Grilled Cheese & Fig Sandwiches, Fish Tacos, Braised Pork Tenderloin | Weekly Eats Meal Plans 10/22/12

  • By Jess Dang
  • October 17, 2012

Weekly Eats Meal Plan Menu by Cook Smarts | 10/22/12

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Weekly Eats Meal Plans Menu | 10/22 to 10/26
See original newsletter featuring this menu here | Download meal plan in PDF here

Panko-Dusted Fish Tacos with Guacamole + Garlicky Greens

Apple-Cider “Braised” Pork Tenderloin + Roasted Beet & Apple Spinach Salad
Learn how to roast beets in this video

Grilled Cheese & Fig Sandwiches + Pureed Butternut Squash Soup

Two-Bean Vegetarian Chili + Creamy Polenta

Leftovers, as is or repurposed
Turn pork tenderloin into a sandwich? Grill polenta and toss into a salad? Have fun and be creative!

Panko-Dusted Fish Tacos with Guacamole + Garlicky Greens
Panko – a Japanese breadcrumb that can now be found in most stores – is an easy, healthy way to make fish tacos. If you can’t find it, use breadcrumbs instead. We give our fish a shake in paprika & cumin spiced panko for some Latin-flavor that’ll convert even non-fish lovers
Serves: 4
Ingredients – Garlicky Greens
  • Swiss chard – 1 bunch
  • Garlic – 4 cloves
Ingredients – Fish Tacos
  • Tilapia (or other white fish) – 1.5 lbs.
  • Egg – 1
  • Paprika (spice) – 1 tbs. + 1 tsp.
  • Panko – 1 cup
  • Cumin (spice) – ½ tbs.
  • Vegetable oil – 1 tbs.
  • Avocadoes, ripe – 2
  • Shallots – 1 and ½ bulbs
  • Cilantro – a few sprigs
  • Limes – 2
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  • Tortillas – 8
Prep Day
  1. Chard – Tear leaves off of stems. Rinse and dry. Rinse stems and chop into ¼” segments. Store in separate air-tight containers
Make (Italics = Make ahead if you have time earlier in the day)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Get a baking sheet ready (cover in parchment paper / foil)
  2. Rinse and dry fish thoroughly with paper towels. Slice into ½” pieces and place into a bowl
  3. Whisk egg with 1 tsp. paprika and a pinch of kosher salt. Pour over fish and toss thoroughly
  4. Combine panko, 1 tbs. paprika, ½ tbs. cumin, ½ tsp. kosher salt in a Ziploc bag that can hold the fish. Place fish in the bag and shake around until the panko is distributed
  5. Spread out on baking sheet in 1 even layer. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until panko is golden brown
  6. Prep chard if you haven’t already done so
  7. Mince garlic cloves
  8. Heat a large frying / sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil
  9. Add half of minced garlic and chopped chard stems to heated oil with a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté until soft, about 3 minutes
  10. Add chard leaves, as much as can fit in the pan at a time, with a pinch of kosher salt. Add more leaves as room is made in the pan. Sauté until all leaves are wilted. Season to taste with S&P
  11. Prepare guacamole by combining avocadoes, minced shallots, rest of minced garlic, chopped cilantro, juice of 1 lime, and hot sauce (if you’d like). Season to taste with salt
  12. Warm tortillas according to package instructions
  13. Slice other lime into segments. Squeeze over fish tacos and eat with heaping spoonfuls of guacamole. Remember to snap a pic of this deliciousness
  1. If you’re not using panko, skip the egg and just toss fish with spices & some salt
  2. Get kids involved! Tearing leaves off of chard and breading fish tacos are all things they can help with

Apple-Cider “Braised” Pork Tenderloin + Roasted Beet & Apple Spinach Salad
Braising is a great technique to learn. Usually used for tougher meats that need a long time to tenderize, we adapt if for quickly and evenly cooking pork tenderloin on a weeknight
Serves: 4
  • Beets – 1 lb.
  • Olive oil – 1 tbs.
  • Pork tenderloin – 1.5 lb.
  • Garlic cloves – 3
  • Shallots – 1 bulb
  • Granny smith apple – 1
  • Veg / canola oil – 6 tbs.
  • Veg broth / chicken stock – 1 cup
  • Apple cider vinegar – 6 tbs.
  • Thyme – 4 sprigs
  • Baby spinach – 6 oz.
  • Dijon mustard – 1 tbs.
  • Sweetener – 1 tbs.
  • Walnuts – ¼ cup
Prep Day
  1. Roast beets – Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice greens off beets if you didn’t buy them loose. Set greens aside and rinse later. Slice both ends off of beets and then give them a good scrub. Place beets into a baking pan and fill with ½” of water. Drizzle with 1 tbs. olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cover pan with foil and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let beets cool and use the side of a spoon to scrape skin off. Slice into wedges and store in an air-tight container
  2. Pork tenderloin – Season with S&P and tenderize
Make (Italics = Make ahead if you have time earlier in the day)
  1. Peel garlic cloves and shallot. Slice shallot in half lengthwise. Chop apple into cubes, save core
  2. Heat a Dutch oven that can fit your pork tenderloin over high heat. Add 2 tbs. of oil
  3. Add pork tenderloin to warmed oil. Sear for 3 minutes on each side
  4. Pour in broth/stock + vinegar, scraping up any brown bits that may have formed in the bottom of the pan
  5. Add garlic, shallot, apple core, and thyme. Spoon liquids over the pork, cover, and bring to a boil
  6. Rinse and dry baby spinach
  7. When the pot boils, lower the heat, and let simmer covered for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on thickness of your pork tenderloin. Pork is ready at 145 degrees
  8. Make an apple cider vinaigrette by mixing together mustard, 3 tbs. of apple cider vinegar, sweetener, and a pinch of kosher salt. Whisk in up to 4 tbs. of oil
  9. Toss vinaigrette with sliced beets, cubed apples, spinach, and walnuts
  10. Once pork is done, turn off heat, let it rest for ~10 min and then slice into it. Spoon the liquids over it for extra flavor
  11. You just braised pork tenderloin and roasted beets. Time to consider opening a restaurant, eh? Pat yourself on the back and eat up
  1. Feel free to make this with chicken breast as well. Braising will keep it juicy and tender
  2. That process of spooning liquids over your protein – that’s called basting. It helps keep your proteins flavored & juicy
  3. Use a 2:1 oil to acid ratio for vinaigrettes. Add some sweetener to round out the tartness
  4. Have some goat or blue cheese in your fridge? it would go so well with this salad

Grilled Cheese & Fig Sandwiches + Pureed Butternut Squash Soup
Who says grilled cheese sandwiches are for kids only? We “adultify” our grilled cheese with fresh figs to lend a sweet touch. If you can’t find fresh figs, consider using a fig jam or really any jam you already have in your fridge. Feel free to dip into your creamy butternut squash soup!
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients – Butternut Squash Soup
  • Butternut squash* – 1
  • Onions* -1
  • Veg / canola oil – 1 tbs.
  • Maple syrup – 1 tbs
  • Thyme – 4 sprigs
Ingredients – Grilled Cheese & Fig Sandwiches
  • Figs – 12 (sub fig jam)
  • Butter – 2 tbs.
  • Sandwich bread – 8 slices
  • Swiss / gruyere / fontina – 8 oz.
  • Crème fraiche (opt) – 4 tbs.
Prep Day
  1. Make butternut squash soup – Soften the skin of butternut squash by microwaving on high for 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool and then peel skin with a paring knife. Scoop out seeds and chop squash into cubes. Chop onions into squares. Heat a >3 quart saucepan / Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add oil. Add onions and a pinch of kosher salt to warmed oil. Saute for ~3 minutes until softened. Add butternut squash, maple syrup, thyme, another generous pinch of salt, and enough water to cover all ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer covered for another 15-20 min. Let cool and store in fridge (you can keep the soup in the same pot)
Make (Italics = Make ahead if you have time earlier in the day)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Rinse figs. Slice off stem and then slice in half lengthwise
  3. Butter 1 side of your sandwich bread
  4. Assemble sandwiches by placing cheese and figs between the non-buttered side of your sandwich bread
  5. Place assembled sandwiches onto baking sheet. Place another baking sheet on top of sandwiches and then something heavy, like a cast iron skillet over the top baking sheet
  6. Bake in oven for 8 to 11 minutes
  7. Puree the butternut squash soup you made earlier in the week with either an immersion blender or in your blender in batches
  8. Warm back up on low to medium heat. Season to taste with S&P or more maple syrup. Top warmed soup with crème fraiche
  9. Enjoy soup with bubbling hot sandwiches. Could you even buy such awesomeness at a café? We think not
  1. Figs unfortunately don’t have long seasons. By mid-fall they’re done, so enjoy them while you can!
  2. If you want to add some greens, spinach or basil would be great in this sandwich
  3. Our little baking sheet trick is us hacking a panini press. If you have a panini press, by all means use it
  4. My immersion blender is one of my favorite gadgets, as it makes pureed soups such a a breeze. Your kids will love you if you let them puree the soup!

Two-Bean Vegetarian Chili + Creamy Polenta
This vegetarian chili relies on a lot of pantry essentials, so is great when you don’t have a lot of fresh ingredients left in your fridge. Packed with flavor and protein, it’s a great dish to make in large portions and then freeze. For those of you who’ve never purchased polenta, it’s basically corn grits. Buy it dry and we’ll show you how to make it rich and tasty
Serves: 4 to 6
  • Polenta, dry – 1 cup
  • Milk or cream – 1 cup
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Onions* – 1
  • Green peppers – 1
  • Celery – 2 stalks
  • Beans, any type – 2 cans
  • Diced tomatoes – 1 28 oz. can
  • Veg / canola oil – 2 tbs.
  • Cumin – 1 tbs.
  • Paprika – ½ tbs.
  • Veg broth / chicken stock – 3 cups
  • Cilantro – a few sprigs
  • Crème fraiche (opt) – 4 tbs.
Make (Italics = Make ahead if you have time earlier in the day)
  1. Combine polenta, milk or cream, 1 tsp. salt, and 4 cups of water in a [>3 quart saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil without cover, being careful not to have milk spill over
  2. Prep soup ingredients: mince garlic, dice onions, green peppers, and celery
  3. When polenta boils, lower heat to a simmer, stir often. Polenta is done when all liquid is absorbed and the grains have all softened. Season to taste with S&P
  4. Open, rinse, and drain beans. Open and drain as much liquid as you can from diced tomatoes
  5. Heat a >5 quart saucepan / Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add oil
  6. Add garlic to warmed oil. Once you can smell the garlic, add the diced onions, green peppers, and celery with a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 minutes
  7. Add beans, tomatoes, stock, cumin, and paprika to pot. Cover and bring to a boil
  8. When soup boils, take off lid and let simmer for 15 minutes
  9. Season to taste with S&P and more of any of the spices
  10. Spoon over creamy polenta. Garnish with chopped cilantro and crème fraiche
  11. This ain’t Texas chili; it’s healthy chili. Have seconds – no need to feel one ounce of guilt. Go you for getting through this week of cooking
  1. Cream clearly yields richer results, but just plain ol’ skim milk is just fine too. You can always add a pad of butter for more indulgent results
  2. We love black beans and garbanzo beans but kidney, navy, even black-eyed peas are great options too
  3. Cumin is what gives chili its distinctive taste. Add as much as you want


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