This coming week (and maybe a few weeks after that), I need meal planning to be a bit easier. In fact, I need every one of my responsibilities to be a little easier — don’t we all? So I’m putting together a meal plan of five super easy recipes that are also big on flavor.

I’ve said it here before, but I actually do make every one of the recipes in my meal plans and feed them to my crew of four. The recipes I share with you have to pass both my expectations and my family’s before I can recommend them to you.

My hope is that these meal plans inspire you, but also save you time looking for recipes that “work.”

And if f you ever have any suggestions, recipes or food blogs you think I should check out, please comment below or post about it in our Recipe Rescue group on Facebook. I love finding new recipes! And sharing is caring right? LOL.

So grab your pen, paper, or open up that AnyList app and let’s make an easy, delicious meal plan for next week.

Top: Minestrone Soup from TheRealFoodRds and The Best Easy Meatball Recipe by Butter Be Ready

Minestrone Soup from TheRealFoodRds

We are kicking off Meatless Monday this week with the incredibly hearty Minestrone Soup recipe from TheRealFoodRds. My meat-loving family absolutely devours this soup, and it comes together in a snap. Like a 30-minute snap. I really do not enjoy mushy pasta, so I throw the cooked pasta in individual bowls before ladling in the soup. And if you have vegans in the family, feel free to skip the parmesan cheese. It’s still got a lot of flavor.

Related: 10 easy 5-ingredient soup recipes to get you through cold nights

Angela's Fish Tacos from The Kitchenista Diaries

Taco Tuesday doesn’t have to be hard. In fact the entire reason to have a theme night when you meal plan, is to make things easier when trying to come up with dinner ideas. Listen to the Spawned podcast episode with guest Amiryah Martin, for more tips like that to save you time.

So back to tacos,  Angela’s Fish Tacos from The Kitchenista Diaries has been a go-to recipe of mine for several years. Tilapia is a perfect fish for tacos because is not expensive, easy to find, and holds together while cooking. The fish doesn’t take long to marinade and this entire meal comes together in under 30 minutes.

A few tips: Using Greek yogurt in place of crema works beautifully, and I typically grab a bag of pre-shredded slaw mix to save even more time. Serve with your favorite Spanish inspired sides (rice, beans, guacamole, salsa, roast veggies….) and enjoy every bite.


The Best Easy Meatballs Recipe from Butter Be Ready

Do not fear the meatball! Meatballs are actually so easy, and make everyone so happy. The Best Easy Meatball Recipe by Butter Be Ready actually is the best easy meatball recipe. You can throw these into a pot with a jar of marinara sauce and serve with spaghetti, spaghetti squash, zoodles, whatever you like. In fact last week, I forgot to buy pasta so I toasted up some english muffins, piled on the meatballs, poured a little marinara sauce over and topped with mozzarella cheese. Then a few  minutes under the broiler and we had mini-meatball pizzas.

Tip: You will want to let these meatballs sit in the fridge at least 4 hours (or overnight) before cooking, so my suggestion is to roll them out in the morning while kids are Zoom-schooling and then they will be ready to cook when you are.

That is, the. meatballs. Not the kids.

Related: 7 easy Ideas to improve your jarred tomato sauce

Easy Clam Chowder from Damn Delicious

My kids love clam chowder but I always thought it was something you only ate when you were on vacation on the coast. Then I found this Easy Clam Chowder recipe from Damn Delicious, and now we eat clam chowder at least twice a month. Last week, I was cooking it up and my daughter yelled “this is the best night of my life!” So there’s that.

Truly this recipe is beyond easy and so good. Chopped clams are only about $3 a can, so it’s budget friendly as well. Oyster crackers are really the only side you need; but if you want to be super fancy, grab some small sourdough rounds, scoop out the middle, and serve your chowder in a bread bowl.


Fully Loaded Brisket Tater Tots from Dude that Cookz

What carb-lovers among us do not crave the tots? That’s why Fully Loaded Brisket Tater Tots from Dude that Cookz is a perfect way to end the week. This meal is also an easy one to prep, and comes out bowl-licking delicious. I suggest you grab a pre-cooked brisket from your local BBQ restaurant (besides, it’s good to support local restaurants!), or you can always look for one in the deli/hot food section of your local grocery store. Trader Joe’s carries a fully cooked beef brisket that is quite good, or you could even substitute Jack Fruit for vegetarians in the family.

One warning: This meal is addictive. Meaning that I eat way more than I probably should, but wow, it is worth every calorie.

Follow our Weekly Meal Plan Ideas for Families board on Pinterest @CoolMomEats for even more ideas.
And have a good, safe week, everyone! – Lisa