Next Week's Meal Plan

A Week of Impossibly Comforting Dinners from Aaron Hutcherson

updated Apr 16, 2022
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Credit: Aaron Hutcherson

Do you ever scroll through someone’s recipe feed and feel an increasing joyful sense of being seen? As if the deeper you get the more every single recipe speaks to your soul? It’s almost like the recipe developer knew precisely what you needed and created it all just for you? This is the way I feel every time I see a new recipe from Aaron Hutcherson, the blogger behind The Hungry Hutch, and food writer and recipe developer with bylines in The New York Times, Washington Post, Food and Wine, and more.

Aaron has a serious passion for food that started when he was a kid, and loves to create food that “fills your mouth with flavor and your soul with warmth.” And like us, he leans on recipes that deliver maximum impact with minimum effort. Here Aaron shares a meal plan stacked with the easy, comforting dinners we all need right about now. Here’s how he does it.

Credit: Aaron Hutcherson

5 Cozy, Comforting Weeknight Dinners

When the cold weather many of us in the Northern United States experience starts to kick in, I want nothing more than to dive into a big bowl of comfort. Comfort food can mean lots of things to different people, but this week I want to focus on carbs to help give me the energy I need to finish the year out as strong as I can. So this week that means rice, bread, and lots of pasta. Here are some of my favorites to bring you nourishment and comfort this week.

Credit: Aaron Hutcherson

Monday: Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Parmesan Breadcrumbs

I can’t share comfort food recipes without including macaroni and cheese. The smoked Gouda in this recipe really sets it apart from the average mac, and a buttery, cheesy breadcrumb topping takes it over the top. And while elbow noodles are definitely standard, feel free to use whatever medium-length pasta you might have in your pantry.

Get the recipe: Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Parmesan Breadcrumbs

Credit: Aaron Hutcherson

Tuesday: Sweet Potato Fried Rice

I first thought this up in the beginning of the first pandemic quarantine, but it’s become a recipe that will stick with me for the rest of my days. Covering the pan helps speed up the cook time for the sweet potatoes so that this can get to the table in no time. Feel free to customize this recipe to suit your needs. Double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd, use any leftover rice or grain you have on hand, or add whatever other ingredients your heart — or stomach — desires.

Get the recipe: Sweet Potato Fried Rice

Credit: Aaron Hutcherson

Wednesday: Cheesy Ground Beef Skillet Pasta

Sometimes called cheeseburger pasta, this just screams pantry cooking to me. Jarred pasta sauce helps this recipe come together with minimum effort. While I think ground beef is the way to go, feel free to experiment with other ground meats (or maybe even black beans) if you prefer.

Get the recipe: Cheesy Ground Beef Skillet Pasta

Credit: Aaron Hutcherson

Thursday: Roast Chicken with Cabbage and Bread Stuffing

In my recipe development career, I try to create maximum impact with minimum effort, and this recipe definitely falls within that category. The only step that might intimidate some is spatchcocking the chicken, but it’s actually much easier than you might think as long as you have a pair of sturdy kitchen shears. What I love most about this dish is that the chicken roasts on top of the cabbage and bread stuffing so that none of its flavor goes to waste.

Get the recipe: Roast Chicken with Cabbage and Bread Stuffing

Credit: Aaron Hutcherson

Friday: Shrimp Scampi with Pasta

Can you go wrong with butter, olive oil, garlic, and lemon? I certainly don’t think so. These ingredients form a delicious sauce to toss with sweet shrimp and perfectly cooked pasta. While any long pasta will do, I like how the delicateness of angel hair complements the whole dish. Pour yourself a glass of wine to go along with it and you’re in for a treat.

Get the recipe: Shrimp Scampi with Pasta

Thanks so much, Aaron! Make sure to follow Aaron Hutcherson on Instagram, Twitter, and on the web for more of his delicious recipes.

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Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But we’re firm believers that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. We want to help you find inspiration and ease some of the pain points that come with getting dinner on the table night after night, whether you’re cooking one or a family of four or five. Every week we share a new meal plan solution specifically customized for you from reader requests or from a guest contributor, for Next Week’s Meal Plan!