With this week’s menu, you can save time in the kitchen by cooking once and eating twice!
Summer is almost here (if you have kids, we bet you’re already feeling it!), so we wanted to bring you a menu filled with fresh flavors, bright vegetables, and mouth-watering proteins. This week, you can enjoy Za’atar Salmon Quinoa Bowls, Barbacoa Tacos, Chicken Panzanella, and Mexican-inspired Stuffed Peppers.
With the sun starting to shine in full force and so many fun activities happening around every neighborhood, we figure that you would like a little less time in the kitchen and a little more time outdoors.
So, why cook twice when you can cook once? We especially designed these recipes to include several dependencies that let you prepare ingredients in double batches to use twice during the week. (Dependencies are what we call ingredients that are enjoyed in multiple meals, allowing you to save time and reduce food waste.)
To make weeknight dinners come together fast and have more time for play, check out our smart dependencies and meal planning tips below.
“Dependencies are one of the main reasons I love Cook Smarts!”
– Meryl S. (Member since June 2014)
All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.
On the Menu
Every time we feature za’atar seasoning, we get requests for more recipes featuring this unique Middle Eastern spice mixture. It blends beautifully with the salmon, vegetables, and Creamy Lemon Cilantro Sauce in this easy, one-bowl meal. In only 35-minutes, you can have a flavorful and naturally gluten-free recipe on your table!
If you are vegetarian or practice Meatless Mondays, our Za’atar Chickpea and Quinoa Bowl packs in the protein. If you follow the Paleo diet, you can easily enjoy this meal by swapping out the quinoa for cauliflower rice.
Barbacoa is a style of cooking meat that was originally created by the Taíno people in the Caribbean. In our barbacoa recipe version, we pair seasoned, slow-cooker beef chunks with fresh tacos ingredients! Add a side of refreshing Chili Salted Pineapple Spears, and this is one flavorful summer meal you’ll continuously come back to.
To make these delicious tacos meatless, we have Vegetarian Black Bean and Zucchini Tacos with lime slaw, avocado, and sour cream. To make them gluten-free, simply pick up corn tortillas at the grocery store. To make the meal Paleo, nix the tortillas for crisp lettuce wraps.
WEDNESDAY | Chicken Panzanella with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Crisp toasted bread is the key feature of a panzanella salad. Our Italian-inspired version brings just the right balance of color, texture, flavor, and crunch by combining marinated chicken, bright Mediterranean veggies, and a smooth homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
Our vegetarian recipe uses marinated feta cheese in place of chicken and our GF version is easy to make with any Italian-style gluten-free bread. Our Paleo Grilled Chicken Salad hits similar flavor notes but accomplishes the exciting crunch with walnuts!
Leftover barbacoa and quinoa from earlier in the week make an easy filling for delicious stuffed peppers. Between cumin, tomatoes, adobo sauce, and a Mexican cheese blend, these baked peppers are bursting with flavor!
This naturally gluten-free recipe is easy to make vegetarian by substituting the barbacoa with soyrizo. For a Paleo version, you can swap the quinoa for leftover cauliflower rice and cheese for pepitas.
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
- If you cook our Original, Paleo, or Gluten-Free recipes this week, you can save a bunch of time by making a big batch of slow-cooker barbacoa to use in Tuesday’s tacos and Thursday’s stuffed peppers.
- If you follow a Paleo diet, you can also cook up cauliflower rice once and then use it for dinner both Monday and Thursday night.
- For this week’s Original, Gluten-Free, and Vegetarian meals, you can go ahead and make a double batch of quinoa once to use in two different meals.
- Salmon – For Monday’s bowls, look for salmon fillets with the skin removed so that it can be easily cubed. But if you can’t find any, don’t worry! We provide instructions in the recipe to cook salmon with the skin-on.
- Sour cream – Sour cream adds rich flavor and creaminess to multiple dinners this week, but you can definitely use Greek or plain yogurt if you aren’t a fan of sour cream.
- Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that’s made primarily of thyme, oregano, and sesame seeds. If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, just blend equal parts of these 3 or order some here on Amazon.
- Reap all the benefits you can from cooking a big batch of barbacoa! You can use leftovers to take any ordinary quesadilla, taco salad, or breakfast scramble to the next level.
- If you plan for leftover vegetables and cooked quinoa, you can easily cook up a healthy quinoa fried “rice” in a matter of minutes. (Get our simple cooking formula for How to Stir-Fry here.)