This week’s meal plan menu gives you plenty of opportunities to discover fresh summer flavors and stay on track with your health and financial goals.
With these long summer days spent traveling, taking the kiddos to camps and activities, or sitting inside an overly air conditioned office (brr!), it can be easy to get off track and veer from the dinnertime routine. Each summer day brings new adventures and new opportunities to reach for less-than-healthy snacks and treats. By the time dinner rolls around, it can be all too tempting to make it a drive-thru dinner night (again!). Not only can this sabotage your health goals, but it can take a toll on your monthly food budget, too.
That’s where Cook Smarts comes in! We plan fun summery meals that can be grilled outdoors with friends and family to keep your health and financial goals on track. With our help, you’ll discover many opportunities to find fresh summer flavors! This week we utilize produce that are at their flavor peak in late summer – juicy tomatoes, zesty and bright basil, sweet corn on the cob, hearty zucchini, and more!
You’ll love adding fresh homemade basil pesto to shrimp skewers and steak sandwiches, topping grilled pork chops and corn on the cob with miso lime butter, and ladling tortellini vegetable soup into big bowls. You’ll also love staying on track with your grocery budget, health goals, and overall organization so that you can get the most out of this delicious summer season!
“I needed to try something that would keep me organized and on track, and Cook Smarts is exactly what helped me do that.”
– Amber T. (Member since Nov 2016)
All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.
On the Menu
Tomatoes and basil are at their peak in late summer and this meal is a celebration of these seasonal flavors! Our recipe calls for a big bundle of basil to make fresh homemade basil pesto for grilled shrimp and asparagus. Sweet, juicy tomatoes are transformed into a satisfying bruschetta for the perfect summer side dish.
A few simple substitutions are all that’s needed to modify this meal for a variety of dietary needs. Vegetarians will add creamy ricotta to the bruschetta for an extra boost of protein and grill Pesto Mushroom Skewers instead of shrimp. For a Paleo-friendly alternative, skip the cheese in the pesto and make portobello “bruschetta.” To make this meal gluten-free, use your favorite GF baguette / bread for the bruschetta.
Miso lime butter is one of our community’s favorite condiments, and this week, we’re topping it on grilled pork chops, seasonal zucchini, sweet corn on the cob, and fluffy rice. This addictive butter goes well with everything in this meal and it’s destined to become a favorite in your household.
Good news! We have variations on this fan-favorite savory butter that all diets can enjoy! Our gluten-free members will use Tamari in place of the soy sauce, while coconut aminos will replace the soy sauce and miso in the Paleo variation. Vegetarian cooks will be enjoying all of the buttery deliciousness with our recipe for Tofu “Steaks” with Miso Butter.
For a mid-week pick-me-up, we have a satisfying steak sandwich with grilled peppers and onions on hearty ciabatta rolls. Flavorful homemade basil pesto adds a fun summertime twist on a classic steak sandwich. (And thanks to prepping the pesto earlier in the week, this meal comes together quickly!) This recipe goes the extra mile by marinating the steak to allow the meat to tenderize and develop even more flavor. Along with a side of sweet grilled pineapple (grilling the fruit carmelizes the fruit’s sugar = more flavor), we wouldn’t be surprised if this meal transports you to your favorite summer vacation destination!
To make this meal gluten-free, use your favorite GF sandwich rolls and Tamari in place of the soy sauce. Skip the bread and use coconut aminos to make this dish Paleo-friendly. Our Pesto Vegetable Sandwiches are a delicious meat-free option for both vegetarians and meat-eaters to enjoy.
THURSDAY | Summer Vegetable & Tortellini Soup
Not everyone automatically thinks of soup for summertime dining, but it’s a great way to make use of all the fresh summertime produce and herbs that are available right now. This vegetarian soup recipe features onions, carrots, corn, basil, tomatoes, and garlic in a rich vegetable stock that develops flavor from tomato paste and spices like paprika and Italian seasoning. Cannellini beans and tortellini pasta give the soup flavor, texture, and protein. Top the soup with a fresh squeeze of lemon, basil, and grated parmesan cheese for a satisfying way to end your summer day.
Our Paleo Summer Sausage and Vegetable Soup is rich, hearty, and guaranteed to please even the non-Paleo eaters in your life! Choose your favorite gluten-free pasta to make this a GF summer soup.
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
- Fresh basil pesto is the star in two dinners this week. Get a jumpstart by prepping the pesto during the weekend to save valuable time during busy weeknights.
- Thursday’s Vegetable and Tortellini Soup is an excellent dinner to make ahead and reheat as needed (add the cooked tortellini pasta just before serving to prevent the pasta from becoming too mushy). If you have travel plans coming up, increase the serving sizes to plan ahead for leftovers; then, freeze the leftovers using our freezer guide and you’ll have dinner waiting for you in the freezer when you return home from your travels!
- Parmesan is a hard cheese with nutty flavor that is used in several dishes this week. For a cheese-lover’s treat, look for real parmigiano reggiano for more depth of flavor. Slice off the waxy rind and add it to the soup pot on Thursday to allow the Tortellini Vegetable Soup to develop more savory / umami, rich flavor.
- The aroma of fresh basil is the scent of summer! This week we use lots of fresh basil in pesto but we also use basil to add bright herby flavor to bruschetta and vegetable soup.
- Make a delicious vegetarian sub sandwich with leftover bread, pesto, and grilled asparagus. Add a fried egg and a sprinkle of leftover parmesan cheese for more oomph!
- Make artisanal pizzas with fancy toppings such as leftover tomato bruschetta, grilled pineapple, and cheese of your choice. Try making pizzas on the grill!
- Make fusion tacos with chopped leftover pork chops, miso lime butter, and grilled corn wrapped in warm corn tortillas.