Next Week's Meal Plan

A Week of Big-Batch, Family-Friendly Winter Dinners

published Jan 24, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman, Olive & Mango, Joe Lingeman

Even if you’re not cooking for a big family of six or eight, a few roommates, or a group of friends throughout the week, I’ve always thought there’s something about winter that makes it the perfect fit for big-batch dinners, like casseroles, soups, and chilis.

This week of winter dinners for a crowd checks all the boxes. These dinners are cozy, comforting, and lend themselves to being stashed in the freezer. Each meal is ample enough to feed up to eight.

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne

Monday: Easy Lasagna

In my opinion, lasagna is always better the day after it’s cooked. Prep and cook the lasagna on Sunday, then reheat what you’ll need for dinner and freezer the leftovers for later. Partner dinner with a simple arugula salad for something light and green.

Get the recipe: Easy Lasagna

Credit: Olive & Mango

Tuesday: Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

It doesn’t get more comforting on a cold winter night than a bowl of classic chicken noodle soup. If you’re not serving the soup immediately or planning to save some of the soup for later, it’s a good idea to cook the noodles separately (rather than in the Instant Pot), then add them to the soup as needed. Otherwise, they’ll swell up and fall apart.

Get the recipe: Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Golden Chickpea Soup

Just dump everything in your slow cooker first thing in the morning, then at the end of the day purée the soup right in the slow cooker with your immersion blender. Top off your bowl with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Golden Chickpea Soup

Credit: Joe Lingeman: Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Thursday: Easy Whole30 Chili

Even if you’re not following Whole30, it’s a good idea to keep a pot of easy beef and vegetable chili in your meal plan rotation. Set out toppings, like avocado, scallions, and fresh cilantro on the table so everyone can garnish their own bowls. If there’s leftovers, keep it in the fridge for a weekend lunch, stash it in the freezer, or use it to round out tomorrow’s dinner.

Get the recipe: Easy Whole30 Chili

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Brett Regot/Kitchn

Friday: Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

Nothing caps off the week quite like a big tray of loaded nachos. The recipe calls for shredded rotisserie chicken, and you can always increase the amount to stretch dinner a little further. Alternatively, if you have leftover chili, feel free to go ahead and use that in place of the chicken.

Get the recipe: Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

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!

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