Menu Planning: Your Dinner Inspiration for This Week

School is officially back in session, and that means new schedules, more activities, and not as much time to sit down to plan dinner as a family as we might like. We’ve got you covered with our Plated Menu Planning! This week’s recipes are inspired by flavors everyone will love, with prep that’s also fast and easy (eager helpers can also get in on the fun). Get inspired, get your budding sous chefs in the kitchen, and then get cooking with the full recipes below!

MONDAY: Pimiento Grilled Cheese with Apple, Almond, and Arugula Salad

2 packets unsalted butter
1 Granny Smith apple
1 roasted piquillo pepper
2 packets chipotle mayonnaise
1 packet plain mayonnaise
2 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese
2 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
4 slices brioche bread
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
3 ounces baby arugula
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Serves 2

1. Prepare ingredients
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Unwrap butter, place in a small bowl, and set aside to soften at room temperature. Rinse all produce. Slice off rounded sides of apple and thinly slice, discarding core (see recipe tip). Roughly chop piquillo pepper.

2. Make pimiento cheese
In a medium bowl, stir together chipotle mayonnaise (see recipe tip), plain mayonnaise, Gruyère, Cheddar, and piquillo pepper to combine—this is a great task for your kitchen companion.

3. Assemble grilled cheese
Spread softened butter over 1 side of bread slices. Arrange butter-side up on a baking sheet and bake until beginning to crisp, 2 minutes, then flip. Spread pimiento cheese over plain sides of 2 bread slices—enlist a helping hand for this part (see recipe tip). Return to oven and bake until pimiento cheese is melted and bread is golden, 2 minutes more.

4. Finish grilled cheese
Carefully remove baking sheet from oven. Top pimiento cheese with remaining bread slices, butter-side up. Return to oven and bake until tops of sandwiches are golden, 1–2 minutes.

5. Make salad
In a large bowl (big enough for the salad), whisk together white balsamic vinegar, 11⁄2 tablespoons olive oil, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Pat arugula dry with paper towel and add to bowl with dressing, along with almonds and apple, and toss to coat.

6. Plate pimiento grilled cheese
Divide apple, almond, and arugula salad between serving plates. Cut pimiento grilled cheese sandwiches in half on a diagonal and serve with salad. Dig in!

Recipe tips
*Thin apple slices will absorb more of the dressing in Step 5 without losing their crunch.
*Chipotle mayonnaise adds a subtle spiciness to the pimiento cheese. Use less if you like, or replace with plain mayonnaise.
*Bake the pimiento cheese–topped bread slices and the remaining bread slices separately before assembling the sandwiches. This helps the cheese melt and the bread become golden and crisp.

TUESDAY: Chicken Horiatiki with Greek Yogurt–Feta Sauce and Pita Chips

2 boneless chicken breasts
2 pita breads
1⁄2 English cucumber
1⁄2 pint grape tomatoes
1 herb mix
1⁄8 ounce dill
1⁄8 ounce oregano
1 lemon
1 red onion
1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 container nonfat Greek yogurt
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 ounce Kalamata olives
1⁄4 cup sliced pepperoncini
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Serves 2

1. Season chicken
Preheat oven to 450°F. Pat chicken dry with paper towel and season all over with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired.

2. Cook chicken
Heat a medium pan over medium heat. Carefully hover your hand a few inches away—when you can easily feel heat, add chicken skin-side down (see recipe tip). Sear until skin is golden and easily lifts from pan, 8–9 minutes. Flip and sear opposite side until cooked through and no longer pink, about 7 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a plate, skin- side up, and set aside to rest until Step 6.

3. Prepare ingredients
While chicken cooks, stack pita breads and quarter. Rinse all produce. Halve cucumber lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1⁄4-inch half-moons. Halve tomatoes. Roughly chop dill and oregano leaves, discarding stems. Halve lemon. Peel onion, halve, and thinly slice up to half (save remainder for another recipe).

4. Make vinaigrette and toast pita
In a large bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, dill, oregano, 11⁄2 tablespoons olive oil, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to combine. Add onion (see recipe tip) and stir to coat; set aside. Place pita wedges on a baking sheet and toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1⁄8 teaspoon salt. Arrange in a single layer and bake until golden and toasted, 7–9 minutes.

5. Make Greek yogurt–feta sauce
While pita toasts, in a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, juice of 1⁄2 lemon, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to combine (save remaining lemon to brighten a glass of water). Add feta. Using a fork, mash to combine until sauce is smooth.

6. Plate chicken horiatiki
To bowl with onion, add olives, pepperoncini, cucumber, and tomatoes; toss to coat. Shred chicken using 2 forks or roughly chop. Add chicken to bowl with horiatiki and toss to combine. Divide pita chips and chicken horiatiki between serving plates. Drizzle over Greek yogurt–feta sauce and enjoy!

Recipe tips
*Searing chicken in a dry pan might sound crazy, but there’s good reason: Its natural fat slowly melts from beneath the skin, creating a golden crust without adding oil or butter.
*Raw red onion has a strong flavor, so only use as much as desired.

WEDNESDAY: Thyme-Roasted Salmon with Fingerling Potatoes, Broccoli, and Caper Vinaigrette

1 pound broccoli
1 pound fingerling potatoes
1/4 ounce parsley
1/8 ounce thyme
1/4 cup capers
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 packet honey
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Serves 4

1. Prepare ingredients
Preheat oven to 425°F. Rinse all produce. Halve broccoli lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into 1 inch–wide florets with 1 inch–long stems. Halve potatoes lengthwise. Finely chop parsley leaves, discarding stems. Pick thyme leaves, discarding stems. Roughly chop capers. Mince garlic.

2. Toast pine nuts
Arrange pine nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast until golden, 2-3 minutes (see recipe tip). Then, transfer to a small bowl and set aside, reserving baking sheet for next step.

3. Roasted broccoli and potatoes
On baking sheet from pine nuts, toss broccoli and potatoes with crushed red pepper (skip or use half for less heat), garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, .75 teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Transfer half to a separate baking sheet and arrange in a single layer, turning potatoes cut-side down (see recipe tip). Transfer to oven and roast until potatoes and broccoli are almost tender, 12-13 minutes.

4. Make caper vinaigrette
On baking sheet from pine nuts, toss broccoli and potatoes with crushed red pepper (skip or use half for less heat), garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, .75 teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Transfer half to a separate baking sheet and arrange in a single layer, turning potatoes cut-side down (see recipe tip). Transfer to oven and roast until potatoes and broccoli are almost tender, 12-13 minutes.

5. Roast salmon
Remove roasted vegetables from oven and push to edges of baking sheets. Pat salmon dry with paper towel. Place 2 fillets skin-side down in center of each baking sheet. Sprinkle thyme, .75 teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired over tops of fish, then drizzle over 1 tablespoon olive oil. Return baking sheets to oven and roast until salmon is cooked through and opaque, 8-10 minutes (see recipe tip).

6. Plate roasted vegetables and salmon
Divide roasted broccoli and potatoes among serving dishes and top with thyme-roasted salmon. Spoon over caper vinaigrette. Dig in!

THURSDAY: Cuban Beef Picadillo over Cilantro-Lime Rice

1 lime, divided
1⁄2 cup jasmine rice
12 ounces ground beef
1 red bell pepper
1 herb mix, divided
1⁄8 ounce cilantro
1⁄8 ounce parsley
2 tablespoons Castelvetrano olives
2 cloves garlic
1 spice mix
1⁄4 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 cup tomato purée
2 tablespoons golden raisins
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Serves 2

1. Cook rice
If you have a zester and want to infuse your rice with more flavor, rinse lime and zest up to 1⁄2 into a small pot, then halve. Add rice, juice of 1⁄2 lime, 3⁄4 cup water, and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt to pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir once, reduce heat to medium low, cover pot, and simmer until water is fully absorbed, 10–12 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes.

2. Brown beef
While rice cooks, pat beef dry with paper towel. Heat 1⁄2 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add beef to pan and cook, breaking up, until browned, 5 minutes—ask a friend to do this part. Season with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired. Remove pan from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a bowl and set aside (see recipe tip). Wipe pan clean for Step 4.

3. Prepare ingredients
While beef cooks, rinse remaining produce. Halve bell pepper lengthwise, discarding seeds and stem; cut lengthwise into 1⁄4-inch strips. Roughly chop cilantro and parsley leaves and stems. Roughly chop olives. Mince garlic.

4. Sauté bell pepper
Return pan from beef to medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add bell pepper and sauté, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spice mix and garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

5. Simmer beef picadillo
To pan with bell pepper, add tomato purée, raisins, and olives. Increase heat under pan to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high, add beef, and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened and flavors have melded, 3–4 minutes more. Season with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired. Remove pan from heat.

6. Plate beef picadillo
Fluff rice with a fork, then stir in half of herbs—a friend can also do this. Divide cilantro-lime rice between serving bowls and top with Cuban beef picadillo. Cut remaining lime into wedges for squeezing over. Garnish with remaining herbs and dig in!

Recipe tip
*Using a slotted spoon will drain off any excess fat from the beef so it doesn’t end up in your picadillo. 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.

FRIDAY: Four-Cheese Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

1.5 pounds pizza dough
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 ounce shredded Fontina cheese
4 ounce shredded mozzarella cheese
2 ounce shredded provolone cheese
1/2 ounce fresh basil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1.5 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
2 parchment papers
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Serves 4

1. Roast garlic
Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove pizza dough from bag and let soften at room temperature. Place whole garlic cloves on a small piece of foil, drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil, and season with a pinch of salt. Bring edges of foil together and seal to form a pouch. Place garlic pouch in oven and roast until garlic is tender, 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2. Roll out doughs
While garlic roasts, sprinkle flour onto a clean, dry surface, coating a rolling pin or your hands with a thin layer. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll or stretch doughs into rectangular shapes, rotating frequently and working from center to edges, until .25-inch thick—this is a great task for a kitchen helper.

3. Assemble and bake pizzas
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment papers and rub each with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add doughs, stretching to reach edges of sheets, and rub 1 teaspoon olive oil on top of each, leaving a 1-inch border. Scatter over spice mix, Fontina, mozzarella, and provolone (enlist your helpers for this step). Bake until crusts are crisp and cheese is bubbling, switching baking sheets halfway through if on separate racks, 10-12 minutes total.

4. Prepare basil and tomatoes
While pizzas bake, rinse basil and roughly chop or have your helpers tear the leaves, discarding stems. Rinse tomatoes and halve (this keeps the tomatoes from rolling off your pizza, but you can also leave them whole).

5. Make balsamic vinaigrette
Carefully open garlic pouch to allow steam to escape. Place roasted garlic in a medium bowl and mash with a fork until smooth. Whisk in balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, .25 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Add basil and tomatoes to bowl with vinaigrette and toss to combine. Set aside until pizzas are baked.

6. Plate four-cheese pizzas
Sprinkle Parmesan over four-cheese pizzas, then spoon over cherry tomatoes and basil. Cut into slices and dig in!

Love experimenting in the kitchen? Try Plated!

Get 25% off your first four weeks of Plated!

in Nourish

tags fall, guide, hacks


On the List?

Subscribe to Plated's Newsletter

Thanks for signing up!

There was an error signing you up.
Please check that your email is valid. Try again