Weekly Meal Plan: 5 Low-Stress Dinners

This meal plan is all about making dinner as easy as possible. Lots of swaps and suggestions to use what you have on hand will make this week’s weeknight dinners a snap to make!

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!

Raise your hand if you feel victimized by 2020! I, personally, feel like I need a breather from the entire year and we’re just entering May!

Sure, I’m grateful for the ability to spend more time with my entire family (in our very small space) for an extended period of time (truly, I am. No, really. It’s great.). It’s just, well, I’m kind of over trying to be a decent mom, a doting wife, and a faithful social distancer. I’ll keep doing what needs to be done, but I am tired.

This week, I plan to prepare meals that aren’t going to add to my stress levels. I’m relying on easy-to-prepare recipes or those with easy-to-find ingredients so I can avoid arguments in the produce aisle. Another part of my routine is to keep things as normal as possible in spite of the confusion around us.

Yes, it’s tough to behave as if everything’s normal when it isn’t, but Cinco de Mayo is this week. While we won’t go all out like we normally do, I think it’s important to do a little something to keep things light. “Tacos with a twist” sounds about as festive as we can get these days, and you know what? I’m actually excited to serve them.

One of my best cooking tips for maintaining meal planning sanity is to prepare side dishes you can stretch over multiple days. When you toss together a huge garden salad early in the week, you’ll shave time off of your meal prep on latter days. The same goes for preparing a double batch of versatile sides like rice or buttered noodles. A few of this week’s recipes will accommodate a side dish from earlier in the week.

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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Chicken Piccata

You can serve this with more than pasta! Try it with rice, mashed potatoes, or with a simple side salad. Being out of chicken doesn’t mean you can’t make piccata! In spite of its name, you can make this recipe with turkey, pork cutlets, or skinless salmon filets.

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a row of Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos topped with avocado, cotija cheese, and salsa verde

Don’t feel deflated if you can’t find tortillas. Make Homemade Tortillas or skip the tortillas and wrap the meat in lettuce leaves and make lettuce wraps. Swap the shells for tortilla chips to make nachos instead. Have your family set up a taco bar with all the fixin's (well, all those you can get your hands on, at least). Cinco de Mayo is more fun when everyone’s helping.

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Broccoli Beef in white bowl

Don’t limit yourself to rice. This recipe tastes great with soba, ramen, or glass noodles. If you do prefer rice as an accompaniment to this take-out classic, make a double batch of it and freeze half for another day. Pro tip: When preparing beef for recipes like this, pop the meat into the freezer for 20 minutes to firm it up. It makes slicing the meat easier.

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Baked Cod with Ritz Cracker Topping

This recipe uses up a pantry staple: Ritz crackers. If you don’t have any Ritz, try saltines, goldfish, or even whole wheat water crackers. Cod’s not as popular as other fish, so while everyone is fighting for the last piece of salmon, scoop this dark horse up and make your way to the check-out line. Serve it with buttered egg noodles and any broccoli you may have left from last night’s meal.

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Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast for dinner should be more of a thing. It’s easy, filling, and economical. Tater tots are always a welcome addition to my meals, no matter how old I am, so this “brinner” is going to be a fun twist to our usual supper. Bonus: leftovers mean breakfast for tomorrow.

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Weekend Treats

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

These quick-to-assemble sweet treats are especially yummy when stirred into frozen yogurt or your favorite ice cream.

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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

2 Comments

No ImageWeekly Meal Plan: 5 Low-Stress Dinners

  1. Sonia

    Looks great. Will try this out

  2. Marion

    Great !