Meal Plan Menu | Week of 12/25/17

Discover comfort and warmth with our meal plan menu. This week, we kick off winter with delicious meals and a special Christmas brunch menu.

It is officially winter and Christmas is a couple days away. We can’t wait for our cooking community to tuck into a week of comforting meals to warm them up during the cold winter evenings, to enjoy delicious and healthy dinners with their families.

Our meal plan service is more than just recipes; we teach people how to cook with the short videos found in each recipe, and every week is well thought out to reduce food waste as well as save time and money.

We’d love for you to join our cooking community, and in the spirit of giving, we have a holiday gift just for you! From now until Sunday 12/24, enjoy 20% off all meal plan subscriptions with code HOLIDAY17. You’ll get all the wonderful meals below and access to our entire Archives (now more than 1,000 meals!).

Or, if you’re still taste-testing, we are offering all free accounts access (until the end of 2017) to this week’s meal plan menu, in addition to the 3 sample plans you get when you sign up for free. Even if you don’t plan on cooking these meals this week, you can download and print out the recipes, prep steps, and grocery lists. In other words, signing up for a free account today means 4 free meal plans – or an entire month of healthy, homemade dinners planned and ready to go!

Whether you subscribe or taste test for free, we look forward to cooking with you!

“I’ve just purchased a subscription to Cook Smarts and I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying things. The different recipes, the help with shopping, not throwing things out because my random shopping purchase has gone off in the bottom of the fridge. It’s the best cooking investment I think I’ve ever made.”

– Brett C. (Member since Oct 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


Fresh herbs add flavor and freshness to any meal, but buying a bunch and using only a sprig can deter one from purchasing herbs. That’s why this week, we’re using fresh thyme across three different meals; it’s a great complement to fish, beef, and mushrooms. And if you do have any thyme leftover still, learn more about herbs and how to properly store them with our infographic Guide to Fresh Herbs.


  • Monday’s casserole can be assembled a day ahead and refrigerated. That way, you only need to pop it in the oven before enjoying it for brunch or dinner!
  • Tuesday’s borscht and Thursday’s mushroom ragu can also be made over the weekend, if you have some time on your hands. Reheat before serving, and that will save you some time during busy weeknights.


  • Leftover fruit salad can be enjoyed as is, but for something different, blend the fruit up into smoothies. Add some yogurt or orange juice to thin out the smoothies.
  • You can use leftover mushroom ragu to make Italian-style sub sandwiches. We like to add meatballs for extra heartiness, but you can also add roasted vegetables or shredded rotisserie chicken. Top with cheese and run under the broiler.

On the Menu

MONDAY | Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole with Winter Fruit Salad & Mimosas

A Christmas brunch special created just for you! Filled with sausage, eggs, and cheese, this breakfast casserole is a savory dish that works well any time of day, whether you make this for Christmas breakfast / brunch or for dinner. For a festive touch, serve with a colorful Winter Fruit Salad and elegant Mimosas (a combination of sparkling wine / champagne and orange juice). Our paleo meal plan features a Sausage & Bell Pepper Frittata instead, and vegetarians will have their casserole without sausage for a just-as-delicious meat-free alternative.

TUESDAY | Tilapia with Mustard-Thyme Cream Sauce + Roasted Parsnips & Balsamic Kale Salad

Tart Dijon mustard and fresh thyme in a creamy sauce can elevate any variety of fish. We use tilapia for this dish, a budget-friendly and easy-to-cook white fish, and serve with warm roasted parsnips and a sweet-tart balsamic kale salad. Vegetarian folks will be replacing the tilapia with Cajun-Spiced Tofu, which balances wonderfully with the mustard-thyme cream sauce.

WEDNESDAY | Slow Cooker Beef Borscht

Borscht is an Eastern European / Russian soup that is perfect for cold winter evenings. The beautiful purple color and depth of flavor comes from beets; even if you don’t love beets, you will love the sweet-savoriness of this soup, we promise! Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt (or sour cream for more authenticity) to add creaminess and tanginess to this dish. Paleo members substitute the potatoes with turnips, and vegetarians add more color with kidney beans in replacement of the beef.

THURSDAY | Spaghetti with Mushroom Ragu & Green Salad

Mushrooms fill in for the classic ground meat in this vegetarian ragu sauce. The mushrooms in the sauce provide so much umami flavor, you won’t even miss the meat! Serve with a simple green salad for an extra dose of healthy veggies. Paleo folks won’t miss out on this delicious sauce, since they will only be switching out the spaghetti pasta for zucchini noodles.

Weekly Meal Plan Menu | Week of 12/25/17 via @cooksmarts

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