No Leftovers, Please: 5 Dinner Menus for the Week Before a Trip

No Leftovers, Please: 5 Dinner Menus for the Week Before a Trip

Ah, the dilemma of dinner during the busy week before a trip out of town. You don't want to blow your budget before the vacation even starts by eating out every night. But if you cook, you want to make the most of your time in the kitchen without generating too many leftovers that you won't be able to finish before you leave. Here is a five-day dinner plan that calls for a some extra kitchen time on Sunday to give a head start on a week's worth of quick and healthy meals. You'll be ready to hit the road on Friday with a clean fridge and no guilt about splurging a little on your vacation.

Spinach-Ricotta Calzones

The Plan

All menus are based on dinner for four people.


  • Make pizza dough. The dough can be left to rise for up to three days in the refrigerator. You will use some of it for Monday's pizza and some for Wednesday's calzones. Making 1.5 times the dough recipe will give you just the right amount, but if that math is too fiddly, just double the dough recipe and freeze the remainder.

  • Make Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew in the slow cooker or dutch oven. Freeze half for an easy meal when you return from your vacation and don't feel like cooking.

  • Make a double batch of orzo. Refrigerate half for Tuesday's dinner.
  • Make BBQ Chicken Pizza.

  • Make Kale Salad. Triple the recipe to make approximately enough for a side salad for two days. While you are prepping the kale, wash and dry enough extra for Thursday's Artichoke, Kale and Ricotta Pie. Refrigerate half of the salad (minus the avocado) for Tuesday's dinner.
  • Make Italian Chicken Salad Pasta. Use the chicken breasts and orzo you cooked on Sunday.

  • Add avocado to the leftover Kale Salad.

  • Make spinach-ricotta filling for calzones. Assemble the calzones using the pizza dough you made on Sunday.

  • Make Roasted Potatoes, Fennel & Radishes with Lemon Brown Butter Sauce. The vegetables roast at the same temperature as the calzones, so you can bake them at the same time. Double the vegetable recipe and save half for Thursday's dinner.
  • Make Artichoke, Kale & Ricotta Pie. Use the ricotta leftover from Wednesday's calzones and the kale you prepped on Monday.

  • Reheat Roasted Potatoes, Fennel & Radishes with Lemon Brown Butter Sauce.

  • Relax and enjoy your vacation! You've earned it.

Kale Salad with Apricots, Avocado, and Parmesan

Do you have any recipes you rely on during the week before a trip?

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