This week’s meal plan menu of cozy dinners is sure to warm you up from the inside out!
Now that we are officially in December, truly cozy meals are in order. That’s why we make the most of North African spices, Italian aromas, and countryside genius. So, let’s take a little tour of this week’s exciting menu . . .
On Monday and Thursday we look to Morocco for inspiration with a meatball bowl and a bean and vegetable soup. Since spices are an integral part of Moroccan cuisine (their famous ras el hanout seasoning is comprised of 27 spices!), we utilize a blend of common spices from your pantry: coriander, paprika, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon.
For Tuesday’s dinner, we give you a comforting British sheep country favorite: shepherd’s pie. On Wednesday, we help you get over hump day with healthy zucchini pizza boats that ensure you get your daily servings of veggies while enjoying the flavors of Italian sausage and melted mozzarella.
Find out more about each recipe, efficient meal prep suggestions, and great ideas for leftovers below.
“Our meals have a lot more variety now instead of going for easy old standards, which were not as healthy. Cook Smarts has given us an easy plan to take care of the daily ‘what’s for dinner?’ conundrum and has streamlined and simplified our grocery shopping.”
– Ellie E. (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.
Meal Planning Smarts
- Parsley is a bright, lemony herb that is full of important vitamins and minerals. This week we use it to add fresh flavor to all 4 of our meals, so you can feel good about picking up a bundle at the grocery store and not letting any of it go to waste.
- If you know the upcoming week will be busy, make Monday’s meatballs over the weekend and two of this week’s meals will come together super fast at dinnertime! Also, Tuesday’s shepherd’s pie can be assembled ahead of time and then simply popped in the oven for baking right before serving.
- This week we use garlic, bell peppers, and parsley in several (or all!) meals. Over the weekend, you can chop up your garlic and peppers (up to 5 days ahead) and parsley (up to 2 days ahead) so you can get dinner on the table even faster during the week.
- To have a mouthwatering lunch that is the talk of your coworkers, simply combine Monday’s leftover meatballs, your favorite cheese, and Wednesday’s extra garlic bread into a spectacular sandwich.
- For a creative take on stuffed baked potatoes, use leftover russet potatoes from Tuesday and top with leftover bean soup (strain some of the liquid) and a dollop of yogurt.
Tips for smarter meal planning come with every meal plan menu. The smarts above are only a portion of the tips we include to help you make the most of your ingredients and cook more efficiently. Join our community to get the full benefits of our meal plan service!
On the Menu
For this Moroccan bowl recipe, we put juicy meatballs in a velvety tomato sauce and serve them over fluffy couscous. With roasted cauliflower and a homemade Moroccan spice mix bringing scrumptious flavor, this meal is truly comfort in a bowl!
Those on a gluten-free diet can enjoy this meatball bowl recipe with fluffy quinoa in place of couscous. Vegetarians can fill their Moroccan bowl with sauteed tofu over quinoa. Those on the Paleo diet omit the grains all together, but add in roasted green beans alongside their cauliflower side dish.
This vegetarian shepherd’s pie recipe is hearty, healthy, packed with lentils and mushrooms, and topped with a blanket of mashed potatoes. Not only is it ready in under an hour, it is also so satisfying that it’s guaranteed to gain the approval of meat-eaters and vegetarians alike!
This vegetarian and gluten-free recipe can easily be made into a Paleo shepherd’s pie by trimming the ingredient list and using a sweet potato topping and ground beef in place of the lentil filling.
WEDNESDAY | Pizza-Stuffed Zucchini Boats with Garlic Bread
If you love pizza but are looking for a healthier alternative, zucchini boats are the most delicious way to go! Nutrient-rich zucchini makes a sturdy shell for an Italian sausage, bell pepper, and mozzarella filling. If you like a little extra heat in the cold weather, use spicy sausage or top your boats with red pepper flakes.
Vegetarians can mix quinoa into their boats in place of sausage and gluten-free eaters need only buy a GF baguette or ciabatta. Those on the Paleo diet can simply omit the cheese and garlic bread to still enjoy the beloved flavors of piping hot pizza.
THURSDAY | Moroccan Bean Soup with Meatballs & Yogurt
This 30-minute healthy recipe was one of last year’s favorite meals, but this time we took it to the next level by adding leftover meatballs from Monday! There’s no doubt that this savory Moroccan soup will keep you warm and satisfied with its sweet roasted peppers, hearty beans, and alluring North African spices.
This naturally gluten-free soup takes only a couple omissions (beans and yogurt) to become Paleo. For vegetarians, we replace the meatballs with a side of pita bread, which adds 6 grams of protein.