Family Dinner Wins | Meal Plan Menu
With our meal planning ideas and tips, you can save time and money, all while eating healthy, delicious home-cooked dinners. And for this week, we even have a special Mardi Gras dinner just for Fat Tuesday celebrations!
Here at Cook Smarts, we help you eliminate dinnertime stress so that you get to have more “wins” in the kitchen. With our weekly meal plan service, you can successfully shop for ingredients with customized grocery lists, prep ahead on the weekends, and stick to a delicious plan for dinner each night of the week. We’re sure we all agree that saving time, money, and stress count as major wins in the kitchen. So let’s dive in to a week’s worth of winner family dinners!
Start the week off with Pasta e Fagioli, a soup brimming with hearty vegetables and sausage. Then get out your masks and Mardi Gras beads on Tuesday and nosh on a stacked Muffaletta sandwich! Enjoy minimal clean-up with a quick-and-easy (but totally gourmet) roasted chicken sheet pan dinner, and then finish the week with a bistro-style Nicoise salad.
With this week’s meal plan in hand, you can have more fun in the kitchen and spend more time sitting down with your loved ones to share a meal! Read below to get our helpful time-saving, money-saving meal planning tips.
“It feels like an extra win for the week when all the recipes hit the spot. One of the reasons we love Cook Smarts so much is because it pushes us outside of our comfort zone. My husband and I have a rule, we try the meal once no matter how skeptical we are about it. Honestly, the ones we are most worried about are usually the ones that blow us away and go on the favorites list.”
– Nicole L. (Member since Jan 2017)
All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.
On the Menu
Pasta e Fagioli with Italian Sausage & Parmesan
“Pasta e Fagioli” simply means “pasta and bean”, and this soup is sure to bring comfort and warmth on a chilly Monday night. With layers of flavors and textures from veggies, beans, pasta, fresh thyme, and Italian sausage, it’s easy to see why this is a satisfying Italian classic.
Soups are easy to adjust for a variety of dietary needs. To make this soup vegetarian, simply use vegan sausage or mushrooms. Our Paleo members will replace the beans and pasta with mushrooms. Select your favorite GF pasta to make this a delicious gluten-free soup.
Muffaletta Sandwich with Cajun Roasted Cauliflower
Muffaletta is a sandwich that originated in New Orleans, made with delicious Italian bread. It’s the perfect weeknight meal to serve the week of Mardi Gras and can easily feed a crowd. We spread homemade olive and bell pepper tapenade on the bottom piece of bread, layer Italian meats – such as ham, Genoa salami, and / or mortadella – and top with provolone cheese. Slice and serve with a side of cajun roasted cauliflower to complete the meal. Tip: Be sure to look for a good quality focaccia or ciabatta bread, as it is the hallmark of this tasty deli sandwich.
Feel free to customize the Muffaleta to accommodate your dietary needs. Paleo cooks can enjoy the same flavors with our recipe for Muffaletta Scramble, which uses the same Italian deli meats folded into an egg scramble and topped with olive and bell pepper tapenade. Vegetarians still get to enjoy a good sandwich by using roasted portobello mushrooms and hummus in place of deli meats. With so many great GF bread options now available, our gluten-free members can also get a piece of this delightful sandwich.
Lemon-Thyme Sheet Pan Chicken with Tapenade & Pasta
You’ll discover that the flavors of this 45-minute dinner play well together, and you’ll want to get a bit of everything in every bite! A homemade lemon and thyme butter is drizzled over chicken thighs and then roasted in the oven with zucchini. Serve with pasta and olive and bell pepper tapenade prepared earlier in the week, and this simple but elegant dinner will come together quickly.
We captured all the flavors of this sheet pan dinner in a vegetarian recipe for Italian Pasta with Roasted Chickpeas and Zucchini. For a Paleo variation, all you have to do is skip the pasta. To make this dish gluten-free, use a GF pasta of choice.
Lentil Nicoise Salad with Potatoes, Green Beans & Sherry Vinaigrette
This hearty and filling salad is a French favorite. Top crisp salad greens with boiled potatoes, green beans, roasted red bell peppers, hard-boiled eggs, chopped walnuts, and nicoise olives. Swap the traditional tuna for protein-packed lentils for a meatless spin on the original recipe, and tie everything together with a homemade sherry vinaigrette. The flavors and textures are perfectly balanced and create a beautifully plated salad!
This salad is naturally vegetarian and gluten-free. But for Paleo folks, skip the potatoes and use Spanish or Italian tuna packed in olive oil.
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
- The Pasta e Fagioli soup could be made over the weekend to make Monday night a breeze. To ensure the pasta is cooked perfectly to al dente, we recommend cooking the pasta separately and adding to the soup right before serving.
- Make Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s olive and bell pepper tapenade ahead, and you’ll save time and clean-up for both meals this week.
- Fresh thyme adds a savory and earthy flavor to both Monday’s soup and Wednesday’s sheet pan dinner this week. For the soup, whole sprigs of thyme are added to the pot and removed prior to serving. For the sheet pan dinner, thyme leaves are added to melted butter and drizzled over the chicken prior to roasting. This way, you’ll be sure to use the entire bundle!
- Store-bought roasted red bell peppers are used in the tapenade and salad this week, ensuring that none goes to waste.
- Leftover ingredients are a great way to try one of our different variations of the original recipe. For example, any leftover deli meat from Tuesday can be turned into the Paleo version – a savory Muffaletta Scramble that’s perfect for a weekend brunch!
- Make fancy appetizer toasts for a weekend get-together by slicing a baguette into thin pieces and drizzling with olive oil. Toast in the oven until crisp. Rub the toasts with a peeled garlic clove. Top with leftover tapenade and enjoy!
- Make homemade croutons with leftover bread from Tuesday’s Muffaletta sandwich.
We do more than create meal plans.
We create memories around the dinner table.
Join our weekly meal plan service to get the grocery list, dinner steps, and more cooking tips for these 4 simple dinners.