Meal Plan Menu | Week of 9/2/19
Today’s weekly menu of quick meals takes advantage of late summer produce with fresh slaws, mouthwatering salads, and a flavorful chowder.
It’s officially September (wow, how time flies!) and that means getting back to the grind. Whether you’re hitting the textbooks, juggling your kids’ extracurricular activities, or ramping up for a busy holiday season at work, we figured you could probably use a week of quick dinners.
That’s why today’s menu offers you a delicious array of dishes that come together quickly while not sacrificing one ounce of flavor. Three of our recipes are ready to be on the table in just 30-35 minutes, while our slow-cooker dish only takes 40 minutes of active cooking before letting your wonder pot do the rest.
There are also plenty of ways to cut down on cooking during the week by employing our Weekend Prep Steps! Weekend Prep Steps are included in every meal plan menu and are a list of optional prep steps that you can do over the weekend to make weeknight cooking come together a lot faster. Keep reading to find out what enticing dinners you can look forward to and what you can make ahead to ensure each weeknight goes smoothly.
“I used to spend hours each weekend planning our weekly menu, and now I don’t have to think about it. I also felt like I spent all my free time in the evenings cooking and cleaning, but it’s now become so efficient that I look forward to it as a time to chill out.”
– Angela L. (Member since March 2014)
All meals come with gluten-free, paleo, and vegetarian options, as well as a grocery list and optional weekend prep steps.
On the Menu
Did you know that it’s possible to make fall-off-the-bone ribs right at home? The secret is to cook them low and slow, making the slow-cooker a perfect tool. Brush them with your favorite BBQ sauce and finish them off with some of our savvy techniques and you can give any restaurant a run for its money. Enjoy the tender ribs with juicy corn on the cob and tangy cabbage and carrot slaw on the side!
This naturally gluten-free recipe is easy to make Paleo by using a Paleo-friendly BBQ sauce, substituting sugar for honey, and enjoying some roasted sweet potato wedges instead of corn. To enjoy this meal vegetarian-style, try our BBQ Lentil Sandwiches – basically delicious vegetarian sloppy joe’s!
The epitome of a quick weeknight meal, these tasty wraps are filled with crisp cucumbers, fresh lettuce, shredded cheese, and juicy rotisserie chicken. What really brings the wraps home though is our homemade ranch dressing that is used inside the wraps and also for dipping carrot sticks. Even with making your own dressing, you’ll have dinner on the table in 30 minutes with this fast recipe! And, since all of the meal’s elements can be prepped ahead of time, you can sink your teeth into a deliciously satisfying meal after spending only a few minutes assembling on Tuesday night.
To enjoy this meal while on a gluten-free diet, all you have to do is pick up GF wraps / tortillas at the grocery store. If you usually eat meatless, you’ll enjoy our Egg Salad Wraps that are less about traditional “egg salad” and more about a crisp salad tossed with hard-boiled eggs and ranch, all rolled up into a perfect wrap. Meanwhile, if you eat Paleo, we know you’ll enjoy our Paleo Ranch Lettuce Cups that give you the creamy goodness of ranch through a tahini dressing base!
The quick and tasty taco salad is a perennial favorite of the Cook Smarts community, so we’re excited to bring whole new flavor combinations into the mix! This unique version is topped with shrimp and avocados and is all brought together with our spicy and sweet Honey-Adobo Dressing. For the perfect crunch, top this quick, 30-minute dinner with crumbled tortilla chips or enjoy them alongside the salad.
To make this a vegetarian taco salad, simply swap the shrimp for sautéed portobello mushrooms. If you’re on the Paleo diet these days, you can still enjoy a delicious shrimp and avocado salad with honey-adobo dressing by omitting the black beans and chips and adding in some pepitas for a nice crunch.
THURSDAY | Cream-Free Rotisserie Chicken Chowder
Our original cream-free chowder is a community favorite, so we created an updated version with a great new combination of veggies. This one-pot soup only takes 35 minutes to prepare and will bring you all the creamy delight you want out of a chowder without adding a drop of heavy cream. And, with bacon, poblano peppers, and adobo sauce combining for a delicious congregation of flavors, this dish will be one you want to return to again and again. (Since it’s a freezer-friendly meal, you can easily do just that!)
To enjoy this gluten-free chowder in a vegetarian variety, give our Cream-Free Spicy Corn and Soyrizo Chowder a try! Meanwhile, our Paleo version is a delicious soup that keeps all the meat while switching up some veggies.
Smart meal planning ideas come with every weekly menu. The smarts listed below are only a portion of the meal prep tips we include to help you make the most of your ingredients and your time. Join our community to get the full benefits of our meal plan service every day!
Meal Planning Tips
- To ensure the end of the week runs extra smoothly, you can make Thursday’s creamy chowder completely ahead of time and simply reheat it before serving.
- If you really want to get a jumpstart on the week, carve out a little time over the weekend to slice and dice veggies (carrots, shallots, onions, cabbage, peppers, and zucchini) up to 5 days before you need them.
- You can also make Monday’s BBQ dry rub, Tuesday’s ranch dressing, and Wednesday’s honey-adobo sauce all 5 days ahead of time, too! That way, each night’s dinner can come together in a flash.
- Rotisserie chicken is always super versatile, and one whole chicken can be stretched across 2 different meals. For this week, all you have to do is shred the chicken to enjoy in both the wraps and chowder.
- Fresh cilantro adds bright flavor and color to several dishes this week, so you don’t need to worry about not using the whole bundle you pick up at the grocery store.
- Adobo sauce is a smoky and spicy sauce that will bring layers of flavor to both Wednesday’s sweet and spicy salad dressing and Thursday’s chowder. You can find this in a can in the aisle of Latin ingredients, labeled as “chipotles in adobo sauce.”
- Always be ready to cook on the fly by making use of what freezes well. Leftover ribs, shredded rotisserie chicken, shrimp, adobo sauce, and chowder can all be frozen for future meals. Make sure you download our All-in-One Freezer Guide for more freezing smarts!
- To keep enjoying the deep flavors of Monday’s ribs, simply strip the cooked meat off the bone, shred, and then sandwich between bread / buns to make leftover BBQ pork sandwiches.
- Are you a quesadilla fan? Well, soon you’ll be a true fanatic once you use leftover chopped shrimp from Wednesday and leftover tortilla wraps from Tuesday to make delectable shrimp quesadillas like this version from our archives!)