Saturday, February 23, 2008

Menu Week 2

It is Saturday again and we have had the chance to get through one week of menus. I greatly appreciate your comments and have had a lot of fun organizing the first week of the Backcounter Buffet.

Here we go with the next week. Get your grocery ads out and let’s aim for a well planned approach to our dinnertime challenges. This week I have added a grocery list to help with your planning. I am sharing with you some recipes that are staples in our home. My husband is of Armenian descent and pilaf is the staff of life in this culture. Save this recipe as pilaf goes with everything and is an inexpensive side dish that can feed a herd of kids! The Baked potato hash is my kids favorite meal. Use the left over flank steak.

Remember, the weekend is the time to cook ahead so that during the week there is little to do. This week, we will use Sunday’s left over flank steak for Monday night and will make our Armenian noodles and soup on the weekend to make the weeknight meal prep much easier.
Make extra flank steak and grilled onions and peppers on Sunday to be used in the Monday meal. The pork chops can be browned in the morning before you go to work and stored in the refrigerator to be baked later.
Bake the sweet potatoes the night before and prepare the stuffing. Stuff and bake right before you serve. I'll remind you each day what needs to be done to keep things rolling along!

Plan well, cook smart, and enjoy!




Grilled Flank Steak

1-2 pound flank steak
3 T Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 T vinegar
2 T honey
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 green onion minced
Salt and pepper

Marinate flank steak for 3-4 hours in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator
Grill and slice on the diagonal

Grilled vegetables (zucchini, squash, red yellow and orange bell peppers, onions)

2 cups Uncle Ben’s Rice enriched parboiled rice (Buy at Smart and Final)
1 stick of Butter
4 cups Chicken broth (homemade or canned)
Vermicelli (broken into 1 inch pieces)

Melt butter in saucepan and add vermicelli. Stir until lightly browned. Add rice and brown the rice for 30-60 seconds in the butter. Add chicken broth and bring to a brisk boil. Lower heat to very low and cover. Pilaf will be done in about 20 minutes.

It takes a little practice to judge the time to completion for the pilaf but it is worth it. The rice is key. When we traveled to see relatives this summer I realized that my pilaf needed work. I switched to Uncle Ben’s rice and it made all the difference.


Flank Steak and Baked potato Hash


Armenian noodles

1 package thin or medium egg noodles
1 pound Monterey jack cheese grated
½ stick butter
1 bunch finely chopped parsley (without stems)
Lawry’s salt, pepper

Butter a 9x13 Pyrex dish
Cook noodles in boiling, salted water until tender
Drain noodles and layer half in the Pyrex dish
Mix parsley and jack cheese
Layer cheese mixture on top of noodles and cover with remaining noodles
Dot with butter salt and pepper
Bake at 350 degrees until browned on top usually about 30-35 minutes

This is a delicious casserole that can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for 1-2 days or in the freezer. Serve with a salad and bread and your family is very happy. This is also a great casserole to bring to a potluck.


Lentil soup with saffron yogurt
Green Salad
Crusty French bread

I have substituted chicken stock for the water and mint for the saffron. I know that lentils sound scary but they are delicious and very healthy. My children love this soup. This soup can be made on the weekend or Tuesday evening after dinner. Do not add greens until you are ready to serve. Then heat the soup up and add greens,cook for a minute and serve.


Pork Chops

Peas; Applesauce
Twice baked sweet potatoes

Scrub sweet potatoes well, pierce skin and bake in 400 degree oven until tender (30-45 minutes) Halve potatoes and scoop cooked flesh into a bowl, reserving shells. Mash with whipping cream and butter until smooth, stir in dried cranberries and orange zest to taste. Spoon back into shells and arrange in a shallow buttered pan. Top with chopped pecans; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake in a 400 degree oven until nuts have browned (about 15 minutes). If I am out of time I just serve baked sweet potatoes with a dollop of butter. These are delicious

Friday (Lenten Friday)

Grilled cheese sandwiches (Panini)
Tomato soup
Carrot sticks and celery sticks


Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes, and artichoke hearts
Parmesan toast
Spinach salad

I prefer using artichoke hearts in olive oil. Make sure that the artichoke hearts are the Cara mia brand.

Grocery list

2 pints whipping cream
Monterey Jack cheese
Feta cheese
Cheddar cheese, muenster cheese or brie (for grilled cheese sandwiches)

Sweet Potatoes
1 bunch Kale or chard
2-3 heads Lettuce
4-6 Red, yellow, green, orange bell peppers
4 Onions
1 Green onion
2 Zucchini
2 Squash
2 Tomatoes
1 bunch Parsley
4-6 Baking potatoes
Fresh rosemary
Fresh basil
Spinach for salad
2 jalapeno chiles
Fresh marjoram (ok to use dried)

Pantry Items
Worcestershire sauce
Soy sauce
Vegetable oil
Olive oil
Lawry’s salt
Dried sage
Parmesan cheese
Dried cranberries
Saffron or mint

Meat and Poultry
1-2 lb flank steak
4-6 Pork Chops

Canned goods
4 cans Chicken stock
1 can Crushed tomatoes
1 jar Applesauce
1 jar Cara mia artichoke hearts
1 jar Sundried tomatoes in oil
1 can diced tomatoes
Favorite tomato soup

Dried Goods
1 bag Lentils
Uncle Ben’s rice
1 box or bag Vermicelli
1 bag medium egg noodles

Frozen Foods
1 bag Peas
1/3 cup Kalamata olives
2-3 loaves Crusty French Bread

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