Weekly Meal Plan: 5 Dinner Ideas to Prep Ahead

Simplify dinner by using a different cooking technique or tool! Dust off that slow cooker, break out that new air fryer, or transform your favorite sandwich into a casserole.

This month, we welcome back Marta Rivera for more of her meal plans. Marta is a trained chef, mom of twins, and Army wife – and she is also a Simply Recipes recipe tester and developer!

We’ve almost made it to the mid-point of 2020! I have high hopes that this year will redeem itself in the second half. No matter what we have to look forward to, one thing is for certain: We need to eat, drink, and be as merry as circumstances allow! Let’s make the most of this crazy year starting with this week’s dinner.

There are many different time-saving or less labor-intensive ways to prepare meals these days. Slow cookers and packet meals take your hands off of the cooking and lighten up dish duty.

On days where a busy schedule makes extensive meal prep impossible, try adapting your recipes to utilize a different cooking method: slow or pressure cooking rather than baking, air frying instead of deep-frying, etc.

Or you can easily alter your dinner by modifying its composition—the Reuben casserole later this week is one of my favorite examples of how to switch things up.

One last thing—we wanted to highlight the ultimate way to save time in your week: having your groceries delivered right to your door. Click on the red “Add to Shopping List” button at the bottom of any recipe (or meal plan) and check it out! We call this feature “Relish” and we’re into it because, really, dinner can be simpler.

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Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork

My favorite soda and my favorite meat merge to create a great “hands-off” dinner tonight. Leftovers are even tastier as lunch the next day. Two birds, one stone! Even if you don’t need lunch the following day (said no one ever), the shredded pork freezes exceptionally well for dinner another night. Serve this pulled pork on toasted rolls topped with coleslaw.

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Roast salmon filet on foil with roast grape tomatoes, chopped cilantro and thinkly sliced lime on top.

Fish cooked in foil is a godsend when it comes to quick and easy dinners. This recipe serves two, but you can easily scale it up if feeding a larger family. If you can’t get your hands on harissa, use sriracha or even a taco seasoning blend to create your mayo sauce.

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A golden brown baked reuben casserole is cooling on a rack. A metal spatula is in the lower right hand corner. A matte grey plate has a side salad and black fork in the upper right. A dark teal linen is under the plate.

Flip your favorite sandwich into a dinnertime casserole. Finding corned beef this time of year may be a challenge, so grab pastrami or turkey pastrami from the deli instead. A garden salad served as a side and a few slices of crusty rye bread rounds out this meal.

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Falafel air fryer recipe

All you need is a comforting vegetarian dish to close out the week. Falafel is packed with nutty, herbaceous flavor and drizzled with a tahini dressing. The air fryer makes light duty of this dish. No need to monitor oil temps or dodge oil splatters. Serve this with salads or stuffed in pita pockets. Any leftover falafel mix can be frozen for later.

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Easy chicken tikka masala served over basmati rice in bowl

Make this stovetop dinner in 20 minutes. Simmer the basmati or jasmine rice while the tikka masala cooks, and your side and dinner are done simultaneously. Add an extra touch with homemade naan to create your own Indian feast.

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Weekend Baking

Homemade blondie bars on a plate

This dessert is just one more way I’m switching up the regular for the unexpected. My kiddos love basic brownies, but they’re always excited when I throw them a sweet curveball like this. Turn these into blondie sundaes by serving them à la mode with a generous drizzle of caramel sauce.

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Marta Rivera

Marta Rivera is trained chef with over 20 years in the culinary field and the blogger behind Sense & Edibility. She graduated from the Baltimore International Culinary College with degrees in Culinary Arts and Classical Pastries. Her cookbook is Taste and See Cooks.

More from Marta

One Comment

No ImageWeekly Meal Plan: 5 Dinner Ideas to Prep Ahead

  1. Rachel

    Thanks for the ideas. Going to try some this week.