What to cook for dinner this week:
1.) Meatballs in Marinara Sauce, 2.) Homemade Meatball Pizza with Pepperoni, 3.) Tomato Salad with Basil Whipped Ricotta, 4.) Meatball Sandwiches with Provolone, 5.) Indian Shrimp and Rice 6.) Cocktail: Cucumber Gimlet with Mint
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.
Your Meal Plan for This Week:
- Spaghetti and Meatballs in Marinara Sauce, tossed salad
- Homemade Meatball Pizza with Pepperoni
- Tomato Salad with Ricotta, served with croutons and French bread
- Meatball Sandwiches, tossed salad
- Indian Shrimp and Rice
(A shopping list for this week’s meals is at the bottom of this page)
- Spaghetti and Meatballs in Marinara Sauce
- Quick, Homemade Pizza Dough
- Homemade Meatball Pizza
- Tomato Salad with Ricotta
- Homemade Croutons
- Meatball sandwiches
- Indian Shrimp and Rice
- Cucumber Gimlet with Mint
Meal Prep, Day by Day
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Spaghetti and Meatballs in Marinara Sauce, tossed 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. 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:
- Make Spaghetti and Meatballs in Marinara Sauce. Reserve 2 cups of the marinara sauce (no meatballs) for Indian Shrimp and Rice on Day #5. Reserve the remaining leftover meatballs in the marinara sauce for tomorrow's Meatball Pizza and Meatball Sandwiches on Day #4.
- Make a large chopped salad, enough for two nights, using whatever vegetables you like. While you're at it, dice an English cucumber and 1 red bell pepper. Put them together in a container and store in the refrigerator for Tomato Salad, on Day #3.
- If you're planning to make this week's featured cocktail, the Cucumber Gimlet with Mint, reserve 5 slices of the English Cucumber, which is what you'll need for 2 drinks.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Homemade Meatball Pizza with Pepperoni
- The pizza dough in this recipe mixes up quickly, doesn’t need much kneading time, and only requires about 1 hour to proof before it’s ready to use. After that, it’s just a matter of assembling and baking your pizzas.
- The dough can be mixed in the morning and allowed to proof all day in the refrigerator, if that better suits your schedule. Mix the dough in the morning, put it in a bowl, cover tightly, and place it in the refrigerator until that evening. About 30 minutes before you want to bake your pizzas, remove the dough from the refrigerator, allow it to come to room temperature, and you’re good to go.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Tomato and Cucumber Salad and Basil Whipped Ricotta, with croutons and French bread.
- If you want to top your tomato salad with homemade croutons, use some of the French bread to get those going before making the salad. Croutons are one of those things that are so simple to make and taste much better than anything you can purchase, that they are pretty much always worth it. Simply slice up some bread, toss the cubes with some olive oil and spices, spread out on a cookie sheet and bake.
- Other than the croutons, tonight's dinner will come together in about 15 minutes. Less, if you chopped the red peppers and cucumbers on Day #1.
- If you have leftover ricotta, save it for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes this weekend.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Meatball Sandwiches, Tossed Salad
- Thanks to the work you did making homemade meatballs and marinara sauce and extra salad on Day #1, tonight's dinner is another meal that will be on the table in under 15 minutes.
What’s for Dinner Tonight: Indian Shrimp and Rice
- Use the 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 dish goes nicely with this week's featured cocktail, the Cucumber Gimlet with Mint.
This Week's Featured Cocktail: Cucumber Gimlet with Mint
Suggested Recipes for the Baker:
- Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Cream
- Blackberry Crisp with Cardamom, Almonds, and Pistachios
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce
- For Meatballs and Marinara Sauce: A Dutch Oven and Broiler Pan
- For Homemade Meatball Pizza: Rectangular Pizza Stone and Bamboo Pizza Peel
- For Tomato Cucumber Salad with Whipped Ricotta: Food Processor
- For the Cucumber Gimlet: Cocktail Shaker and Muddler
Shopping List, Weekly Winter Meal Plan #3
*Does not include ingredients for suggested baked goods.
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 shallot
- 17 garlic cloves
- 1 cup fresh minced parsley
- 1 ½ cups fresh minced basil
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes - OR, whole tomatoes
- 1 English cucumber
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 limes
- 2 tablespoon fresh ginger
- Whatever veggies you like in a tossed salad - enough for two nights
- 1 or 2 large loaves of French, Italian, or Sourdough bread (If planning to make homemade croutons on Day #3, purchase two. Otherwise, one will suffice.)
- 4 French rolls or hoagie rolls
- 1 lb ground beef, 85% lean
- 14 oz ground Italian sausage, spicy or sweet, depending on how spicy you like your meatballs
- Pepperoni and/or any other pizza toppings you might want
- 1 ½ lbs raw shrimp, frozen (already peeled and deveined, if possible)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese
- 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 8 slices provolone cheese
- Three 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes (Preferably fire roasted)
- 2-3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 5 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 3 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 ¼ cups olive oil
- 2½ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 3½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 cups cake flour (OR - 2 more cups all-purpose flour + 4 tablespoon cornstarch.)
- 4 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Salt and pepper
- ¾ cup dry red wine (for the marinara sauce)
- For the cucumber Gimlet: 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh mint, 5 oz gin, 4 oz Rose’s lime juice, sparkling water or lemon lime soda
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