Something Different for Dinner | Meal Plan Menu

Experience something totally different for dinner this week with our new meal plan menu of easy weeknight recipes.

  • By Jackie Sun
  • October 19, 2018

Just when you think you’ve aced dinner for the night, you realize dinner happens again the next day. And the next . . . and the next . . . Dinner is always there, everyone needs to be fed, and you can only go through the same dinner rotation until somebody complains that they are tired of it.

Before you throw in the towel and even think about committing to a life of greasy takeout and cereal-for-dinner, let us introduce you to our meal plan menu of this week! If what you’re missing in your dinner life is something different for dinner, then we’ve got you covered.

When we put together meal plans for our meal plan service, we always come up with creative dinner ideas to keep dinnertime fresh and exciting. That way, cooking will never feel like a repetitive chore.

Instead of the typical spaghetti, stir-fry, and plain-seared meat, we’re bringing you a unique take on lasagna, brunch-for-dinner, authentic Thai curry, and a new ingredient (tamarind concentrate) that elevates baked salmon – all this week!

So scroll down to read what’s on this delectable menu, check out some helpful meal planning tips to up your cooking game, and be prepared to experience new, creative dinners that will beat the cooking blues.

“Cook Smarts has totally changed how my family does dinner and how I destress from long days at work. I was not only hopeless with recipes before but would never know what to buy at the store and it’s been such a fun adventure learning to make so many different meals.”

– Katie D.  (Member since Mar 2018)

All meals come with gluten-free, Paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.

Meal Planning Smarts

ingredient effeciency:

Don’t be intimidated by new ingredients! This week, we introduce massaman curry paste, which is a mild Thai curry, and tamarind concentrate, which adds a unique tart and citrus-y flavor to dishes. In our meal plan menu, we offer suggestions of where to buy unique ingredients, so that you can enjoy these special flavors. We also provide substitutions for these ingredients for when you can’t find the ingredients, but still want something with a similar flavor profile.

The best part is that these ingredients are not a one-time-only thing. Massaman curry paste can be used in any Thai curries or fried rice dishes (we have a lot in our Meal Plan Archives!), and tamarind makes a flavorful marinade for meats and a tasty addition to Asian soups, like this one.

To learn more and try this meal plan menu, join us at the dinner table here!

ideas for leftovers:

Leftovers can be boring, but by turning them into something new for dinner, you can enjoy leftovers and reduce food waste! In each of our meal plans, we provide creative ideas on using up leftovers. For this week:

  • Chop leftover bok choy and salmon (from Tuesday), scramble leftover eggs (from Thursday), and stir-fry it altogether with leftover rice (from Monday) and spinach (from Wednesday) for a healthy fried rice packed with greens.
  • Choose your favorite bread and sandwich in leftover frittata. Add a slice of cooked breakfast sausage or a spoonful of salsa in between, and you’ve got a breakfast sandwich fit for productive mornings! (This also freezes well for future breakfasts.)

On the Menu

MONDAY | Massaman Chicken Curry with Rice & Sauteed Broccoli

Massaman curry is not as popular as red, green, or yellow curries, but it is common in Thailand and just as delicious. This curry is milder and influenced by Indian spices, which results in a unique mix of flavors. Chicken and potatoes (a hallmark of Massaman curry) make this meal comforting and hearty. Tamarind concentrate adds a slight tartness that really brings out the flavor of the dish. Fluffy steamed rice and a side of sauteed broccoli round out this satisfying Asian meal.

Our gluten-free recipe is the same dish as the original but calls for Tamari instead of soy sauce. The Paleo version of this meal omits the peanuts, and swaps potatoes for sweet potatoes and peanut butter for sunflower seed butter but still keeps the main flavor profile. This is all served over cauliflower rice. Vegetarians won’t miss out as our veg recipe is for Massaman Tofu Curry with sweet potatoes.

TUESDAY | Tamarind Marinated Salmon with Seared Baby Bok Choy & Rice

Tamarind has sweet, tart flavors that are also subtly citrus-y, making it a perfect flavor pairing with salmon. Pan-seared baby bok choy adds a light crunch to the meal, while leftover rice from Monday makes the dinner come together in less than 45 minutes.

Gluten-free and Paleo cooks won’t miss the unique flavors in this simple dish, since all they have to replace is the soy sauce with Tamari and coconut aminos, respectively. Our vegetarian recipe, however, is for Tamarind Fried Rice, made unique with the addition of crunchy baby bok choy and a tamarind sauce.

WEDNESDAY | Lasagna Soup with Italian Sausage & Ricotta

Classic lasagna is time-consuming to make, which is why we came up with a deconstructed soup version! All of the ingredients and flavors are what you would find in lasagna, but it’s a lot more fun to eat, especially with a scoop of ricotta on top. With savory Italian sausage, earthy mushrooms, and lasagna pieces, this soup is healthier than the pasta dish and takes only 40 minutes to prep and cook!

If you’re interested in the gluten-free version of this recipe, make sure to look for GF lasagna noodles. For our Paleo recipe, we stick to Italian-inspired flavors with a classic Italian Sausage & Vegetable Soup. To bulk up the soup with protein for our vegetarians, the recipe calls for lentils in place of Italian sausage.

THURSDAY | Ricotta, Leek & Cauliflower Frittata with Apple & Pecan Salad

Our cooking community loves frittatas because they are so quick to make, easily customizable, and a fun option for dinner. After all, who doesn’t love brunch-for-dinner? In this frittata recipe, we include leeks, which are sauteed in butter to give them a silky texture and a subtly sweet flavor, frozen cauliflower (for a quick cooking time), and dollops of ricotta (for some creaminess). A mixed greens salad tossed with apples, pecans, and a honey mustard vinaigrette add comforting fall vibes to this meal.

Gluten-free and vegetarian folks have the same recipe as the original recipe (hooray!), but anyone following the Paleo recipe will omit the ricotta. The leeks are what really hold all the delicious flavor anyhow!

Weekly Meal Planner | Menu for Week of 10/22/18 via Cook Smarts

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