Weekly Meal Plan: 5 Easy Dinner Ideas

This week’s meal plan is all about keeping it simple. Hand over the meal plan to the kids or the non-cook in the house and let them whip up any or all of these easy weeknight dinners.

"What's for Dinner" written over a plate of three salmon patties.

Here in the States, we kicked this week off by honoring the moms in our lives. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely earned my “Mom” title this year. I’ve asked my blessed family to give me a week of downtime in which to breathe, and they’ve promised to make it happen.

Because I’m serious about my plan to chill this week, I’m scheduling meals that will require very little to no supervision on my part to get on the table. Even my husband, a self-proclaimed dolt in the kitchen, can pull these recipes together. That means that even if you are the one in charge of mealtime, they’ll still be simple recipes for you to prepare.

Some of this week’s recipes are casseroles, which means they require no other side dishes. For those dishes that could use a supporting cast, we’re going to draw from the other recipes and save ourselves work. Reusing one recipe's components to create a side dish is the ultimate life hack for overworked home cooks. Cornbread is a quick bread that requires minimal labor, so I am going to break my no-work rule once this week to make and freeze two batches to serve with two of this week’s meals. After which my apron is going on its hook and my feet are going up.

  • Chili Beans with Rice

    Chili Beans and Rice on plate
    Elise Bauer

    This recipe is one of my favorites because it’s budget-friendly and versatile. Use ground beef, pork, or ground turkey. Canned or dried beans, your choice. That double batch of cornbread from my weekend baking sesh is a nice addition to this meal, as well.

  • Salmon Patties

    Homemade Salmon Cakes on a plate
    Elise Bauer

    If you haven’t used those extra mashed potatoes from Monday’s dinner yet, here’s your opportunity! Panko or regular breadcrumbs eliminate the need to break out the food processor. Make your workload light by taking full advantage of those pre-cut veggies from the produce section and use dried herbs instead of fresh.

  • Mexican Tostada

    Mexican Tostada
    Elise Bauer

    Enjoy this vegetarian option as we near the end of the week. To keep this dish truly meatless check the ingredient label on your can of refried beans. Lard is often used in refried beans, so make sure you're grabbing a vegetarian option. These days, grocery stores sell tostadas already fried. Just toast them in a warm oven before topping to return them to their crunchy best.

  • EASY Italian Sausage Spaghetti

    Italian Sausage Spaghetti
    Elise Bauer

    This simple dish takes you out of the grocery shopping melee by using sausage links when many people are vying for the last pack of ground beef or ground sausage. Italian sausage is already seasoned with the very herbs you’ll need to flavor the sauce, so no need to add more. Fewer dishes for my beloved family to use!

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  • Easy Shepherd's Pie

    Shepherd's Pie
    Elise Bauer

    Shepherd’s pie has a mashed potato topping that, when doubled, can be used as a side dish in a recipe later this week. Save yourself a couple of minutes of prep time and use a bag of frozen, pre-cut peas and carrots for this recipe. Pre-cut onions are also available in the produce aisle these days. Take advantage of these convenience items whenever possible.

  • Bisquick Apple Coffee Cake

    Bisquick Coffee Cake
    Elise Bauer

    Dessert can’t get any sweeter (or easier) than this cake. Even though I’m leaving this week’s meals to the family, I’m helping them cut down on their labors with this simple dessert. This recipe avoids tons of measuring and mixing by using a boxed biscuit batter as its base. Top yours with vanilla ice cream.