Easy but Impressive Recipes | Meal Plan Menu (12/28/20)

Easy but Impressive Recipes | Meal Plan Menu (12/28/20)

It’s been a rough year everywhere, so let’s end 2020 on a high note! With this week’s easy but impressive recipes, like Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Herb Pan Sauce, you can still make the most of 2020.

  • By Chelsea Paxton
  • December 25, 2020


Slow Cooker Sopa Azteca

This soup is everything you desire in a slow cooker meal: super easy to drop all the ingredients into the slow cooker (with no pre-cooking required), and the final result is a tasty dinner that is warm, comforting, and full of big flavor to feed a crowd. Set out fun toppings such as tortilla chips, sour cream, avocados, limes, and cilantro, and let everyone help themselves!

Meal Planning Smarts:

  • This soup gets its smoky flavor and depth from adobo sauce, which is the thick sauce that comes with canned chipotle chiles.
  • Sopa Azteca develops flavor over time, so feel free to make this meal over the weekend and heat it up on Monday night.

Diet Variation:

  • Top with your favorite gluten-free tortilla chips for a delicious gluten-free soup.
  • Swap pepitas for tortilla chips for a crunchy paleo topping.
  • For a budget-friendly and vegetarian alternative, try our recipe for Sopa Azteca with Lentils.


Dijon Chicken with Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad

Chicken tenders get a sophisticated make-over with our recipe for a delicious Dijon and tarragon pan sauce. Serve with an equally dressed-up salad of shredded Brussels sprouts tossed with pecans, goat cheese, and dried cranberries for a beautiful weeknight meal that comes together in just 40 minutes. 

Meal Planning Smarts:

  • Fresh tarragon is not an herb we use often, but it adds a unique flavor that pairs very well with chicken. This meal plan also calls for fresh tarragon later in the week to ensure that none goes to waste.
  • Whole grain Dijon mustard adds a distinctive burst of flavor that’s great for dressings, marinades, and sauces. Three recipes this week call for this handy pantry ingredient.

Diet Variation:

  • This satisfying meal is naturally gluten-free, and to make it paleo, simply skip the goat cheese in the side salad.
  • Vegetarians will serve the Brussels sprouts salad with Paprika Roasted Chickpeas and Carrots with lemon tarragon yogurt sauce.

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Green Pepper Mushroom Pizza with Italian House Salad

A good homemade pizza recipe is pure gold – and that’s exactly why Cook Smarts members love this recipe! Top store-bought pizza dough with a simple homemade red sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, and bell peppers for a better-than-delivery vegetarian pizza. A fresh Italian house salad with crisp lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers rounds out this meal very nicely.

Meal Planning Smarts:

  • Allow some extra time for the pizza dough to come to room temperature and to let the gluten rest before shaping into a pizza. This will make it easier to roll out the dough.
  • Never made pizza at home? No worries! The step-by-step instructions in our meal plan will walk you through how to bake a pizza to perfection (without a soggy crust!).

Diet Variation:

  • Use your favorite gluten-free pizza dough and flour for an easy gluten-free, vegetarian pizza night at home.
  • Our paleo members will love the proteins and veggies in our hearty recipe for Ground Turkey and Vegetable Saute.


Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Herb Pan Sauce

Sometimes you want a meal that feels just a bit fancy but still easy to shop for and make at home. This recipe is just that! Fresh tarragon adds elegance and a rich flavor to a delicious pan sauce with shallots, butter, and Dijon mustard. Drizzle over pan-seared and roasted pork tenderloin with green beans and mashed potatoes for an impressive meal that’s comforting and simple, all at the same time.

Meal Planning Smarts:

  • Sometimes elegant meals come with a lot of dishes. To help save time cleaning up, we utilize a large sheet pan to roast the pork tenderloin and green beans at the same time. We also use the same pan to sear the pork and make the pan sauce. 
  • Sour cream adds richness and tang to mashed potatoes. Sour cream was also featured as a topping in Monday night’s Slow Cooker Sopa Azteca recipe to use this ingredient to its fullest this week.

Diet Variation:

  • Use gluten-free flour to thicken the pan sauce for a gluten-free celebratory meal.
  • Use arrowroot powder and sweet potatoes for easy paleo substitutions.
  • Vegetarians will savor all the same flavors of this meal with our recipe for Seared Seitan with Tarragon Pan Sauce.

All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps. Join our weekly meal plan service to get the grocery list, dinner steps, and more cooking tips for these 4 simple dinners.

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