Easy Week for the Family | Meal Plan Menu

Variety is the spice of life and this week’s meal plan menu consists of easy family dinners that will please all palates, from young to old!

  • By Jess Dang
  • August 17, 2018

Whether you are in the midst of back-to-school busyness or taking advantage of summer’s end, we know that planning meals that are exciting and fresh can be a challenge when you are short on time. At Cook Smarts, we are passionate about planning healthy, fresh family meals that offer a variety of foods for everyone in your household.

This week’s meal plan menu has something for everyone. Whether you select the original, gluten-free, vegetarian, or Paleo option, each dinner is creative and satisfying without breaking your household budget. We utilize seasonally fresh ingredients such as corn, tomatoes, avocados, peaches, and green beans and show you how to maximize their flavors.

Add a smoky flavor profile to quesadillas with paprika and grilled corn, shrimp, and avocados. Turn everyday eggs into something special by serving poached eggs on top of creamy spinach and toasted English muffins. Try pairing flank steak with a sweet and tart balsamic reduction and a light summer salad of arugula and fresh peaches. Add a hearty crunch and texture to chicken salad by toasting bread cubes.    

Let us help you take the guesswork out of dinner with our weekly meal planner that offers a wide variety of dinners each week. These dishes are sure to please everyone in your household!

“We eat such a wide variety of food now, we regularly try new things, and we eat out way less. The planning is where the entire thing fell apart for me, but with Cook Smarts, I have a solid plan for healthy, well-balanced meals even on the busiest weeks.”

– Peppermint G.J.  (Member since Mar 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


  • We like the creamines of real sour cream to finish Monday’s quesadillas, but for a healthier option, feel free to substitute plain or Greek yogurt.
  • Cilantro is a fresh, tangy herb that is widely available in the summertime. We use it twice this week in two different meals, so that none go to waste.

make ahead:

  • Shrimp, avocado, and corn for Monday’s meal can all be tossed on the grill up to a day ahead (shrimp will reheat in the quesadillas, avocado can be served chilled, corn can be reheated in the microwave).
  • Balsamic reduction sounds fancy but it’s really just balsamic vinegar cooked down to a rich, sticky sauce. It will keep in the fridge indefinitely, so make this ahead and just grab it when you need it.  

leftovers for lunch (or anytime!):

  • Thinly slice leftover steak and use it in sandwiches or wraps for a hearty lunch this week.
  • Balsamic reduction can last a long time in the fridge, so save leftovers to drizzle over cooked chicken, pork, or steak. Want to try something really different? Drizzle a bit of balsamic reduction over strawberries or vanilla ice cream – it’s surprisingly great!
  • Need a dinner idea for the weekend? Use leftover produce and cooked proteins this week and assemble your own unique pizza. (How about a grilled pizza with corn, peaches, and balsamic drizzle?) Check out our pizza guide here for more ideas!

On the Menu

MONDAY | Smoky Paprika Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas + Grilled Mashed Avocado & Grilled Corn on the Cob

Start your week with bold, smoky flavors from these delicious quesadillas! Grilling the shrimp, corn, and, yes – even the avocados! – will add a great complexity of flavor to every component of this dish. If you are short on time this week or prefer to keep all the cooking indoors, everything can be made on the stovetop. (We provide instructions for that, too!)

Our Paleo variation of this recipe keeps the bold flavors of this dish with Smoky Paprika Shrimp, Mushroom, and Tomato Skewers. Vegetarians will enjoy the spice mix in the filling of these Smoky Paprika Pinto Bean Quesadillas.  To make this recipe gluten-free, simply pick-up some GF corn tortillas.

TUESDAY | Poached Eggs with Creamy Spinach + Balsamic Marinated Tomatoes

Inspired by the classic brunch dish, Eggs Florentine, this brunch-for-dinner meal consists of poached eggs over creamy spinach served on top of toasted English muffins. Round out the meal with a side of fresh and seasonal marinated tomatoes. Now this is a weeknight dinner that everyone can be on board with!

This vegetarian-friendly dinner can be made gluten-free by using GF English muffins (or your favorite GF toasted bread). Our Paleo members will love Salmon with Poached Eggs and Creamy Spinach, where we substitute seared salmon for the English muffins.

WEDNESDAY | Balsamic Flank Steak with Balsamic Reduction + Peach & Arugula Salad

For a midweek meal, we love how the sweet and tart notes of the balsamic vinegar infuse big flavor into these marinated flank steaks. By making a quick balsamic reduction, we get even more of a bright flavor that pairs perfectly with the steak and the fresh peach and arugula salad. (Our meal plan recipes also allow for flexibility – if you can’t find fresh peaches, any stone fruit such as nectarines or plums will be just as tasty!)

Gluten-free members will use Tamari in place of the soy sauce in the steak marinade. To make the Paleo variation of this recipe, make minor adjustments to the marinade by leaving out the brown sugar and use Bragg’s or coconut aminos. If you prefer to make this meal vegetarian, the balsamic flavor is beautiful on the Balsamic Marinated Portobello Mushrooms, and we add quinoa to the peach and arugula salad for added protein and texture.

THURSDAY | Chicken Panzanella with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Crisp, toasted bread is the hallmark of panzanella, a Tuscan salad. The variety of colors and textures make this dinner salad appealing and satisfying because there’s something for everyone in this dish: fresh greens, juicy tomatoes, hearty green beans, savory Kalmata olives, and a bright balsamic vinaigrette. Even better, it can easily be customized for a variety of dietary needs.

Our original recipe includes marinated grilled chicken breasts for protein. Vegetarians will substitute marinated feta for the chicken. To make this gluten-free, simply use your favorite GF Italian-style bread. Paleo members will love this Grilled Chicken Salad, where we use walnuts in place of the toasted bread.

Weekly Meal Planner | Menu for Week of 8/20/18 via Cook Smarts

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