Your Weeknight Meal Planner: Springing Forward

Get inspired for the week ahead with our top picks from this week’s menu.

Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday we were getting home from work after dark, curling up with hearty, heavy dishes, and planning our next TV streaming binge. Now the days are a little warmer, the sunshine lasts a little longer, and we’re ready to embrace the brighter, fresher flavors of spring. This week’s combination of new and previous recipe favorites will help you shake off the last of winter and get ready for the new season. Start the week with an oh-so-simple Parmesan and black pepper pasta with pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes. Next, roasted chicken thighs top black beans and rice, along with a creamy jalapeño-lime sauce. On Wednesday, give tostadas an Asian-inspired spin with apricot-soy glazed salmon and a ginger mayo drizzle. Feel extra French on Thursday with eggs en cocotte, or baked in cream. Round out the week with company-worthy fig- and balsamic-glazed pork chops.

Ready, set, spring! Now, on to the recipes!

Monday: Cacio e Pepe Penne

(Serves 2)

8 ounces broccolini
3 tablespoons pine nuts
8 ounces penne pasta
1 lemon
1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
2½ tablespoons unsalted butter
olive oil
kosher salt
ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse broccolini and trim and discard woody bottoms. Cut lengthwise into 2- inch florets with long stems (halve lengthwise through thicker stems as needed).

2. On a baking sheet, toss pine nuts and broccolini with 2 teaspoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ground black pepper as desired. Use the ground black pepper from your pantry to season the broccolini in Step 2. The cracked black peppercorns, broken into slightly larger pieces, for the sauce. Roast until broccolini is tender and pine nuts are toasted, 9–11 minutes.

3. Boil penne While broccolini and pine nuts roast, season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in penne and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water, then drain and set aside, reserving pot. Meanwhile, if you have a zester and want to infuse your broccolini with even more lemon flavor, zest up to ½ lemon, then halve. Roughly chop sun-dried tomatoes.

4. Return pot from pasta to medium-high heat. Add ¼ cup pasta cooking water (reserve remainder) to pot and bring to a boil. Then, add cooked penne and half of Parmesan; stir to combine. Stir in remaining pasta cooking water, then cracked black peppercorns and remaining Parmesan until combined. Add butter and stir vigorously until sauce is silky and clings to pasta, 1 minute. Adding the pasta cooking water, Parmesan, and butter in stages instead of all at once ensures they’ll emulsify, or come together in a smooth sauce, instead of clumping or breaking. Stir well after each addition to thoroughly coat the pasta. Remove pot from heat.

5. To pot with penne, still off heat, add sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine. Once broccolini and pine nuts are roasted, add lemon zest (if using) and juice of ½ lemon to sheet and toss to coat. Use remaining lemon to brighten a glass of water.

6. Divide cacio e pepe penne between serving plates. Top with roasted broccolini and pine nuts. Serve right away the penne is sauciest!

Tuesday: Cilantro-Lime Chicken

(Serves 2)

4 chicken thighs
¼ ounce cilantro, divided
2 limes, divided
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, divided
1 jalapeño, divided
1 15-ounce can black beans
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¾ cup white rice
8 ounces chicken stock
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

See the full recipe on!

Wednesday: Apricot-Soy Salmon Tostadas

(Serves 2)

⅛ ounce cilantro
1 tablespoon pickled ginger
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
½ tablespoon sesame oil
1 package dumpling wrappers
10 ounces salmon
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
¼ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup shredded red cabbage
¼ cup shredded green cabbage
½ ounce apricot preserves
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
canola oil
kosher salt
black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse cilantro, pat dry with paper towel, and roughly chop (the stems are actually quite tender, so we’ve kept them here for extra flavor and aroma). Finely chop pickled ginger. In a medium bowl, stir together mayonnaise, pickled ginger, half of sesame oil (reserve remainder for Step 5), a pinch of salt, and pepper as desired to combine. Set creamy ginger mayo aside for Step 5.

2. On a baking sheet, arrange 10 dumpling wrappers in a single layer. Save remaining dumpling wrappers for another use: Repeat tostada night with Latin flavors, or go the classic route with seared and steamed dumplings. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon canola oil and season with ⅛ teaspoon salt. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through for even browning, until golden and crisp, 6–8 minutes total.

3. While tostadas crisp, pat salmon dry with paper towel. Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add salmon skin-side up and sear until golden on bottom, 5 minutes. Flip salmon and cover pan, keeping lid slightly ajar for steam to escape. Continue searing until salmon is cooked through and opaque, 3–5 minutes more. Transfer salmon to cutting board to rest.

4. While salmon cooks, in a separate medium bowl, whisk together rice wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons canola oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to combine. Add slaw mix and cilantro and toss to coat. Set aside until ready to serve.

5. Swipe tostadas with creamy ginger mayo. Wipe bowl from mayo clean; add apricot preserves, soy sauce, and remaining sesame oil and whisk to combine. Once cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin from salmon; using a fork, flake into large pieces. Add flaked salmon to bowl with apricot-soy glaze and toss to coat.

6. Divide tostadas between serving plates. Top with a handful of slaw and apricot-soy salmon, then garnish with sesame seeds. Serve any remaining slaw alongside.

Thursday: Eggs en Cocotte

(Serves 2)

6 ounces cremini mushrooms
4 ounces oyster mushrooms
1 pound peanut potatoes
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
8 ounces heavy cream
⅛ ounce chives, divided
⅛ ounce dill
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
5 ounces baby arugula
1 ounce crumbled goat cheese
2 eggs
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

See the full recipe on!

Friday: Rosemary Pork Chop

(Serves 2)

12 ounces peanut potatoes
⅛ ounce parsley
⅛ ounce rosemary
1 shallot
1 ounce crumbled blue cheese
2 boneless pork chops
3 tablespoons red wine
1 ounce fig jam
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1½ teaspoons unsalted butter
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse all produce. Halve potatoes. Roughly chop parsley (the stems are actually quite tender, so we’ve kept them here for extra flavor). Strip rosemary leaves, discarding stems, then mince. Peel shallot and mince.

2. On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Arrange cut-side down in a single layer and roast until golden, 14–16 minutes. Move on to Step 3, but don’t forget to come back for this: Once roasted, add blue cheese and parsley to sheet with potatoes and toss to combine.

3. While potatoes roast, pat pork chops dry with paper towel; rub all over with rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add pork and sear until browned and cooked through, 3–5 minutes per side. Transfer pork to a plate and set aside to rest. Reserve juices (and any rosemary that got left behind) in pan for the next step.

4. While pork rests, return pan to medium-high heat with 2 teaspoons olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add shallot and sauté, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add red wine and cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until liquid is almost fully evaporated, 1–2 minutes. Deglazing is a technique in which adding liquid, like wine, to the pan after cooking protein loosens any bits that browned and stuck to the bottom. Scrape them up for your sauce—they are full of flavor.

5. To pan with shallot, still over medium-high heat, add fig jam and balsamic vinegar. Cook, stirring, until combined and warmed through, about 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat. Stir in butter to melt and combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

6. Cut rested pork chops into ¼-inch slices, then transfer to serving plates and drizzle with fig-balsamic glaze. Serve with blue cheese potatoes.

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