Plan Your Week: 21 Delicious 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. 

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, and now there’s one more holiday week to go with 2014 on the horizon. We’ve included some suggestions for New Year’s meals, as well as some extra entertaining ideas. Let’s get started!

Meatless Monday

Lunch: Caesar Soup is an inventive take on a lunchtime favorite.

Dinner: No one will miss the meat when you serve this cheesy pasta bake: Spinach and Artichoke Baked Whole Grain Pasta.

Dessert: With three ingredients (puff pastry, chocolate hazelnut spread, and cinnamon), Chocolate Cinnamon Pinwheels are a no-fuss winner.

Tuesday (New Year’s Eve)

Lunch: Treat friends and family to a special soup for lunch: French Onion and Wild Mushroom Soup. Don’t forget the cheesy toasts for dipping!

Dinner: Well-Deserved, Well-Dressed Individual Beef Wellingtons with Steamed Broccoli Spears is the perfect special-occasion meal for the holiday. Store-bought puff pastry and mousse pâté make this impressive dinner surprisingly easy.

Cocktail: Treat your guests to a Prosecco Cocktail with Berries.

Wednesday (New Year’s Day)

Brunch: Feed a crowd with this spicy Panzella Strata – it pairs perfectly with a special Bloody Mary (see link to cocktail below).

Dinner: Baked Penne with Sausage, Tomato and Cauliflower is a comfort-food special. Make it a day or two in advance, and just pop it in the oven at dinnertime. If you’re feeding a crowd, this recipe easily doubles (or triples!).

Cocktail: Pickle Juice Bloody Mary is true to its name – pickle juice steps up the traditional brunch cocktail.


Lunch: Cheeseburger Salad is a no-carb favorite and comes together in a flash.

Dinner: Use the white fish of your choice and make some zesty Serrano-Wrapped Fish with Crispy Potato Hash.

Dessert: Cake Shakes are a sweet surprise – German chocolate cake in a glass!


Lunch: Healthy and Flavor-Filled Soba Salad is light and delicious. Make it early in the week and enjoy all week-long.

Dinner: It’s Burger Night! Enjoy BLT Burgers with Swiss and Russian-Style Aioli with Garlic and Herbs. If you don’t have time to make homemade mayo, doctored-up, store-bought mayo is just as tasty.

Snack: Cheese Fries can’t get much easier (or more delicious!). Pair frozen fries with a quick homemade cheese sauce.

Entertaining Saturday

Brunch: Crispy Hash Brown Waffles are terrific topped with applesauce and sausage on the side.

Dinner: Take it easy tonight with Zinfully Delicious Short Ribs. They are even better when you make them a day in advance so the flavors have a chance to develop.

Snack: Forget the same old chips and dip, and prepare this Apple Bacon Cheddar Crostini for an easy “wow.”

Family Sunday

Brunch: French Toast Grilled Cheese With Apples is an inventive brunch combining two old favorites. Keep it easy and use the cheese and bread you have on-hand.

Dinner: The family will love the cheesy mashed potatoes in Paprika Turkey Shepherd’s Pie. It’s a complete meal! Omit the peppers for spice-averse kiddos.

Dessert: End the holidays with a bang, and enjoy an old-fashioned Coconut Cream Pie.

What's Fresh from @RachaelRay

Rachael Ray