The Foolproof Weeknight Meal Planning feature is a new weekly series on Smells Like Home which maps out fantastic family-friendly meal ideas for busy weeknights. You’ll usually find at least one meatless option and you’ll always find a delicious dessert…because we all need a little sweetness in our lives!
cheesy broccoli quinoa with sriracha and poached eggs: If you can’t turn down a poached egg, this dish is for you. Underneath your favorite runny egg sits a bowl of spicy quinoa that’s been baked in a luscious cheese sauce. The broccoli is just an added bonus here and it rounds out the meal really nicely.
Tip: Feel free to add whatever veggies to make your family happy. Peas, asparagus, corn, roasted red peppers, and tomatoes would all be great! And skipping the sriracha (hot) sauce is totally ok too – the quinoa without the sauce is still amazing!
healthy turkey tacos: These turkey tacos are a little different from the norm. There’s a little brown sugar and cider vinegar added, both of which add a tiny hint of sweetness to the turkey and boost the flavor of the tacos exponentially, especially with the contrast of some heat from the chili powder. These are our go-to tacos!
Tips: To free up your weeknight, cut up your taco toppings a day or two ahead and store them in small bowls or 4-ounce mason jars in the fridge. These homemade refried beans are a perfect side dish to these tacos and they only take a few minutes to whip up while the taco meat cooks.
panera’s mac and cheese: Never have you met a stove top mac and cheese recipe until you’ve met this one. A copycat of the famed Panera version, this one is EASY and QUICK (15 min) to make at home and you’ll end up with unforgettable white cheese sauce that nestles itself into the shells and wraps itself around the spoon.
Tip: Per serving, this mac and cheese is less expensive than the store-bought version and much healthier to boot since you can easily use skim milk to make the sauce!
buffalo chicken salad with creamy avocado ranch dressing: The chicken for this salad is deceptively healthy! While buffalo chicken is traditionally and deliciously fried, this chicken is panko-crusted and baked. From start to finish, you’ll need about 30 minutes to prep this meal – perfect for a busy weeknight!
Tip: If the buffalo sauce is too much for your family’s tastes, skip it. The chicken tenders on their own are major winners even without the sauce!
friday night pizza
pizza alla vodka: If you’re like me and you can’t resist penne alla vodka on restaurant menus, this pizza is for you. Topped with a quick and simple vodka sauce (adapted from one of my all-time favorite pasta recipes), mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, hot Italian sausage, and roasted tomatoes, this pizza may just replace your favorite pasta dish!
Tip: The recipe for this sauce will make about twice as much as you’ll need for this pizza. Freeze the extra sauce for a future pizza or a quick penne alla vodka dinner…or use it to dip your pizza in – a truly excellent idea!
don’t forget about dessert!
peanut butter cheesecake swirl brownies: A quick one-bowl dark chocolate brownie recipe goes into the baking pan and then a creamy peanut butter cheesecake batter gets dolloped and swirled in. The result is magic and these brownies are always a big hit on whichever table they show up on!