Autumn is right around the corner, and this week’s meal plan menu is all about warm spices and sauces to give this week of easy meals extra flavor.
Did you know it takes a few weeks for a new routine to become a habit? We understand that whatever your fall routine may be – whether it’s back to school, starting a new project, or revisiting health and fitness goals – chances are the routine still feels a bit bumpy.
At Cook Smarts, we are passionate about supporting you and your family in establishing a dinnertime routine that works. We help eliminate dinner decision fatigue and answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” We also help you get a jumpstart on the week with a complete grocery list and weekend prep steps that are sent to your inbox every Thursday, which means you don’t have to wait until Monday at 5:00 PM to do your meal planning for the week!.
And with autumn just around the corner, we’ve got a week’s worth of meals lined up that are all about easy dinners with warm spices and sauces. Changing seasons and changing routines call for comforting meals – and we’ve got just that! We have lo mein noodle stir-fry, hearty sausage and kale soup, skillet enchiladas, and seared chicken with ginger apricot glaze on the menu this week. All of our recipes are customizable, so feel free to mix it up and add some extra spice to a dish or try the Paleo or vegetarian variations of a meal.
Stick with us and our meal planning service, and soon your new routine with be a lifelong healthy habit that will save you time, money, and help you connect with your loved ones around the dinner table.
“By creating the habit of cooking healthier meals, I definitely feel that we have grown closer as a family. By sitting down around the table every night we have the opportunity to interact and communicate more than we might otherwise if we did not have sit-down meals as frequently.”
– Brian P. (Member since Dec 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
- Ginger – freshly grated ginger adds a spicy zip to both Asian- and Western-inspired meals this week.
- Kale – we use this healthy leafy green in soup and skillet enchiladas.
- This week’s menu features meals that are great to make ahead and reheat during the week – especially the lo mein and soup. Both the lo mein noodles and the barley for the soup can be made over the weekend to help you save time in the kitchen.
- Make a hearty frittata with extra sausage, potatoes, and kale. Top with whatever cheese you have in your fridge for extra indulgence!
- Try a dressed-up pizza this weekend with leftover sliced ginger apricot glazed chicken, figs, pistachios, cheese of your choice, and balsamic vinegar. Check out our pizza guide to learn how to make dough, sauces, and toppings for more inspiration!
On the Menu
We get it. Mondays are typically pretty busy rushing around, getting a jumpstart on the week ahead. That’s why it’s even more important to start the week on the right foot and gather around the dinner table to enjoy a healthy and fresh meal. Even if you only have a few minutes to pause and eat, it’s worth it. And there’s just something to be said for a quick, comforting, one-bowl meal on a Monday night.
Freshly grated ginger, toasted sesame oil, honey, rice vinegar, and soy sauce come together to create a rich and savory sauce that coats lo mein noodles, chicken, and veggies. You can get dinner on the table in about 35 mins (or sooner if you do our recommended make-ahead); so toss those take-out menus in the recycling bin and pull up a chair to enjoy some homemade take-out fake-out.
To make this satisfying dish gluten-free, simply pick up some GF lo mein noodles or feel free to sub with another noodle such as gluten-free soba. Vegetarians can use tofu in place of chicken and Paleo members will enjoy all the flavors of this dish sans-noodles as a Sesame and Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry.
We have the ultimate comfort meal for you on Tuesday. We take sausage and add hearty potatoes, kale, and barley for a one-pot meal that is filling and sure to become a favorite in your household! The secret that takes this soup to the next level is harissa, a Middle Eastern chili paste that adds a deep smoky flavor that we can’t get enough of. We encourage you to give it a try!
All of our recipes are customizable, so feel free to make this soup as spicy or mild as you please! Our gluten-free members will use buckwheat (sometimes called kasha) in place of the barley. To make the Paleo variation of this recipe, simply use sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Vegetarians (or those who just want to skip the sausage) will love this Spicy Kidney Bean, Potato, and Kale Soup.
Want to make extra soup for lunchtime leftovers or add to your freezer meals? Be sure to increase the servings in the recipe and we do the ingredient math for you.
WEDNESDAY | Skillet Enchiladas with Ground Beef & Cheese
Enchiladas are one of our favorite meals – protein, veggies, cheese, sauce, tortillas, and toppings, oh my! But enchiladas can be labor- and time-intensive on a weeknight, so we’ve put together a one-pan dish that combines all of the classic flavors and textures of enchiladas, but saves time and prep so that you can put that extra time towards catching up on your favorite TV shows.
This variation of skillet enchiladas uses a homemade red sauce (that can be made up to 5 days ahead of time), ground beef, and seasonal veggies such as onions, kale, zucchini, and corn. Instead of rolling the enchiladas in tortillas, we chop the tortillas and add them directly to the skillet, then we top everything off with cheese and pop it in the oven broiler for a few minutes to get the sauce and cheese nice and bubbly.
We use pinto beans in place of the ground beef for our vegetarian variation, GF corn tortillas for gluten-free members, and to make this recipe Paleo, serve Skillet Enchilada Saute with Ground Beef over cauliflower rice.
To round out the week, we’ve got a super flavorful dish for you – seared chicken breasts made with an easy ginger apricot glaze that’s sweet with just the right amount of zip. We use apricot preserves for a rich and smooth finish, and a bit of grated ginger adds that unique touch. Served with a mixed green salad with figs, pistachios, and maple Dijon vinaigrette, this easy weeknight meal feels dressed-up, although it goes from prep to dinner table in a quick 30 minutes. Now that’s our idea of a perfect Thursday night!
Gluten-free members will substitute Tamari in place of the soy sauce and use GF flour (or almond meal) to dredge the chicken breasts. To make the Paleo variation of this recipe, simply use chopped dried apricots, Bragg’s / coconut aminos, and almond meal. Vegetarians (and anyone looking for a delicious fall salad!) will love this Lentil and Brussel Sprouts Salad with figs, pistachios, and warm apricot vinaigrette.