21 Ready-to-Go Meal Ideas

Welcome to the Weekly Meal Planner! Whether you work all day and are out of steam when the dinner hour hits, or are fresh out of  ideas and in a cooking rut, we are here to make your life easier. Note: We’ll include tips for picky eaters and easy food swaps if you don’t have an ingredient on-hand. 

The holiday season is officially here, which means you are busier than ever and need quick, easy, or make-ahead meals. Let’s get started!

Meatless Monday

Lunch: Grilled Vegetable Couscous Salad is great hot or cold and can easily be made over the weekend to enjoy early in the week. Just add whatever veggie you like. If it’s too cold to grill, you can roast the veggies, tossed with EVOO and salt and pepper, in the oven at 425 F for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through.

Dinner: Take it easy for dinner tonight with Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese. If the kids aren’t fans of pumpernickel bread, use the bread of your choice. Sourdough or a country wheat would both be delish.

Dessert: Ooey Gooey Jam Jar Bars scream holiday but are a treat any time of year.


Lunch: Tuna Pasta Salad is an old favorite that you can make with ingredients you probably have on-hand.

Dinner: Chipotle Chicken Thighs with Chunky Guacamole is an unexpected recipe – a chicken stew topped with cool guacamole. Chipotle chilis can be quite spicy, so if you’re cooking for kids who don’t like spice, feel free to omit it. Looking to make the recipe even easier? Top with store-bought guacamole and add a squeeze of lime juice to brighten the flavor.

Snack: Hazelnut Orange Biscotti is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of tea or coffee.


Lunch: You won’t miss the bread with these Satay Lettuce Wraps. Sautéed pork or chicken is combined with an easy, homemade peanut sauce and nestled in lettuce cups. Yum.

Dinner: Pasta Night! Penne with Turkey and Broccolini will be a huge hit with kids – you can’t go wrong with pasta, turkey, broccolini, and parmesan cheese! Feel free to swap in ground chicken for the turkey or broccoli for the broccolini.

Snack: Super Nachos with Butternut Queso lighten up traditional nachos with pureed squash in the cheese sauce. Your kids will never know!


Lunch: Grilled Cheese Bar: The BLT and Cheddar combines two classic favorites into one amazing sammie!

Dinner: Skip the food truck and make your own take-out at home with healthy and delicious Spanish Fish Tacos.

Snack: Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn is a sweet take on this movie night favorite.


Lunch: Packed with veggies, Greek Salad with Yogurt Dressing is a flavorful lunch. You can top with leftover chicken for some added protein.

Dinner: It’s sandwich night with these Sliced Steak Caesars. They’re deluxe flank steak sandwiches that are special enough for entertaining, but quick and easy to make.

Dessert: S’More Bars Part Deux are part rice krispie treat, part ‘smore, and 100 percent decadent.

Entertaining Saturday

Brunch: You’ll never be intimidated by crepes again with this foolproof method: Easy Crepes. Set out your favorite toppings, and let your family and guests go to town. Fruit, chocolate sauce, maple syrup and whipped cream are all perfect accompaniments.

Dinner: Chicken with Apples is an affordable but elegant meal. Be sure to serve it with lots of fresh bread to mop up the delicious sauce.

Cocktail: Kick off Saturday night with John’s Blood Orange Margarita.

Family Sunday

Brunch: Banana bread and bacon in a french toast casserole? That’s what you’ll enjoy with this Monkey Bread French Toast Casserole. Prepare it the night before and bake it Sunday morning for an easy crowd-pleaser.

Dinner: Sunday supper is a classic dish with a twist – Beef Goulash with Blue Cheese. If you’re feeding a big crowd, the recipe easily doubles.

Dessert: Treat your family to New York Style Cheesecake, because who doesn’t love cheesecake? You can make it a few days in advance for a stress-free Sunday.

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Rachael Ray