What to Cook for Dinner this Week:
1.) Eggplant and/or Chicken Parmesan, 2.) Tuscan Braised Beef with Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes & Roast Cabbage 3.) Chachouka (North African Pepper & Tomato Stew with Eggs) 4.) Tuscan Braised Beef Pot Pie with a Puff Pastry Crust 5.) Indian Shrimp and Rice 6.) Cocktail: Apple Cider Moscow Mule
If you’re not familiar with this blog, here’s the basic idea behind each weekly meal plan: Alittle advance planning and meal prep work every day is the key to getting delicious, wholesome, good for you, home cooked meals on the table several nights of the week. A little = a lot.
On this page, you’ll find a meal plan for the week. Each meal is designed to build on the previous night’s efforts by using leftover ingredients. You’ll also find a preparation schedule and grocery list.
Meal Prep, Day by Day
Optional Substitutions: This week’s meal plan begins with a big pot of homemade marinara sauce that gets used in three meals this week – Eggplant and/or Chicken Parmesan, Chachouka, and, Indian Shrimp and Rice. You can swap any of those dishes out with Homemade Pizza, Meatball Sandwiches, or Spaghetti and Meatballs. Please note that if you do swap one from the other, the grocery list below will need to be modified.
Cook Two or Three Meals Instead of Five: Five home cooked meals in one week is not feasible or desirable for everyone. If two or three is more your style, Days #1, #3, and #5, OR Days #2 and #4, work well together, one meal building from the next.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Eggplant and/or Chicken Parmesan and salad.
For me, “Day #1” is usually a Sunday, and it’s the day with the most heavy lifting when it comes to meal prep for the rest of the week. Whatever day of the week you choose as your “Day #1”, here’s your meal prep task list:
- Eggplant, Chicken, or Both? The process to making chicken parmesan and eggplant parmesan is the same, the only difference being whether you use chicken or eggplant. For tonight’s meal, choose one or the other, or do what we do in my family – make both, layering eggplant slices in one side of the pan and chicken in the other.
- Make some Homemade Marinara: Eggplant and chicken parmesan are all about the sauce. Make an excellent marinara sauce, and the dish is almost guaranteed to be delicious. At least 2 hours before you want to begin making chicken or eggplant parmesan, get the marinara sauce going. The recipe makes a lot – about 11 cups of sauce – and you’ll use most of it, or all of it this week. Depending on whether you decide to make a half pan (9-in square baking dish) or whole pan (9 x 13-inch baking dish) of chicken or eggplant parmesan, you’ll need 3-6 cups of marinara tonight. Reserve the rest for Chachouka on Day #3 and Indian Shrimp and Rice on Day #5. If you have some leftover at the end of the week, use it for a quick plate of spaghetti, or freeze the sauce for up to 3 months.
- Prepare a tossed salad: Prep some lettuce and veggies for a simple tossed salad. Chachouka on Day #3 is also served with tossed salad, so prep a double amount tonight and save yourself the hassle on Day #3. Dress the salad with a bottled dressing, whip up a simple vinaigrette, or simply toss with a squeeze of lemon, some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Tuscan Braised Beef with Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes & Roast Cabbage.
- Tonight’s braised beef is falling-apart tender from a long, slow simmer in a wine and vegetable broth. Plan ahead: The hands on time for this dish is only about 30 minutes, but it needs to cook in the oven for about 4 hours.
- Cook 6 lbs of chuck roast: The recipe calls for 4 lbs of chuck roast, but for this week’s meal plan, cook 6 lbs of chuck roast so that you have enough leftovers to make Tuscan Braised Beef Pot Pie with a Puff Pastry Crust on Day #4. The remaining quantities of ingredients in the recipe can stay the same. After dinner tonight, reserve all the leftover meat, veggies and sauce; it will form the basis for the pot pie.
- Roast Cabbage: This is my favorite way to cook cabbage, and it couldn’t be simpler.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Chachouka, Bread, and Tossed Salad
- Chachouka is a North African pepper & tomato stew topped with eggs that is surprisingly delicious and extremely simple. Use 2 cups of the marinara sauce you reserved from Day #1.
- Serving suggestion: Serve tonight’s Chachouka with some good quality bread and a tossed salad, which you might have prepped on Day #1. Dress the salad with a bottled dressing, whip up a simple vinaigrette, or simply toss with a squeeze of lemon, some olive oil, salt, and pepper.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Tuscan Braised Beef Pot Pie with a Puff Pastry Crust
- Tonight’s dinner couldn’t be simpler thanks to the leftover braised beef you reserved on Day #3. Simply shred the beef, and mix some frozen peas and carrots into the sauce, pour it into a baking dish, top with a sheet of frozen puff pastry, and bake.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Indian Shrimp and Rice
- Use 2 cups of reserved marinara sauce from Day #1 to make this simple, Indian spiced meal. If you have any leftover tossed salad, put that out as well.
This Week’s Featured Cocktail: Apple Cider Moscow Mule
Suggested Recipes for the Baker:
- 20-minute Cream Biscuits
- Mississippi Mud Pie with No Refined Sugar
- Classic Buttermilk Caramel Cupcakes
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies