Indulgent Yet Healthy | Meal Plan Menu
Our meal plan this week is indulgent without the guilt. Experience your favorite creamy and buttery flavors but with a healthy, veggie-packed twist!
Creamy, cheesy pasta . . . Indulgent and rich peanut sauce . . . Flavorful butter infused into chicken breasts . . .
With those descriptions above, you might be thinking you need to hit the gym twice a day this week. The good part is that you can actually feel good about eating all of those things with a few of our tried-and-true health tips.
The secrets to indulging in all things creamy, cheesy, rich, and buttery without all the guilt?
- Use small amounts of fat
- Manage portion sizes
- Add more veggies
We talk more about these 3 healthy eating tips in our Top 10 Healthy Recipes Under 450 Calories post, so go check it out for more tips and even more delicious recipes.
These 3 tips are things we always incorporate into our meal plan recipes, including this week’s menu. The buttery sauce in Thursday’s meal is less than what you would normally eat at a restaurant. And instead of heavy carbs being the star of the show, we bulk up all the meals with bigger portions of veggies.
Are you ready to wow your tastebuds now? Continue reading to see what’s on the menu!
“I love Cook Smarts. Not only is it cost-effective but it has really expanded my tastes to try new veggies and flavors. I was never much of a chef (in fact I hated cooking), and would often go to frozen meals. Now, I enjoy trying the new recipes. It’s really an adventure. Not to mention, they are pretty healthy and have helped me maintain and lose a little bit of weight.”
– Julia H. (Member since Sep 2017)
All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.
Meal Planning Tips
- Whenever we use fresh herbs in our meal plans, we make sure to use it for at least two of the meals. That way, you don’t buy one whole bunch of herbs, use only a quarter, and have the rest go to waste. But fresh herbs add such a unique flavor to dishes, you don’t want to skip them entirely! So for this week, add freshness to pasta and chicken with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.
- “Cook once, eat twice” is one of our favorite mantras. It saves so much time in the kitchen, helping you get dinner on the table quickly. Double the amount of farro and peanut sauce you make this week, and dinner will be a breeze.
- For an even easier dinner week, spend an hour or two prepping over the weekend and cook the farro, peanut sauce, and beets. These can all be done 5 days ahead of time and will save you a lot of time during the weekdays.
- Veggies are good for any time of day! Since you’ll be using so many different veggies this week, try a variety of breakfast burritos. Stir leftover vegetables into scrambled eggs and tuck them into tortillas for healthy breakfast burritos on the go.
On the Menu
One-pan saucy orzo pasta gets creamy and tender in the oven. Italian sausage adds extra flavor, while kale gives the dish a healthy boost. Top with fresh mozzarella for a bit of indulgence, and enjoy with a side of roasted broccoli. This meal tastes great as leftovers as well, so skip the lunch line and take a tupperware of this deliciousness to work instead!
Rather than a pasta bake, our paleo version features a simple Kale, Sausage & Mushroom Soup with hearty, earthy flavors. Our vegetarians will be swapping the sausage for white beans to add extra creaminess and protein.
These Thai-inspired Chicken Satay Wraps are filled with flavor and texture from a rich, creamy peanut sauce and a crisp red cabbage slaw. We turn this beloved appetizer into a main dish by wrapping juicy chicken tenders in tortillas (you can also use flatbread or naan) and a simple side of cucumber sticks that go perfectly with additional peanut sauce.
Paleo folks will be enjoying a Thai Chicken Salad with Cashew Sauce instead, while vegetarians will be cooking up one of our favorites – Thai Peanut Noodles chock full of veggies! Both the paleo and vegetarian meal plans come with a Mango Ginger Smoothie on the side to round out the meal.
Grain bowls are fantastic because they are so customizable and you can use whatever leftovers you have in your fridge. In this case, we made extra peanut sauce the night before just for this recipe. Curry sweet potatoes, tofu, and mushrooms are roasted for extra flavor and topped on farro for a healthy, filling, and satisfying meal. Drizzle peanut sauce over everything and your tastebuds will be super pleased! (For more tips on building grain bowls whenever you want, check out our video here.)
Farro is not gluten-free, so our gluten-free folks will be having a quinoa bowl instead. We switch things up for our paleo recipe with an incredible Sesame Pork Tenderloin with Cashew Sauce & Gingered Carrot Soup.
For this dinner, we combine garlic, honey, and parsley with butter and drizzle over pan-seared chicken breasts for amazing flavor. Bulk up the meal with some farro made the night before, and enjoy with a side salad of kale, cabbage, roasted beets, and crunchy almonds, all tossed with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
Again, our gluten-free members will be using the quinoa they doubled from the night before. Vegetarians won’t miss out on the honey garlic butter, but they will be drizzling it over pan-seared polenta rounds instead.