What to cook for dinner this week:
1.) Simple Roast Chicken with Sautéed Asparagus and Mustard Potato Salad 2.) Cream of Asparagus Soup 3.) Taco Salad with Pork Carnitas 4.) Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Pineapple Coleslaw 5.) Black Bean and Tomato Soup 6.) Cocktail: Hibiscus Tea Margaritas
If you’re not familiar with this blog, here’s the basic idea:
Using some of the same ingredients in multiple dishes throughout the week is the key to getting delicious, wholesome, good for you, home cooked meals on the table several nights of the week. The recipes in each 5-day meal plan include some prep-work for another meal later in the week.
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 with each meal building on the previous night’s efforts. A little = a lot.
If you’d rather cook three meals instead of five this week...
If three home cooked meals is more your style this week, Days #1,# 2, and #5 - OR - #3, #4, and #5 work well together, with one meal building from the next. Please note that the grocery list below is for all 5 meals.
Before you grocery shop: This week's meal plan includes instructions for cooking homemade chicken broth and dried black beans in the slow cooker. You'll find details for how to make slow cooker chicken broth in the meal prep instructions for Day #1 and details about making slow cooker black beans in the meal prep instructions for Day #2. Both are super simple to do, requiring only a few minutes of prep work and letting your slow cooker do the rest.
However, you can use prepared chicken broth (or water or vegetable broth) in Cream of Asparagus Soup on Day #2 and Black Bean Tomato Soup on Day #5, or canned black beans for Taco Salad on Day #3 and Black Bean Tomato Soup on Day #5. Just adjust the shopping list accordingly.
You also have the option of making homemade croutons to top Cream of Asparagus Soup on Day #2 or purchasing a package of prepared croutons.
Meal Prep, Day by Day
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 couple of hours on Sunday to make getting dinner on the table that much easier the rest of the week.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: [sg_popup id="5108" event="click"]Simple Roast Chicken[/sg_popup], [sg_popup id="5111" event="click"]Sautéed Asparagus[/sg_popup], and [sg_popup id="5114" event="click"]Mustard Potato Salad[/sg_popup].
Roast one or two chickens depending on how much your family will eat and whether or not you'd like some leftover chicken in your refrigerator or freezer. This week's meal plan won't use any leftover chicken in any other recipe, but if you think it might be nice to have some roast chicken in your refrigerator for lunch, or if you like having roast chicken in the freezer, roast two or more.
You'll notice in the Roast Chicken recipe that there are two different methods. Both methods create perfect roast chicken for minimal time and effort. However, one does require you to soak your chicken in a buttermilk marinade for at least 24 hours. If this is the method you choose, be sure to get your chicken in the marinade at least 24 hours before you plan to roast it.
If you'd like more information about each roast chicken method as well as information about how to truss and salt a chicken, please take a look at this post: 2 Fool Proof Methods for Roast Chicken.
- Don't forget to reserve the bottom portion of tonight's asparagus stalks in a zip top bag or other container in the refrigerator. You'll use them in Cream of Asparagus Soup on Day #2.
- Reserve leftover potato salad to serve with Pulled Pork Sandwiches on Day #3.
After Dinner Meal Prep:
- [sg_popup id="5118" event="inherit"]Make Chicken Broth.[/sg_popup] After dinner, if there's any leftover chicken, pick it off the bones and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Use the chicken bones to make this [sg_popup id="5118" event="click"]ultra simple chicken broth[/sg_popup], letting it cook in the slow cooker overnight (stovetop instructions are included in the recipe if you'd rather go that route.). You'll use it to make Asparagus Soup on Day #2 and in Black Bean and Tomato Soup on Day #5. The next morning, strain the broth from the bones. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
To Get an Even Bigger Jump on the Rest of the Week:
- If you make the [sg_popup id="5121" event="click"]Pineapple Coleslaw[/sg_popup] and [sg_popup id="5124" event="click"]Mustard Sauce for the Pulled Pork Sandwiches [/sg_popup]today, they will only take about 10 minutes to get on the table on Day #4. Making the Pineapple Coleslaw ahead of time is especially useful because the recipe calls for allowing the vegetables to dry out for a while before tossing them with the pineapple and dressing.
- If you plan to make [sg_popup id="5127" event="click"]Homemade Croutons[/sg_popup] to top Cream of Asparagus Soup on Day #2 (and I sincerely hope you do!), you might want to make those today. You can also make them on Day #2 while the Asparagus Soup simmers away on the stove.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: [sg_popup id="5130" event="click"]Cream of Asparagus Soup.[/sg_popup]
- Use the chicken broth you made on Day #1 for this soup along with the bottom portion of the asparagus you reserved. Reserve remaining chicken broth for Black Bean Tomato Soup on Day #5.
- If you didn't make [sg_popup id="5127" event="inherit"]homemade croutons[/sg_popup] on Day #1 and want to make them today to top your soup, do so while the soup is cooking.
Optional After Dinner Meal Prep:
- [sg_popup id="5133" event="click"]Slow Cooker Black Beans[/sg_popup]. If you like, get a batch of Slow Simmered Black Beans in the slow cooker tonight, letting them simmer overnight. This will take you about 5 minutes of prep work and give you beans for 2 meals this week far superior to canned. Reserve in a covered container in your refrigerator. These will be used for Taco Salad on Day #3 and Black Bean and Tomato Soup on Day #4.
- Get the [sg_popup id="5139" event="click"]Slow Cooker Carnitas[/sg_popup] for tonight's taco salad going in the morning. They'll take around 6-8 hours on high, 8-10 hours on low. I've also let them cook in the slow cooker overnight on low, allowing me to just pull the tender pork from the slow cooker in the morning, throw it in the refrigerator, and finish it up that evening. So, you could start them in the slow cooker the night before if you prefer.
- Use about 2 cups of the slow simmered black beans you made on Day #1. Reserve the rest for Black Bean Tomato Soup on Day #5.
- If frying tortilla strips for tonight's taco salad, double the amount called for in the recipe, reserving the extra for Black Bean Tomato Soup on Day #5. If using tortilla chips, reserve the leftover chips for the soup.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: [sg_popup id="5124" event="click"]Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Pineapple Coleslaw[/sg_popup]
- If you made the Pineapple Coleslaw and Mustard Sauce on day #1, these sandwiches will take about 10 minutes to get on the table. If not, no worries. Thanks to using the leftover Pork Carnitas from Day #3, they'll be on the table in the time it takes to slice vegetables for the coleslaw, toast some buns, and whisk together the mustard sauce.
- If you didn't make the Pineapple Coleslaw ahead of time, do that first, as early in the evening as you can. The recipe calls for allowing the vegetables to dry out a bit before tossing with pineapple and dressing.
- Serve tonights pulled pork sandwiches with leftover Mustard Potato Salad from Day #1.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: [sg_popup id="5143" event="click"]Black Bean Tomato Soup[/sg_popup]
- Tonight's black bean tomato soup will come together in about 20 minutes, thanks to those leftover black beans you made earlier in the week.
- If you have time, consider making a batch of homemade tortillas to serve with this soup. Homemade tortillas are surprisingly easy and sooooo good dipped in warm bowls of this soup.
This Week’s Featured Cocktail: Hibiscus Tea Margaritas
- Stainless Steel Strainer (To strain Cream of Asparagus Soup)
- Crock Pot Slow Cooker (for making homemade chicken broth, black beans, and pork carnitas)
- Roasting Pan (To roast chicken)
- Cuisinart Non-stick skillet (a non-stick skillet is used in multiple recipes)
Suggestions for the Baker:
- Classic French Napoleon
- The Fluffiest Blueberry Pancakes
- Soft and Chewy Vanilla Sugar Cookies
- Triple Berry Plum Pie
[checklist-box title="Shopping List, Weekly Spring Meal Plan #4" extraTitle="*Ingredient amounts are based on a family of 4" extraUrl=""]
*Does not include ingredients for suggested baked goods.
- 1 or 2 whole roasting chickens (see note in the prep list for Day #1)
- 4 pounds asparagus
- 6 limes
- 2 bunches fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 bunch green onions (scallions)
- 12 - 16 oz fresh cherry tomatoes
- 3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
- 3 medium yellow onions
- 1 medium size red onion
- 1 bunch green onions
- 14 cloves of garlic
- 1 jalepeno
- 16 oz. (1 lb) dried black beans (or 6 cups canned black beans - see note in preparation instructions for Day #2.)
- 3 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 tablespoon ground cumin
- 4 tablespoon ground oregano
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ cup yellow mustard
- 1 cup dill pickles
- ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup white distilled vinegar
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 8 ½ cups vegetable stock, or chicken stock (For Asparagus soup and black bean and tomato soup. Only purchase if you don't plan on making homemade slow cooker broth. See the note in the prep instructions for Day #1.)
- 2 teaspoon black strap molasses
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon of hot sauce
- 1 cup salsa or picante sauce
- 1 small can chipotle in adobo peppers
- One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
- One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
- 1 lb thick cut bacon
- 1 large, or 2 small boneless pork shoulder roasts, 8-10 lbs total
- 9 eggs
- ½ cup sour cream (optional topping for Black Bean Tomato Soup)
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 loaf French, Italian, or Sourdough bread (If you plan to make homemade croutons for Cream of Asparagus Soup. You can also used purchased croutons.)
- 4-6 kaiser rolls
- 1 ½ cups dry white wine (For Cream of Asparagus Soup and Black Bean and Tomato Soup. Can use chicken broth instead.)
- 2 cups beer (For Pork Carnitas. Use any kind of beer except “light”. Can use chicken broth instead.)
- 16 corn tortillas (To make fried tortilla strips to top Black Bean Tomato Soup and Taco Salad. Can use a bag of tortilla chips instead. )
- 1 cup corn oil (disregard if using tortilla chips instead of fried tortilla strips on Black Bean Tomato Soup and Taco Salad)
- 1 cup Olive oil
- Salt and peper
- 2 teaspoon sugar
For the Hibiscus Tea Margarita:
- 4 oz Hibiscus Tea
- About 1 tablespoon coarsely ground salt
- 3 oz pure agave tequilla
- 1 oz orange liquor, preferably Cointreau
- 2 oz Rose’s lime juice
- Chilled sparkling water or club soda
- A couple of lime and orange slices for garnishment (optional)