Next Week’s Meal Plan: 5 No-Brainer Dinners for the Week Ahead

published Mar 17, 2017
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(Image credit: Meghan Splawn)

My meal plan for the coming week has an unintended theme: quick comfort-food classics. Or you might even say the theme is cozy kid-friendly favorites. All the heavy hitters are here: grilled cheese, fries, pasta, and pizza. It is inspired in part by the unusually cold weather we’ve been having in Atlanta, but mostly by my husband’s work schedule.

My husband, who is a freelancer, has a stretch of back-to-back gigs coming up so we’ll hardly see him over the next 10 days. This means I won’t have his help at dinner time. I’ll be juggling two preschoolers while I cook, fending off their demands for snacks. Doing family dinner solo makes me reach for fast, kid-friendly fare. I won’t have the stamina to encourage them to try something new at the table this week; I’d much rather enjoy my time with them at the table then argue over eating asparagus.

I’m sharing the five recipes that are going onto my family’s meal plan for the week ahead. This is what my kids and I will eat next week, with one Dad-requested dinner for the night he’ll be home in the mix. I added some tips on how I’ll shop and prepare for these meals and how I’m adapting them for my one picky eater.

Welcome to this week’s meal plan!

Planning my weekly meals is a habit I enjoy. Since I’m frequently asked by friends and family what I’m cooking for dinner each week, I thought it’d be useful to 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.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Monday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Comfort food to ease into the week? Check. A meatless Monday option that my kids will gobble up faster than pasta? Check. I love a combination of sharp cheddar cheese and Colby Jack cheese for a flavorful grilled cheese that also has an Instagram-worthy cheese pull mid-sandwich. I’m making a double batch of this soup to freeze for future enjoyment.

(Image credit: Casey Barber)

Tuesday: Black Bean Nachos

All the basics of Taco Tuesday can be turned into nachos too. My favorite trick for making custom nachos is to designate a square of aluminum foil for each diner and build the nachos on these “plates” (over a baking sheet, of course). The recipe I’ve included here gives specific directions for doing this on the grill, but we’ll be doing this inside with roasted vegetables and canned black beans for toppings.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Wednesday: Steak Sandwiches and Steak Fries

My husband saw these steak sandwich on the site and asked that we eat them ASAP. I’m going to make them for the night he’ll be home for family dinner. Make the pickled onions on Sunday (or the night before) and they will be beautifully blushed and lusciously tender by Wednesday.

The recipes: Sirloin Steak Sandwiches with a side of Steak Fries

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Thursday: Tortellini and Sausage Skillet

I picked up a bunch of the prettiest arugula at the farmers market last weekend and now its wilting in the fridge. Here’s hoping that partnering this peppery green with three of my daughter’s favorite foods, namely pasta, sausage, and Parmesan cheese, will convince her to give it a try. The best thing about this recipe concept is that it works with nearly any sausage and greens you have on hand.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Friday: Muffin Pan Pizzas

Friday night is always pizza night at our house. This week is no exception, but my niece is coming for a sleepover so we’ll be making muffin pan pizzas. They can be customized for each of the kiddos and the adults. These muffin pan pizzas keep really well, so I may even make a double batch for school lunches next week.

Your turn: What are you cooking and eating next week? Any recipes that are inspiring your meal plan that I need to know about?