A Month of Meals: Spring/Summer Version

I've been meal planning for about.. how long have I been married?... 8 years now! 
And it's hard work!
I mean ok... not like Navy Seal hard work... but still.
It takes a lot of time and prep and organization. But I had quickly found that I needed to plan out meals ahead of time if my family wasn't going to starve to death, because it turns out I'm not particularly good at coming up with many dinner ideas on the fly when it's 5pm and I'm hungry. WEIRD.

It's taken years to perfect and tweek, based on our family's likes and eating habits, but I've gotten to the point where I have a large enough list of meals in my rotation, that throwing together a meal plan for a few weeks in advance is fairly simple, and I've been able to help some friends with their own planning as well.

So because I know what a pain it can be to come up with new dinner ideas so that we're not eating spaghetti or pizza every night (although WOULD THAT BE SO WRONG?), I thought I would share a hypothetical meal plan that I threw together to post here.

A plan like this isn't too far off from how I cook most nights of out the week, excepting of course when we do actually do spaghetti or pizza or leftovers or I cook something new. (Which is why I only did 5 days per week, assuming you do the same.)
Even if you don't cook the same style as a lot of these recipes- whether you prefer meals as homemade and from scratch as possible OR you'd prefer meals with as many quick, easy convenience foods as possible (I tend to be a balancing act of both!)- you can modify pretty much any of these to your taste and the amount of time/effort you want to put in with it.
Use it as a basic structure and go from there.

Just FYI, all of these recipes are either ones that I've personally tried or ones that are essentially how I cook that meal, that I wanted to show you a helpful recipe/tutorial for.
As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are the food bloggers,
for they shall feed the internet. 

Ok, here we go!

Week 1

Day 1- Pesto Chicken Tortellini

Like I shared in the recipe I posted for this, it's my favorite lazy dinner to make.
Perfect for Mondays.

Day 2- Taco Salad


Sometimes I make extra meat on taco night, then freeze it and bust it out for Taco Salad the next week. Here's a deliciously loaded recipe from A Spicy Perspective.

Day 3- Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Rice Pilaf

I love throwing colorful kebabs on the grill during summer, and serving them next to rice pilaf and a salad. Heres a recipe for Hawaiian Kebabs from Cooking Classy and one for Rice Pilaf at Erren's Kitchen.

Day 4- Shrimp Scampi

This lemony, buttery, garlicky goodness with a kick of heat is one of our favorites! 
Here's a great recipe for it from Damn Delicious.

Day 5- BBQ Pulled Pork with Cilantro Slaw and Chips

Whether you make her Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork or you just throw a pork shoulder and a bottle of BBQ sauce in the crockpot - definitely top it off with her divine Cilantro Slaw - from The Pioneer Woman.

Week 2

Day 1- Fish Tacos

Confession: Sometimes I make fish tacos with fish sticks. And so can you!
Here's a recipe for a simple but not-from-the-frozen-section version at Delish.
(But make sure to drizzle on Johanna's Lime Crema that I posted about HERE.)

Day 2- Sesame Noodles with Steak

This is another favorite from The Pioneer Woman.
Make extra sauce, marinade a steak in it, then grill it up, and serve it sliced up on top of the noodles. Sooooo good.

Day 3- Stromboli with Caesar Salad

Stromboli is a staple in our house. (Anything that is basically pizza is a staple in our house.)
Here's a recipe for it from Simply Scratch, but feel free to use store bought pizza sauce for dipping or even a can of pizza crust from the refrigerated section.
(But my 
favorite is to use my friend Heidi's Breadstick Recipe for the dough.)

Day 4- Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I posted this one last month and think that it should be eaten as often as possible, especially in summer! See how to put them together again HERE.

Day 5- Grilled Bratwurst with Potato Salad

Not many foods are as summery as bratwurst. Here's a recipe on Mom 4 Real of how she does Beer Brats on the grill (looks amazing!)

Also, my sister-in-law, Katelyn, made the most incredible potato salad I've ever had in my life when we were visiting them a couple weeks ago and here's the recipe by Ina Garten.
(Except Katelyn omitted celery and added hardboiled egg, which was way better.)

Week 3

Day 1- Honey Siracha Chicken with Rice 

I love this dish and sometimes instead of rice, I use spiraled zucchini noodles tossed in some rice vinegar, which is so refreshing and a little more low-carb. Here's the recipe at Creme De La Crumb.

Day 2- Steak with Twice Baked Potatoes and Broccoli

Throw some steaks on the grill, make these beautiful twice baked potatoes from The Girl Who Ate Everything, serve with some steamed broccoli, and impress everyone.

Day 3- Baked Ziti with Salad

This simplified baked ziti from Smitten Kitchen has become one of my go-to's.
Serve it with a salad and a spicy Cabernet.

Day 4- Frittata with Biscuits and Fruit

Because of all the fresh eggs we get every day, I tend to do breakfast for dinner about once a week. I love making a quiche or frittata, like this one from Ally's Cooking, and then serving it with biscuits and jam, and some fruit on the side. 

Day 5- Carnitas Burritos

Mexican food is my true love, so I try to make a big Chipotle-style spread as often as I can get away with it.
Here's what I put on the table:

TortillaLand Tortillas
Carnitas from my friend Heidi at House-Wifery.
Cilantro Lime Rice from Skinny Taste.
Pinto Beans.
Pico De Gallo.
Sour Cream.
High Expectations.

(It never disappoints.)

Week 4

Day 1- Coconut Shrimp Curry over Rice

Now, I realize it's not exactly considered authentic Indian food when you learn to make it from a ranch wife in Oklahoma. BUT her recipe is so simple and basic, that if you didn't eat a lot of ethnic food growing up, dishes like these are a great place to start familiarizing yourself with the ingredients and flavors. I usually add chopped tomatoes to this Coconut Shrimp Curry by The Pioneer Woman.

Day 2- Chipotle Chicken Panini with Chips and Carrot Sticks

Paninis are one of my most cherished food groups. And then you add bacon and chipotle mayo and I'm officially in heaven.
Here's a great recipe from Sweet Tea and Thyme, and if you feel like not making your own aioli, you can always just snag some chipotle mayo from the store.

Day 3- Lemon Chicken Piccata over Angel Hair with Salad


One of my all time favorite pasta dishes, that is both delicious and beautiful.
Get the recipe at Cafe Delites.

Day 4- Steak Fajitas

I could probably eat steak fajitas every day for the rest of my life. But that probably wouldn't be healthy, so I try to only eat them every other day. (Kidding.)
This recipe from Little Spice Jar is quality stuff.

Day 5- Bonzai Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

The Bonzai Burger from Red Robin is the subject of many of my daydreams.
A teriyaki-glazed burger and a grilled pineapple slice snuck in with the regular condiments somehow transforms this burger into something that should go into a Hall of Fame.
Here's a copycat recipe from Blog Chef, and what I like to do is make a Sweet Chili Mayo (one part chili sauce + one part mayo) to put on the bun and then to dip the sweet potato fries in. GLORIOUS.

Well, that's a wrap. I hope this can be of a help and support to you, whether you use the whole thing, or just pick and choose a couple new recipes! 
If you have any questions about how to modify any of these recipes or about meal planning in general, feel free to comment or email me :)


  1. This is impressive. For real.
    1. You make these amazing meals
    2. You plan these meals regularly
    3. You understand the spices
    I would pick one of these meals for the weekend so Aubrey could try, then realize he won't eat it nor my girls which leaves one kid, so I would say forget it and make hot dish because...Minnesota!

  2. Tantalizing! Thanks for sharing!


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