What to cook for dinner this week:
1.) Spinach Pasta with Baked Cod and Agrodolce and Spring Veggies 2.) Tahini Marinated Grilled Chicken with Couscous and Cucumber Tomato Salad 3.) Couscous Salad with Spring Vegetables and Agrodolce 4.) Thai Chicken Noodle Soup 5.) Perfect BLT’s with Special Sauce 6.) Cocktail: Gin Julep
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.
- Homemade Spinach Pasta
- Spinach Pasta with Simple Baked Cod and Agrodolce
- Sautéed Carrots and Asparagus
- Tahini Marinated Grilled Chicken
- Homemade Naan
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Couscous salad
- Thai Chicken Soup
- Perfect BLT’s with Special Sauce
- Cocktail: Gin Julep
(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:
- Tonight’s meal might look like something served up at a 3-star restaurant, but it’s incredibly easy and will take less than 1-hour unless you’re making homemade spinach pasta. My friend Judy got me hooked on pasta making and when I have a couple of extra hours in the afternoon, I find it an immensely satisfying activity. Adding some cooked spinach to the dough makes a gorgeously vibrant green dough and adds some subtle flavor. If making homemade pasta isn’t your idea of a fun afternoon, using a package of dried fettuccini is more than acceptable. If your market carries spinach fettuccini, use that. If not, just use plain.
- 1 batch of agrodolce makes more than you’ll need for tonight’s dinner. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator in a covered container. You’ll use it on Day #3 in Couscous Salad.
- Snap 2 lbs of asparagus spears in half, allowing them to break where they want to. If you like, put the bottom half of the stalks in a zip top bag and freeze for Cream of Asparagus Soup. Peel 6 large carrots and slice into strips that are 2-3 inches long and no thicker than a pencil. Follow the recipe for perfectly sautéed vegetables to sautéed the carrots and asparagus. You’ll probably need to cook them in batches so as to not over crowd the pan. Serve half the veggies tonight and reserve the other half for Couscous Salad on Day #3.
To get an even bigger jump on the rest of the week:
- If you’re planning to make Day #2’s dinner tomorrow, you can get the chicken marinating tonight. You can also put the chicken in the marinade in the morning. Either option is good. *Make a double batch of this chicken. Leftovers will be used in Thai Chicken Soup on Day #4.
- Fresh Cucumber Tomato Salad (Day #2) only takes about 10 minutes to make. But, sometimes saving 10 minutes on a weeknight when everyone is starving and you’re feeling tired is a big deal. So, make it today if you think it will help tomorrow evening run smoother.
- Prep the onion and cauliflower for Couscous Salad on Day #3. Store each separately in the refrigerator.
- Thai Chicken Soup on Day #4 calls for 1 tablespoon of Thai Spice Blend. If you’ve cooked your way through previous Spring Meal Plans, you might have some of this spice blend in your spice cabinet, left over from other dishes. If not, you might want to prepare some today, which will save you some time on Day #4. Alternatively, you can use any purchased Thai spice blend.
*Make a double batch of this chicken AND a double batch of couscous. Leftover couscous will be used in Couscous Salad on Day #3. Leftover chicken will be used in Thai Chicken Soup on Day #4. (Double the amount of marinade to accommodate the extra chicken, but there is no need to double the amount of tahini sauce that is poured over the cooked chicken.)
- If you put the chicken in its marinade last night, you’ll only need to get the chicken on the grill tonight. If not, mix up the marinade and get the chicken soaking in it in the morning so it has plenty of time to soak up all those flavors before you throw it on the grill in the evening.
- Warm Naan is the perfect accompaniment to tonight’s middle eastern inspired meal. Most supermarkets cary it, and it needs only to be warmed in the oven and (perhaps) brushed with a bit of melted butter before serving. But, if you have time, consider making some naan from scratch. It’s one of the fastest, easiest homemade breads to make and soooo tasty.
- Reserve leftover chicken and couscous in covered containers in your refrigerator for Couscous Salad on Day #3 and Thai Chicken Soup on Day #4.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Couscous Salad with Spring Veggies and Agrodolce
- Because you already have agrodolce, sautéed carrots and asparagus, and cooked couscous in your refrigerator, leftover from meals earlier in the week, tonight’s dinner will be on the table in no time.
- It’s important that the agrodolce be at room temperature before adding it to this salad. Either let it sit out at room temperature for an hour or so or heat it in the microwave for 10 seconds. Stir, and if it’s still quite cold, heat it for another 10 seconds.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Thai Chicken Soup
- Using the chicken you reserved from Day #2 in this flavorful soup, means that this flavor packed soup will be on the table in under 30 minutes.
- If you are using this homemade Thai Spice Blend and didn’t make it on Day #1, prepare it before starting on the soup.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Perfect BLT Sandwiches with Special Sauce
- This is one of those meal plans for which you probably have some odds and ends leftover from previous meals. Tonight is the night to get them out. BLT sandwiches are satisfying all on their own, but will also be tasty served alongside a scoop of couscous or cucumber tomato salad, or a small bowl of Thai chicken and noodle soup.
This Week’s Featured Cocktail: The Gin Julep
Suggested Recipes for the Baker:
- Sheet Pan Frosted Brownies
- Olive Oil Cake with Mascarpone Cream
- Blueberry Crumb Cake
- Strawberries and Cream Pie