Cheap and Healthy Week | Meal Plan Menu

This week, our cheap and healthy meal plan gives you the best summer flavors in great classic recipes!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • July 13, 2018

If you close your eyes and take a deep breath, you’ll notice the sounds of kids out of school, the smell of lemonade, the heat of the sun on your skin. Your senses know that summer is in full swing and this week’s menu will make sure your taste buds are fully aware of the season, too.

From burgers to macaroni salad to tacos, every single one of our easy dinners this week are great to eat outside. So grab a picnic blanket and take a little jaunt to the park (or your backyard on lazier days).

While these recipes certainly have a summery feel, the element of summer doesn’t stop there. The key to our delicious flavors is designing healthy meals to feature sun-ripened seasonal fruits, veggies, and herbs. This week, some of the fresh produce we use includes green beans, bell peppers, watermelon, and basil.

“Our meals are so much more varied, in season, and colorful than they have ever been before.“

— Miriam T. (Member since Apr 2014)

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

Meal Planning Smarts


  • This week you can use macaroni or another small pasta shape for minestrone soup and pasta salad. Since pasta reheats well, you can make one batch to use on both Wednesday and Thursday!
  • Instead of cooking pulled pork two times this week, you can pop it in the slow cooker over the weekend and enjoy it for two meals – that’s how you cook once, eat twice, and save time in the kitchen!

ingredient tips:

  • This time of year, fresh basil is widely available and inexpensive. When you’re at the grocery store, grab a big bundle and use it to add a fresh herb flavor to several dishes this week.
  • To keep prep fast, Thursday’s pulled pork sandwiches calls for store-bought BBQ sauce. However, making a homemade sauce adds another level of customization. If you have extra time this week, pull out your favorite BBQ sauce recipe or try this one from our meal plan archives.


  • To make a completely new meal with leftover salmon patties, simply crumble them over a salad to add hearty protein and bold flavor. The fish will be good warm or chilled! (For some salad inspiration, check out our infographic guide Salads for Every Season.)
  • Pulled pork is so easy to use as leftovers! Whether you fancy a pizza, salad, or enchiladas, our recipe archives have over a dozen great ways to use leftover pulled pork.

On the Menu

MONDAY | Salmon-Basil Burgers with Green Bean “Fries”

Salmon burgers put a lighter twist on the classic American hamburger. The fresh fish patty pairs perfectly with our tangy Balsamic Aioli for a satisfying flavor combo. You can also use the same sauce for crunchy green bean “fries” that are just as fun to dip as their starchy counterpart!

To make this meal gluten-free, all you need is GF breadcrumbs and hamburger buns. Our Vegetarian recipe teaches you how to make a protein-rich lentil and walnut patty for a savory veggie burger. Our Paleo recipe version swaps out the burger altogether for a lemon vinaigrette pan-seared salmon with a green bean and mushroom saute.

TUESDAY | Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos + Romaine Salad with Tomatoes

Pulled pork is inexpensive, easy to make, and is great in classic soft tacos. Fill your summer tacos with tomatoes, onions, and avocados for the right juicy, crunchy, and creamy balance. And don’t forget extra veggies by serving up a light romaine salad on the side!

Our recipe is naturally gluten-free and to make it vegetarian, we fill the tacos with black beans, sweet potatoes, and cheese instead of pork. Our Paleo recipe transforms tacos into Pulled Pork Lettuce Cups with a side of avocado and citrus salad.

WEDNESDAY | Summer Vegetable Minestrone

Minestrone isn’t just for cool weather. Our quick summer version makes great use of the season’s bounty of fresh vegetables, like zucchini, corn, and bell peppers. Top your bowl of soup with basil and parmesan cheese and you’re ready to enjoy the comforts of Italian homecooking.

Our recipe is naturally vegetarian and only needs one easy pasta substitute to make it gluten-free. Our Paleo version takes out the pasta for a delicious summer vegetable soup with an avocado and pepita topping.

THURSDAY | Leftover Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Macaroni Salad

With leftover pulled pork from earlier in the week, these sandwiches come together in no time! This classic dinner has delicious sides of broccoli and bell pepper macaroni salad and sliced watermelon. The whole ensemble is great for enjoying outdoors in the warmth of summer!

Our Vegetarian version uses the increasingly popular jackfruit to mimic the texture of pulled meat. Our Paleo recipe turns these sandwiches into Baked Sweet Potatoes with Leftover Pulled Pork and has a tangy chilled broccoli salad on the side. Meanwhile, our gluten-free members can simply use the Original recipe with GF pasta and burger buns.

Weekly Meal Planner | Menu for Week of 7/16/18 via Cook Smarts

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