Easy Dinners with Few Ingredients | Meal Plan Menu (8/16/21)

Easy Dinners with Few Ingredients | Meal Plan Menu (8/16/21)

This week’s easy dinner meal plan consists of few-ingredient recipes that are full of summer flavors. You’ll make two leftover rotisserie chicken recipes — a cobb salad recipe and Mexican flautas — plus sole meuniere and healthy spaghetti carbonara!

  • By Leila Kalmbach
  • August 13, 2021


Sole Meunière with Asparagus and Bulgur

This French dish lets the fish shine! You’ll serve simply cooked sole, coated in flour and cooked in butter / ghee until golden brown and flaky, over bulgur with additional melted butter drizzled on top. Garnish with lemon juice, fresh parsley, and a sprinkle of salt, and serve with a side of asparagus, roasted in the oven with olive oil. Despite all the butter, this is a surprisingly light, summery meal that’s said to be the dish that first sparked Julia Child’s love of French cooking. And after tasting it, we get it!

Meal Planning Smarts:

  • Reduce food waste by using flat-leaf parsley in this meal, then finish up the bunch in other meals this week.
  • This recipe calls for clarified butter, also known as ghee. Feel free to sub regular butter, but know that it will get cloudy as it heats.
  • Turn leftover sole into tasty fish tacos.

Diet Variation:

  • For the gluten-free version of this meal, you’ll use almond flour instead of all-purpose, and sub quinoa for the bulgur.
  • The paleo version also uses almond flour; it subs cauliflower rice for the bulgur.
  • The vegetarian version of this meal is Barley Risotto with Asparagus and White Beans.


Rotisserie Chicken Cobb Salad with Ranch Dressing

This classic Cobb salad comes together in just 35 minutes thanks to one of our favorite shortcuts — rotisserie chicken! Hard-boiled eggs, carrots, bacon, chicken, tomatoes, avocado, and more get drizzled with a delectable homemade ranch dressing, which tastes fresh and delicious thanks to the addition of fresh herbs. If you’re serving a crowd or have picky eaters at home, this is a great meal for setting out bowls of ingredients and letting everyone assemble their own salads based on their preferences. 

Meal Planning Smarts:

  • Use rotisserie chicken to simplify this meal as well as the Chicken Flautas recipe later in the week.
  • Use bacon in this meal as well as for Wednesday’s Spaghetti Carbonara recipe to make sure none go to waste.
  • Add creaminess to your ranch dressing with sour cream, which you’ll use multiple times this week — or feel free to sub plain or Greek yogurt.
  • Sub Monterey Jack cheese for the blue cheese or gorgonzola called for in this recipe if you’d prefer not to buy multiple types of cheese this week (you’ll use Monterey Jack in Thursday’s flautas as well).
  • To save time, make and prep all the components of this salad in advance, then simply assemble when you’re ready to eat.

Diet Variation:

  • No changes are needed for a gluten-free meal.
  • Skip the blue cheese and add walnuts in the paleo version of this meal. You’ll also make an herb vinaigrette instead of ranch dressing.
  • Vegetarians will also use walnuts in their salad in place of the bacon and chicken.

“Cook Smarts has helped bring a little calm, normal, and feeling like at least we’ve got the healthy dinner part of life down, especially when everything else seems out of control.”

—Miranda L. (Member since August 2020)


Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon, Spinach, and Mushrooms

Next up in our week of easy few-ingredient recipes is Spaghetti Carbonara! That’s right, this fancy-seeming Italian dish is quick and easy to make at home — and believe it or not, our version is not just an easy dinner, but an actual way to make healthy spaghetti carbonara. Wilted spinach and sautéed mushrooms add nutritional value without taking away from what’s so great about spaghetti carbonara: the creamy egg yolk sauce, the al dente paste, the crispy bacon, and the hint of lemon zest. Buon appetito!

Meal Planning Smarts:

  • Bacon freezes well, so buy extra, portion into serving sizes, wrap tightly, and pop in the freezer! Refer to our Guide to Frozen Food Storage for more info.

Diet Variation:

  • Use gluten-free pasta in the gluten-free variation on this meal. 
  • The paleo version of the meal plays on similar flavors to make a Bacon, Spinach, and Mushroom Frittata with a simple Balsamic Arugula Salad alongside.
  • Butter and optional sunflower seeds make up for the bacon (and bacon fat) in the vegetarian version.


Rotisserie Chicken Flautas with Coriander Green Beans

Skip a few steps in traditional flauta making by using rotisserie chicken — and in the process, use up that leftover rotisserie chicken from Tuesday’s Cobb Salad recipe! The flautas are assembled by rolling corn tortillas with shredded chicken and cheese, then securing with a toothpick so they don’t come apart while frying. (We’ll also tell you how to oven-bake them if you prefer.) They’re served with salsa and sour cream, as well as a side of roasted green beans seasoned with coriander, cumin, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Meal Planning Smarts:

Diet Variation:

  • Be sure to buy gluten-free corn tortillas if you’re making the gluten-free version of this meal — otherwise, everything is the same!
  • The paleo version is a Tex-Mex Rotisserie Chicken Sauté with guacamole. Instead of green beans, the sauté uses bell peppers and zucchini, as well as optional plantain chips.
  • Fill your flautas with refried beans and cheese in the vegetarian version of the meal.

All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps. Join our weekly meal plan service to get the grocery list, dinner steps, and more cooking tips for these 4 simple dinners.

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