Meal Planning

On the menu at our house this week:

Sunday: Greek Chicken Soup and French Bread

Monday: a meal with our Life Group; I’ll bring Atakilt Wat (Ethiopian Cabbage, Carrots, and Potatoes) as a side dish

Tuesday: Lasagne

Wednesday: Shepherd’s Pie

Thursday: Kabob Koobideh (from the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook)

Friday: leftovers or pancakes


Greek Chicken Soup (Avgolomono)

This soup is so easy and fast. If you have everything you need, you can be eating soup-from-scratch in fifteen minutes. It’s easily Simon’s favorite soup and generally a hit with all of us.


  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup uncooked orzo (I’ve started using 1/2 cup per my family’s preference)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (you could use fresh, of course, I almost always use the bottled stuff)
  • handful chopped fresh dill (I omit per my family’s preference, but I bet it would be great)
  • cooked chicken (leftover or shredded rotisserie chicken), optional


  1. In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil.
  2. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still al dente, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and reduce heat to low; let simmer.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until smooth. Ladle about 1 cup of the hot broth into the egg-and-lemon-mixture; whisk to combine.
  4. Add the mixture back to the simmering saucepan. Stir just until the soup becomes opaque and thickens as the eggs cook, 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add dill, salt and pepper, and chicken (if you’re using it) and serve.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

I pinned this recipe ages ago, and it’s a favorite at our house. So I’m putting it here for easier access

The recipe is versatile: add more vegetables, use what you have on hand, use soy sauce if you don’t have Worcestershire (or skip it altogether). You get the idea.


  • 4-5 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • butter (you’re going to be putting it in mashed potatoes, so lots or a little, your choice)
  • splash or more of milk (again, for the mashed potatoes, your choice)
  • more butter (2–4 tablespoons)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cups chopped vegetables (carrots, celery, peas, corn, green beans; whatever you have really: cauliflower is a surprisingly good addition)
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (sometimes I do with less, closer to 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the potatoes in a medium-sized pot, cover the potatoes with water, and boil for 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 6–10 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables according to their cooking time. Carrots should be cooked with the onions because they take as long as the onions, but peas and corn should be added after the meat starts to cook, as they take very little time.
  3. Add ground beef to the pan with the vegetables. Cook until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper. Add the broth and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer, and reduce the heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth if necesary to keep the meat from drying out.
  4. When the potatoes are done cooking, make mashed potatoes of them (using your preferred method and adding what you like).
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Spread the meat and vegetables in a 9×13 pan. Layer the mashed potatoes on top of the beef and vegetables.
  7. Bake until browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Whiskey-Glazed Carrots

Dee-lish. I hated cooked carrots growing up, but totally love them as an adult. A little bit of butter, a little bit of sugar—what’s not to like? The Pioneer Woman did something very very right here.

1 stick Butter, Divided
2 pounds (to 3 Pounds) Carrots, Peeled And Cut Into Thick Circles
1/2 cup Jack Daniels Or Other Whiskey
3/4 cups (to 1 Cup) Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add carrots in two batches, cooking for 60-90 seconds each batch. Remove from skillet.

Pour in whiskey and allow to evaporate 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium, and add remaining butter. When butter melts, sprinkle brown sugar over the top. Stir together, then add carrots to skillet. Cover, and continue cooking for 5 minutes.

Remove lid and add salt and pepper. Continue cooking until carrots are done and glaze is thick, about 5 more minutes. Pour onto a platter and serve immediately. Sprinkle with chopped chives if desired.

Potatoes Patio

I don’t know why this dish is called Potatoes Patio, but really, it’s simply another take on scalloped potatoes. And I love scalloped potatoes. We served this alongside pork tenderloin, carrots and green beans tonight and it made a highly satisfying dinner on this cold Nebraska night.

2 cups heavy cream
1 3/4 teaspoons table salt
1 garlic clove, pressed
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups freshly grated Gruyère cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Let stand 5 minutes.

2. Arrange a single layer of potatoes in a buttered 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Pour 1/4 cup cream mixture over potatoes; sprinkle with 1/4 cup Gruyère cheese. Repeat layers 7 more times. Top with Parmesan cheese.

3. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 to 20 more minutes or until golden brown and potatoes are tender. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes.