We’re bringing a twist to easy weeknight favorite recipes this week, so you can add a ton of flavor, confidence, and fun to your dinner table!
Dinner time is important – it might be the one time of day that you get to slow down, sit down, and enjoy a meal. It might be the one time of day you get to catch up with loved ones around the dinner table (or via Facetime). So don’t just “wing it” – “bring it!” As in, bring in the flavor, bring in the kitchen confidence, and bring in the fun!
That’s where our meal planning service comes in – we bring all that and more to your kitchen! With video tutorials, customized grocery lists, weekend prep steps, access to thousands of meal plan recipes, and a thriving Cook Smarts community, we are here to cheer you on as you make dinner time memorable again.
This week’s meal plan menu features classic dinnertime favorites with a Cook Smarts twist such as Curried Red Lentil Soup, Chicken & Orzo Salad, Turkey Swiss Cheese Bagel Sandwich, and Jerk Chicken with Coconut Rice and Beans. All recipes utilize fresh produce, aromatics, and an array of herbs and spices so that even novice cooks can follow along and taste the difference from “winging it” to “bringing it!”.
“Cook Smarts has completely changed my approach to cooking . . . I feel a lot more confident in the kitchen and in turn, I feel more confident as a mom because I can offer my family healthy and delicious meals made from fresh ingredients and not have to spend too much time doing it. I’m also having a lot more fun in the kitchen now.”
– Shirley G. (Member since July 2013)
All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.
On the Menu
Don’t let a busy Monday or a long to-do list throw a curveball in your meal planning! We’ve got you covered with a delicious turkey and Swiss cheese bagel sandwich that’s a snap to put together, customize, and feed a crowd . . . making this meal so much easier (and affordable!) than waiting in line at a sandwich shop.
Start with your favorite bagel, add sliced deli turkey and Swiss cheese and then pop in the oven for a few minutes so that everything gets nicely toasted and melted. Top with baby spinach, thinly sliced red onions, juicy tomatoes, and creamy homemade honey mustard aioli. Serve with chips and pickles on the side for the most satisfying crunch!
Prefer a vegetarian option? Use your favorite hummus in place of turkey. Our Paleo members will be making a savory Turkey Scramble breakfast for dinner with sweet potato “toasts” on the side. Select GF bagels and chips to make this quick meal gluten-free.
Entree salads for dinner are a super simple way to eat more veggies, quickly feed a crowd, and have a healthy lunch on hand for the next day. But sometimes it can be tricky to know how to make a salad feel like dinner. No worries! This orzo salad with cubed chicken breasts, leafy spinach, tangy feta, sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy pine nuts, and light balsamic vinaigrette is layered with flavors, textures, and colors to ensure each bite delivers complexity and satiety.
Our budget-friendly and vegetarian variation of this recipe uses chickpeas in place of chicken. If you follow a Paleo diet, omit the orzo pasta and add more veggies to the salad. Gluten-free members will simply use a GF pasta or rice in place of the orzo.
All variations of this dinner salad are delicious at room temperature or slightly chilled – making this a great meal to make ahead and eat when hungry (and bring to a summer barbecue!).
This hearty red lentil soup is the perfect mid-week pick-me-up that delivers protein, fiber, and vitamins in each spoonful! We layer in the flavor by sauteing onions and carrots in butter and by adding aromatic garlic and ginger. Curry powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes infuse the soup with warmth that’s balanced out with creamy coconut milk and stock. Step up your soup-making game by using an immersion blender for a velvety smooth texture. Finish it off with a fresh squeeze of lemon, a dollop of yogurt, and a sprinkle of zippy cilantro and you’ll agree that soup isn’t only for winter!
This soup is naturally vegetarian and gluten-free. If you follow a Paleo diet, try our Paleo recipe for Sausage and Vegetable Curry Soup.
We end the week with a Cook Smarts community favorite – a Caribbean-inspired chicken dish infused with big sweet and spicy flavors. A refreshing tomato cucumber salsa brings bright color and texture to this hearty chicken and rice combo.
Paleo members will experience all the flavors of this Caribbean chicken served with a comforting side of Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes in place of the rice and beans. Vegetarians will love jerk-marinated, meaty portobello mushrooms served with the same comforting sides. A simple substitution of Tamari for soy sauce is all that’s needed to make this meal gluten-free.
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 ginger adds a pop of zesty flavor to Wednesday’s soup and Thursday’s chicken. Although the ginger is optional, we love how a little ginger goes a long way to add depth of flavor to a dish. Check out our video for how to peel and chop fresh ginger, or feel free to look for prepared fresh ginger in the produce department or freezer section of your grocery store. Using ginger twice in a week helps to use more of the ginger, but if you have any leftover, grate the rest and freeze for future dishes.
- Coconut milk is rich, creamy, slightly sweet, and also used for Wednesday’s soup and Thursday’s chicken this week. Look for canned coconut milk in the ethnic aisle of the grocery store – we prefer to use light coconut milk in these dishes for a more low-cal option. (Be sure to shake the can of coconut milk before opening).
- This week we use specialty cheeses – Swiss and feta. Look for these cheeses near the deli department of the grocery store. You can ask the deli department to slice just enough Swiss cheese for Monday’s bagel sandwiches instead of buying an entire package of Swiss.
- Did you know that the shallot is a type of onion? It has a milder flavor and is delicious finely diced in vinaigrettes, such as the one used on Tuesday. You can also flavor guacamole with raw shallots or cook with them in a recipe like this one. Like larger onions, shallots may cause you to shed a tear or two while dicing – that’s totally normal!
- Tuesday’s orzo and chicken salad is great served a room temperature or chilled from the fridge – making it the perfect salad to prep on the weekend and have ready within minutes for dinner. Want extra leftovers for lunch this week? Increase the serving size and we’ll calculate the ingredients for you, so your grocery list is accurate!
- The red lentil soup on Wednesday is a great meal to make ahead of time and reheat as needed during the week. A great tip is to increase the servings and freeze half the soup for later – a great way to stock your freezer with easy meals to have on hand after you return from a summer vacation.
- Add leftover sliced turkey and Swiss cheese to avocado toast for a delicious open-faced sandwich.
- Add any leftover baby spinach, feta cheese, and cubed bagels to egg bakes or breakfast stratas on the weekend for a dressed-up brunch dish. Use our Breakfast Casserole recipe as a starting point and get creative!
- Shred leftover jerk chicken, top with leftover tomato cucumber salsa (and more of your favorite condiments and toppings), and wrap in a tortilla for a delicious fusion taco!