This week’s meal plan is filled with easy summer dinners packed with big flavors, including homemade Tuna Poke Bowl and Sesame Beef Stir-Fry.
It can be so easy to fall into a dinnertime rut and make the same meals week after week. Not only does this take the joy out of eating home-cooked meals, but you can also miss out on some of the most amazing seasonal produce! A subscription to our meal plan service ensures that you utilize the best produce available in the markets right now – from fresh berries and juicy watermelon to snappy green beans and buttery avocados.
On our menu this week, you’ll find summer dinners filled with big, bold flavors and fresh produce that are quick and easy to put together. Each meal will transport you away to a fun summer’s day – like enjoying the sandy beaches of Hawaii with our Tuna Poke Bowls, a backyard BBQ with our Barbecue Chicken Thighs, a night on the town with our Sesame Beef Stir-fry, and discovering new “foodie” combinations with our artisanal Arugula and Goat Cheese Flatbreads.
Fun summertime dinners with big flavors don’t need to be complicated. We streamline your grocery list and prep-ahead steps so that you can ask Alexa to put on your favorite tunes or podcast (may we suggest our favorite podcast for a listen?! 😉 ), spend a few minutes in the kitchen, and enjoy these summer nights with friends and family.
“Meal planning with Cook Smarts has streamlined our meal selection and grocery list creation. This gives us extra time to be together as a family.”
– Brian P. (Member since Dec 2014)
All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.
On the Menu
Start the week with big, bold fresh flavors in our Tuna Poke Bowl! New to the poke bowl scene? No problem! It’s a Hawaiian dish that means “to slice or cut crossways into pieces,” referring to the diced raw fish. In recent years, poke bowls have evolved to be like a burrito bowl, but with sushi-grade fish (typically ahi tuna), marinades, seasonings, and toppings.
Fluffy rice is the base of this bowl and it’s topped with kale, edamame, cucumber, avocado, and sushi-grade tuna dressed with fresh green onions, soy sauce, and sesame oil. A sprinkle of sesame seeds and homemade spicy garlic mayo finishes the dish with a big “wow” factor. Our recipe captures all the flavors of a Hawaiian vacation in a bowl!
A few simple substitutions to the marinade yields great gluten-free and Paleo poke bowls. Our Paleo members will skip the rice and add in sweet mango as well! If raw fish isn’t your jam, try our Vegetarian Poke Bowl with Avocado and Edamame.
Tonight’s dinner is summer dining at its finest – a barbecue chicken recipe with crowd-pleasing sides. The beauty of our meal planning service is that we give you step by step instructions for how to grill chicken outdoors (or cook on the stove!) and have your side dishes come out at the same time. Our Cook Smarts’ twist on macaroni salad is a lightened up dressing that coats traditional elbow macaroni, broccoli, bell peppers, and shallots (such a great way to #eatmoreveggies!). With a macaroni salad recipe you can feed good about, sweet and sticky barbecue chicken cooked to perfection, and a refreshing slice of watermelon, this is surely the essence of summer distilled on your plate!
Vegetarians will enjoy the all the barbecue flavors in our recipe for Barbecue Baked Beans while our Paleo members will skip the barbecue sauce and macaroni and make Spice-Rubbed Chicken Thighs with Tangy Broccoli Salad. Simply use your favorite gluten-free barbecue sauce and pasta if you follow a gluten-free diet.
WEDNESDAY | Sesame Beef & Green Bean Stir-Fry with Rice
Wednesday’s dinner is short on time but big on flavor thanks to both a steak marinade and a delicious stir-fry sauce made with Gochujang, a Korean sweet and spicy fermented red chili paste. We add fresh green beans and red bell peppers to the stir-fry for a satisfying crunch. To help this mid-week meal come together in a flash, we highly recommend making a double batch of rice on Monday night and prepping your veggies and stir-fry sauce over the weekend. (You can even get the steak going early by marinating it overnight!)
If you follow a Paleo diet, you’ll make a few modifications in the stir-fry sauce and marinade for this Paleo Sesame Beef with Vegetable Stir-fry. For a meatless alternative, tofu is great in this stir-fry because it soaks up all the flavors so well! To make this dish gluten-free, simply use Tamari in place of soy sauce and skip the Gochujang and use a GF hot sauce of your choice.
End the week with a sophisticated spin on pizza night! Toasted pita bread rounds (or naan bread) are topped with creamy goat cheese, peppery arugula, and a decadent fried egg in this bistro-style flatbread recipe. The secret is in the “sauce” – a flavorful homemade garlic oil seasoned with exotic za’atar spice that’s brushed on top of the pita rounds prior to baking. Talk about yum! The result is a grown-up flatbread that everyone in your household will love. End the meal by satisfying your sweet tooth with Greek yogurt sweetened with honey and fresh berries.
This quick weeknight meal is vegetarian and can easily be made gluten-free by using GF pita bread. For a Paleo take on this dish, enjoy all the flavors of za’atar in this Za’atar Pork Tenderloin with a crisp radish and arugula side salad.
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 produce is abundant this time of year and this week we are using fresh bell peppers, green onions, garlic, and limes in several dishes throughout the week for bursts of flavor, color, and texture.
- Make proper use of several condiments and pantry items in several meals this week, including mayonnaise, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Learn more about stocking a proper pantry so that you have these ingredients on hand to make your own marinades and sauces quickly and easily.
- Monday’s poke bowl is quickly becoming a Cook Smarts community favorite! Ask your fishmonger for sushi-grade tuna and let them know you plan to serve the fish raw so that you can purchase the freshest fish. If this is not available, pre-cooked cocktail shrimp can be substituted and prepared in the same way.
- Our Sesame Beef and Green Bean Stir-fry gets big flavor from Gochujang – a Korean fermented red chili paste. It is sweet, savory, and spicy all at the same time! Look for this in the ethnic aisle of your grocery store. If it is not available, you can mix a combination of chili garlic sauce and honey as a substitute.
- Top leftover pita bread rounds with barbecue sauce, caramelized onions, shredded leftover barbecue chicken, a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and pop in the oven for a fabulous barbecue chicken pizza!
- If you bought a large watermelon and have some leftovers, check out our delicious recipe for Watermelon and Arugula Feta Salad (delicious as a side or main entree in the hot summer months!).