This year, July 4th falls squarely in the middle of a week that is bookended by summer camp for the kids and work for the adults, so this week's meal plan is equal parts fun and practical. Here's what I'm cooking and eating this week, including a menu for our July 4th cookout.
Welcome to This Week's Meal Plan
I believe meal planning is the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. Since I'm frequently asked by friends and family what I'm cooking for dinner each week, I share my weekly meal plan here. Whether you're just learning to meal plan and looking for a real-life example of how this works or you're an old pro on the hunt for inspiration, here's a peek at how I'm feeding my family this week.
New to meal planning? Start here.
Monday and Tuesday's game plan is to really put as little effort into dinner as possible because all our extra energy is going into a few projects to get our backyard ready for July 4th — namely hanging more string lights and refinishing our outside tables. This pasta dinner is perfect because the saucy tomatoes are hands off in the oven and the packaged tortellini cooks quickly. Plus, my kids love this dish.
To be honest, you can skip the crispy tofu here because the edamame and peanuts are filling enough. And skipping the tofu means this dinner salad is almost completely no-cook. It's a dinner win for a night when I'll be prepping pasta salad and tomorrow's dessert.
Wednesday: July 4th BBQ!
We live in a neighborhood within walking distance to the best view of our hometown's fireworks display, which means most of our friends have invited themselves over for the celebration! It also means that we'll have guests almost all day in our small house and I won't be heating up the kitchen for any reason. Ribs are my 4th of July tradition, and I'm cooking several batches in my electric pressure cooker and then finishing them on the grill. Ditto for corn on the cob. Pasta salad and s'mores bars will be made the day before, and friends are bringing slaw, beer, wine, and sparklers.
Get the Recipes
There are hardly ever any leftovers from July 4th, except maybe some BBQ sauce and sides — so I'm planning on oven-roasted BBQ chicken to use up both. These chicken pieces will serve as a vehicle for leftover sauce and we'll eat them with whatever corn, slaw, or pasta salad is left.
Friday: Vegetable Pesto Puff Pastry Tart
This kinda, sorta pizza will serve as the centerpiece to another kids get-together at the end of the week. It'll be served alongside vegetables and dips for a pool party play-date to wrap out the holiday week. Bonus? I don't have to make pizza dough after a week full of cooking!