What to cook for dinner this week:
1.) Simple Roast Chicken with Sautéed Asparagus and Mustard Potato Salad 2.) Cream of Asparagus Soup and Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwiches 3.) Taco Salad with Pork Carnitas 4.) Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Pineapple Coleslaw 5.) Black Bean and Tomato Soup 6.) Cocktail: Hibiscus Tea Margaritas
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.
- 5-min Prep Roast Chicken
- Perfect Sautéed Asparagus
- Mustard Potato Salad
- Simple Homemade Chicken Broth
- Cream of Asparagus Soup
- Homemade Croutons
- Perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- Slow Simmered Black Beans
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Taco Salad with Pork Carnitas
- Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Pineapple Coleslaw
- Pineapple Coleslaw
- Black Bean Tomato Soup
- Cocktail: Hibiscus Tea Margaritas
(A shopping list for this week’s meals is at the bottom of this page)
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.
Whatever day of the week you choose as your “Day #1”, here’s your meal prep task list:
- 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.
- Sauté 3 lbs of asparagus. To prep the asparagus, snap each stalk in half wherever it breaks naturally. Sauté the tops of the stalks for tonight’s dinner. Reserve the bottom portion of the stalks in a zip top bag or other container in the refrigerator. You’ll use them in Cream of Asparagus Soup on Day #2.
- Make Mustard Potato Salad. The recipe makes 8 servings, so for a family of 4, you’ll have enough to serve tonight plus plenty left over to serve with Pulled Pork Sandwiches on Day #3.
- 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 chicken bones to make ultra simple chicken broth, letting it simmer on the stovetop or in the slow cooker overnight. You’ll use it in Cream of Asparagus Soup on Day #2. The next morning, strain the broth from the bones. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Make a batch of Slow Simmered Black Beans in the slow cooker. This will take you about 5 minutes of prep work and give you beans for 2 meals this week far superior to canned. Cook the beans on high for about 4 hours or on low for 6-8. 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.
To Get an even bigger Jump on the Rest of the Week:
- If you make the Pineapple Coleslaw and Mustard Sauce today, Pulled Pork Sandwiches will 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 Homemade Croutons 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.
NOTE: The grilled cheese sandwiches are completely optional. The combination of Cream of Asparagus Soup and Grilled Cheese sandwiches is positively delicious. But, the soup makes a hearty meal all on its own.
- 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 homemade croutons on Day #1 and want to make them today to top your soup, do so while the soup is cooking.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Taco Salad with Pork Carnitas
- Get the Slow Cooker Carnitas 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: Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Pineapple Coleslaw
- 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: Black Bean Tomato Soup
- 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
Suggestions for the Baker:
- Quick, Simple Caramel Cupcakes
- Chocolate Banana Sourdough Bread Pudding
- Blackberry Cardamom Crisp
- Triple Berry Plum Pie