The Smartest Weeknight Meal Plan from Joanna Goddard of Cup of Jo

When it comes to feeding her family of four, Joanna Goddard — the voice and founder of the much-loved lifestyle site Cup of Jo — is all about keeping it simple and ultra-comforting with weeknight dinners that she, her husband, and her small boys can love. Like us, she’s a big fan of Trader Joe’s and happily takes advantage of smart store-bought shortcuts to minimize time in the kitchen, as well as maximize time with her husband and adorable boys.Here, Joanna shares a week’s meal plan with us, and tells us how she does it.

A Week of of Easy Family Favorites

If I had to choose a phrase to describe the kinds of recipes I serve during the week it would be “crowd-pleasers.” When I sit down to dinner with my husband, Alex, and our boys Toby, 9, and Anton, 5, the last thing we want to do is fuss over food. After a busy day, we just want to eat something easy and comforting and enjoy each other’s company. Here’s what a typical week looks like.

Monday: Toaster Oven Salmon Sandwiches

This is the ultimate weeknight dinner for us. It’s lightning fast and you can make it in the toaster oven. (I will do anything to avoid turning on the real oven in the summer.) Best of all, Alex invented it, which means he cooks it, so I get to sit back and relax.

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Get her recipe: Toaster Oven Salmon Sandwiches

Tuesday: Chicken Parm Meatballs

These meatballs, from Dinner: A Love Story, are high on my family’s Most Requested Dinner list. Unlike most meatball recipes, which require browning and braising and sauce-making, you just dump all the ingredients in a bowl, pop them in the oven for 15 minutes, then drape them in cheese and store-bought sauce.

Get the recipe: Chicken Parm Meatballs

Wednesday: Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic Fried Egg and Parmesan

This one checks every box: It’s vegetarian, ridiculously delicious, and, since it calls for so few pantry basics (pasta, egg, garlic, Parm), you can make it without hitting the store first.

Get the recipe: Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic Fried Egg and Parmesan

Thursday: 5-Ingredient Shrimp Tacos

We’re huge fans of Trader Joe’s, so when my friend Linsey gave me this recipe calling for all TJ ingredients (including the coconut shrimp my kids love), I knew it was gold. The dinner is not so much cooking as it is assembling, which is a welcome approach at the end of a busy week.

Get the recipe: 5-Ingredient Shrimp Tacos

Friday: Pizza Night

Who wants to cook dinner on Friday? We’ll queue up a movie, order a pizza, and call it a night. And we always order extra so we can make our favorite breakfast: Leftover Skillet Pizzas.

Get the recipe: Leftover Pizza Skillet

Thanks so much, Joanna! Follow her at Cup of Jo, as well as  Instagram and Twitter. We especially love her food section (of course) with smart posts like this magic grid of salad dressings and the ultimate veggie sandwich.

New to meal planning? Start here.

  • The Beginner’s Guide to Meal Planning: What to Know, How to Succeed, and What to Skip
  • The Best Way to Use a Weekend for Meal Planning Success
  • Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before You Start Meal Planning
  • 5 Strategies for Picking Recipes for a Week of Meal Planning

Welcome to Next Week’s Meal Plan! Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But I’m a firm believer that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. I want to help you find inspiration and ease some of the pain points that come with getting dinner on the table night after night, whether you’re cooking one or a family of eight. Every week, I’ll be sharing a new meal plan solution specifically customized for you from reader requests or from a guest contributor.

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