Buy the same thing every week at grocery store.
Get tired of eating the same thing or get stressed about what to make for dinner.
Give up, go out to eat.
Groceries go bad in fridge from being ignored; I feel guilty for throwing food away while kids are going hungry all over the world.
No more food in fridge, go out to eat.
Watch bank account drain and feel pants tighten from eating out regularly.
This was a typical scene in my life before I started meal-planning each week. I don’t have it all figured out, but I’ve created a system that gets dinner on the table on a regular basis! Hopefully you’ll find it helps you or inspires you to create your own system.
Simplicity while maintaining health with real food is the name of the game! Also, most of the meals are easy to tweak for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
If this is your first time here, I recommend you start by reading this.
Here is this week’s grocery list and prep list; I like to print out recipes for easy access during cooking. Setting aside several hours for food prep at the beginning of the week cuts down on cooking time significantly during the week.
Also, items in a recipe listed as optional are not included in the grocery list; neither are ingredients for side dish suggestions. Feel free to write them in yourself, and if you’d like to start with a blank grocery list, here it is.
Weeknight dinner guide, commence:
Meal #1: Sausage, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Frittata
Frittatas are simple, affordable, and tasty. Leftovers work great for breakfast either on their own or wrapped up in a tortilla to make a burrito.
- 12 eggs
- ½ cup sour cream
- salt + pepper
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 12 oz fully cooked chicken sausage, diced
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 350
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper and set aside
- In a 10” cast iron or ovenproof skillet, heat olive oil and saute garlic until golden brown. Add spinach and cook until slightly wilted.
- Remove from heat and add sausage, spreading all cooked ingredients in an even layer in the pan. Pour egg mixture over everything and sprinkle goat cheese evenly over everything.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until center is set but still slightly jiggly. Be careful not to overcook.
Meal #2: Rotisserie Chicken + Queso Fresco Mini Quesadillas
ROTISSERIE CHICKEN IS THE BOMB.COM – it’s so versatile and simplifies so many meals! We put a griddle on the dining room table, set all the ingredients out, and cooked them as we ate. It was a fun, interactive family dinner!
- 1 rotisserie chicken, meat taken off the bone and shredded
- 1 - 10 oz round of queso fresco, crumbled
- butter or olive oil
- taco-sized corn tortillas
- fresh salsa
- shredded spinach
- Heat griddle or skillet and lightly grease the pan with butter or olive oil.
- Add several tortillas and sprinkle rotisserie chicken and queso fresco on half of the tortilla, then fold tortilla into half circle shape. Press gently, then flip after a couple of minutes.
- Quesadillas are done when cheese is melted and tortilla is golden brown and crispy.
- Repeat for as many quesadillas as you would like to make, adding more oil as necessary
- Top with salsa and shredded spinach.
Meal #3: Cornmeal Crusted Pork Chops with Fried Apples and Quinoa Pilaf
A simple coating of cornmeal gives these pork chops a crispy finish. I haven’t had pork chops in awhile, but I’ll be repeating this quick and comforting meal.
- 4 boneless center cut pork chops
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt + pepper
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2.5 cups chicken broth
- 12 oz package frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2 medium apples, cored and diced
- 2 tbsp brown sugar, honey, agave, or maple syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- Coat pork chops with a generous drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Let them sit for at least 15-20 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa, 2 cups chicken broth, and frozen vegetables and mix well. Heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking until all the liquid has absorbed - about 20 - 25 minutes.
- While the quinoa is cooking, add olive oil to coat a large skillet and heat on medium-high heat.
- Spread cornmeal on a plate and coat each pork chop evenly with it, then put them in the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Internal temp should be at 165 fahrenheit.
- Remove pork chops from pan and deglaze with ½ cup chicken broth. Add apples and cook until tender, then combine well with sweetener, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Meal #4: Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps
This was a new dish I found on the Bon Appetit website; I adapted it to be made with beef (I used grass-fed) and I absolutely loved it! It was simple and fresh, yet full of flavor. I’ll be making this one again, perhaps reincarnated as a rice or noodle bowl.
- bibb or butter lettuce leaves, cleaned and trimmed
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sambal oelek
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt + pepper
- 1# ground beef
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 bunch (3-4 stems) green onion, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- garnish with cilantro, lime, quick pickled onions*
- optional: peanuts
- In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, fish sauce, sambal oelek, and brown sugar and mix well. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in large skillet
- Add garlic and saute until fragrant and light brown
- Add ground beef and saute until cooked through with no more pink, and drain the excess grease
- Add green onion, jalapeño, and sauce mixture and combine well and cook until green onion is wilted. Remove from heat.
- To serve, take a lettuce leaf and add a spoonful of the beef mixture, then top with cilantro, onion, peanuts, and a squeeze of lime
- *to make quick pickled onions: peel and slice an onion into very thin slices and pour red wine vinegar over it, enough to cover. let it sit for at least 20 minutes; you can store it in a glass container and it will keep for weeks.