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Spring Weeknight Meal Plan and Shopping Guide

Spring Weeknight Meal Plan and Shopping Guide

Stuck in a weeknight dinner rut? Here are four of my favorite recipes to add to your lineup this week.

Dinner 1: Weeknight Minestrone Soup


  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Onion, chopped
  • 3 Carrots, chopped
  • 2 Celery Ribs, chopped
  • 1/2 lb Green Beans, trimmed and cut
  • 2 Zucchini, sliced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 28 oz can Diced Tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Russet Potato, peeled and cubed
  • 6 cups Kale, chopped and loosely packed
  • 14.5 oz can Chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tbsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 inch Parmesan Rind
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, celery, green beans and zucchini for about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften and sweat.
  2. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in diced tomatoes with juice and stock. Bring to a simmer, then add next 6 ingredients (potato through Parmesan rind). Continue to simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with grated Parmesan and a slice of bread.

Prepping ahead?: Chop the onion, carrot, celery, green beans and zucchini up to 3 days ahead. Store in a sealed container (together is fine) and refrigerate. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also make the soup in advance.

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Weeknight Minestrone Soup.

Dinner 2: Asian Salmon Patties with Teriyaki Mayo

Patty Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup Green Onion, minced
  • 3 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 3 tbsp Orange Juice
  • 2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Orange Zest
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 2, 14 oz cans Wild Salmon, drained
  • 3/4 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Sesame Seeds, optional

Teriyaki Mayo Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Orange Juice
  • 2 tsp Teriyaki Sauce


For the patties:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the patty ingredients through ground ginger. Drain salmon and remove any bones. Add salmon and panko and fold in with the wet ingredients (it’s easiest to do this with your hands).
2. Add eggs and continue to fold everything together until well combined. Shape into 6-8 patties.
3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot (oil should be shimmering), add patties in a single layer and allow to sear. You may need to cook two batches.
4. Cover (to minimize splatter) and cook for 4 minutes.
5. Flip and cook for 3-4 additional minutes.
6. Top with Teriyaki Mayo.
7. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve with raw or quickly steamed sugar snap peas.

For the Teriyaki Mayo:

1. In a small dish, whisk together mayonnaise, orange juice and teriyaki sauce.

Prepping ahead?: Prepare the salmon patty mixture up to 2 days ahead and refrigerate. Shape the patties just before cooking them. The mayo sauce can also be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Asian Salmon Patties with Teriyaki Mayo.

Dinner 3: One Pan Arroz con Pollo Verde & a Simple Salad


  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless Chicken thighs (about 12)
  • Ground Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 cup White Rice
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup Salsa Verde
  • 1 cup Mexican Cheese Blend, finely shredded
  • Cilantro, chopped


  1. Season chicken on both sides with cumin, salt and pepper.
  2. In a cast iron skillet or heavy pan with lit, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot (and shimmering), add chicken in a single layer and allow to sear (without moving it) for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 additional minute. Remove from pan and set aside. (*Chicken is not fully cooked.)
  3. Add butter to the pan and once melted, stir in cooked rice and toast for 1 minute.
  4. Add broth and salsa and bring to a simmer.
  5. Whisk in cheese, stirring for about 30 seconds. It does not need to be completely melted.
  6. Return chicken to the pan in a single layer, nestling into the rice.
  7. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand, covered for 5 minutes.
  8. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Tip: Do not worry if it looks like there is extra liquid on the top. This is key to a creamy rice! Simply stir to incorporate. It will thicken as it cools.

Prepping ahead?: Prep any salad fixings, if desired. This is a great way to use any remaining fresh vegetables. Washed and dried lettuce can last up to a week in the fridge.

Click Here to Print the Recipe for One Pan Arroz con Pollo Verde.

Repurposing Leftovers

Stretch leftover soup into another meal by serving it with turkey sandwiches, grilled cheese or a simple green salad.

Back-Up Recipe: Creamy Chickpea Salad with Crackers & Fruit

For those nights when things don’t go according to plan, having a few pantry and fridge staples on hand can help you get dinner on the table in under 10 minutes.


  • 2, 14.5 oz cans Chickpeas, drained
  • 1 Celery Rib, finely chopped
  • 2 Green Onions, minced
  • 1/3 cup Vegan Mayo
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  1. In a food processor, pulse beans 10-20 times or until finely chopped, but not pureed. You want texture!
  2. Transfer beans to a medium bowl and fold in remaining ingredients. Check taste for seasoning and add additional lemon juice, if desired.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve on toasted hearty whole grain bread or with fruit and crackers.

Prepping ahead?: You can prep the creamy chickpea salad up to 4 days in advance. Keep tightly covered in the fridge.

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Creamy Chickpea Salad.

Click Here to Print the Complete Weeknight Dinner Plan and Shopping List.
Each recipe serves 4.

Carolyn Hodges

By Carolyn Hodges

Carolyn is a mom of boys and culinary dietitian in Cleveland, Ohio. The Dinner Shift is dedicated to helping busy moms get dinner on the table after the weekday grind, however that is defined for you and yours.

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