7-Day Dinner Plan: Cook Once, Eat Twice

By: Victoria Seaver, M.S., R.D., Digital Meal Plan Editor

Get dinner on the table quickly and easily this week by using leftovers in multiple recipes.

Being strategic with your weekly dinner menu can seriously help cut down on time spent in the kitchen and make weeknights easier. In this dinner plan, we set you up with recipes that let you cook once and eat twice by using leftovers in multiple recipes throughout the week. With a portion of each recipe already prepared and ready to eat, you'll be able to get a quick and healthy dinner on the table every night this week.

Sunday Meal Prep

Follow these meal-prep steps you can do on a Sunday to get prepped for the week ahead.

Step 1: Chop Veggies & Cook the Squash

Prep for Tuesday night's meal, Slow-Cooked Ranch Chicken & Vegetables, by chopping the vegetables and cooking the spaghetti squash. Refrigerate the chopped veggies together and the spaghetti squash separately until ready to use.

Step 2: Cook the Pasta

Thursday night's dinner is Chipotle Ranch Chicken Casserole, which uses leftovers from Tuesday plus cooked pasta. You can cook the pasta ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 3: Make a Big Batch of Rice

Make a double batch of Easy Brown Rice to use on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

Step 4: Roast Some Veggies

Cook the Sheet-Pan Roasted Root Vegetables for dinner on Sunday. Save the leftover veggies to use on Monday.

Sunday: Honey-Garlic Salmon with Sheet-Pan Roasted Root Vegetables & Easy Brown Rice

Honey-Garlic Salmon with Sheet-Pan Roasted Root Vegetables and Easy Brown Rice: A simple marinade of soy sauce, lime, honey and garlic adds tons of flavor to salmon with ease. Paired with simple brown rice and colorful root veggies to serve on the side, this balanced dinner is easy and delicious.

Meal-Prep Notes: Plan to make a double batch of the brown rice so you have enough left over to use for dinner on Wednesday and Friday. Save the remaining roasted root veggies to have for dinner on Monday.

Monday: Roasted Root Vegetables with Goat Cheese Polenta

Roasted Root Vegetables with Goat Cheese Polenta: This is true healthy comfort food—a bowl of soft, creamy polenta topped with warm roasted vegetables infused with garlic and sage. Here, you'll use up the rest of the Sheet-Pan Roasted Root Vegetables that you made on Sunday. Note that the recipe as written serves two, so you'll want to double the recipe if you're cooking for more (don't worry, you already have enough leftover veggies to serve four).

Tuesday: Slow-Cooked Ranch Chicken & Vegetables

Slow-Cooked Ranch Chicken & Vegetables: This creamy, veggie-packed chicken dinner comes together easily in your slow cooker—and makes enough for another night's casserole (see associated recipe)! Having prepped the veggies and spaghetti squash ahead of time on Sunday means this dinner will take even less time to prepare on Tuesday. Simply finish the remaining steps in the morning, turn on the slow cooker, and dinner will be ready to eat when you get home that evening.

Meal-Prep Notes: Save the remaining vegetable-sauce mixture and shredded chicken (Step 7) to use for the Chipotle Ranch Chicken Casserole recipe on Thursday.

Wednesday: Easy Saag Paneer with Easy Brown Rice

Easy Saag Paneer with Easy Brown Rice: The paneer cheese in this fast and easy dinner doesn't melt when it cooks. It browns instead, giving a toothsome texture to this Indian classic packed with spinach and spices. Serve this dish over the brown rice you cooked on Sunday.

Thursday: Chipotle Ranch Chicken Casserole

Chipotle Ranch Chicken Casserole: Simplify weeknight dinnertime by transforming leftover slow-cooked chicken (from the Slow-Cooked Ranch Chicken & Vegetables recipe on Tuesday) into an easy, cheesy casserole. Serve with a mixed green salad with Creamy-Cilantro Avocado Dressing.

Meal-Prep Notes: You'll use the Creamy-Cilantro Avocado Dressing again for dinner on Saturday. There will be plenty of dressing left over, so plan to use it up on lunch salads this week.

Friday: Quick Shrimp Fried Rice

Quick Shrimp Fried Rice: Skip the takeout and make this lightened-up, veggie-packed 30-minute fried-rice recipe instead. Use up any leftovers from the brown rice that you made on Sunday.

Saturday: Southwestern Salad with Black Beans & Creamy Cilantro-Avocado Dressing

Southwestern Salad with Black Beans and Creamy Cilantro-Avocado Dressing: If you already made the Creamy Cilantro-Avocado Dressing for Thursday's meal, you can ignore the first eight ingredients in the salad recipe (as those are for the dressing). Toss the tangy, creamy cilantro-avocado dressing with crisp romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes and black beans for a flavorful, fresh dinner salad (that also makes a great leftover lunch for the next day). If desired, top the salad with crumbled tortilla chips for added crunch.

Watch: How to Cook Once & Eat Twice

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