Meal Plan Menu | Week of 12/23/19

Meal Plan Menu | Week of 12/23/19

For these cold winter days, we’re bringing you quick and comforting meals to warm the heart. This busy week meal plan is full of easy weeknight dinners for any family and friends visiting this holiday season!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • December 20, 2019

It certainly is the most wonderful time of the year, but we also know that it is the busiest time of year as well. That’s why this week’s menu is all about delicious dinners involving prep-ahead ingredients, make-ahead meals, and plenty of options for great leftovers.

To make this week as easy as possible, our Massaman Chicken Curry, Chicken Stew and Biscuits, and Christmas Breakfast Casserole with Bacon recipes can all be prepared in advance so you can still enjoy homemade meals before rushing off to pick up last-minute gifts, attend a snazzy non-profit event, or enjoy a jolly Christmas concert. These same three meals also freeze well so you can make extras to get you through that very necessary post-New Year’s recuperation period.

Learn more about each of this week’s recipes that can be scaled up for company and get our time-saving suggestions below.

But, before we get into all the specifics, don’t forget that our Holiday Sale is going on now! If you want to check “shop for gifts” off your list or want to usher 2020 in with a plan to reduce your stress levels, use code JOY19 for 20% off all meal plan memberships and gift subscriptions through 1/2/20 right here.

“Do your prep ahead of time if you’re crunched for time in the evenings / afternoons. Don’t feel like you need to cook every night (leftovers can still be tasty), and most of all have fun!”

– Jessica J. (Member since Jan 2015)

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

On the Menu

MONDAY | Massaman Chicken Curry with Rice & Broccoli

Thai curry is absolutely delicious, and if you haven’t tried massaman curry yet, you’re really missing out. This mild curry packs a punch with flavor instead of heat and gets its richness from roasted peanuts, fragrant spices, and creamy coconut milk. With a mix of spices that is nontraditional for Thai cuisine, the origin of this dish is shrouded in mystery. From stories of Persian merchants to Indian spice trading, one thing is certain – massaman curry was extolled in a princely 18th-century love poem for a reason. When you take your first bite, you’ll understand why.

If you are vegetarian and still want to experience the wonders of this naturally gluten-free dish, substituting tofu for the chicken delivers delicious results. If you are Paleo, all you need to do is use sweet potatoes, cauliflower rice, and sunflower seed butter to get a nice nuttiness without peanuts.

TUESDAY | Chicken Stew with Chard & Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

Chicken stew with baked biscuits is exactly the type of meal we love to make in the coldest, darkest weeks of winter. It’s not entirely traditional because we’ve packed it with extra greens, but it still fits the bill as true comfort food and is impressively ready in less than an hour (only 35 minutes of active cooking time)! With fluffy buttermilk biscuits straight from the oven, this meal is one you will want to return to over and over during the next few frigid months.

To enjoy this cozy meal vegetarian-style, just swap out the chicken for protein-rich cannellini or butter beans. If you’re following a gluten-free diet, Paleo diet, or simply wanting to keep the carbs at bay, we have a delicious side salad of apples, mixed greens, and sunflower seeds to replace the gluten-full biscuits.

WEDNESDAY | Mushroom, Bell Pepper & Cheese Breakfast Casserole with Bacon & Bloody Mary Cocktails

This brunch-friendly meal with eggs, veggies, bacon, and Colby Jack cheese can really be served at any time of day. If you’re celebrating Christmas, this casserole is easy to assemble ahead of time and then simply pop in the oven 45 minutes before you’re ready to dig in. On a busy, celebratory day, this is the perfect smart and delicious dish that will impress your guests while not taking you away from any of the fun.

Speaking of fun, we include instructions for a Bloody Mary Cocktail in this recipe to top off the morning with a festive flare. Not a Bloody Mary fan? Go for a mimosa instead! If you want to opt for a gluten-free meal, swap the baguette for any GF (preferably crusty) bread. If you’re going meatless, simply nix the bacon and you’ll still be getting 30 grams of protein per serving. For a fully Paleo Christmas morning, try our Mushroom and Bell Pepper Frittata with a side of crispy bacon.

THURSDAY | Honey Adobo Tex Mex Salad with Pinto Beans

A classic taco salad is one of our favorite back-pocket meals. Although this version is vegetarian, the spiced pinto beans, corn, and sweet and spicy dressing will get a thumbs up from even the most ardent carnivores. It’s a great meal if you’re cooking for a couple people, but you can also up your serving size with 1 click and then set everything out like a taco bar for an easy DIY meal if you’ve got a house full of people. With the busyness of the holidays still in full swing, it’s great to have a classic crowd-pleaser that’s already gluten-free and vegetarian . . . and ready in just 30 minutes!

To make this quick dinner Paleo-friendly, our Tex Mex Salad with Ground Beef uses the same delicious honey-adobo dressing, but replaces the no-go ingredients with seasoned ground beef and crunchy pumpkin seeds.

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

Make Aheads:

  • Since this may be a busy week for you, consider making the Massaman Curry and Chicken Stew ahead of time during a not-as-busy day / night and just reheat before serving.
  • If you want all of your dinners to come together super fast over the next couple weeknights, you can go ahead and prep these following ingredients – onions, garlic, ginger, shallots, broccoli, bell peppers, peanuts, rice, spice mix, curry base, and honey-adobo dressing – up to 5 days before you use them.

ingredient notes:

  • Wednesday’s breakfast casserole is designed to work as breakfast or brunch (if you’re serving it for Christmas morning) or as breakfast-for-dinner. Since we’ve given the option to add a Bloody Mary Cocktail with the dish, be sure to check out the ingredient list before you go shopping since some of the Bloody Mary ingredients aren’t pantry staples in most kitchens.


  • Having leftover rice (from Monday) and taco ingredients (from Thursday) is a recipe for a delicious burrito or burrito bowl that can be thrown together in a flash.
  • If you don’t use all of the tomato juice for Bloody Marys, it makes a great base for a Tex Mex Soup. All you have to do is saute your Tex Mex spices (from Thursday) with corn, bell peppers, and onions, and then add any type of beans and tomato juice. Just simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors come together and you’ll have another great cold-weather meal!

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Weekly Meal Planner | Menu for Week of 12/23/19 via Cook Smarts

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