Fun Weeknight Dinners | Meal Plan Menu

Bring the fun back to your kitchen with this week’s meal plan menu. We’re sending fun weeknight dinner recipes your way just in time for fall!

  • By Jess Dang
  • October 5, 2018

Does cooking dinner feel like a chore? Whether you need to feed a large family, an apartment full of roommates, or dinner for one, we understand that it’s easy to fall into a dinnertime rut. At Cook Smarts, we create crowd-pleasing weekly meal plan menus that bring creative twists to easy weeknight meals. Even better, all of our recipes are written in such a way that everyone from novice cooks to experienced home chefs can follow along with simple steps and videos that demonstrate how to prep ingredients and get dinner on the table quickly.

This week we put a fun spin on weeknight dinner classics like baked potatoes, tacos, chicken, and steak. On Monday we’ve got twice-baked potatoes that feel indulgent with sour cream and cheese, but we bulk up the filling with veggies to keep this a low-calorie meal that’s full of fiber and protein. On Tuesday we’ll show you how to make classic beef tostadas, which are like “open-faced” tacos with all the fixings. On Wednesday, enjoy all the spice of buffalo chicken in sandwich form! We end the week with miso-lime steak, which feels like a fancy-schmancy dinner, but comes together so quickly and easily!

So whether you are new to meal planning and cooking or an experienced home chef, let us help you break out of the dinnertime rut with fast, delicious, and most importantly – FUN – weekly meal plans. Each meal plan utilizes fresh ingredients efficiently (budget-friendly and less food waste!) with ideas for leftovers and recommendations for what to make ahead of time to streamline weeknight cooking. We’ll take care of the planning, and you get to enjoy delicious meals right at home.

“Cooking is so much more fun and effortless now! We never come home at 5 pm just to dig through the fridge and wonder, ‘Hey, what should we eat?’ We simply grab that day’s ingredients, pull up the Cook Smarts recipe, and breeze through meal prep!”

– Irena A.  (Member since Apr  2015)

All meals come with gluten-free, Paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.

Meal Planning Smarts


  • Green onions – More than a garnish, green onions add texture, color, and a mild onion flavor to finished dishes. This week, use green onions to add a pop of flavor to all four dinners.
  • Cheddar cheese – This classic cheese makes an appearance in two dinners this week – twice-baked potatoes and beef tostadas – so you can make good use of one block (or bag of pre-shredded) cheese.

Make Ahead:

  • Twice-Baked Potatoes can be prepped over the weekend to save time on Monday. Then all you have to do is reheat it in the oven for it’s “second” baking!
  • Cooking rice is simple, but making it ahead can really save time during a busy weeknight. Thursday’s rice can be made up to 5 days ahead and reheats well.

ideas for leftovers:

  • Use leftover tostada toppings and homemade ranch dressing for a delicious taco salad.
  • Top extra hoagie rolls with leftover steak and your favorite veggies (and cheddar cheese for extra indulgence) for an amazing steak sandwich!
  • Make buffalo chicken grain bowls with leftover chicken and rice topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and a drizzle of ranch dressing.

On the Menu

MONDAY | Twice-Baked Potatoes with Broccoli & Cheese + Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Baked potatoes are so versatile and a definite crowd pleaser! This week we add a special touch to baked potatoes by scooping out the potato filling, combining it with broccoli, shallots, sour cream, and a sprinkle of cheese, and baking everything together alongside balsamic brussels sprouts. The result is a low-calorie meal that is comforting and satisfying. (And only one pan is used to prepare this meal – a major win on a Monday night!).

This recipe is gluten-free and vegetarian friendly, so no substitutions are needed. Those following a Paleo diet will use sweet potatoes and sausage to replace the sour cream and cheese.

This dish freezes well! If you would like to have extra twice-baked potatoes to stash away in the freezer, you can increase the servings on the recipe and we will do the “ingredient math” for you (all meal plans come with adjustable serving sizes)!  

TUESDAY | Classic Tostadas with Ground Beef + Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash

Did someone say “Taco Tuesday?” We add a fun twist to taco night by serving tostadas – “open-faced” tacos with a crispy tortilla on the bottom topped with spiced ground beef, crunchy lettuce, sweet tomatoes, creamy avocados, plus cheese, sour cream, and green onions for a pop of flavor. Sweet and spiced roasted butternut squash is served on the side to round out this family-friendly meal.

If you follow a gluten-free diet, simply use your favorite GF corn tortilla. Vegetarians use refried beans in place of the ground beef, and we have a delicious Cumin and Coriander Chicken recipe for those following a Paleo diet.

Serving tostadas on a weeknight is a delightful way to engage the whole family in preparing and sharing a meal; everyone can join the fun and customize their meal with their favorite toppings.

WEDNESDAY | Buffalo Chicken Hoagies with Ranch Dressing & Romaine Salad

We know that everyone could use a little “pick-me-up” midweek – and what’s better than a meal that you can actually pick up? Toasted hoagie rolls are filled with spicy buffalo chicken, crisp lettuce, and creamy homemade ranch dressing. This satisfying sandwich is kept light by using cubed chicken breast sauteed in a skillet, then homemade buffalo sauce is poured over the chicken to create a delectable glaze. A refreshing salad of romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and a drizzle of ranch dressing is served on the side to round out this meal.

Vegetarians can enjoy all the spice with Buffalo Tofu Hoagies and our Paleo friends will love Buffalo Chicken Tenders by making minor modifications to the original recipe. To make this meal gluten-free, simply use GF hoagie rolls and Tamari in place of soy sauce.

THURSDAY | Steak with Miso-Lime Butter, garlic Bok Choy & Rice

Miso-lime butter is a favorite homemade condiment among our Cook Smarts community – and for good reason! It creates a luscious steak sauce that will make you feel like a gourmet chef in your home kitchen. Top sliced steak with miso-lime butter and serve over rice and sauteed bok choy with garlic. This is the type of dinner to keep in your back pocket when you need a quick, crowd-pleasing meal that feels extra special.

A few easy substitutions are all that’s needed to enjoy this recipe with different dietary needs. Tamari replaces soy sauce in our gluten-free recipe and our Paleo friends will use aminos in place of the miso and serve the steak over cauliflower rice. For vegetarians, we have a Miso Ramen with Lime recipe that’s a fantastic one-pot dish that everyone (meat-eaters, too!) will love.

Weekly Meal Planner | Menu for Week of 10/8/18 via Cook Smarts

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