Meal Plan Menu | Week of 1/27/20

Meal Plan Menu | Week of 1/27/20

Load your dinner table with healthy weeknight recipes that are faster than takeout! With easy to cook recipes that have an international twist, you can enjoy flavors from around the world in less time than it takes to drive to your favorite restaurant.

  • By Chelsea Paxton
  • January 24, 2020

At Cook Smarts, we love to put a fun, creative spin on easy to make meals. This week is no exception! This week’s meal plan menu is packed with international flavors in familiar, weeknight-friendly meals the whole family will love. 

We’re taking salad to the next level with a homemade peanut dressing drizzled over sweet and crunchy Asian chicken salad. Meatballs get a makeover with a Mexican flavor profile that’s a super fun twist on a burrito bowl. Everyday farro is dressed up with Swiss chard, zucchini, and pancetta that is reminiscent of a classic Italian risotto. End the week with fall-off-the-bone ribs that are coated with a sweet homemade Hoisin sauce. 

We know this delicious and healthy lineup of meals will leave a smile on your face – but that’s not all! Our meal plan service includes a weekly customized grocery list, step by step instructions for weekend prep, and a thriving Cook Smarts community that will cheer for you and support you along the way. 

Spend less time making grocery lists, less time and money at the grocery store, less time staring into the fridge wondering what’s for dinner, and instead, spend MORE time on the things that matter most to you.

“Cook Smarts broke me of the sneaky habit of cooking for the kids. We are many years into our subscription and the constant variety of foods has been great for all of us. I know my kids have learned . . . to enjoy SO MANY MORE FOODS, even ones that are not separate on the plate.”

– Diana W. (Member since Oct 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 | Asian Kale Salad with Chicken, Asian Pear, Celery & Peanut Dressing

Begin the week with a delightfully sweet and crunchy salad with Asian pears, celery, fresh mint, peanuts, and seared chicken served over baby kale salad greens. Homemade peanut dressing takes this salad to the next level by adding sweet, spicy, and tart flavors to every bite. By balancing the flavors and textures perfectly, this satisfying dinner entree will chase away any Monday blues.

At Cook Smarts, we don’t let different dietary needs hold us back from flavor! If you follow a Paleo diet, simply use sunflower seed butter and Braag’s / coconut aminos in the dressing and top the salad with cashews. For a gluten-free option, use Tamari instead of soy sauce when preparing the peanut dressing. Sear firm tofu in place of the chicken for a tasty vegetarian Asian Kale Salad with Tofu

TUESDAY | Mexican Meatball Bowls with Lime Slaw & Rice

We love variations on a burrito bowl for an easy weeknight dinner because they are easily customizable, feed a crowd, and they are just fun to eat! Tonight’s recipe for Mexican Meatball Bowls begins with a base of fluffy brown or white rice and crunchy sweet and tangy lime slaw. Then it’s topped with a hearty helping of beef meatballs seasoned with a homemade Mexican spice blend in a rich tomato sauce. Garnish with shredded cheese and a dollop of yogurt to bring all the yummy flavors together!

Do you have loved ones following a Paleo diet in the New Year? Not to worry! Serve Paleo Mexican Meatballs (almond meal is the binding ingredient instead of Panko breadcrumbs) over roasted sweet potato wedges and top with avocados in place of cheese and yogurt. Use gluten-free Panko breadcrumbs to follow a gluten-free dietary protocol. Vegetarians will savor all the flavor in these Tex Mex Rice Bowls that call for sweet potatoes and pinto beans in place of meatballs.

WEDNESDAY | Baked Farrotto with Pancetta, Chard & Fried Egg

Baked farrotto is a quirky way to describe baked farro, resulting in a delicious risotto-like dish that is the epitome of cozy and comfort. This recipe features hearty vegetables such as onions, garlic, zucchini, and Swiss chard with savory pancetta. White wine and stock are added to the farro and then popped in the oven to continue baking without the need to hover over the stove and stir. Top each portion with an egg (cooked to your liking), freshly grated parmesan cheese, and toasted pecans.

To enjoy a delicious vegetarian baked farrotto, omit the pancetta. Since farro is a grain that is restricted for both gluten-free and Paleo diets, we incorporate the same flavors in a gluten-free recipe for Italian Sausage and Chard Frittata with oven-roasted potatoes and a Paleo recipe for Italian Sausage and Chard Frittata with green salad.

THURSDAY | Slow Cooker Hoisin Ribs with Roasted Sesame Broccoli & Rice

Want to enjoy flavorful, tender ribs on a weeknight? Look no further! The secret to tender ribs is to cook them low and slow, making them the perfect candidate for a slow-cooker recipe. After the ribs come out of the slow cooker, brush them with an Asian-inspired Hoisin sauce and bake in the oven for 15 minutes to truly seal in the flavor. Side dishes of fluffy rice and roasted sesame broccoli are delicious accompaniments to the sweet-savory meat.

This recipe is naturally gluten-free and can be made Paleo-friendly by making adjustments to the sauce and serving over cauliflower rice. Vegetarians will enjoy a similar flavor profile in our recipe for Hoisin Tempeh and Vegetable Stir-Fry.

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

Make Aheads:

  • No slow-cooker for Thursday’s Hoisin Ribs? No problem! We’ve included instructions in the recipe to cook at a low temperature in the oven. This does take a few hours of oven time, so we recommend cooking the ribs a day ahead so you can re-warm and enjoy on Thursday.
  • The Mexican meatballs and rice can be made ahead of time, so all you need to do is reheat and serve on Tuesday with freshly grated cheese, yogurt, and lime slaw.


  • Original, gluten-free, and vegetarian diets will make a double batch of rice for two different meals – Mexican Meatball Bowls and Hoisin Ribs. We love to cook once, eat twice! It saves time in the kitchen and ensures that none goes to waste.


  • Make a delicious lunchtime Asian Chicken Wrap with leftover seared chicken, lime slaw, and peanut dressing. Add extra veggies for a sweet crunch – such as red bell peppers, shaved carrots, and / or snap peas if you have them available.
  • Make a hearty Meatball Sandwich by toasting your favorite hoagie roll and topping with warm leftover Mexican meatballs, tomato sauce, and cheese of choice.
  • If you purchased a full dozen eggs, chances are you have a few leftover this week. Make a delicious frittata with any leftover pancetta, broccoli, and shredded cheese for a savory brunch over the weekend.

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