Efficient Weeknight Meals | Meal Plan Menu

This week, enjoy our meal plan menu that is all about efficient cooking!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • May 10, 2019

If you can spend less time cooking, but still get the same delicious results, why wouldn’t you? Well, that’s what this week’s meal plan is all about – striking the perfect balance between great home cooking and quick dinners. By trying our efficient prep techniques and make-ahead suggestions for each meal, you can discover the ideal way to prepare weeknight dinners.

Monday’s Vietnamese Vermicelli Salad sets the tone for an easy week because several ingredients can be doubled to ensure your Chicken Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce are ready on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Tuesday’s Tuna Melts take only 30 minutes even if you don’t do any weekend prep! On Thursday, you can end the week strong with an extremely fun Philly Cheesesteak Pizza.

When you utilize the meal planning tips below, you will be shocked at just how quickly our recipes full of crisp vegetables and fresh flavors will come together.

“Cook Smarts gives me the flexibility to select how many meals and what I want to make each week, but also makes grocery shopping and cooking super straightforward and efficient!”

–  Emily C. (Member since August 2015)

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

On the Menu

MONDAY | Vietnamese Salad with Chicken, Vermicelli & Lime Dressing

Vietnamese noodle salads have 2 wonderfully distinctive elements: clean, fresh flavors and a light, tart dressing. Our version of this classic dish features marinated chicken, chopped lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, and peanuts. Healthy and refreshing, this dinner really packs in delicious flavors and colors into one bowl.

To make this recipe vegetarian, simply swap out the chicken for seitan and mushrooms. Since vermicelli noodles are made from rice, the only substitute needed for a gluten-free diet is using Tamari instead of soy sauce. If you want to make this meal Paleo, enjoy our protein-packed Vietnamese Salad with Marinated Mushrooms and Chicken recipe.

TUESDAY | Tuna Melt with Tomatoes + Green Salad with Radishes & Snap Peas

This easy, fresh meal got great reviews when we introduced it last year, but we have doubled up on the tuna salad this time to really bring out the flavorful goodness. In just 30 minutes you can have mouthwatering melts with a green side salad topped with radishes, snap peas, and a zesty vinaigrette!

For a gluten-free version, simply use GF sandwich bread. To make a vegetarian melt, we use mashed chickpeas in place of tuna and it is absolutely delicious! If you are on the Paleo diet, try our Tuna Salad-Stuffed Bell Peppers with the same green salad on the side.

WEDNESDAy | Chicken & Avocado Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

It takes a little practice to get the hang of making summer rolls, but it’s a skill you will be using all summer long! Since the filling ingredients are all cooked earlier in the week, you can simply put Monday’s leftover chicken, vermicelli, and carrots into rice paper and then roll them up with avocado and fresh mint leaves. And, don’t forget the creamy peanut sauce – it brings any summer roll to the next level!

Both of our vegetarian and gluten-free recipes versions use the same substitutes as Monday’s dinner, while our Paleo version features Chicken, Mushroom, and Avocado Lettuce Wraps with a creamy cashew dipping sauce.

THURSDAY | Philly Cheesesteak Pizza with Cucumber & Tomato Salad

Have you ever thought of making a pizza out of the classic meat and cheese sandwich from Philadelphia? We have and it’s amazing! Since purchasing deli-sliced roast beef and provolone cheese means that most of the toppings are ready to go without any prep, you will only need to spend 30 minutes assembling before popping this fun fusion pizza into the oven.

If you are eating meatless, you can enjoy our Bell Pepper, Bean, and Provolone Pizza with the same cucumber and tomato side salad. If you are gluten-free, all you need to do is pick up some GF pizza dough at the store. If you are eating Paleo, try our Philly Scramble with Roast Beef and Bell Peppers recipe.

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 Smarts


  • This week is all about the efficiencies! If you are cooking our Original and GF recipes this week, you can go ahead and make a double batch of chicken and rice noodles to use in Monday’s salad and Wednesday’s summer rolls.
  • If you follow the Paleo diet, you can still get your double-batch efficiency on by cooking up a big batch of chicken and mushrooms to use in Monday’s salad and Wednesday’s lettuce wraps.
  • For the herbivores among us, you get to get in on the efficiencies, too! Simply cook up a double batch of seitan and mushrooms to use in Monday’s salad and make Wednesday’s summer rolls come together in no time.

make aheads:

  • You can easily make Tuesday night’s tuna salad (or chickpea salad for vegetarians) up to 4 days ahead of time so your melts can be on the table in a matter of minutes!
  • Spend 30 minutes over the weekend prepping your bell peppers, onions, garlic, shallots, and pickles and you can spend far less time cooking dinner each weeknight. All of these ingredients can be prepped up to 5 days in advance.
  • You can also get ahead this week by making your delicious vinaigrettes and sauces up to 5 days ahead of time and then just drizzle or dip when you’re ready to eat!


  • If you choose not to make Wednesday’s summer rolls or simply make a really big batch of chicken and noodles on Monday, you can whip up a quick sauce and use the extras for a satisfying stir-fry. Learn how to make a quick and easy stir-fry sauce with our Guide to Stir-Frying infographic.
  • If you can save extra pizza dough while cooking Thursday’s pizza dinner, you can turn them into garlic breadsticks or cinnamon-sugar pretzels! All you have to do is brush on a mixture of melted butter, garlic, and parsley (or oregano) onto strips of pizza dough for breadsticks. For the pretzels, cut thin strips, fold them into pretzel shapes, then brush with melted butter and dip into a mixture of ground cinnamon and sugar. Yum!

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Weekly Meal Planner | Menu for Week of 5/13/19 via Cook Smarts


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