I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Meal planning and cooking every single week is the worst.
I used to dread dinner every night because I hadn’t planned ahead and didn’t know what we were going to eat until about 30 minutes before, which usually equated to eating out or eating unhealthy meals.
Then, I got my act together. I started forcing myself to meal plan for the week ahead on Sunday afternoons. I plan, place my order on Walmart Grocery, then pick up! I don’t even have to get out of my car (which is even better for those often lazy Sundays).
I shared some other meal planning tips here, but in this post I want to share some super simple and delicious recipes to add to your weekly meal repertoire. Who doesn’t love easy, mostly healthy, delicious recipes? And there is absolutely nothing wrong with re-using the same recipes again and again and again. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
E A S Y R E C I P E S
White Chicken Chili – Thanks to my coworker for sharing this one! We tried it this weekend and it was so delicious and easy. I think the surprise ingredient that took it to the next level was the Cream of Chicken Soup. We topped with jalapenos and shredded cheese.
Southwestern Stuffed Peppers – This is great with black beans and rice, but can also be paleo if you cut those two ingredients and cheese out of the recipe. As you’ll see in the recipe, I used to cut the peppers in half long ways, but now I just cut the top off and stuff it all in. We eat it with lots of delicious salsa and avocado.
Crockpot Chicken Verde – We do this one a LOT because it’s so simple and versatile. Are you ready for the recipe? Put chicken in a crockpot and top with salsa verde. We prefer World Table Roasted Salsa Verde from Walmart. And that’s it! That’s all you do! Put it on low over lunch and it will be ready by dinner. This is great over rice, with veggies or in tacos.
Make-Your-Own Quinoa Bowl – Lately I’ve been on a quinoa kick. Cook your quinoa on the stove or in the rice cooker, then add whatever you want. I literally pull all options out of the refrigerator and Husband and I fix how we like. He tends to go towards mexican-style – beans, chicken, salsa, cheese. I tend towards mediterranean – banana peppers, kalmata olives, tomatoes, arugula and a delicious greek tzaziki dip I found at Walmart. What’s great is this is also perfect to pile into a mason jar and take to work for lunch.
One-Pan Balsamic Chicken – This one is super healthy and pretty much paleo – chicken, asparagus and tomatoes. You could mix the sauce up a little bit if you prefer more sweet or more spicy, but overall very easy (one-pan!) and delicious. We make this every other week.
Greek Pork Chops with Squash and Potatoes – This one is our new favorite! I found it in Southern Living, and every time I make it Husband comments how good it is. Again, one-pan! Sometimes we use potatoes, sometimes we just stick to squash and zucchini.
Pepperoni Rolls – Okay this one is totally unhealthy and we do not make it often, but it is so so good. This would be a great alternative to ordering pizza one night or is perfect as a heavier appetizer for a party. We put jalapenos in ours and serve with warm marinara as dipping sauce.
What is your easy go-to recipe?
Often I get in moods to bake. Sometimes I get in moods to cook. Rarely I get in moods to meal plan.
This weekend I did all three, and I’m so glad I did. Mostly the last one. Keep reading and you’ll see why.
B A K E – Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
I’d already spent a full day in my pajamas – watching TV, cleaning the house, reading magazines, organizing my closet, watching more TV – and by 5pm I was done. I needed to get out of the house or do something. (It was 40 degrees and raining, so I chose the latter.)
Pumpkin bread is one of my favorite things and I typically make it every fall. I posted a recipe here last year. This year I tried a new recipe and added mini chocolate chips. Turned out fine, not great, but it kept my idle hands busy, and now I have a loaf to share with some friends later this week.
C O O K – Homemade Alfredo Sauce
Next up was dinner. Of course we had no food, and of course I didn’t want to go to the grocery store. (Reminder: it was 40 degrees and raining!!) I decided to raid the pantry and refrigerator and force something to work. I found half a box of pasta and chicken in the freezer … but no sauce.
Then it hit me. How do you make alfredo sauce? It can’t be that hard, right? Or have that many ingredients, right? Y’all. I’m never buying jar alfredo sauce AGAIN. Okay, I never bought it in the first place, because I’m not really an alfredo fan, but seriously, now I am. It was SO easy, and SO delicious.
1/2 c butter
8 oz. cream cheese (which we happened to have leftover from our bagel bar)
2 c milk
2 teaspoons garlic powder
6 oz grated parmesan cheese
black ground pepper
dash of nutmeg
- Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta to serve.
M E A L P L A N
Meal planning for the week is the worst. Can I get an amen?? It just seems so difficult to decide what to eat for dinner every single night. And cook it. And clean it up. And do it all over again the next week.
Well, husband had a great idea. Write down all of our recipes on index cards, then each Sunday choose from the stack for the week, add all ingredients to Walmart Pickup-Grocery (seriously, life changing) and that’s it!
I spent several hours Sunday going through recipes on my blog, on Pinterest and cookbooks. I wrote the name and ingredients on one side, and the location of the recipe on the back. Maybe someday I’ll write the full recipe on there, but this was a good start. I also added asterisks to the top right of foods that are whole 30 approved.
You could even take this one step further and pin it somewhere in the kitchen so the whole family can see what’s for dinner for the week.
Do you have tips for meal planning? Or a favorite recipe you want to share, so I can add it to a card?