Your Weeknight Meal Planner: Escape the Recipe Rut

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

Even the most inspired, on-trend food lovers can get into a dinnertime rut. We get it—when you find a dish your family loves, it’s easy to work it into your go-to rotation and repeat again and again. So how do you change things up and still keep everyone happy? Our endlessly creative Plated Test Kitchen helps you do just that. This week, go slightly outside your comfort zone with new recipes and past favorites designed to shake things up in the kitchen. Start off with a steak, quinoa, and vegetable bowl finished with a tangy-sweet dressing—definitely worth adding to your sauce repertoire. On Tuesday, flounder fillets bake with an herbed breadcrumb topping (no messy dredge!). Next up, a streamlined version of classic French onion soup with cheesy croutons that toast right in the pot. For Thursday’s dinner, try fan-favorite chicken shawarma, an open-faced sandwich built on pillowy naan. Finally, if Friday is pizza night at your house, these ricotta and spinach calzones (with homemade marinara for dipping) are a must-try.

Get ready to discover some new weeknight winners. Now, on to the recipes!

Monday: Seared Steak and Quinoa Bowls

(Serves 2)

1 scallion, divided
½ cup quinoa
6 ounces carrots
3 ounces red radishes
1 clove garlic
4 ounces sugar snap peas
2 steaks
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon honey
1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse all produce. Trim and discard scallion root; thinly slice, keeping whites and light greens separate from dark greens. In a small pot, combine quinoa, scallion whites and light greens, 1 cup water, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium low, cover pot, and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat; let stand, still covered.

2. While quinoa cooks, cut carrots crosswise on a diagonal into ½-inch slices. Halve radishes lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise into half-moons. Mince garlic and, still on cutting board, sprinkle over ⅛ 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.

3. On a baking sheet, toss snap peas and carrots with 2 teaspoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Arrange in a single layer and roast until lightly browned and tender, 10–12 minutes.

4. While vegetables roast, pat steaks dry with paper towel and season all over with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add steaks and sear until browned and medium rare, 4– 6 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to a plate and set aside to rest.

5. While steaks sear, in a small bowl, stir together Champagne vinegar, sour cream, honey, Dijon, garlic paste, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to combine. In a medium bowl, toss together radishes, ½ tablespoon olive oil, and ⅛ teaspoon salt to coat.

6. Cut rested steaks against the grain into ¼-inch slices. Find the direction of the grain (muscle fibers) and slice across it, rather than parallel. Add half of honey-Dijon dressing to pot with quinoa, stir to coat, and divide between serving bowls. Top with roasted vegetables, radishes, and sliced steak. Drizzle over remaining honey-Dijon dressing and garnish with scallion dark greens.

Tuesday: Baked Flounder Oreganata

(Serves 2)

1 yellow bell pepper
½ pint grape tomatoes
¼ ounce dill
1 lemon, divided
1 ounce Kalamata olives
2 cloves garlic, divided
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup orzo
10 ounces flounder
1 ounce crumbled feta cheese
3 packets unsalted butter
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

See the full recipe on plated.com!

Wednesday: French Onion Soup

(Serves 2)

2 yellow onions
2 cloves garlic
⅛ ounce thyme, divided
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
⅓ cup dry sherry wine
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire
2 cups vegetable stock
4 slices sourdough bread
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Peel onions, halve, and thinly slice. Mince garlic. Strip leaves of 2 thyme sprigs, discarding stems, and reserve for Step 6; leave remainder whole for the next step.

2. Heat butter in a large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. When butter is foamy, add onions, garlic, and whole thyme sprigs (not leaves) and sauté, stirring, until onions are light brown and fragrant, 6–8 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Flour helps thicken the soup as it simmers. Stir it into the onions before adding the stock to toast it slightly and prevent any flour lumps in your soup. Add sherry and Worcestershire sauce and cook, stirring continuously, until thickened, 1 minute more. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired.

3. To pot with onions, add vegetable stock and 2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and simmer until flavors have melded, 10–12 minutes (move on to Step 4—but don’t forget to come back). Remove pot from heat. Remove and discard whole thyme sprigs and season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. The whole thyme sprigs will add plenty of flavor to the soup, but won’t be pleasant to bite into. We recommend removing them once the soup has simmered.

4. While soup simmers, halve bread slices crosswise and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle over olive oil. Bake until toasted and golden brown, 5– 7 minutes, then flip (toasting the bread first helps it stay crisp once added to the soup). Spread mustard over plain sides of bread slices.

5. To pot with soup, still off heat, add toasted bread slices, mustard-side up, in a single layer, overlapping slightly as needed (see recipe tip). Sprinkle over Gruyère. Transfer pot with soup to oven and bake until cheese is melted and bread is golden and crisp, 2–3 minutes.

6. Ladle French onion soup into serving bowls and top with sourdough croutons. Garnish with reserved thyme.

Thursday: Chicken Shawarma

(Serves 2)

2 lemons, divided
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic, divided
1 cup grape tomatoes
½ English cucumber
¼ ounce fresh parsley
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup tahini
2 naan breads
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons water
kosher salt
black pepper

See the full recipe at plated.com.

Friday: Whole-Wheat Calzones

(Serves 2)

12 ounces whole-wheat pizza dough
1 ounce baby spinach
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, divided
12 ounces ground beef, pork, and veal
2 tablespoons flour
4 ounces ricotta cheese
2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons Italian dried herb blend, divided
1 cup tomato purée
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 parchment paper
1 egg
olive oil
black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450°F—move racks down first so that calzones cook evenly. Remove pizza dough from bag and let soften at room temperature so it’s easier to roll out. Rinse spinach and pat dry with paper towel (to keep excess moisture out of your calzones); roughly chop. Peel onion, halve, and thinly slice. Mince garlic. In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg. Pat beef, pork, and veal dry with paper towel.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light brown and beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add beef, pork, and veal and half of garlic; cook, breaking up meat, until browned, 4–5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Reserve half of meat and onions in pan for filling. We’re using half the meat to keep the calzones from bursting at the seams. Save remainder for another use. Stir in spinach to wilt. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper.

3. Roll out dough While filling cooks, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle flour onto a clean, dry surface, coating a rolling pin or your hands with a thin layer. Divide pizza dough into 2 equal pieces and roll each into a circular shape, about ⅛ inch thick—try lifting the dough with your hands to let gravity help stretch it down, and use your fingers to gently pull the edges. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.

4. Dollop ricotta onto 1 half of each dough (reserving pan), then top with filling and mozzarella. Fold dough over filling; pinch and roll edges tightly to seal. Brush with egg, then sprinkle over half of dried herb blend and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cut a 1-inch slit on top of each calzone for steam to escape. Transfer sheet to bottom half of oven and bake, rotating halfway through, until calzones are golden brown and crisp, 12–15 minutes.

5. While calzones bake, wipe pan from filling clean and return to medium-high heat with 2 teaspoons olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add remaining garlic and remaining dried herb blend and sauté, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato purée and simmer until sauce is warmed through and flavors have melded, 2–3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.

6. Season marinara sauce with ⅛ teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired, then add crushed red pepper (skip or use half for less heat) and stir to combine. Halve calzones on a diagonal and serve with marinara sauce for dunking.

Did you know Plated also offers dessert? Try it today!

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