Weekly Meal Planner: 21 New 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. 

This week, we’re featuring recipes that are in-season and affordable. Asparagus, one of our favorite veggies right now, is absolutely delectable, while pantry staples like ham are priced well and add salty and delicious accents to any dish. Plus, we’ve chosen five fantastic weekday lunches that are perfect for brown bagging.

Don’t know what to cook? Need help with a recipe? Feel free to ask us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Meatless Monday

Lunch: Farro with Asparagus is a fabulous Meatless Monday – or any day – lunch. Bonus – it’s perfect for brown bagging, too!

Dinner: Comfort food is on the menu tonight. A cheesy sauce tops spaghetti squash in Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti Squash. The sauce is a tasty topper to pasta, gnocchi or tortellini, too.

Dessert: Melon Melba Bowls is a healthy dessert you can feel good about – seconds please!


Lunch: Curry Chicken Salad (Version 2) is perfect on its own or enjoyed as a sandwich, wrap or lettuce wrap.

Dinner: Welcome to stress-free Tuesday! Chicken, Ham and Potato Hot Pot is a fantastic one-pot meal that you can make over the weekend and reheat when you are ready to serve.

Dessert: Mini Muffin Jelly Doughnut Bites are a fun activity to do with kids. Bonus – you have a few for a sweet addition to a healthy breakfast tomorrow (if you can hide some)!


Lunch: Whip up a batch of Mini Meatball Soup with Broken Spaghetti and Escarole and enjoy it for lunch all week-long. If you’re not an escarole fan, use the greens of your choice – kale, spinach and arugula would all be delish. 

Dinner: Serve some simple grilled steaks or chicken with these special Mashed Potatoes with Soft Cheese and Herbs. A weeknight-friendly dish, there’s no need to make them at the last minute – the recipe provides instructions on how to hold the taters until you are ready to eat.

Snack: Three ingredients is all it takes to make a sophisticated snack – Stuffed and Wrapped Figs.


Lunch: Artichoke Frittata is a fantastic make-ahead lunch that is equally delicious at room temp or  served cold – another brown bag favorite.

Dinner: Pasta with Grape Tomatoes, Ham and Peas is an affordable, family-friendly dish that comes together in a flash.

Snack: Red French Bread Pizza is a quick and easy after school snack!


Lunch: Toasted Hazelnut and Shredded Carrot Salad is perfect as-is or topped with roasted chicken or turkey.

Dinner: TGIF! Treat your family to this meal-in-a-sandwich: Sliced Steak Club Subs with Horseradish and Herb Sauce.

Snack: Foolproof Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread is an easy-to-bake snack, breakfast or even dessert everyone will love. Plus, the recipe makes two loaves so you can freeze one for later.

Entertaining Saturday

Brunch: Quick and Easy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes are a healthy twist to your everyday flap jacks.

Dinner: Barbecue season is upon us, so there’s no better time to grill Moroccan Rub Lamb Chops. The homemade rub makes this dish one you will serve again and again.

Cocktail: Treat your guests to something different. John’s Tomato Margarita is the ideal balance of sweet and salty.

Family Sunday

Brunch: Egg-Battered Asparagus, Ham and Cheese Sandwiches are the perfect, anytime all-in-one meal.

Dinner: Celebrate Family Sunday with oven-fried chicken with a kick – Baked Devil’s Chicken. Bonus: This dish is wonderful warm, room temp or cold. 

Dessert: Very Berry Smash with Meringues and Sorbet is an impressive no-bake dessert. Fresh fruit and some assembly required make it a special, seasonal treat.

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Rachael Ray