Your Weeknight Meal Planner: Enjoy More Meals Together

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

Happy New Year! While some resolutions are easier said than done (we’re looking at you, gym membership), there’s one activity we’re so happy to make a habit: cooking and eating together as a family. This week’s recipes are serious crowd-pleasers, with lots of tips for getting eager helpers in on the fun. First up: a comforting broccoli-Cheddar-esque soup that’s ladled into toasted sourdough bread bowls (insert all the heart emojis here). On Tuesday, enjoy veggie-loaded tostadas—crispy baked tortillas layered with roasted butternut squash and mushrooms. Next, lighten up with a chicken, tomato, and mixed lettuce salad, complete with homemade croutons and a tangy buttermilk dressing. Give take out a run for its money with shrimp and vegetable fried rice on Thursday, and finish the week with pimiento cheeseburger sliders served on mini pretzel buns. These family favorites are put-the-phone-down good, and a delicious way to spend time with each other.

Now, on to the recipes!

Monday: Broccolini and White Cheddar Soup in Sourdough Bread Bowls

(Serves 4)

1 pound broccolini, divided
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
½ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup flour
1 half stick unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups milk
1 vegetable bouillon cube
4 sourdough boules
6 ounces shredded white Cheddar cheese
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Trim and discard woody bottoms of broccolini, then cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces, keeping florets and stems separate. Peel onion and finely chop. Mince garlic. Line a baking sheet with foil. Keeping separate, add broccolini florets and stems to sheet and toss with 1½ teaspoons olive oil each. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired.

2. Arrange broccolini florets and stems in a single layer and roast for 5 minutes. Then, still keeping florets and stems separate, divide carrots between florets and stems and continue roasting until carrots are softened and broccolini is browned and tender, 5–6 minutes more. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

3. When oil in pot is shimmering, add onion and garlic; sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add flour, butter, nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, whisking constantly to combine, 2–3 minutes. Whisk in milk, bouillon cube, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, 2–3 minutes more. Remove pot from heat.

4. While broth simmers, cut a 1-inch slice off the top of each boule. Using your hands, scoop out each boule, leaving a ¼-inch shell. Rub outsides of boules all over with 1 tablespoon olive oil total. Once vegetables are roasted, still keeping florets and stems separate, carefully remove foil with vegetables from sheet and set aside. Add bread bowls to sheet cut-side up and bake until golden and warmed through, 5–7 minutes.

5. While bread bowls bake, place roasted broccolini stems and carrots and 2 cups broth in a blender or food processor and pulse, working in batches as needed, until smooth. Be sure not to overfill the blender, and work in batches as needed. No blender? Finely chop broccolini stems, add to broth, and simmer 3–5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and half of florets. Return soup to remaining broth in pot, still off heat, then stir in white Cheddar and half of roasted broccolini florets and carrots (save remainder for garnish). Season with 1 teaspoons salt and pepper as desired.

6. Divide bread bowls among serving plates. Ladle broccolini and white Cheddar soup into bread bowls (reserve any remaining soup for second helpings) and top with remaining roasted broccolini florets and carrots.

Wednesday: Pan-Roasted Chicken with Blistered Tomato Salad, Buttermilk Dressing, and Sourdough breadcrumbs

(Serves 4)

12 ounces mixed lettuces
¼ ounce chives, divided
3 slices sourdough bread
¾ pint grape tomatoes
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ cup buttermilk
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Cut chives crosswise into ¼-inch pieces. Cut or tear sourdough into pea-size pieces, then transfer to a small bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Set aside until Step 4.

2. Line a baking sheet with foil. Add whole grape tomatoes to 1 half of prepared baking sheet (to make room for the breadcrumbs in Step 4), then toss with 1½ tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper to combine. Roast until beginning to soften, 7–8 minutes. Meanwhile, pat chicken dry with paper towel; season all over with half of garlic powder and smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add chicken skin-side down. Sear, working in batches and adding oil in between as needed, 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 and set aside to rest.

4. While chicken cooks, once tomatoes are beginning to soften, add sourdough breadcrumbs to other half of baking sheet; arrange in a single layer. Continue roasting until tomatoes are blistered and breadcrumbs are golden brown and crisp, 5–8 minutes more.

5. While breadcrumbs and tomatoes cook, in a large bowl (big enough for the salad), whisk together white wine vinegar, buttermilk, half of chives, remaining garlic powder and smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Add mixed lettuces to bowl with dressing and toss to coat.

6. Cut rested chicken into ¼-inch slices. Divide salad with buttermilk dressing among serving plates and top with blistered tomatoes, pan-roasted chicken, and sourdough breadcrumbs. Garnish with remaining chives.

Friday: Pimiento Cheeseburger Sliders with Pretzel Buns and Arugula

(Serves 4)

9 ounces baby arugula
2 roasted piquillo peppers
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons chipotle mayonnaise
3 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
1½ pounds ground beef
12 pretzel slider buns
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Rinse arugula and pat dry with paper towel. Roughly chop piquillo peppers. In a small bowl, stir together chipotle mayonnaise (it’s a bit spicy, so feel free to use less for milder flavor), Cheddar, and piquillo peppers to combine. Mince garlic.

2. In a large bowl, combine garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Pat beef dry with paper towel and add to bowl with garlic. Using your hands, mix well, then form into 12 equal patties, about 1½ inches thick. Using your thumb, create a dimple on top of each. Burger patties tend to puff up when cooked. Creating a shallow dimple in the center of each helps them cook evenly and keep their shape.

3. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add sliders and sear, without flipping, until browned on bottom, 3–4 minutes. Flip, top with pimiento cheese, cover pan, and continue searing until pimiento cheese is melted and sliders are medium rare, 2–3 minutes more. Transfer sliders to a plate.

4. While cheeseburger sliders cook, slice pretzel buns open horizontally then arrange cut-side down on ¾ of a baking sheet. To remaining ¼ of sheet, add sunflower seeds and toast until sunflower seeds and buns are golden, 4–6 minute. Set aside until Step 6.

5. While buns and sunflower seeds toast, in a separate large bowl, whisk together white wine vinegar, 2½ tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired to fully combine. Add arugula to bowl with dressing and toss to coat.

6. Divide pretzel bun bottoms among serving plates and layer with pimiento cheeseburgers and a small handful of arugula. Close with bun tops. Serve with remaining arugula and garnish with toasted sunflower seeds.

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