Hey there! Welcome to my Weeknight Dinner Guide.
The struggle’s real to get dinner on the table, especially on those busy weeknights – but there’s no doubt that meal planning helps us eat healthier and stick to our budget. Since I started planning it’s helped us tremendously in those areas – and I hope that by sharing it’ll be helpful to you too!
I don’t adhere to any specific type of diet, but I do stick with real food and it’s easy to make any of the dishes gluten free and/or dairy free.
If this is your first time here, I recommend you start by reading this. If you’d rather not or you’ve been here before, let’s get cooking:
Here is this week’s grocery list and prep list, and you can print the recipes out for easy access while you’re cooking. By the way, I don’t include optional items in the grocery list, but you can write them in along with your other grocery needs. If you’d rather have a blank grocery list, here it is.
Also, things don’t have to be prepped ahead of time, but I’ve found if I spend a couple of hours on Sunday doing food prep it makes cooking and clean-up during the week waaaaayyy faster.
Meal #1: Rotisserie Chicken Fajitas
I’m a huge fan of the juicy, delicious, grocery-store rotisserie chicken. So versatile and healthy, so only $4.99 at Sam’s Club. Here’s how I use one to put together tasty fajitas:
- 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded/cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 bell peppers, any color, trimmed and sliced into thin slices
- 1 onion, trimmed and sliced into thin slices
- queso fresco cheese
- your favorite salsa (I like the fresh, refrigerated stuff in the produce or international section)
- taco-sized tortillas (I used corn)
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp garlic
- salt + pepper
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for a few seconds, then add bell peppers and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute until they are to the desired softness, stirring occasionally.
- If you haven't shredded your chicken yet, you can do it while the peppers and onions are cooking. Heat it up in a skillet or in the microwave if necessary.
- To serve, lay out chicken, peppers and onions, queso fresco (crumble up it over the fajitas!), and salsa with tortillas on the side and let each person fill up tortillas how they like 'em.
Meal #2: Turkey-Ricotta Meatballs with Spaghetti
I found this delicious recipe and it’s been in the regular meal rotation ever since. Makes plenty of delicious, gluten-free meatballs. I serve with brown-rice spaghetti, feel free to use your favorite kind of pasta. You can find the recipe here.
- I use dried basil when fresh is not in season or is really expensive and doesn’t fit in the grocery budget
- For the sauce, I get crushed or diced tomatoes. After heating the olive oil and adding garlic, I just put the tomato straight into the pot (liquid and all) without adding the extra water.
- I did not use dark turkey meat, just good ol’ regular lean ground turkey.
Meal #3: Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Oh, pot roast! How comforting, hearty, and filling – especially for these cooler days. If you are really pinched for time you can forego the browning the meat, but the flavor boost is worth the extra 20 minutes of time in the morning. Set the slow cooker and you’ll be greeted with the heavenly smell of a homemade roast 8 hours later. Serve over brown rice, mashed potatoes, and with a vegetable/salad of some sort.
- 2 large onions, peeled, trimmed, and quartered
- 4 large carrots, cut into 2" chunks
- 3-4 pound beef chuck roast
- salt + pepper
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 tbsp garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- Place onions and carrots in unheated slow cooker and mix gently with your hands to combine. This will be a bed for your meat when it's ready.
- Remove chuck roast from wrapping. Pat dry and salt and pepper generously on both sides.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat
- Brown chuck roast for 6-7 minutes per side, then remove meat from pan and place on top of vegetables in crock pot
- Add garlic and bay leaves to the skillet and deglaze with 1 cup of the beef broth, scraping up all of the brown bits. Be careful! The pan will have really hot grease in it and the liquid will make it sizzle a lot.
- Pour all of the deglazing liquid (garlic + bay leaves included) in the skillet over the roast.
- Add the remaining 3 cups of beef broth to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, until the meat is very tender.
Leftover turkey meatballs and pot roast are begging to be made into a sandwich. Really, they are. Use good, toasted bread or better yet – use garlic bread!
Keeping your carb intake low or embracing the paleo life? Here are some suggestions for each meal:
- Fajitas – leave the tortillas out and serve it all on a bed of greens for a fajita salad
- Meatballs – use spaghetti squash in lieu of spaghetti
- Pot roast – serve over mashed cauliflower