I am so excited to be publishing our first meal plan! These weekly meal plans feature realistic meals made for real life. That means no crazy hard-to-find ingredients or super trendy fad foods, just real food for real families.
If you’re looking to simplify your life and become more organized, our meal plans are for you. You won’t have to scroll through endless recipes searching for something that looks good; the week’s menu and grocery list is ready to use.
Perhaps you’re looking for new ideas and recipes to freshen up your weekly rotation of meals. We hope that our meal plans will add a little excitement and novelty to dinnertime.
Each meal plan features 5 main dish recipes, as well as one bonus recipe. Feel free to choose the meals you want to try and skip the ones that don’t appeal to you. The meals can be made in any order, too, so if you want to make Monday’s meal on Friday, that’s just fine. The recipes serve 4 unless otherwise stated.
The bonus recipe will be something you can prep early in the week and enjoy all week long. It may be a recipe for breakfast, a healthy snack, or sometimes it will be a dessert. This week, the bonus recipe is a salad that keeps well in the fridge and which you could serve with multiple main dishes featured this week, or even pack it in your lunch.
Why meal plan?
- Meal planning simplifies your life and saves time. It takes the guesswork out of busy nights. It’s one less thing to think about each evening. You have a plan and all you need to do is execute it. Post the meal plan on the refrigerator so everyone knows what to expect. It’s a good way to get the family involved.
- Meal planning saves money. If you have a plan and buy only what you need from the grocery store, you’re much less likely to buy items you don’t need which may be wasted. You’re also less likely to eat out and that can save a bunch of money.
- Meal planning is healthier. Planning meals ahead gives you time to think about incorporating healthy vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains. In addition, preparing your own food at home is always healthier than dining out.
What makes Rachel Cooks Meal Plans different?
I know there are a lot of meal plans available. Some are free (ours are free!) and others cost money. So why choose ours?
- We plan them with a busy schedule in mind. Our main goal is to make these meal plans reasonable and realistic. That means we’re not just grabbing 5 random recipes and sending you off to the store with a ridiculously long grocery list. We think about what works well together and how to save you time. For example: In this week’s menu, you’ll cook a large amount of food on Tuesday (but with the same amount of effort), and the extra food (don’t call them leftovers!) is repurposed for a different meal on Wednesday. Two meals in one!
- Balance: As you probably already know, the majority of the recipes on Rachel Cooks are easy to prepare. However, some recipes just naturally have longer ingredient lists than others. We’re keeping that in mind, and balancing the more complicated recipes with simpler recipes that have shorter ingredient lists. And speaking of balance, we’ll often be featuring a meatless recipe on Mondays.
- Fun Fridays! We will take it easy on you every Friday (TGIF!) with a fun, easy-to-prepare meal. Think tacos, pizza, or other kid-friendly recipes you can throw together with a few store-bought shortcuts. This week we’re featuring English muffin pizzas.
- Categorized Grocery List: Not only is the grocery list categorized to make shopping easy, but it also indicates which day the ingredient is needed. That means if you aren’t eating home on Friday, you can easily go through the list and cross off the Friday ingredients. Maybe you think Monday’s recipe sounds…gross. We disagree, of course, but you can cross off those ingredients without having to comb through each recipe to figure out what you do or don’t need.
- Meal Prep/Make Ahead: Many of our recipes include ideas to get a head start on recipes. This is optional, of course, but sometimes doing a little meal prepping ahead of time (maybe on Saturday or Sunday) can make a huge difference on weeknights!
what to expect
This is our first meal plan. We’re planning to publish one a week, and we’ll be adding seasonally focused meal plans as well as some specialty meal plans (gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, etc.) down the road.
Each meal plan will be continue to be available after the week it’s published, so if you find a favorite, you will always be able to come back to it again and again!
How to use the meal plans
Here’s what you’re going to do!
- Print the meal plan along with the grocery list.
- Head to each recipe, and print the recipe. You can easily use the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the post if you like, or you can read the post for more information about the recipe. Many of our posts include information on how to make the recipe your own. If you plan to make changes, just remember to jot down what you need on the grocery list.
- Look at the grocery list and cross off any ingredients you already have or that are for recipes you don’t plan to make.
- Head to the grocery store to get your groceries. You’ll find that grocery shopping is less stressful and faster when you have a good list.
- Cook and enjoy! Don’t forget to share on social media when you make one of my recipes. I love to see that and often re-share your posts! I also really love and appreciate comments and reviews on the recipes. Always feel free to ask questions, too. We will answer them to the best of our ability.
Meal Plan #1
Here’s what you’ll be eating this week! Click here to download and print!
Monday: Vegetarian Chili – This recipe makes enough for a couple of lunches, too!
Wednesday: Loaded Baked Potatoes – On Tuesday, make twice as many potatoes as you’ll need for that meal. On Wednesday, shred the leftover pork, add BBQ sauce (store-bought or homemade BBQ sauce will work), and top your leftover potatoes with the BBQ pork and any other toppings you like.
Thursday: One Pan Sausage and Rice with Sweet Peppers – This is an easy meal with a short ingredient list. You’ll appreciate that the rice cooks in the same pan as the sausage and vegetables so cleanup is a snap.
Friday: English Muffin Pizzas – We recommend serving the individual pizzas with fresh vegetables and dip. We included veggie dip on the grocery list, but if you’re feeling ambitious, make homemade dill dip. It’s a super popular recipe, it’s healthy because it’s made with yogurt, and it’s very easy to make! Be sure to add the ingredients to your grocery list if you go this route.
Bonus: Cucumber Onion Salad