Meal Plan Menu | Week of 10/21/19

Meal Plan Menu | Week of 10/21/19

To meet this season’s cool weather head on, we filled our weekly menu with great recipes for hot meals. We know there’s nothing quite like a delicious dinner warming you up from the inside out!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • October 18, 2019

This week, we are excited to bring you the heat of chicken fajitas, the comfort of Vietnamese pho soup, and the robust flavors of two variations of chili to warm chilly nights. These cold-weather meals can all be prepared in 40 minutes or less of active cooking time so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time hitting the gym, studying for your midterms, or putting finishing touches on any fun Halloween costumes that will debut this year.

With our meal plan menus that come in Original, Vegetarian, Paleo, and Gluten-Free recipe versions delivered right to your inbox each week, you can save yourself the stress of figuring out what’s for dinner every night. However, we don’t stop there when it comes to saving you time and hassle! Each of our recipes have options for streamlining weeknight cooking with our weekend prep suggestions. Keep reading to find out how we make cooking easy and doable during busy weeknights!

“I felt stuck and was making the same dishes all the time . . . I needed a meal plan service that would provide me with the menu and the grocery list. I needed a time saver plan. Cook Smarts was perfect for our family needs!”

– Harinder K. (Member since Mar 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

MONDAY | Classic American Chili over Baked Sweet Potato

With beef, pinto beans, and a blend of warming spices, this classic chili recipe delivers delicious flavor after only 35 minutes of active cooking! Serve it over baked sweet potatoes topped with sour cream and green onions, and the mix of sweet, creamy, and fresh flavors will bring every bite to a higher level of awesomeness. Once you try it, we know you’ll keep returning to this warm-you-up meal all winter long.

This gluten-free chili recipe is super easy to adapt to Meatless Mondays by omitting the beef and adding hearty black beans into the mix. Each vegetarian serving still has 18 grams of protein! For our Paleo friends, who says chili has to have beans? Just nix the beans and sour cream and enjoy the same rich chili flavors over sweet potatoes.

TUESDAY | Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas with Spinach Salad

These quick chicken fajitas are a weeknight dinner dream. Tortillas, sour cream, and seasoned chicken and peppers come together fast without sacrificing any of the bold flavors that fajitas are meant to have. In just 40 minutes, you can sit down to a delicious entree and side salad drizzled with our special cumin-lime vinaigrette.

These gluten-free fajitas are easy to make herbivore friendly by swapping the chicken for roasted broccoli and adding guacamole for extra protein (and deliciousness!). Meanwhile, our Paleo version of this meal combines the entree and side into one great Sheet Pan Chicken Fajita Salad with creamy avocados, crunchy pepitas, and tasty cumin-lime vinaigrette.

WEDNESDAY | Chili Dogs with Cheese & Chili-Spiced Green Beans

Every once in a while we get those chili cheese dog cravings, so we couldn’t resist adding this recipe to this week’s menu! We took the famous ballpark favorite and transformed it into a fun weeknight meal that you can pull out any time the craving strikes. Building off of leftover chili from Monday, all you have to do is top your hot dogs with cheddar cheese and chopped onions, stick them all in a toasted bun, and saute up some delicious chili-spiced green beans for a healthy side. This classic meal is truly comfort food at its finest.

The good thing is that even if you are vegetarian or gluten-free, you can still get your chili dog fix by using vegan sausages and / or gluten-free buns. You can also enjoy this meal Paleo-style if you pick up Paleo-friendly sausages and forgo the buns for a clean yet flavorful dinner.

THURSDAY | Slow Cooker Chicken Pho with Carrots & Bok Choy

The key to delicious Vietnamese pho is the fragrant broth that comes from simmering aromatics and spices low and slow, making it a great dish to adapt to the slow cooker. You only need to spend 30 minutes of active cooking time and then you can sit back and let your cooker or Instant Pot do the rest. From smooth vermicelli noodles to light Southeast Asian veggies, this warming meal is a go-to for any chilly night. 

One of the many great things about this delicious meal is that it’s easy to alter for a variety of diets! Vegetarians can substitute tofu for chicken while those on a gluten-free diet can use Tamari and brown sugar in place of Hoisin sauce. For anyone eating Paleo, it’s super simple to add in extra chicken to replace noodles and use Bragg’s or coconut aminos instead of Hoisin sauce.

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:

  • To get a jumpstart on the week, you can mix up both Monday and Tuesday’s spice blend, and all vinaigrettes up to 5 days early, so cooking will be a breeze.
  • You can also prep your veggies – onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, green beans, and carrots – all 5 days ahead of time so every weeknight meal comes together quicker when you get home from work!
  • We purposefully chose to make a double batch of chili for two recipes in this week, so you can cook once and enjoy in two different meals (our favorite time-saving method!). Like most chili recipes, this one tastes even better after the flavors have had time to develop in the fridge, so feel free to make it over the weekend if you know you’ll have a busy Monday.
  • If Thursday isn’t a great slow-cooker day for your schedule, you can also make this week’s pho broth up to 2 days before you plan to enjoy it.


  • Not the biggest fan of chili dogs? No problem! You can use Monday’s leftover chili to make amazing nachos that are bursting with flavor. See how we turn leftover chili into ballpark nachos with this recipe.
  • Leftover fajita chicken and peppers can be used to elevate so many meals. This week, try them in a dinner salad or folded into a Southwestern-style frittata, topped with leftover cheddar cheese from Wednesday.

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