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MEAL PLAN #1: Five Easy Weeknight Meals

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This is meal plan #1 with five easy weeknight recipes that you can use for cheap and quick dinners. The meal plan includes all five recipes and a shopping list for you to download and print.

Meal Plan #1

This is Meal Plan #1 and includes five dinner recipes that use cheap and easy ingredients. Here you’ll get pizza sloppy joes, soy sauce chicken thighs and broccoli, cheese tortellini casserole, parmesan ground pork quiche, and one-pot chicken thighs with tomatoes and sweet potatoes.

Be sure to watch the video below so you can cook along with me!

Why Should You Use A Meal Plan?

  • Meal plans make life easier, once you get the hang of things.
  • You’ll know what to expect for the entire week, taking the guesswork out of knowing what to cook for dinner.
  • You’ll save money at the grocery store by knowing exactly what to buy, and nothing more.
  • It allows your family to enjoy a variety of recipes without having to search for new ones yourself.
  • you’ll save time! Everything is planned out for you already. No need to write a grocery list either, I’ve done that for you!

Download Our Printable Shopping List

Download the full meal plan and shopping list for FREE! Click here to download Meal Plan #1.

Meal Plan Tips

  • Take a look at the meal plan with shopping list before you go grocery shopping.
  • Shop your pantry first! For example, there’s no need to buy new spices or canned diced tomatoes if you already have some.
  • Swap out ingredients that you don’t like. For example, if sweet potatoes aren’t your thing, try using russet potatoes instead.
  • Work smarter not harder. Cook a double batch of a recipe and freeze the rest for later. For example, our parmesan ground pork quiche freezes beautifully. One could easily be frozen for a future meal.
  • Check your local grocery stores for any sales and discounts. For example, one of my local stores was offering 2-for-1 on chicken thighs. I don’t normally shop there because it’s more expensive, but I made a trip and just bought the chicken!

Watch The Meal Plan Cooking Video:

Dinner 1: Pizza Sloppy Joes

My family loves any kind of pizza-themed meal and this one is no exception. Ingredients are cheap, it’s fast to make, and it’s filling and full of flavor. What more could you need!?

  • Hamburger buns can be swapped for any bun style. You could also use garlic bread or a loaf of french bread. Even slices of toast!
  • Swap black beans with any favorites including lentils, chickpeas, or white beans.
  • Ground pork and ground turkey are cheaper than ground beef! Want to save some money? Try using this recipe with one of those.

See the full pizza sloppy joe recipe here.

Pizza Sauce Sloppy Joes


  • Add a bit of oil to a frying pan over medium high heat. Cook 1 cup chopped onion until it turns translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add 1 lb ground beef. Break apart with a flat wood spatula and mix in with the onion. Cook until beef turns brown and is no longer pink.
  • Sprinkle 1 Tbsp all purpose flour overtop and mix together.
  • Add 1 cup black beans, 1 grated carrot, 14 oz pizza sauce, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, 1 tsp italian seasoning, 1 tsp garlic powder, and ½ tsp dried oregano. Mix together and cook until it thickens, 1-2 minutes.
  • Preheat the broiler. Spread butter over both sides of 4 hamburger buns (there will be 8 pieces total). Broil the buns on the middle rack for 1-3 minutes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Until it reaches your desired crispiness (we like ours crispy!).
  • Remove buns from the oven. Spoon the ground beef mixture on top of each bun. Divide the 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella evenly over top of each one.
  • Place back in the oven to broil on the middle rack for another 2-3 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove and serve immediately.
Close up of pizza sloppy joes.

Dinner 2: Tortellini Casserole

It’s a simple baked pasta made from fresh tortellini, tomatoes an mushrooms. A jar of alfredo is poured on top making this recipe easy peasy.

  • You can add different veggies including chopped asparagus, bell pepper, frozen broccoli etc.
  • For extra creaminess, add 2 jars of alfredo sauce. I’m pretty sure they’ve gotten smaller at my grocery store (thanks to inflation), so two will make it creamier. Or if you want to save money, use one jar of alfredo and one can of cream of mushroom soup.

See our full tortellini casserole recipe here.

Baked Tortellini Casserole


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves and ½ cup chopped onion. Cook until onion turns translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add 1 lb lean ground beef and break apart using the tip of a wood spatula. Cook until ground beef turns brown and is no longer pink. Use a folded paper towel to swish around with spatula and soak up any excess grease.
  • Now add 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes and cook for 1 minute to soften. Remove the pan from heat and scoop into a large bowl (see steps below).
  • In a large bowl, add the cooked ground beef mixture, 18 oz uncooked tortellini pasta, and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Mix together.
  • Next, add the 21 oz jar of marinara sauce on top an mix everything together.
  • Pour the mixture into a baking dish and spread into an even layer using a spatula. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella and ¼ cup parmesan cheese on top.
  • Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and broil an additional 1-2 minutes.
Baked tortellini casserole topped with melted cheese

Dinner 3: Soy Sauce Chicken, Broccoli & Rice

One-pot meals just make life easier! Less clean up! Frozen broccoli is added straight to the pot. Serve this recipe with rice, pasta or mashed potatoes.

See the full soy sauce chicken thighs with broccoli recipe here.

Soy Sauce Chicken Thighs with Broccoli


  • Cook rice in advance to serve with this recipe (this is optional). We use a rice cooker.
    Cooked rice in a rice cooker.
  • Cut each chicken thigh in half.
    Chopped raw chicken on a cutting board with a knife and a fork.
  • In a bowl, combine the water, soy sauce, ginger powder, and brown sugar.
    A bowl of brown sauce with a small spoon.
  • Heat a large pot with a bit of cooking oil over medium high heat. Once the pot is hot, sear the chicken on each side until browned. About 5 minutes total.
    Two images of a large pot. First with raw chicken thighs. Second with cooked chicken thighs.
  • Add the broccoli to the pot. Pour the sauce over top and toss everything together. Cover with a lid and let it simmer until the broccoli is tender crisp when poked with a fork.
    Scoop the broccoli and chicken onto a serving dish.
    Mix 1 Tbsp of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water in a bowl. Pour into the sauce in the pot. Stir frequently and heat through until the sauce has thickened.
    Chopped broccoli and chicken thighs in a large white pot.
  • Serve this recipe with fresh rice. Drizzle the sauce from the pot over top of everything.
    A white plate with cooked rice and chicken thighs with broccoli.

Dinner 4: Parmesan Ground Pork Quiche

Eggs an ground pork make this recipe easy on the budget. Everything is poured into a store-bought pie crust and topped with shredded cheese.

  • Consider making two of these and freezing one for a future meal. The frozen one can be thawed in the fridge and reheated in the oven.
  • Top the quiche with your favorite sauce! Salsa, hot sauce, barbecue sauce or ketchup would all be great options.

See the full parmesan ground pork quiche recipe here.

Parmesan Ground Pork Quiche


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pre-cook the pie crust according to instructions on the package.
  • Add a bit of oil to a frying pan over medium high heat. Cook the chopped onion until it turns translucent, about 1-2 minutes.
    Two images of a frying pan. First with chopped raw onion. Second with cooked raw onion.
  • Add the ground pork and cook until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Drain any excess grease.
    Raw ground beef and onion in a frying pan. And then cooked ground beef onion mixture in pan.
  • Mix in the flour, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
    Two images of a frying pan. First with ground beef and flour on top. Second with ground beef mixture.
  • Pour the milk, half of the parmesan cheese and the chopped bell pepper in and stir until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
    Two images of a frying pan. First with parmesan and milk poured over ground beef in frying pan. Second with chopped bell pepper on top of creamy sauce in pan.
  • Beat the eggs in a large bowl.
    Two images of a white bowl. First with three egg yolks. Second with eggs beaten.
  • Pour the ground pork mixture into the bowl and stir together.
    Two images of a white bowl. First with ground pork mixture dumped on top of beaten eggs. Second with egg and ground pork mixture together.
  • Sprinkle half of the shredded mozzarella and half of the parmesan cheese in the bottom of the pie crust. Add the ground beef mixture on top. Sprinkle the rest of the shredded mozzarella on top.
    Two images of a pie crust. First with shredded mozzarrella sprinkled inside. Second with uncooked quiche mixture inside.
  • Place the pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment (to protect fom any spills).
    Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes, then slice and serve.
    Two images together. First with baked quiche. Second with slice of baked quiche on a plate and rest of quiche in background.
Ground pork quiche with a slice cut out and a fork inside.

Dinner 5: Chicken, Tomatoes & Sweet Potatoes

A few simple ingredients create a very flavorful meal! Everything is cooked in one pot, it couldn’t be more simple to make!

  • Bone-in chicken thighs are tender and flavorful. But if you want to save more money, swap them with chicken legs which tend to be the cheapest.
  • Don’t like sweet potatoes? Swap out with russet potatoes instead.
  • This recipe doesn’t need a side. However, serve with rice, quinoa or pasta if you’ve got a hungry family.

See the full one-pot chicken thighs with tomatoes and sweet potatoes recipe here.

One Pot Chicken Thighs, Tomatoes and Sweet Potatoes


  • Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into small bite-size cubes. Chop the onion. Drain the diced tomatoes.
    A white bowl with chopped sweet potatoes, a cup of chopped onion, and a strainer with diced tomatoes.
  • Season the salt and pepper and rub it in on both sides.
    Raw chicken thighs in a white bowl.
  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped sweet potatoes and onion. Cook 2-3 minutes.
    A white bowl with chopped sweet potatoes and spices sprinkled on top.
  • Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender when poked with a fork. Add more cooking oil if needed.
    A white pot with blue handles. Two images, first with chopped sweet potatoes and wood spatula.
  • Add the sweet potatoes to a bowl and set aside for now.
    A white bowl of cooked chopped sweet potatoes.
  • Brown the chicken thighs on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each side.
    Two images of a white pot with blue handles. First with chicken thighs upside down. Second with browned chicken thighs skin-side up.
  • Add in the diced tomatoes and cooked sweet potatoes. Arrange around the chicken.
    Cook until the chicken reaches 165°F when poked with a meat thermometer and the juices run clear. The pot can be covered to help speed up the cooking process.
    Two images of a white pot with blue handles. First with sweet potatoes and diced tomatoes dumped on top. Second with vegetables arranged around the chicken.
  • Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over top of the chicken and cook until melted, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
    Two images of a white pot with blue handles. First with cooked chicken thighs surrounded by chopped sweet potatoes and diced tomatoes. Second with grated mozzarella melted over top.
  • Add chicken and sweet potato mixture to a plate. Can be served with rice, pasta or quinoa.
    A white plate with one cooked chicken thigh and chopped sweet potato and diced tomatoes.
A white pot with chicken, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Topped with melted mozzarella cheese.

Don’t Forget! The FREE printable shopping list and Meal Plan can be found here.

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