Weeknight Meal Plan #1

Back before I was married and had to cook enough food each night for my submariner to take for leftovers, my go-to week night meals were dinner out with friends, stir-fry, Trader Joe’s salads and froyo.

Those days were so easy. I can’t believe I used to think I was tired. Or busy.

Back then, I liked cooking, especially baking, but I liked afternoons and evenings spent running, doing hot yoga and hanging out with my friends more. When we moved to South Carolina, the convenience of fresh and healthy food was nonexistent. It was either suck it up and improve my cooking game or eat at Smokey Bones every night.

Eventually, (dozens of one and done recipes later) I got into a groove, found websites and cookbooks that helped build our family favorites, and began to truly enjoy my time in kitchen. It’s cathartic, especially now after a long day at a challenging job. And then there are the added benefits of controlling your diet, the ingredients in your food and how much you spend a week on meals. (Minus my lunchtime impulse Whole Foods trips…).

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The baby threw a (welcome) wrench in my cooking routine, and now I have to schedule around our long commute, John’s shift work and toddler. Our weekly meals vary from things John can prep before he leaves for swing shift to recipes I can spend a few minutes making while he takes the baby on wagon patrol for animals around the neighborhood.

Making a plan has been key, even when it’s something I don’t feel like doing. It’s hard to know what you’ll be in the mood for for five or six days, but it helps keep us within a budget and it helps me stifle the temptation of going out, mostly out of fear of John will get mad our food is spoiling. Luckily, this week, he’s home at night, so I planned some of the more complicated dishes that I usually don’t have time for.

Weeknight Meal Plan

Sriracha glazed salmon, lemon garlic zoodles, couscous and boiled potatoes
Recipe: Skinnytaste Cookbook
Time to prep: 1 hour

One of John’s favorites, this salmon recipe is restaurant grade–or better–and incredibly easy. I originally just planned on having couscous on the side, but the zoodles were calling my name at Whole Foods and we had leftover potatoes that didn’t have a place this week.


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Mushroom, Chard and Cheddar Quesadillas with Refried Beans
Recipe: Inspired by Rachael Ray Magazine
Time to prep: 20 min

Grilled Quesadillas are my favorite, and they’re something the baby might also eat. I love dressing them up with rich veggies, salsa and sour cream with a side of cheesy refried beans to dip them in.

Mushroom Kale Risotto
Recipe: Original recipe from Skinnytaste, although I’ve modified this overtime with different veggies and no wine, since we rarely have wine in the house anymore.
Time to Prep: 30-40 min, mostly spent stirring

This recipe is great for leftovers, and it smells amazing while cooking. It’s not our healthiest, but it is low in fat and great for eating the night before a long run…

Vegetable Sheperd Pie
Recipe: Thug Kitchen Cookbook (recipe not online)
Time to Prep: 1 hour

This recipe does not sound good at all. But I impulsively made it one night last winter and was surprised by how great it tasted. The olive oil crust is incredible, and the filling it rich and healthy.

Sweet Potato & Grits Breakfast Casserole
Recipe: Thug Kitchen Cookbook (recipe not online)
Time to Prep:1 hour

Breakfast at night takes me straight back to Smith College. My college best friend and I would eat about five different dinners at every dining hall–seriously. It was something we were proud of. But breakfast at night was always our favorite. This casserole is perfect for the day before we head out of town for the weekend–we can freeze the leftovers for an easy meal when we get back and are too lazy to go to the store.

Dinner in DC! We’re heading to Trump/Clinton/Sander’s future home for my sweet friends baby shower. And then possibly to Canada based on the above choices.

Just kidding.

What are your go-to weekly meals?

Do you make a meal plan, or decide day of? I would much rather decide day of, but the adult in me forces planning ahead.


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