It’s time to think about planning dinners for next week, and if you’re as tired of cooking (and meal planning) as I am, then I think you’ll love this entirely no-cook weekly meal plan.
No, this isn’t transitioning you to a 100% raw diet. But we’re looking for shortcuts that will make dinner prep so easy this week and into the summer, and these 5 family dinner recipes absolutely help.
So grab a pen, or open up your AnyList app and let’s plan out meals for next week!
A charcuterie board
A huge charcuterie board like, like this one at Katy’s Cookin is an easy, fun switch-up for dinner. Your kids will love getting to pick their own favorite finger foods from the platter, and you don’t have to stand over the heat while you cook. Bonus: your kids can help you arrange this one, and you’ll feel like a bona fide Martha Stewart when you’re done.
Also worth reading: Our 8 tips for how to make an impressive cheese plate with basic supermarket ingredients, which helps you work with items that are affordable and readily available to you, wherever you are.
A MYO salad bar
Honestly, it may not be the first idea you think of for little kids, but a big salad bar is an easy dinner they’ll like, I promise. Our kids choose all their favorite toppings — even if they don’t let them touch on the plate, and uh, don’t even eat the lettuce or salad dressing. And hey, we get to eat the fresh green salad with the works.
Add some grilled chicken from leftovers, pulled chicken from a rotisserie bird, or even chopped up chicken tenders from the grocery deli, and you’ve got a hearty meal the whole family will love.
A dinner-ready sandwich bar
One of my most vivid food memories as a kid was when my grandparents would come visit and my mom would prepare a spread with every kind of deli meat, cheese, sandwich veggies, bread, and sauces — like, Grey Poupon, you all. It was fancy. A sandwich bar is still a favorite dinner now, because everyone gets to fix exactly what they want, and there are so many options!
You could set out store-bought chicken salad or egg salad, chicken tenders from the deli, or really put in some effort and actually cook a grilled cheese. Chips and fruit on the side (or, leftover salad fixings from the night before ) and you’re set!
Related: 5 delicious $10 meals for summer
If your kids are adventurous eaters, go ahead and make these Spicy Salmon Poke Bowls from Jessica Gavin for the whole family to enjoy. They’re packed with flavor and healthy fats and amino acids, and her recipe requires just 5 ingredients…and no cooking! Over the warm summer months, it may join your weekly rotation of dinners.
And hey, if this is not in your kids’ wheelhouse, you can always make them leftovers or microwave some chicken nuggets (or uh, they could do it themselves) then add some of the carrots and edamame from your poke bowl as sides on their plate.
One of my go-to dinners when I don’t feel like cooking is taco bowls. All you have to cook is the rice — use a rice cooker or hey, buy the microwaveable version — then add in your favorite ingredients. This vegetarian taco bowl at Peas and Crayons can be your starting point. Then, any other taco bowl toppings you have on hand that you love with your Mexican food, from avocado to kidney beans.
I like her cauliflower-walnut mix, but to truly make it a no-cook recipe, you can swap in leftover rotisserie chicken or cooked ground beef from the fridge. Or, just use beans! Like I said, it doesn’t get easier than this.