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Free Weekly Meal Plan – Family Dinner Menu Ideas (Week 1)

free weekly meal plans and dinner ideas

I’m going to start off the New Year with a new feature of my blog – free weekly family meal plans!

Do you spend more time figuring out what to make for dinner than actually making dinner?  Do you reach for the takeout menu because you just can’t make up your mind on what to cook?  Do you waste time aimlessly roaming the grocery store in search of dinner inspiration, just to realize that you forgot to buy something when you get home?

Look no further!  Even if you use only some of my meal ideas (you can pick 3 out of 5 and count on leftovers), you’ll be all set for delicious easy homemade dinners this week!

  • 5 easy and tasty dinner recipes every week!
  • Recipe photos to get you excited about making dinner!
  • Printable shopping list that you can take to the grocery store with all recipe ingredients!
  • Best of all, it’s completely FREE!
  • I even throw in 1 weekly dessert recipe for a sweet treat!

I plan on publishing my weekly menu plans on Mondays, so please don’t forget to check back next Monday for week 2.  If you’d like to receive e-mail reminders when the new recipes and meal plans are posted, please fill out the form below:

Get Melanie's FREE Weekly Meal Plans And Recipes In Your Inbox!




Get Melanie's FREE Weekly Meal Plans And Recipes In Your Inbox!

FREE Family Meal Plan – Week 1

Monday Dinner Idea – Easy Chicken Teriyaki

easy chicken teryaki recipe

This delicious chicken teriyaki is a universal favorite!  Yummy chicken pieces cooked in a sweet & salty sauce, and served over rice.  This recipe features a made-from-scratch teriyaki sauce created in 1 minute by mixing together 4 ingredients: soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and mirin (Japanese rice wine).  Or you can opt for a shortcut – a bottled teriyaki sauce found in a supermarket Asian isle (next to the soy sauce).  This recipe is super easy and crowd pleasing – enjoy!

Recipe link: How To Make Chicken Teryaki

Tuesday Dinner Idea: Slow Cooker Beef Stew

how to make beef stew in a crockpot

This slow cooker beef stew recipe is a lazy cook’s dream – it uses only 2 ingredients (beef and onions) and is cooked in a crockpot!  Just throw in the beef and sliced onion in a slow cooker, and come home in the evening to a delicious dinner!

Recipe Link: Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Wednesday Dinner Idea: Vegetarian Pasta With Cherry Tomatoes And Ricotta Cheese

vegetarian pasta recipe with cherry tomatoes

I like to select Wednesday as a vegetarian meal day, to mix it up and break away from meat in the middle of the week.   Even meat eaters will love this pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, creamy ricotta cheese and grated Parmesan cheese!  Delicious!

Recipe Link: Vegetarian Pasta Recipe With Cherry Tomatoes And Ricotta

Thursday Dinner Idea: Easy Simple White Fish

easy simple white fish recipe

You are going to love this super-simple 5-minute recipe!  Tender white fish fillet is simply pan-fried with a little oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.  That’s all there is to it 🙂  You can serve it with rice, potatoes or simple green salad – easy, healthy and tasty!

Recipe Link: How To Cook White Fish

Friday Dinner Idea: Chicken Quesadillas

chicken quesadillas reciped

This recipe is made with rotisserie chicken – just shred the chicken, add the cheese and chicken to the tortillas and cook until golden brown on each side!  Super easy recipe that takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish, so you can get dinner on the table faster than you can order takeout!

Recipe Link: Chicken Quesadillas Recipe

Weekly Dessert Idea: Best Chocolate Brownies

how to make chocolate brownies

Who doesn’t love chocolate brownies?  Soft, chewy, sweet and chocolaty – amazing!  This is my favorite brownie recipe, and once you try it, it will be the last brownie recipe you ever need!

Recipe Link: Best Chocolate Brownie Recipe


Meal Plan Shopping List


Chicken Teriyaki

  • 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast or chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin (Japanese rice wine, usually sold in the same isle as the soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

  • 2 lbs cut-up beef (labeled “beef stew” in a supermarket)
  • 8 onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Vegetarian Pasta With Cherry Tomatoes And Ricotta Cheese

  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 bunch  fresh basil leaves
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Easy Simple White Fish

  • 1 lb white fish fillets
  • 2/3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil

Chicken Quesadillas

  • 8 flour tortillas, taco size
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (or 1 lb cooked chicken)
  • 1 package (8 oz) shredded cheese
  • 1 tbsp oil

Chocolate Brownies

  • 1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
  • ⅔ cups of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
36 replies
  1. Danielle
    Danielle says:

    What a fun idea to have a weekly meal plan series! I’m a huge planner when it comes to dinners for the week. I’m loving your Easy Chicken Teriyaki recipe too!

    Reply
  2. Lisa @ Chocolate Meets Strawberry
    Lisa @ Chocolate Meets Strawberry says:

    A fantastic idea Melanie, and I love what’s on this menu! We are big into meal planning in our house, too. We have a mini whiteboard that we plan the next week’s meals on in advance so we can buy exactly what we need for each meal when we do our shopping each week. It means less wastage and less time spent shopping – I like it! 🙂

    Reply
    • Melanie Mendelson
      Melanie Mendelson says:

      White board is a great idea, it’s an excellent visual of the menu! My kids constantly ask me what’s for dinner, so if I had a whiteboard I could just point to it 😀 Now I’m thinking about actually getting one!

      Reply
  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    I know so many people that love meal plans. I think they’re especially helpful if you have a family. I like the perverse notion of trying to figure out what to eat based on what is in the fridge. I don’t think that would work if you had kids though hehe

    Reply
  4. David @ Spiced
    David @ Spiced says:

    What a great new feature, Melanie! I’m totally digging all of these recipes…but that pasta one looks especially tasty. I think I might even have everything to make it. Awesome! 🙂

    Reply
    • Melanie Mendelson
      Melanie Mendelson says:

      Yes, meal planning is hard to stick to, but ironically it saves time in the long run – no extra trips to grocery store for forgotten ingredients, plus you can reuse old meal plans in the future. So meal planning is great for busy people!

      Reply

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