5 Nights, 5 Dinners: My Simple Weekly Meal Plan

updated May 5, 2022
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(Image credit: Brittany Keats Cerullo)

Meal planning brings me a lot of joy. There’s something so soothing about having a plan in place for dinner despite what may or may not go as planned each week.

Still, even I have weeks where planning feels overwhelming or I just can’t decide what I want to cook and eat. Those are the weeks I rely on the no-brainer approach of a weekly template. It includes my family’s favorite meals with options to customize them based on what I find at the grocery store or need to use up in the pantry. This is my five-meal formula for no-brainer meal planning.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

1. Monday is pasta night.

Pasta is a nice comfort food meal for softening the entry into the school and work week, plus it is super adaptable to meatless Monday. I can also count on pasta night to be quick and use up either leftovers from the weekend or something from the pantry.

Pasta Night Recipes to Try

2. Tuesday is taco night, obviously.

Make tacos, by all means, but don’t stop there. Sometimes Taco Tuesday means quesadillas or slow-cooker burritos or even enchiladas. Tuesday nights my daughter also has art class, so slow-cooker recipes also work incredibly well for this season of our family schedule.

Recipes to Expand the Taco Tuesday Repertoire

(Image credit: Chungah Rhee)

3. Wednesday is BFD (breakfast for dinner).

Hey, it’s cheap and my kids are guaranteed to eat it whether we have pancakes or waffles or scrambled eggs. It’s also something fun to bring to the middle of the week.

4. Thursdays are for leftovers.

As unglamorous as it sounds, a night for leftovers is key for minimizing food waste and saving our sanity. I might turn Sunday’s roast chicken into soup or make roasted vegetables into grilled cheese. Or we eat leftovers smorgasbord-style with sliced bread, cheeses, and a few pickles.

5. Friday is for pizza-lovers.

Friday pizza night doubles as a way to clean out the fridge — bits of this and that make excellent topping fodder — but it can also be a break from cooking before the weekend. Delicious and practical!

Make it a good one: How To Make Awesome Pizza at Home

Do you have themed nights for meal planning in your house?