Meal Plan Menu | Week of 12/16/19

Meal Plan Menu | Week of 12/16/19

Need some fast recipes for a busy week? Enjoy these creative meals that take inspiration from Hawai’i and the Mediterranean. You’ll love how these delicious dinners take only 30 – 45 minutes of your time!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • December 13, 2019

With Christmas right around the corner, we know that many of you are pressed for time. That’s why we made sure the recipes in this week’s menu come together fast, but are still just as delicious as usual. We also created plenty of opportunities to cook ahead of time and make double batches so dinner can be on the table in a flash.

Since making extras is always a good idea around the holidays, we’ve included smart suggestions for leftovers and which dinners and ingredients freeze well for a busy day in the future (likely next week!). Keep reading to get these helpful tips! And, to reduce your stress levels even more if you’re hosting a gathering over the holidays, here are tips for how to plan a big holiday meal with ease.

“Thanks to Cook Smarts for taking the stress out of holiday food prep for me!”

– Nancy N. (Member since March 2017)

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 | Italian Sausage & Chard White Bean Soup with Parmesan Garlic Bread

This quick and easy soup is a Cook Smarts classic for a reason. Packed with nutritious greens, this hearty meal only takes 30 minutes to prepare and freezes great so you can always have a healthy dinner in a pinch. Serve it with our easy parmesan garlic bread on the side, and you’re sure to have one more staple to add to your go-to winter meals.

The soup is already gluten-free, so just pick up a GF baguette or loaf to make the whole meal friendly for those who don’t eat gluten. To make this meal vegetarian, simply substitute the Italian sausage with flavorful soyrizo. If you want to enjoy this meal Paleo-style, our Italian Sausage and Chard Soup replaces the beans with carrots and swaps the bread for an apple spinach salad on the side.

TUESDAY | Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Hawaiian Sliders with Roasted Chili Garlic Brussels Sprouts

These slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches have a Hawaiian twist that you’re going to love. They pack a big punch of flavor with mouthwatering notes of Hoisin, lime, and toasted sesame. These tasty sliders are served with chili garlic Brussels sprouts on the side for an autumnal flare that is both fast and delicious.

The slow cooker pork can be easily prepared in an Instant Pot and made completely gluten-free with Tamari, GF Hoisin sauce, and GF rolls or hamburger buns. If you want to enjoy these sliders without the meat or without the slow cooker, we have a delicious vegetarian recipe that uses chopped portobello mushrooms, protein-rich lentils, and homemade Hawaiian BBQ sauce and is ready in just 45 minutes! If you’re eating Paleo, you can still enjoy the same great flavors of this meal with our Slow Cooker Pulled Pork over Portobellos that includes lime slaw and roasted Brussels sprouts with a more streamlined sauce.

WEDNESDAY | Mediterranean Chopped Chicken Salad with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

Marinated artichokes, salty feta, and crunchy pistachios combine for a wonderful taste of the Mediterranean. With tender oregano chicken and our lemon herb dressing, you’ll be transported to a relaxed seaside with every bite of this make-ahead salad. Taking a short, dinnertime vacation is just what you need during this busy time of year.

This naturally gluten-free salad is easy to make vegetarian by marinating protein-packed tofu instead of chicken. This dinner is also just one step away from being Paleo-friendly – all you need to do is replace the feta cheese with soft-boiled eggs to make it just as hearty of a meal.

THURSDAY | BBQ Pulled Pork Pineapple Naan Pizza with Romaine & Cucumber Salad

With leftover pulled pork from Tuesday and soft naan as the base, these BBQ pineapple pizzas are super fast and make this dinner both weeknight-friendly and the-week-before-Christmas-friendly. Since you can assemble the romaine and cucumber salad while your pizzas cook, this entire meal will be ready in just 40 minutes or less!

Between the mozzarella, kidney beans, and naan in the vegetarian version of this meal, every serving has a whopping 35 grams of protein! To make these pizzas gluten-free, all you need to do is substitute the naan for any GF flatbread. If you are on the Paleo diet, we created Leftover Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps for you to enjoy with a refreshing pineapple smoothie on the side.

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:

  • No matter which diet variation you’re making this week, Wednesday’s salad components can all be prepped ahead of time so you can simply pull them out of the fridge and assemble your dinner in minutes!
  • If you want to make your weeknight cooking a breeze, get your slow-cooker out and make the pulled pork ahead of time.


  • If you’re making our Original, Gluten Free, or Paleo meals this week, you can cook up a double batch of slow cooker pulled pork to use in both Tuesday and Thursday’s meals.
  • If you choose our Vegetarian recipes this week, you can save time by making a double batch of Hawaiian BBQ Sauce to use in delicious sliders and pizza.


  • Here’s what freezes well this week: Monday’s Italian Sausage Soup and baguette, Tuesday’s slow-cooked pulled pork, Wednesday’s chicken, and Thursday’s naan. Make sure you download our Infographic Guide to Frozen Food Storage for more freezing smarts!
  • Any leftover pulled pork you have can deliver a brand new dish if you use it in a wrap, stir-fry, or folded into a frittata.
  • If you have extra naan this week, you can very easily cut it into cubes and toast them to make crunchy croutons to add to any salad or soup.

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