Monday Menu Plan

This is going to be a new feature on the blog simply to keep myself accountable (to the handful of readers that don’t live anywhere near us :-/) to be responsible with our grocery budget and to stick to the plan. Sticking to the plan = less food waste, less money spent on unused/unnessary foods, less money spent on last minute trips through McDonald’s or whatever equally unhealthy place, etc. It also means that we’ll be living healthier and more responsibly concerning the ways listed prior and a vast many other.

So, without further ado,

Monday Menu Plan for 3.12-3.3.19
3.12 Monday
Penne Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce
*Note: This pasta bake has seriously been the lifesaver of the most tumultuous Monday I’ve had in quite some time. Seriously, in fact, please excuse me as I go get some more…
3.13 Tuesday
3.14 Wednesday
Sweet and Spicy Honey Grilled Broiled Shrimp w/Salads
3.15 Thursday
3.16-3.18 Friday-Sunday
Weekend trip to see the Grandparents Beithon
3.19 Monday
Lazy Chilis Rellenos w/Corn Tortillas

And in case you were jonesing for some super good pasta this evening…

Penne Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce
Serves 4-6
12 oz. Penne Pasta (I just eye-balled the amount as I poured it out from my Sam’s-esque sack)
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Flour (Sometimes I use cornstarch and cold water, whatever I feel like doing)
2 c. Milk (Whatever you’ve got works just fine too)
1 pinch of kosher salt
Generous grinding of black pepper (I am a bit of a pepper monkey)
1 1/2 tsp. Dry Basil
1/4 tsp. or 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1 Medium Lemon
3 c. Loosely Packed Fresh Spinach, roughly chopped
3/4 c. Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
3/4 c. Parmesan Cheese, shredded
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a pit with water and a generous amount of kosher salt and bring to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente (about 7-8 minutes–remember the noodles will continue to soften, soaking up the sauce while baking in the oven). 
2.) Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender (be careful not to burn it or you’ll have to start over again!). Add flour to pan and whisk for about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir with whisk until smooth (if you’re using cornstarch as a thickener, add it here). Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes, and bring sauce to a simmer.
3.) While sauce is heating, shave some skin off the lemon and mince, also cut the lemon in half. Add 2 1/2 teaspoons of zest and 1 generous tablespoon lemon juice to sauce. (This creates a very strong lemon flavor, but since I add the 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, I think this helps balance the flavors out nicely.) Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. 
4.) Drain penne and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Add to the sauce and mix in spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Gently stir to combine. Place pasta mixture in a glass baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan. 
5.) Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and turn oven to broil. Broil for 5-7 minutes, until the cheese on top is melted and golden. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving. 

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