7-Day Menu Planner: Week 1

This week's planner is a perfect family-pleaser. The week starts with an easy vegetarian meal for meatless Monday, works over the hump with super quick and easy recipes, celebrates the arrival of the weekend with burger and fries and culminates with a delicious Sunday night family meal.

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Sometimes, just thinking about what to make for dinner is a challenge. Below you’ll find seven great ideas for your week of dinners, just so you don’t have to make all the decisions yourself! Like what you see? Just click on the “Grab Your Shopping List Here” button above and you’ll be ready to head off to the grocery store or place your online delivery. Things are getting easier and easier…

(The planned menu and grocery list has quantities for a family of four. You can alter the recipe quantities by clicking on the plus or minus buttons next to the serving size on the recipe card.)

Monday: Parmesan Risotto with Caesar Salad

Whether you make special plans for meatless Monday or not, it’s always a good idea to cut meat out of your diet at least one day a week. This week’s dinner of Parmesan Risotto and Caesar Salad could become a family favorite and is much easier to make than you think. If you’re going vegetarian for this meal, be sure to use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. You could add vegetables to the risotto if you choose. As for the Caesar Salad, there are two ways to make the dressing – the classic way with egg and a lighter version using yogurt.

Tuesday: Chicken Tortilla Soup

It’s Taco Tuesday… only we’re not having tacos. Close enough though and a lot less messy to eat! This delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup is made in minutes in a pressure cooker (yes, you can make it on the stovetop, just cook it for 30 minutes and be prepared to add another ½ cup of chicken stock to the pot if it gets too thick) and is a satisfying meal with two types of nutritions beans. Serve it with more tortilla chips, some guacamole and salsa.  

Wednesday: Easy Glazed Pork Chops

On hump day, we just want dinner on the table quickly. This recipe for Easy Glazed Pork Chops is the easiest way to get delicious, tender and juicy chops to that destination. There are only four ingredients in the simple glaze that graces the surface of these thick-cut chops – it doesn’t get much easier than that! Serve these chops with quick air-fried Potatoes and Green Beans. No air-fryer, no problem, but it will take you a little longer. Roast the potatoes on a sheet pan in a 425ºF oven for  25 minutes, add the green beans, tossing well, for another 15 minutes. 

Thursday: Instant Beef and Macaroni

Here’s a fan favorite to get you one day closer to the weekend – Instant Beef and Mac. This one pot meal is one of my most popular pressure cooker recipes. No need to boil pasta separately for this dinner – the noodles, vegetables and sauce cook altogether in just 6 minutes of pressurized time. Just enough time to get the kitchen cleaned up and the table laid before dinner is served. For the stovetop variation, I would cook the pasta and sauce separately and omit the beef stock from the sauce, simmering for about 30 minutes.

Friday: Spicy Black Bean Turkey Burgers

Yay! It’s the weekend. Let’s kick it off with some burger and fries. The Spicy Black Bean Turkey Burgers are topped with a guacamole-like spread and you can choose what type of fries you’d like to go with them: Homemade French Fries, Cajun friesSkinny Fries or even Zucchini Fries if you’re feeling ambitious. All these fries are made guilt-free in your air-fryer, but they can be deep-fried on the stovetop until golden brown, or oven baked at 425ºF for about 30 to 35 minutes, tossing regularly. 

Saturday: Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner

You might feel like making Saturday night’s dinner special or keeping it casual and this recipe for Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner can work with either mood. To dress it up, remove the chicken breasts, slice them and shingle them on the plate with the lemon orzo and spinach and perhaps  some cooked asparagus on the side or a leafy green salad. Or, keep it simple and just spoon it onto a plate. Either way, you’ll only have the one pot to clean up at the end. It’s quick so that you have more of your Saturday to enjoy.

Sunday: Three Cheese Ziti al Forno

This night’s recipe requires a little more work, but boy is it worth it! There are a three components to this Three Cheese Ziti al Forno – a creamy meat sauce made with Italian sausage (but you could substitute any ground meat), the pasta and three cheeses. Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses are pretty easy to find. If you can’t find Fontina cheese, you could try any Swiss cheese or even a Monterey Jack. Go for blocks of cheese that you can grate yourself because they melt better than pre-grated cheeses. 

Featured Recipes

Apply your skills with these tasty recipes.

Cooking School
Easy Glazed Pork Chops

This easy method for cooking pork chops in a skillet is hands down the best way to cook pork chops....
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Parmesan Risotto

The two most important parts of making a Parmesan risotto are the two main ingredients. Arborio rice is traditionally used...
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Beef and Macaroni

This is one of my most popular pressure cooker pasta recipes. It's similar to what many Americans from the northeast...
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Spicy Black Bean Turkey Burgers with Cumin-Avocado Spread

These turkey burgers do have a little kick to them. If you’re not one for spicy foods, just eliminate the...
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Comments (9)Post a Reply

  1. Chef,
    I would like to thank you so much for your generous contribution of time and ideas to make many of our lives easier. I am always happy to see recipes that use the Instant Pot and the Air Fryer as I use them every day. I always look forward to seeing your email. You are such a great caring person. Thank you.

  2. Love this idea and the recipes look terrific.
    Can the Parmesan and risotto be done in the IP? I love cooking anything in IP.

  3. Since I have been the meal planner for almost 60 years, I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have someone else make suggestions for delicious meals along with the video instructions on how to prepare them. I also want to mention how delighted I am to watch your live cooking segments.

  4. Chef I want to thank you for being so generous with your time and sharing your wonderful recipes with us. I don’t use an Instant Pot however I still make the recipe only use my stovetop to make it and it comes out just as good as I’m sure it would be if I ever had the guts to use an Instant Pot! Thank you! Please send us more of your wonderful recipes. God Bless you and please stay safe during this horrible virus we have going around Co-Vid19. Blessings!

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