What to cook for dinner this week:
1.) Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, Rice and Beans, & Perfect Sautéed Vegetables 2.) Steak Tacos with Pico de Gallo 3.) Lip Smacking Vegetarian Chili with Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread 4.) Pasta with Sausage and Vegetables 5.) Cornbread Salad 6.) Cocktail: Pepper Blossom
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. A little = a lot. You’ll also find a preparation schedule and grocery list.
- Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
- Grilled Flank Steak Dry Rub
- Chimichurri Sauce
- Slow Cooker Beans
- Perfect Sautéed Vegetables
- Steak Tacos with Pico de Gallo
- Lip Smacking Vegetarian Chili
- Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread
- Easy Homemade Pico de Gallo
- How to Make Homemade Pasta: Pasta Making with Judy
- Pasta with Sausage and Vegetables
- Cornbread Salad with Sausage and Tomatoes
- Cocktail: Pepper Blossom
(A shopping list for this week’s meals is at the bottom of this page)
Meal Prep, Day by Day
If ever there was a meal plan that demonstrates what this blog is all about, it’s this one. Every single meal contributes ingredients to a meal later in the week, conserving ingredients, and saving so much time.
Grilled Flank Steak is topped with Chimichurri Sauce one day, then folded into tacos another. Slow Cooker Beans make a delicious side dish and form the basis for an easy Vegetarian Chili that even meat lovers will adore. Homemade Pico de Gallo adds a pop of flavor to both the tacos and the chili. Sautéed Vegetables are served alongside steak and folded into pasta. Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to Vegetarian Chili and also creates a shockingly good Cornbread Salad.
Like every other meal plan on this blog, this week’s recipes are designed to make healthy, delicious, home cooked meals every night of the week much easier.
One final note before we get to it… If you read through the recipe list and think that Cornbread Salad sounds like the kind of thing you don’t really want to eat, I hope you’ll trust me and make it anyway. I almost didn’t. I had the idea for it… but, then started second guessing myself, convinced that it wouldn’t be any good. Since I had already purchased the ingredients, I made it anyway and am SO glad that I did. It’s truly one of my new favorite meals.
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. I am always so grateful to myself for taking a few of hours on Sunday to make getting dinner on the table that much easier the rest of the week.
Whatever day of the week you choose as your “Day #1”, here’s your meal prep task list:
- Get a batch of Slow Cooker Beans going in the morning. Add 1 tsp oregano and 1 tsp paprika along with the other spices in the recipe. The beans will take 4 hours on high and 6 hours on low. The beans will be used in Vegetarian Chili on Day #3, and mixed with rice and served as a side dish tonight.
- Make two batches of Chimichurri Sauce. Spoon it over Flank Steak tonight and reserve the leftover sauce to top Vegetarian Chili on Day #3. Reserve Chimichurri Sauce in a covered container in your refrigerator.
- Mix up a batch of Grilled Flank Steak Dry Rub, using 2 tablespoons of each ingredient. Use it to season tonight’s steak, reserving 1 tablespoon for Vegetarian Chili on Day #3.
- Cook 1 & 1/2 to 3 cups of dry rice according to the package instructions. 1 & 1/2 cups will give you enough to make a generous amount of rice and beans. Serve rice and beans tonight and reserve the leftovers to serve with Steak Tacos on Day #2. If you wish to serve Vegetarian Chili over rice on Day #3, cook 3 cups of rice.
- Follow this recipe for Perfect Sautéed Vegetables to cook 6 bell peppers, 2 large yellow onions, and 2 pounds of asparagus. Serve half of the vegetables tonight. Combine the remaining bell peppers and onions in a container and reserve in the refrigerator for Steak Tacos on Day #2. Reserve the remaining asparagus for Pasta with Sausage and Vegetables on Day #4.
- Grill 4-6 pounds of steak. How much you grill really depends on how much you think your family will eat. An average serving is 1/2 to 3/4 pound per person. Make enough for dinner tonight with 2 pounds left over for tacos on Day #2.
- Make rice and beans: Add the rice and about 2 cups of beans to a saucepan set over low heat. Ladle in about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid from the beans. Cook just long enough to heat through, stirring frequently. Taste and adjust seasoning. Reserve leftovers to serve with Steak Tacos on Day #2.
To Get a Jump on the Rest of the Week:
- Prepare a double batch of Pico de Gallo. Reserve in a covered container in the refrigerator for Steak Tacos on Day #2 and Vegetarian Chili on Day #3.
- Follow the first step in the recipe for Vegetarian Chili to roast, peel, and chop the poblano peppers and onions. Combine in a covered container and reserve in the refrigerator. This meal prep task can be done the night you make the chili, but doing it now will save you 10-15 minutes.
- Follow the instructions in the Vegetarian Chili recipe to cook tortilla strips. You might want to fry up a few extra because it’s impossible not to snack on these while you make them. 😊
- Grate 1 or 2 cups of cheese to top Vegetarian Chili.
- If you completed all the meal prep tasks on Day #1, tonight’s steak tacos will be on the table in about 15 minutes. Simply follow the recipe to warm the tortillas, reheat the steak, sautéed red peppers, onions, and rice & beans you cooked on Day#1, pull the Pico de Gallo from the refrigerator and dinner is served.
- If you didn’t get through all the meal prep tasks on Day #1, the only thing you have to do besides warm up the steak, sautéed veggies, and tortillas, is make the Pico de Gallo. Do this before preparing the tacos, making a double batch so that you have enough left over for Vegetarian Chili on Day #3.
- If you completed all the meal prep tasks on Day #1, tonight’s meal, including the cornbread, will be on the table in under 1 hour, with your hands-on time being much less than that. If you didn’t complete all the tasks on Day #1, it won’t take you much longer.
- If you haven’t already roasted the poblano peppers and onions, do that first because they’ll need time to cool. (Follow the first step in the recipe instructions.)
- Get the cornbread batter mixed up so that you can let it bake while you prepare the chili. (Or, enlist a helper so one of you can make the chili and the other can make the cornbread.)
- If you haven’t already, while the chili simmers, grate 1-2 cups of cheese and follow the instructions in the recipe notes to fry some tortilla strips while the chili simmers on the stovetop.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Pasta with Sausage and Vegetables
- Tonight’s meal comes with a bonus tutorial: Pasta Making with Judy (Pasta Making 101). My friend Judy is a pasta making queen, so using her tutelage to create this “how-to” post was a no-brainer. Making homemade pasta is, of course completely optional. If you’ve never made fresh pasta, and have the inclination, the tutorial will walk you through the ins and outs of pasta making. Fresh pasta is nothing more than flour and eggs, and requires only the patience to knead dough and run it through a pasta machine. It’s superior in flavor and nutrition. But, it does take some time. If you don’t have time, just use purchased dried egg fettuccini noodles.
- Remember the leftover sautéed asparagus you cooked on Day #1? Pull that out of your refrigerator, you’ll need it for this pasta dish.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Cornbread Salad with Sausage and Tomatoes
- This recipe takes full advantage of the leftover Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread you reserved from dinner on Day #3, coming together quickly and delivering strong on flavor and color. It is a surprisingly unique way to use up leftover cornbread that might have you making cornbread just so you can make this salad.
This Week’s Featured Cocktail: Pepper Blossom
Gin, St. Germain, grapefruit juice, sliced Jalapeño, and fresh basil come together for a deliciously balanced and refreshing blend of spicy, sweet, and sour.
Suggestions for the Baker:
- Mini Lime Pound Cakes
- Cherry Turnovers with Cream Cheese and Almonds
- Raspberry Fig Tart
- Strawberry Cake with Pistachio Buttercream
Several of this week’s recipes require a large skillet and a heavy bottom saucepan. If you don’t have these two items, here are the ones I suggest. If you’re planning to try your hand at homemade pasta, I highly suggest investing in a pasta machine. I’ve made homemade pasta without one and it’s a pain in the you-know-what.
There are probably a lot of good pasta machines out there, but the one below is what I use, and I recommend it highly. A food processor makes quick work of chimichurri sauce, amongst many other things. It’s another appliance in my kitchen that I don’t know what I’d do without.
- Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Cuisinart Large Non-Stick Skillet
- Marcato Atlas Pasta Macine
- Cuisinart Food Processor