Next Week’s Meal Plan: A Week of Easy and Delicious Summer Dinners

updated Jun 9, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Design: Kitchn

Welcome to Next Week’s Meal Plan! Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But I’m a firm believer that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. I 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 for one or a family of eight. Every week, I’ll be sharing a new meal plan solution specifically customized for you from reader requests, or from a guest contributor.

From farmers markets to CSAs, there is an abundance of fresh produce at our fingertips once summer arrives. Vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, corn, bell peppers, and beans are at their prime, and you can expect to find them at a low price. So there’s so time like the present to stock up. While this week’s dinners aren’t all strictly vegetarian, they make vegetables the hero of your plate.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

This light and fresh vegetable stew is a summer classic — and one of the best ways to put all those zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, and tomatoes to work. It keeps well in the fridge (and freezer), which means you can get a jump-start by making it during weekend meal prep. It’s delicious as is, and easy to bulk up by topping it with a fried egg or two, spooning it over pasta or a bed of grains, or partnered with creamy polenta.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Make this easy weeknight dinner a staple in your summer meal plan and you will not be disappointed. With minimal prep and cleanup, it’s easy to pull off on the nights that you don’t really feel like cooking. And since the grill is already fired up, go ahead and round out dinner with grilled corn on the cob or watermelon slices.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

You know all those ears of sweet corn you scored at the farmers market? You’ll want to pull out your slow cooker for an easy weeknight meal that turns them into a fresh dinner that won’t heat up the kitchen.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Inspired by classic eggplant Parm, this version is just as comforting (and cheesy!). It’s also weeknight-friendly, since it requires slightly less effort than the traditional dish.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

This is one of my favorite low-effort ways to get zucchini on the table for dinner. Serve the stir-fry with steamed rice, soba noodles, or rice noodles.


New to meal planning? Start here.