This week’s meal plan menu will put a spring in your step with classic Reuben Sandwiches, Salmon Cakes, and Spaghetti Carbonara!
Believe it or not, but this Wednesday marks the first day of Spring! We are saying hello to seasonally fresh ingredients such as snap peas, radishes, cucumbers, spinach, and asparagus. And we couldn’t be more excited! Between unprecedented snow storms (we’re looking at you, 2+ feet of snow in Seattle), a Polar Vortex across the midwest, and lots of rain throughout California, the first signs of spring has us doing a happy dance!
Join us and celebrate all things spring with this week’s meal plan menu that includes homemade Reuben Sandwiches, Salmon Cakes, Spaghetti Carbonara, and Chicken with Mango Salsa. We will show you how to make marinades, salsas, and dressings that are fresh and more colorful, flavorful, and economic than store-bought varieties. Plus, all of our recipes include options for gluten-free, vegetarian, and Paleo diets – there’s something for everyone!
So go ahead and set the table with friendly yellow daffodils and open the windows to let in the fresh springtime air. Embrace the start of spring with a subscription to our weekly meal plan recipes that will save you time and money with our weekend prep steps and streamlined grocery list.
As our spring gift to you, sign-up for our Cook Smarts meal plan service and use code GOFRESH for a sweet 20% off meal plans now through Tuesday, 3/26 – including gift subscriptions! (Cue the happy dance again!)
“[Since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans,] I now make salsa, seasonings, dressings, marinades, etc. from scratch. I’m amazed at how easy and delicious they are. I love all the colors and fresh flavors in the foods.”
– Angie R. (Member since May 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
Cook Smarts community members requested a weeknight recipe for a reuben – a classic grilled deli sandwich of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and dressing on rye bread. While staying true to these hallmarks of a good reuben sandwich, we also infuse our signature Cook Smarts touch by making a sweet and tangy, homemade Thousand Island dressing, and providing instructions on how to build the sandwich like a pro! (Sandwich building is an art form, just ask Joey Tribbiani!) Serve with a side of sweet potato fries and crunchy snap peas – which are perfect for dipping in extra dressing – and it’s the best way to round out a Monday evening.
A gluten-free reuben sandwich is coming right up – just use your favorite GF bread, (rye if available). Vegetarians will use Thousand Island dressing in this “fancy toast” recipe for Toast with Ricotta, Chard, and Fried Egg. Paleo members will serve sweet potato fries on the side of Black Pepper Steak and roasted broccoli.
Tuesday’s dinner recipe might trick you into thinking you’re dining al fresco at your favorite oceanside bistro. We show you how to make delicious homemade seared salmon cakes, served over a fresh spring salad of butter lettuce, zesty radishes, crisp cucumbers, and homemade buttery rye croutons. Add a drizzle of Thousand Island dressing, turn off your smartphone, and enjoy the sunset (even if it’s from your kitchen window!).
Paleo members will make a few modifications to the original recipe, including making a homemade vinaigrette for the salad. To make the salmon cakes gluten-free, use GF panko breadcrumbs and select a GF bread for homemade croutons. Vegetarians will love these seared fritters made with cauliflower rice, chickpeas, and capers, served over spring salad and drizzled with yummy Thousand Island dressing.
Spaghetti Carbonara is one of our favorite weeknight meals – and don’t worry, it’s super easy to make at home! This recipe features pasta with sauteed mushrooms and spinach topped with crisp bacon. The carbonara “sauce” is parmesan cheese, eggs, lemon zest, and reserved pasta cooking liquid. Never made carbonara? No problem! We include a video in the recipe steps to show you how to get it just right! (Hint: the hot pasta noodles “cook” the eggs into a creamy sauce).
Our vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara recipe features sunflower seeds in place of bacon for a unique twist! Paleo members will enjoy a hearty Bacon, Spinach, and Mushroom Frittata served with a balsamic arugula salad on the side. To make a gluten-free Spaghetti Carbonara, use your favorite GF pasta.
To end the week we’ve got a winner-winner chicken dinner coming your way! Marinated chicken breasts are grilled or pan-seared and served over fluffy coconut rice with sesame asparagus on the side. Fresh ginger-spiced mango salsa adds a pop of color and texture to this simple yet flavorful dish.
Use Tamari in place of soy sauce to make this dish gluten-free. Our vegetarian recipe uses the mango salsa in Black Bean Tacos – a match made in heaven! If you follow a Paleo diet, make a few modifications to the marinade and serve the chicken with extra mango salsa in place of the rice.
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
- Get a head start on the week by making the Thousand Island dressing for Monday and Tuesday and Thursday’s coconut rice over the weekend. Both the dressing and the rice can be made up to 5 days in advance, which makes weeknight meals come together quickly.
- Sauerkraut is finely shredded fermented cabbage that can be found in a jar near the pickles. If you find the sour flavor too strong, we suggest rinsing the sauerkraut before adding to Monday’s Reuben Sandwiches.
- Our homemade Thousand Island dressing is super easy and quick to make, but if you are short on time, it’s totally fine to pick up a bottle at the grocery store. (This is also a good option if you don’t have ketchup or pickle relish at home.)
- Leftovers this week really lend themselves to the ultimate burger bar! Cook beef burger patties on the grill or stovetop and set out toppings such as leftover Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese, bacon, mushrooms, butter lettuce, and mango salsa for your friends and family to build their own burger! (This is a great way to clean out your fridge and get ready for next week’s menu and grocery shopping.) Check out our burger guide for more creative ideas.
- Serve a creative twist on Eggs Benedicts for brunch this weekend! Try using leftover corned beef in place of ham. Use this recipe for hollandaise sauce and this video for how to poach an egg. For a vegetarian benedict, use leftover asparagus (from Thursday’s tacos) or sauteed mushrooms and spinach (from Wednesday’s pasta) in place of meat.