Budget-Friendly Week of Meals | Meal Plan Menu

We all tend to spend more money in summer. With our meal plans, you can cook delicious, healthy summer recipes that are also budget-friendly!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • July 20, 2018

Summers usually find us traveling, enrolling the kids in exciting activities, or going out with friends. And while those things can be amazing, they also cause us to spend more money than we may like. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back! This week we make sure to give you easy recipes that are convenient for summer budgets.

While all of our dishes have a summery feel, the element of summer doesn’t stop there. The key to our delicious flavors is designing our healthy meals to feature sun-ripened seasonal veggies and herbs. Some of the inexpensive produce we use in recipes this week includes green beans, bell peppers, cucumbers, and fresh parsley. Since these ingredients are widely available this time of year, prices are lowered in supermarkets, making budget-friendly cooking easier than ever!

On top of saving money, we know that quick cooking is essential so you can make meals before running off to a concert, movie in the park, or kids’ swim lessons. With each of our meals taking around 30 minutes to make, you’ll have plenty of time for summer festivities.

Whether you want basic healthy recipes or a specialized vegetarian meal plan or Paleo meal plan, we give you all of them in a single, budget-friendly service.

“I cook because I’m a tightwad, and it’s so much cheaper to cook your own meals than to eat out. Having a meal plan allows you to be more efficient in your grocery shopping and food expenditures in general by having a plan and limiting waste.”

— Greg L. (Member since Nov 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


  • With parsley, a little bit goes a long way. In order to make sure none of the bundle goes to waste, we use this fresh herb to add flavor in a variety of dishes throughout the week.
  • For Monday’s hot dog twist, we use sausages. When you’re picking them out at the store, remember that pre-cooked or smoked sausage links cook quickly since they just need to heat through. If you want to get raw sausage links instead, simply allow a bit more time to cook them all the way through.


  • Before the week starts, you can get a jump on your meals by preparing sauces ahead of time. Our Sriracha mayo, Cajun sauce, and Greek Yogurt Dressing can all be made 5 days in advance so meals come together even quicker during the week!
  • After you’ve cooked up these great recipes, you’ll probably want to make them again . . . and soon. We make future dinners fast and easy with our All-in-One Freezer Guide and Frozen Food Storage Tips! This week you can buy extra portions and freeze the following ingredients: sausage, hot dog buns, green beans, shrimp, and steak.


  • There’s nothing quite as efficient as leftovers for saving money, so chop up extra sausage and add it to summer pasta dishes or toss with salads for extra savoriness.
  • This week you can easily make a breakfast or lunch healthier and more filling by folding leftover corn and green bean salad into an omelet or frittata.

On the Menu

MONDAY | Sausage Dogs with Pineapple Salsa + Corn & Green Bean Salad

These are not your traditional hot dogs. We put a bold twist on the classic grilled favorite with Sriracha mayo and pineapple salsa toppings. Pick your favorite sausage and prep a fresh corn and green bean salad for this exciting new meal!

To make this dinner gluten-free, simply pick up GF hot dog buns at the market. Our Vegetarian recipe preserves the same bold flavors from the original meal, but makes a hearty veggie and black bean grain bowl with Sriracha mayo and pineapple salsa toppings. Our Paleo recipe has all the delicious flavor of a great hot dog without the bun and omits the corn for a fresh green bean salad.

TUESDAY | Spaghetti Salerno with Heirloom Tomato Salad

Spaghetti Salerno is one of those Italian pasta dishes that is impressive in its simplicity. This quick 30-minute dinner tosses spaghetti with garlic, breadcrumbs, cheese, and fresh parsley, and then tops it off with a fried egg. With a savory heirloom tomato salad on the side, you are ready for an easy summer evening!

This recipe is naturally vegetarian and can be made gluten-free by simply using GF breadcrumbs. Our Paleo recipe uses zucchini noodles as the base and anchovies for flavor and substance to round out the dish.

WEDNESDAY | Cajun Shrimp Po’ Boy with Chips & Pickles

There is something about a shrimp Po’ Boy that makes you feel like you’re on a relaxing beach vacation. Whether by the ocean, on a picnic, or around your kitchen table, a brush of our creamy Cajun sauce on this delicious sandwich is sure to please. Grab some chips and pickles and your get southern cooking on this week!

Our Vegetarian Po’Boy recipe uses seared mushrooms instead of the classic shrimp. Meanwhile, our Paleo Cajun Shrimp Salad recipe captures the flavors of our original sandwich while adding walnuts and carrots for an extra great crunch.

THURSDAY | Greek Steak Salad with Creamy Yogurt Dressing

An herb and garlic marinade gives the steak in this salad great flavor whether you’re cooking it on the grill or on the stovetop. Roasted bell peppers, olives, feta, and our Creamy Yogurt Dressing made from scratch brings a delicious Greek flare to a bed of kale. Enjoy this quick 30-minute salad for a cooling summer meal.

This dinner is naturally gluten-free and easy to make vegetarian by replacing the steak with portobello mushrooms and garbanzo beans. Our Paleo Greek Salad recipe simplifies the ingredients and uses a Greek Vinaigrette as the marinade and dressing.

Weekly Meal Planner | Menu for Week of 7/23/18 via Cook Smarts

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