Meal Planning for Halloween Week: Check and Check

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

Happy Halloween week! For a week full of tricks and treats, your dinner menu should follow suit, no? From an indulgent, feel-good Minestrone soup to Plated forever fav truffle pizza, this week is bound to be delicious, especially when you have candy for dessert.

However, we did throw in a new Caesar salad recipe for Friday, because we’re guessing by that point you might truly need something full of greens. Now, on to the recipes:

Monday: Pesto Minestrone

10 ounces carrots
8 ounces butternut squash
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
3⁄4 teaspoon dried oregano
3⁄4 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 vegetable bouillon cube
6 ounces ditalini
1 can white beans, divided
1⁄4 cup pesto, divided
4 ounces baby spinach
2 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese

You’ll need
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
10″ large pot
potato masher (optional)

Recipe tips
We recommend a 10–15 minute simmer so the soup can thicken and the flavors can meld. If pressed for time, you can simmer for 5–10 minutes (the soup will still taste delicious).

Mashing half of the beans release their starches to help thicken the broth. Leave the other half whole to add texture to the soup.

1. Prepare ingredients
Rinse all produce. Quarter carrots lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1⁄4- inch pieces. Cut butternut squash cubes to 1⁄4-inch pieces, if needed. Peel onion and cut into small dice. Mince garlic.

2. Sauté vegetables
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add carrots, butternut squash, and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softening, about 5 minutes. Add spice mix and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Season with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired.

3. Simmer soup
To pot with vegetables, still over medium-high heat, add tomatoes and their juices, bouillon cube, 4 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until vegetables are tender and flavors have melded, 10–15 minutes (see recipe tip).

4. Mash beans and make dressing
While soup simmers, drain and rinse white beans and place in a small bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, mash half of beans, leaving remainder whole (see recipe tip). In a separate small bowl, whisk together half of pesto and 1 tablespoon olive oil to combine (reserve remaining pesto for the next step). Set pesto dressing aside for serving.

5. Cook pasta and finish soup
To pot with soup, still over medium- high heat, add ditalini and mashed and whole white beans and cook until pasta is al dente, about 7 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Pat spinach dry with paper towel and stir into pot with soup to wilt. Stir in remaining pesto. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

6. Plate pesto minestrone
Divide pesto minestrone among serving bowls. Garnish with pesto dressing and Parmesan. Enjoy!

Tuesday: Crispy Shrimp Tacos

Halloween Wednesday, meet Taco Tuesday!

Wednesday: Beef and Butternut Skillet

3 purple sweet potatoes
1 pound butternut squash
2 scallions,divided
11⁄2 pounds ground beef
1⁄2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
3⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄4 cup tomato paste
1 cup corn
4 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese
2 limes, divided
1⁄4 ounce cilantro
4 packets sour cream

You’ll need
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
aluminum foil
2 baking sheets
12″ large high-sided pan

Recipe tips
Using a slotted spoon will drain off any excess fat from the beef so it doesn’t end up in the finished dish. Pouring the fat down the drain might damage your pipes—instead, pour it into a heatproof container once it’s cooled slightly, and dispose in the garbage.

1. Prepare ingredients
Preheat oven to 450oF. Rinse all produce. Thinly slice purple sweet potatoes crosswise on a diagonal (this increases surface area for more browning, but feel free to slice as usual). Cut butternut squash cubes to 1⁄4-inch pieces, if needed. Trim and discard scallion roots and thinly slice crosswise on a diagonal, keeping whites and light greens separate from dark greens. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.

2. Bake sweet potato chips
On 1 prepared baking sheet, toss purple sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Transfer half to other sheet. Arrange in a single layer, spacing apart as much as possible, and bake until browned and crisp, 18–25 minutes. Meanwhile, pat beef dry with paper towel.

3. Cook beef
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large high-sided pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add spice mix, scallion whites and light greens, beef, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Cook, breaking up meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a bowl and set aside (see recipe tip). Discard almost all fat from pan, leaving a thin layer behind for the next step.

4. Finish beef and squash
Return pan from beef to medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften and brown, 6–8 minutes. Add tomato paste and corn and cook, stirring, until combined, 1–2 minutes. Stir in beef and cook until combined, 1–2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Stir in Monterey Jack until melted. Season with 3⁄4 teaspoon salt.

5. Make cilantro-lime crema
While squash cooks, if you have a zester and want to infuse your crema with even more lime flavor, rinse lime and zest up to 1 lime into a small bowl. Halve limes. Finely chop cilantro leaves and stems. To bowl with zest, if using, add sour cream, cilantro, juice of 11⁄2 limes (or use less, if desired), 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and pepper, and whisk to combine (a helper can do this part). Cut remaining lime into wedges for serving.

6. Plate potato chips and beef
Divide purple sweet potato chips among serving bowls and top with beef and butternut squash (a helper can also do this). Alternatively, bring the skillet to the table and serve with potato chips for scooping. Drizzle over cilantro-lime crema and garnish with scallion dark greens. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over. Dig in!

Thursday: Truffle Pizza

If you haven’t made this Plated classic yet, here’s your chance. It’s downright luxurious.

Friday: Fall Chicken Caesar

4 boneless chicken breasts
1 pound butternut squash
12 ounces shredded Brussels sprouts
1 pound dinosaur kale
1⁄4 cup roasted salted almonds
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 lemons
2 cloves garlic
1⁄2 teaspoon anchovy paste
4 ounces mayonnaise
2 Gala apples

You’ll need
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
12″ large pan
aluminum foil
baking sheet

Recipe tips
Want to get your kitchen companion involved? Have them whisk the dressing. Use remaining lemon to brighten a glass of water.

Raw kale can be tough, so it requires a bit of TLC. Massaging the leaves helps soften them up—this is another great task for a helper.

1. Cook chicken
Preheat oven to 450oF. Pat chicken dry with paper towel; season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add chicken skin-side down and sear until skin is golden and easily lifts from pan, 6 minutes. Flip and sear opposite side until cooked through and no longer pink, about 6 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a plate; set aside to rest until Step 6.

2. Roast vegetables
While chicken cooks, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Rinse all produce. Cut butternut squash cubes to 1⁄2-inch pieces, if needed. On prepared baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts and butternut squash with 11⁄2 tablespoons olive oil, 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Arrange in a single layer; roast until vegetables are tender, 15–18 minutes.

3. Prepare ingredients
While vegetables roast, stack kale leaves and thinly slice, discarding long stems. Roughly chop almonds, or leave in bag and gently crush with the bottom of a heavy pan. In a large bowl (big enough for the salad), reserve 11⁄2 tablespoons Parmesan for the next step.

4. Make Caesar dressing
Halve lemons. Mince garlic and, still on cutting board, sprinkle over 1⁄8 teaspoon salt. Using a large knife, carefully scrape over mixture at a 45° angle, pressing down. Repeat until garlic is broken down and a paste forms; add to large bowl with reserved 11⁄2 tablespoons Parmesan, along with anchovy paste, mayonnaise, juice of 11⁄2 lemons, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth (see recipe tip).

5. Massage kale
Add kale to bowl with Caesar dressing. Using your hands, massage kale with dressing until leaves are fully coated and beginning to soften and darken, 1– 2 minutes (see recipe tip).

6. Plate chicken Caesar
Slice off rounded sides of apples and thinly slice, discarding cores. Cut rested chicken into 1⁄4-inch slices. To bowl with kale, add roasted squash and Brussels sprouts, apples, and remaining Parmesan; toss to coat. Divide fall Caesar salad among serving plates and top with sliced chicken. Garnish with almonds. Enjoy!


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