Meal Plan Menu | Week of 12/30/19

Meal Plan Menu | Week of 12/30/19

From a festive chicken and waffles recipe to an easy scallops meal, we have the best New Year’s menu to help you celebrate this week!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • December 27, 2019

The close of 2019 is upon us and we all want to finish out the year strong . . . and that definitely means enjoying some great meals! Since you may still be hosting friends or relatives, we put together a lineup of recipes that unite sophistication and comfort in a way that will make everyone happy.

Our snazzy New Year’s Eve scallops (or oven-baked risotto, if you’re not a seafood fan) goes especially well with champagne or sparkling cider, so pop some bubbly and usher in 2020 with style! Then, spend a cozy first day of the new year cooking up a special Southern-inspired Hoppin’ John that was requested by our community and uses a traditional good-luck ingredient.

Find out more about all four of this week’s recipes below and get tips on what meal prep you can do days in advance and how you can easily make an entirely new dish with leftovers.

Before we move on, if you haven’t taken advantage of our 20% off Holiday Sale yet, use code JOY19  by 1/2/20 to get yourself a meal plan that will reduce your stress levels and grocery expenses in 2020. There’s no better way to enter the new year.

“I cook because I love to tangibly show love to people. I enjoy hosting people in our home, cooking special breakfasts for my girls, and exposing people to new foods and cooking techniques.”

– Tyler M.

All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.

On the Menu

MONDAY | Chicken & Waffles with Green Beans

The golden combination of crispy chicken and soft waffles is quite popular in the South and now can be found in restaurants all over the country. If it’s a new combo for you, discover why this dish has national acclaim with our take on the meal! Our panko-crusted chicken adds the perfect savory counterpoint to waffles with a drizzle of maple syrup. While the classic dish usually uses fried chicken, we go the healthier route by baking the chicken and adding vinaigrette-roasted green beans on the side.

If you are eating meatless or don’t fancy chicken on your waffles, you will definitely enjoy our vegetarian recipe that features waffles topped with balsamic berries and a side of fried eggs. To make this meal gluten-free, simply use GF flour for the waffles and deliciously crispy cornflakes for the chicken. If you’re on the Paleo diet and started to worry about all the waffle talk – never fear! We know you’ll love our Maple-Pecan Crusted Chicken with roasted green beans and sweet potatoes on the side.

TUESDAY | Pan-Seared Scallops with Lemon Butter + Baked Spinach Risotto

Back in 2017, we featured a recipe with scallops for the first time, and our community commented that it was their very first time making scallops successfully at home. Since everyone loved how easy scallops are to cook, we’re bringing them back with a buttery lemon sauce! This time around, our recipe includes baked risotto on the side, which is designed to happily cook away while you focus on the main event. 

This naturally gluten-free dinner is easy to make Paleo by replacing the risotto with cauliflower gnocchi and a fresh spinach salad. Don’t eat seafood? Try our Oven-Baked Vegetarian Risotto with white beans and spinach, and buttery pan-seared Brussels sprouts on the side.

WEDNESDAY | Hoppin’ John with Collard Greens + Cornmeal Muffins with Honey Butter

We are especially excited to bring you this Southern-inspired meal that was requested by many of our community members for New Year’s Day! Although a traditional Hoppin’ John cooks the black-eyed peas and collard greens separately, our version combines the two to save time and dishes, all while letting them both soak up the delicious flavors of bacon and seasonings. With fluffy cornmeal buttermilk muffins on the side, there’s really no better way to usher in the new year.

To make this delicious dish gluten-free and vegetarian, you only need to make two quick changes! Simply make your cornmeal muffins with all-purpose, gluten-free flour and omit the bacon from your Hoppin’ John. For a special Paleo meal, try your hand at our Pork Chops with Collard Greens with mouthwatering honey butter carrots on the side!

THURSDAY | Mushu Chicken Wraps with Flour Tortillas

Mushu Chicken Wraps are a classic Chinese take-out item that are easy to make at home and ready in just 30 minutes. (Which means it takes less time than going out to pick up take-out!) Our version pairs a savory stir-fry sauce with chicken, carrots, shiitakes, and cabbage. Since we know you may still have dishes piled in the sink from your New Year’s festivities, we made sure this recipe uses very few dishes. Also, because tortillas are a great stand-in for the authentic ‘mushu’ wrappers, this dinner keeps things simple – exactly what you need to start 2020 off strong!

To enjoy this meal meatless, pick up your favorite brand of tofu and let it soak in the flavorful sauce. If you are on a GF diet or are cooking for gluten-free friends, you can easily make this meal with Tamari instead of soy sauce and serve everything over rice. On the other hand, if you are looking for a great Paleo dinner, try these Mushu Chicken Lettuce Wraps with our special Paleo stir-fry sauce.

Smart meal planning ideas come with every weekly menu. The smarts listed below are only a portion of the meal prep tips we include to help you make the most of your ingredients and your time. Join our community to get the full benefits of our meal plan service every day!

Meal Planning Tips

Make Aheads:

  • Get a jumpstart on your week by making Monday’s waffles over the weekend and storing them in the fridge for 2 to 3 days (or in the freezer for up to 6 months). Just reheat them in the toaster when you’re ready to serve, or, if you really want to save time, let someone else make them! There’s no shame in buying frozen waffles – it’s a great way to save some time this week.
  • You can also significantly reduce every dish’s cooking time by prepping ingredients ahead of time. Veggies (onions, shallots, green beans, collard greens, carrots) can all be chopped, rice can be cooked, and sauces (honey butter and stir-fry sauce) can be whipped together up to 5 days early.

ingredient notes:

  • Black-eyed peas – These “peas” are actually beans and can be found wherever your local grocery store has dried beans and rice. You can also check the bulk bins so that you can just buy the amount you need for Wednesday. In the Southern United States, eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is considered good luck.
  • Hoppin’ John, Collard Greens, and Cornbread Muffins – These classic Southern dishes take more time to prepare and cook than most Cook Smarts meals. The beans and greens will take around an hour to cook on the stovetop while you make cornbread from scratch, so be sure to read through the recipe before getting started. Feel free to take some shortcuts (like buying a cornbread mix) if you like!


  • Pop any extra waffles, risotto, cornbread muffins, and tortillas into your freezer for a rainy day. To learn how to properly store these in the freezer, check out our Guide to Frozen Food Storage infographic.
  • This week you can easily make cornbread croutons! Yes, you read that right. All you have to do is slice leftover cornbread muffins into cubes, toast them in the oven, and then let them bring amazing flavor to any salad or soup. For a quick video tutorial on how to make croutons, watch this video here.
  • Planning to have leftover mushu chicken is a great idea. It makes a delicious stir-fry lunch plate when served over rice, noodles, or any other grain.

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