Your Weeknight Meal Planner: Cooking with Love

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

Valentine’s Day might have you scrambling for a last-minute reservation at yet another crowded restaurant with overpriced entrées. This year, say I *heart* you by cooking a restaurant-worthy meal for your family, friends, or special someone. We’re sharing some of our favorite recipes (with beverage pairings!) for wining and dining without leaving your kitchen—on Valentine’s Day and all week long. Channel Lady And The Tramp on Monday with Spaghetti and Meatballs. Next, give roasted chicken thighs the luxe treatment with a cranberry-garlic compound butter. On Wednesday, try a totally special, totally vegetarian butternut squash and mushroom risotto made with hearty farro. Skip the fancy bistro on February 14th with classic Steak Frites at home. Ditch the usual Netflix and takeout on Friday and learn to make Thai Shrimp Curry together instead.

Get ready for heart emoji overload. Now, on to the recipes!

Monday: Spaghetti and Meatballs with Ricotta, Parmesan, and Marinara Sauce

(Serves 2)

¼ ounce parsley, divided
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
1½ tablespoons breadcrumbs
4 ounces ricotta cheese
12 ounces ground beef
8 ounces fresh spaghetti
1 16-ounce jar marinara sauce
½ ounce grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

See the full recipe on plated.com!

Tuesday: Cranberry-Garlic Chicken with Crispy Rosemary Potatoes

(Serves 2)

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
12 ounces red-skinned potatoes
⅛ ounce rosemary
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
1 clove garlic
2 boneless chicken breasts
2 ounces curly kale
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Unwrap butter and place in a small bowl to soften at room temperature. Rinse all produce. Halve potatoes, then toss on a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Arrange cut-side down in a single layer; roast until beginning to brown and soften, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, strip rosemary leaves, discarding stems, then mince.

2. Roughly chop dried cranberries. 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. To bowl with softened butter, add dried cranberries, garlic paste, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired; using a fork, mash to fully combine.

3. Pat chicken very dry with paper towel (this will help the skin crisp up in the pan) 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 chicken skin-side down and sear until skin is golden and easily lifts from pan, 6 minutes. Flip chicken and top with cranberry-garlic butter (it’ll finish cooking in the next step).

4. With pan still over medium-high heat, continue cooking chicken, spooning over melted butter repeatedly, until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, 6 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and pour over cranberry-garlic butter; set aside to rest. Reserve pan, off heat. Meanwhile, tear kale leaves into bite-size pieces, discarding long stems. Return pan to medium-high heat with kale. Sauté, stirring, until slightly wilted, 2–3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

5. After 15 minutes of potatoes roasting, using a large fork or spatula, loosen potatoes from baking sheet, then gently press to flatten slightly and break skins (these rustic edges get extra crispy when they go back into the oven). Add rosemary to sheet, drizzle over 1 tablespoon olive oil, and toss to coat. Continue roasting until potatoes are browned and crisp, 8–10 minutes more.

6. Use the downtime while the potatoes roast to pour yourself a glass of something special (see recipe tip). Then, divide cranberry-garlic chicken, sautéed kale, and crispy rosemary potatoes between serving plates. Top with any remaining cranberry-garlic butter. Cheers!

For the perfect wine pairing, our chefs recommend a rosé from Tavel in France’s southern Rhône region.

Wednesday: Roasted Acorn Squash Farrotto with Mushrooms, Gruyère, and Gremolata

(Serves 2)

8 ounces vegetable stock
1 acorn squash
6 ounces cremini mushrooms
4 ounces dinosaur kale
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, divided
3 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
¾ cup farro
¼ cup white wine
¼ ounce chives
¼ ounce parsley
1 lemon
2 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

See the full recipe at plated.com!

Thursday: Steak Frites with Creamy Shallot Sauce and Sautéed Spinach

(Serves 2)

6 ounces baby spinach
2 russet potatoes
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
2 steaks
¼ cup white wine
1 tablespoon Creole mustard
1 teaspoon horseradish
¼ cup cream
1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Rinse all produce. Pat spinach dry with paper towel. Halve potatoes lengthwise; cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices, then cut lengthwise again into ¼-inch fries. Peel shallot and thinly slice into rings. Thinly slice garlic.

2. On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper as desired. Arrange in a single layer, spacing apart as much as possible (keeping the potatoes separate and well-spaced helps them bake, rather than steam). Bake until crisp and tender, 20–25 minutes.

3. About halfway through frites baking, pat steaks dry with paper towel and season all over with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper as desired. Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add steaks and sear until browned and medium rare, 4–6 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to a plate, leaving behind any juices in pan for Step 5, and set aside to rest.

4. While steaks rest, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add spinach and sauté, stirring, until just wilted, 2–3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Season with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper as desired, then cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

5. Return pan from steaks to medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add white wine and cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute. Stir in mustard, horseradish (feel free to use less for milder flavor), and sour cream; cook until warmed through, about 1 minute more. Season with ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper; remove pan from heat.

6. Cut rested steaks against the grain into ¼-inch slices. Cutting meat against the grain ensures tenderness. Find the direction of the grain (muscle fibers) and slice across it, rather than parallel. Transfer to serving plates and spoon over creamy shallot sauce. Serve with baked frites sprinkled with as much sea salt as desired (a little goes a long way) and sautéed spinach.

Friday: Thai Shrimp Curry with Rice Noodles, Peanuts, and Scallion

(Serves 2)

10 ounces shrimp
1 scallion, divided
2 tablespoons peanuts, divided
2 cloves garlic
1 Thai chile 4 ounces snow peas
7 ounces rice noodles
1 teaspoon gluten-free soy sauce
1 tablespoon red curry paste
½ of a 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
canola oil
kosher salt
black pepper

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Pat shrimp dry with paper towel and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a medium high-sided pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque and just pink, 4–6 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a plate and set aside. Wipe pan clean for Step 3.

2. While shrimp cook, rinse all produce. Trim and discard scallion root and thinly slice crosswise on a diagonal, keeping whites and light greens separate from dark greens (see recipe tip). Roughly chop peanuts, or leave in bag and gently crush with the bottom of a heavy pan. Mince garlic. Halve Thai chile lengthwise; using a knife tip, discard seeds and stem, then thinly slice crosswise.

3. Return pan from shrimp to medium-high heat with 2 teaspoons canola oil. When oil is shimmering, add snow peas and scallion whites and light greens and sauté, stirring, , until softened, 2–3 minutes.

4. While snow peas cook, add rice noodles to pot with boiling water and immediately remove from heat. Gently stir to separate noodles and keep from sticking. Set aside to soak until tender, about 9 minutes (move on to Step 5— but don’t forget to come back!). Then, drain noodles and immediately rinse under cold water for 30 seconds to stop cooking. Set aside.

5. To pan with snow peas, still over medium-high heat, add soy sauce, curry paste, garlic, and half of peanuts and cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add coconut milk (vigorously shake can before opening to avoid a messy splatter), ½ cup water, and ½ teaspoon salt. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced and flavors have melded, 4–5 minutes.

6. Stir shrimp and rice noodles into pan with curry, still over medium heat, to warm through, 2 minutes more. Taste and add salt and pepper. Divide shrimp curry and rice noodles between serving bowls. Garnish with Thai chile (it’s spicy, so adjust as desired), scallion dark greens, and remaining peanuts.

May we suggest a Test Kitchen–approved beverage pairing to complete your meal? Try a Belgian saison to go with your curry.

This article is intended for individuals 21-years-old and over. Please drink responsibly.

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