Weekly Meal Planner: Budget-Friendly Edition

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.

This week, we are focusing on tasty meals that pack a punch but won’t break the bank. Think: Exotic meatloaf (yes, it exists!), breakfast for dinner (always a favorite!), and budget-friendly chicken (a classic!). Delicious meals don’t have to mean expensive ingredients.

Let’s get started!

Meatless Monday

Lunch: Curried Squash Soup with Apple and Cheddar Melts will be your new favorite soup and sandwich combo.

Dinner: Quick Bean and Porcini Ragu is vegetarian comfort food at its finest.

Snack: Your favorite dip in a potato! Spinach Artichoke Potato Skins are great as a side dish, too.


Lunch: Whip up some Mini Meatball Soup with Broken Spaghetti and Escarole over the weekend and enjoy throughout the week. Swap in your favorite greens – like spinach or kale – for the escarole if you’d like.

Dinner: Golden Lemon-Olive Chicken with Pine Nut Couscous is both delicious and practical – you can prep it over the weekend and finish it off a day or two later for an easy weeknight meal. No saffron on-hand or too pricey? Omit or use a tiny pinch of paprika or turmeric (not too much or you will ruin the dish!) instead.

Snack: Don’t let the name fool you. Breakfast Cookies also make a terrific – and healthy – snack.


Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Salad couldn’t be easier when you have a rotisserie or leftover chicken on-hand. Serve it on a bed of lettuce for a lighter lunch.

Dinner: Breakfast for dinner is always fun – and affordable. Black Pepper Reggiano French Toast with Italian Sausage Patties and Warm Honey is definitely a crowd pleaser.

Dessert: Cowboy Cookies are sweet and salty, crisp and chewy – and super delicious.


Lunch: Arugula and White Bean Salad with Lemon Dressing is a light, yet satisfying, lunch.

Dinner: A steak dinner that doesn’t cost a fortune, Flatiron Steak Soba calls for an affordable cut of beef and puts the steak in a supporting – rather than starring – role. If you can’t find flatiron, use flank or skirt steak. Feel free to sub in any mushrooms you can find at your supermarket, including porcini or baby portabella.

Snack: Vegetable Nachos Supreme are healthy and delicious. Skip the chiles if you like your nachos mild.


Lunch: Lasagna Stoup. It’s lasagna in a soup bowl. Need we say more?

Dinner: A Pizzanini (or a pizza panini) is a fun Friday night dinner that’s ready in a snap.

Dessert: Super-Soft Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies will be a new family favorite. You might want to make a double-batch, since these treats go quickly!

Entertaining Saturday

Brunch: Overnight Cinnamon Coffee Cake is easy to put together the night before for a warm – and easy – weekend breakfast.

Dinner: Prosciutto- or Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Roast with Fennel and Golden Raisin Stuffing is a restaurant-worthy meal you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

Cocktail: Move over G&T! Surprise your guests with John Cusimano’s Ramos Gin Fizz.

Family Sunday

Brunch: Croque Monsieur with Fresh Spinach may look (and taste!) upscale, but is just as easy to prepare as your favorite French toast. Feel free to swap-in ham for the prosciutto and your favorite cheese for the Gruyère.

Dinner: Skip the same old Sunday meatloaf and serve this Asian-Style Meatloaf for a tasty twist.

Dessert: No-Bake Peanut Butter Fudge Pie is decadent but worth every calorie!

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