Cooking Shortcuts | Meal Plan Menu

Save time in the kitchen this week with some of our favorite cooking shortcuts. Our newest meal plan menu is all about enjoying healthy, delicious dinners that are very easy and quick to cook!

  • By Jackie Sun
  • January 26, 2018

We’re in the middle of our Quick Cooking Series right now, and this week’s meal plan menu is a perfect example of the quick cooking and dinner shortcuts we typically feature in our meal plan service.

We know how it is with everyone’s busy schedules, so we design our meal plans to make cooking and eating healthy easy, accessible, and convenient. By using some tried-and-true cooking shortcuts, there is no reason you can’t enjoy a healthy, delicious dinner without spending hours in the kitchen.

This week, we’ll be utilizing these dinnertime shortcuts:

You can save even more time with our 1-click grocery list and weekend prep steps, which we generate just for you, so you can shop with purpose and get a head start on cooking. Or, if you don’t want to go grocery shopping, you can also use our direct-to-Instacart feature.

Even though we don’t send you pre-measured ingredients like other meal kit companies do, we put extra thought into making meal plans that will allow you to cook delicious, homemade meals with ease and save time in the kitchen while reducing food waste.

If you’re ready to join in on the cooking fun, scroll down to see what’s on this week’s meal plan and then join our cooking community here:

“I know some people like boxed meal services, but Cook Smarts allows me to control my ingredients while still giving me convenience and variety.”

– Gayla S. (Member since Jun 2015)

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

Meal Planning Tips


  • Green onions add fresh, tart flavor to dishes, and we’ll be using one bunch across 3 different meals this week. That way, you won’t have any leftover green onions sitting forgotten in the fridge.
  • To keep things healthy, we like to use a smaller amount of coconut milk to enjoy the richness without as many calories. Split a can of coconut milk between a lentil soup and a pork stir-fry this week for extra creaminess.


  • If you have time over the weekend, make Monday’s Curried Red Lentil Soup. It reheats easily, and an extra day in the fridge will allow the flavors to come together even more.


  • Turn leftover Curried Red Lentil Soup into a stir-fry sauce and add to your favorite stir-fry veggies and proteins. It’s flavorful and thick enough to turn a standard stir-fry into something very tasty.
  • We LOVE using rotisserie chicken as a cooking shortcut, so if you have any leftovers, be sure to check out these recipes! And if you’re up to it, the bones from the slow cooked rotisserie chicken can be used to make homemade chicken stock.

On the Menu

MONDAY | Curried Red Lentil Soup + Curry Roasted Cauliflower

This is one of our favorite pantry dinners that uses ingredients we normally keep on hand – canned crushed tomatoes, canned coconut milk, dried red lentils, and various spices. The warm spices and creamy coconut milk make this Red Curried Lentil Soup an absolute comfort. A side of Curry Roasted Cauliflower adds more healthy veggies to this simple but flavorful meatless meal. Our paleo recipe bulks up the meal by adding sausage to a curried vegetable soup.

TUESDAY | Slow Cooker “Rotisserie” Chicken with Potatoes, Carrots & Garlic Bread

Because this roast chicken is made in the slow cooker and not in the oven, we like to call this “faux”-tisserie chicken! The slow cooker makes it so easy to “roast” chicken, which gets very tender and juicy. To crisp up the skin, we pop it under the broiler. Potatoes and carrots are added to the slow cooker for a classic roast chicken dinner, and delicious cheesy garlic bread rounds out the meal. (Don’t have a slow cooker? No worries! We also provide oven instructions.)

Paleo folks will be enjoying their “rotisserie” chicken with turnips instead of potatoes, and a simple spinach and apple salad instead of garlic bread. Our vegetarian meal plan features a filling and colorful Broccoli & Sweet Potato Frittata to go along with the garlic bread.

WEDNESDAY | Cheesy Southwestern Rotisserie Chicken Tortilla Wraps + Butterhead Lettuce Salad with Citrus

Turn last night’s rotisserie chicken into cheesy tortilla wraps! Using leftover chicken makes this dinner come together in a flash. Bell peppers, black beans, and spices give a tasty southwestern flavor. Roasting the wraps in the oven warms the filling and gives the tortillas a slightly crisp texture. The orange and butterhead lettuce salad on the side adds freshness to this dinner that can be made in under 30 minutes.

Our paleo members will be enjoying a Rotisserie Chicken & Leek Frittata instead, while vegetarians will be swapping out the chicken for corn, making it just as quick to cook as the original recipe.

THURSDAY | Pork & Cabbage Peanut Stir-Fry with Rice Vermicelli

Creamy, peanut-based sauce finishes this quick weeknight stir-fry of pork, cabbage, and carrots. We often serve stir-fry over rice, but we’re mixing things up this week and using thin vermicelli rice noodles as the base for this dish. Top with crunchy peanuts and this 30-minute dinner will wow everyone at the dinner table with its incredible flavors!

Our paleo recipe subs peanuts for cashews, and the stir-fry is served alongside Spicy Garlic Broccoli. The vegetarian version uses tofu instead of pork.

Weekly Meal Plan Menu | Week of 1/29/18 via @cooksmarts

We do more than create meal plans. We create memories around the dinner table.

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