • our wonderful friends and church communities
  • my job
  • our apartment
  • graham cracker crust pumpkin pie (get the recipe here)













  • garlic mashed potatoes…they’re probably so good because of the stick and a half of butter (thanks, Paula Deen!). *I did modify it slightly by adding parsley to the potatoes and I about quadrupled the batch and eye-balled the amounts. They’re very smooth so add less milk if you like them more chunky*


Steak Salad

November 18, 2010 § 2 Comments

These 3 are a favorite trio for our red meat these days – soy easy and delicious. I’m sorry! I couldn’t help the pun. It’s in my genes (that one’s for you, Grandpa!). I purchased flanksteak from Bill the Butcher (website here) after watching this movie. Well, actually, I read Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma quite some time ago and just recently convinced my husband to watch the movie. He was thoroughly convinced that it is worth the extra money to get good meat. Anyway, this week I cooked the flank steak for a salad of baby spinach and white onions with baked potatoes on the side. Yum! The recipe is a family favorite of my mother-in-law Jody



Steak Salad

Marinate the meat for as long as possible (ideally a couple of hours) with equal parts mirin and soy sauce, and approximately 8 cloves of fresh pressed garlic

*Mirin is an Asian sweet cooking rice wine – available in the Ethnic food section of the grocery story*

*I used one package of the peeled garlic for our steak. We are HUGE garlic fans*

Broil the meat to your liking

*For medium flank steak, we cooked ours for about 8 mins – it always takes less time than you think it will and it keeps cooking once out of the oven*

While the meat is cooking, prepare the salad. Baby spinach is a great lettuce for this. Add onions, tomatoes, red peppers, or any other toppings you enjoy

Cut the meat and let cool slightly before placing on lettuce leaves

Use EVOO and balsamic vinegar for dressing



Bread Making

November 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

In the midst of my insomnia last week (see this post for more details), I decided to make bread in my borrowed (thanks, Mom!) bread maker. It was something I’d been wanting to try for a while. I just used the basic bread maker recipe for a small loaf of white bread. It turned out really well and I’m excited to try out another recipe sometime!



  • 3/4 cup cool water (I used our refrigerator Brita water)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups bread flour (I used plain baking flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

My recipe didn’t say any order of the ingredients so I just threw everything in together and started the machine and everything turned out great

I decided not to use this…notice the expiration was February 19, 1998. Apparently, my parents hadn’t had a big need for yeast in the last 12 years.

After I awoke the next afternoon, I found my bread loaf nicely formed and wonderfully delicious. It was the perfect companion for my soup dinner at work. Yum!

*It was a bit consternating to remove this item from it’s pan…next time, I will try to do it when it is hot*

Tortilla Soup…sans tortillas

October 16, 2010 § 1 Comment


Ben, who is usually the healthier of the two of us wasn’t feeling well tonight. He asked for chicken tortilla soup and he said this recipe totally hit the spot.  These days, I google pretty much anything I want to know (as do many of us) and “the best chicken tortilla soup” ended me up here.


The following is my adapted recipe. Enjoy!







Menenberg Chicken Tortilla Soup…Sans Tortilas

1 large yellow onion

10 cloves garlic (you could reduce this, but we LOVE garlic)

3 turns-of-the pan EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

12 chicken tenderloins (or 4 chicken breasts)

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp red chili pepper flakes

1 can diced tomatoes (could substitute 4 fresh tomatoes chopped)

2 quarts chicken broth

1 cup corn (canned or frozen)

1 4 oz can diced green chiles

1 15 oz can black beans

Sour cream

Monterey jack or Mexican mix shredded cheese

Avocado, sliced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup green onions chopped

*The Menenberg’s aren’t huge fan of tortilla chips in our tortilla soup but feel free to add them should you feel so inclined!*



Set the chicken to bake in the oven (350 degrees for ~20 mins is good for the frozen chicken tenderloins. Chicken breasts would need more time). Saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil until browned in the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken broth, cumin, chili powder, and red chili pepper flakes. Boil then gently simmer. Shred cooked chicken and add to pot.

*Pause* At this point in my cooking journey, I headed to the store to pick up some missing ingredients. My gracious husband shredded the chicken for me and added it to the pot. *Unpause*

Add tomatoes, corn, beans, diced green chilies. While soup simmers, prepare garnishes of cilantro, avocado, and green onions. Let soup simmer for 30-60 mins. Top with garnishes and enjoy!

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