This Week’s Meal Planning Inspiration from Plated

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

The week before Thanksgiving feels a bit like the calm before the storm. In a few days, relatives will fill the house and you’ll need to plan, shop, and cook for the year’s most anticipated feast. It’s a fun and totally delicious time time of year, though certainly not without stress. For now, how about a little pre-relaxation to gear up for all the action ahead?

We’re keeping things easy this week with meals that are simple and satisfying, though never short on flavor. Start off the week on Monday with vegetable-stuffed quesadillas (get helpers involved to make assembly a breeze). On Tuesday, treat everyone to a comforting bowl of shrimp and grits with a fresh Italian twist. And since we really can’t get enough Italian this month, enjoy a rich mushroom pasta on Wednesday (hint: mascarpone makes everything better).

Resist the urge to dial delivery on Thursday with our one-pot, one-pan chicken fried rice. Then, end the week with pan-seared salmon and zingy salsa verde—a light, delicious Friday meal that won’t have you tiring of turkey too early.

Monday: Butternut Squash and Black Bean Quesadillas with Cheddar and Monterey Jack

Serves 4

1 pound butternut squash
1 can black beans
3 ounces baby spinach
4 scallions, divided
½ cup roasted red peppers
1 lime
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
8 flour tortillas
4 packets sour cream
¼ ounce cilantro
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
aluminum foil
2 baking sheets
potato masher (optional)
10″ medium pan
blender or food processor (optional)

1. Roast butternut squash
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil. Rinse all produce. Cut butternut squash cubes to ½-inch pieces, needed, so they cook quickly and evenly. Add squash to prepared sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Arrange in a single layer and roast until slightly browned and tender, 12 minutes.

2. Prepare ingredients
While squash roasts, drain and rinse black beans. Pat spinach dry with paper towel and roughly chop. Trim and discard scallion roots and thinly slice on a diagonal, keeping whites and light greens separate from dark greens (Recipe tip: Feel free to slice the scallions as usual —we like to cut them on a diagonal, also known as the bias cut, for a cheffy touch and elegant presentation). Roughly chop roasted red peppers. Halve lime.

3. Cook vegetables and beans
Once roasted, using a fork or potato masher, mash squash on sheet. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil in shimmering, add scallion whites and light greens; sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add spice mix, black beans, and red peppers to pan; cook, stirring, 2–3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach, mashed squash, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper; reserve sheet, discarding foil.

4. Assemble and bake quesadillas
In a small bowl, combine Monterey Jack and Cheddar. Rub sheet and another sheet with 2 teaspoons olive oil each. Add 2 tortillas to each sheet in a single layer. Layer with half of cheeses, then add vegetables and black beans. Top with remaining cheeses and remaining tortillas, pressing lightly (Recipe tip: Adding the vegetables between layers of cheese helps bind them to the tortillas so the quesadillas hold together). Brush tops of quesadillas with 1 teaspoon olive oil each, then bake until golden and crisp, 5–7 minutes.

5. Make cilantro-lime crema
While quesadillas bake, in a blender or food processor, combine sour cream, whole cilantro sprigs, juice of 1 lime (or start with a little, taste, and add more as desired), ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired. Blend until smooth. Alternatively, finely chop cilantro leaves and stems, place in a bowl with remaining crema ingredients, and stir to combine

6. Plate quesadillas
Using a thin spatula, carefully loosen butternut squash and black bean quesadillas from baking sheets, transfer to cutting board, and cut into quarters. Transfer to serving plates and top with cilantro-lime crema. Garnish with scallion dark greens and dig in!

Tuesday: Garlic-Basil Shrimp and Grits with Cherry Tomato Sauce

Serves 4

½ stick unsalted butter
2 pints cherry tomatoes
¼ ounce basil, divided
4 cloves garlic
1¼ pounds shrimp
½ cup white wine
2 cups quick-cooking grits
6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
12″ large pan
10″ large pot with lid

1. Prepare ingredients
Cut butter into small cubes, place on a plate, and refrigerate until Step 6 (Recipe tip: Cutting the butter into small pieces and refrigerating will help it melt evenly into the grits and keep it from separating). Rinse cherry tomatoes and halve. Rinse basil and roughly chop or tear leaves, discarding stems. Mince garlic.

2. Sear shrimp
Pat shrimp dry with paper towel and season all over with ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add shrimp and cook until just pink, 1–2 minutes per side (the shrimp will finish cooking in the sauce). Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a plate, then wipe pan clean for the next step.

3. Cook cherry tomato sauce
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in pan from shrimp over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add tomatoes and garlic and cook, pressing tomatoes to release their juices, until softened, 4–6 minutes. Add white wine and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, 4–5 minutes more. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired.

4. Cook grits
While sauce cooks, in a large pot, bring 8 cups water to a near-boil over high heat (it should just be lightly bubbling). Whisk in grits and 1 teaspoon salt until smooth. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook grits, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 7–9 minutes (Recipe tip: Occasionally whisking the grits prevents clumping. Be sure to return the lid after each time). Remove pot from heat and set aside, still covered, until Step 6.

5. Finish garlic basil shrimp
While grits cook, add seared shrimp and half of basil to cherry tomato sauce, still over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque and cooked through, 2–3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside until grits are cooked.

6. Plate shrimp and grits
To pot with grits, off heat, whisk in Parmesan, ⅓ cup mascarpone, and butter cubes to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Divide grits among serving bowls (Recipe tip: We recommend rinsing the pot from the grits ASAP to make cleanup easier. Cooled grits can be a tough scrub!), then top with shrimp and cherry tomato sauce. Garnish with remaining basil and dig in!

Wednesday: Mushroom Cavatelli with Mascarpone and Chives

Serves 2

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 ounces shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon porcini mushroom powder
2 cloves garlic
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
9 ounces cavatelli pasta
1/8 ounce chives
2 ounces oyster mushrooms
1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
3 ounces mascarpone cheese
black pepper
kosher salt
10″ large pot
12″ large high-sided pan

1. Prepare Ingredients
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Trim and discard tough mushroom stems, then wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel and cut into ¼-inch slices. Rinse chives and thinly slice. Thinly slice garlic.

2. Cook Cavatelli
Season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in cavatelli and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water, then drain and set aside.

3. Sauté Mushrooms
While pasta cooks, heat butter in a large high-sided pan over medium-high heat. When butter is foamy, add mushrooms and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms begin to brown, 10-12 minutes. (P.S. This is a great time to set the table). Then, add wine and cook, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan, until liquid is mostly evaporated, about 1 minute. Season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired.

4. Make Porcini Broth
Once cavatelli is cooked and drained, whisk porcini powder into reserved pasta water until fully dissolved.

5. Finish Sauce
Add cooked cavatelli to pan with mushrooms, still over medium-high heat, and stir to combine. Add porcini broth and stir until sauce is silky and clings to noodles, 1-2 minutes. Stir in mascarpone to fully coat pasta, then remove pan from heat.

6. Plate Mushroom Cavatelli
Add chives and half of Parmesan to pan with pasta and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired, then divide mushroom cavatelli between serving bowls. Garnish with remaining Parmesan, and dig in!

Thursday: Chicken and Ginger Fried Rice with Snow Peas

Serves 4

1½ cups jasmine rice
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
10 ounces snow peas
3 scallions, divided
3 cloves garlic
¼ ounce ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2.5 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
½ cup peas
½ cup shredded red cabbage
½ cup shredded carrots
canola oil
4 eggs
kosher salt
black pepper
8″ medium pot with lid
12″ large nonstick pan

1. Cook rice
In a medium pot, combine rice, 2½ cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt, 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. Fluff rice with a fork, then set aside uncovered to release steam, making it easier to fry in Step 5.

2. Cook chicken
While rice cooks, pat chicken dry with paper towel; season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add chicken; sear, working in batches and adding oil in between as needed, until cooked through and no longer pink, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside to rest, reserving pan for Step 4.

3. Prepare ingredients
While chicken cooks, rinse all produce. Halve snow peas crosswise. Trim and discard scallion roots and thinly slice crosswise on a diagonal, keeping whites and light greens separate from dark greens. Mince garlic. Trim and discard skin of ginger and mince (Recipe tip: Ginger skin can be trimmed with a knife or peeler, but if you have a metal spoon handy, this is even easier: Scrape the edge of the spoon along the outside of the ginger to quickly peel its delicate skin. (Have a helper do this part!). In a medium bowl, whisk 4 eggs (this is a great task for a helper), then season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Once rested, shred chicken using 2 forks or roughly chop.

4. Sauté aromatics
Return pan from chicken to medium high heat with sesame oil. When oil is shimmering, add garlic, ginger, and scallion whites and light greens. Sauté, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 minute.

5. Finish fried rice
Add soy sauce and cooked rice to pan with aromatics, still over medium-high heat; stir to coat. Press rice down into a single layer and cook, without moving, until golden on bottom, 3–4 minutes. Push rice to edges of pan, then pour eggs into center; scramble, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, 1–2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Add peas, slaw mix, shredded chicken, and snow peas; stir everything to combine (Recipe tip: Another great task for a helper: stirring all the fried rice ingredients together).

6. Plate chicken fried rice
Divide chicken and ginger fried rice among serving plates. Garnish with scallion dark greens and enjoy!

Friday: Salmon with Salsa Verde and Israeli Couscous

Serves 2

3 ounces baby spinach
1 teaspoon capers
2 cornichons
1 clove garlic
1 scallion
1/2 ounce parsley
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 cup Israeli couscous
10 ounces salmon
1/2 cup peas
1 lemon
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
8″ medium pot
10″ medium nonstick pan with lid

1. Prepare ingredients
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse all produce. Finely chop parsley leaves, discarding stems. Finely chop capers and cornichons. Halve lemon. Trim and discard scallion root, then thinly slice. 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 repeatedly until a smooth paste forms.

2. Cook couscous
Season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in couscous and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and return to pot, off heat.

3. Make salsa verde
While couscous cooks, in a medium bowl, stir together white wine vinegar, parsley, capers, cornichons, garlic paste, juice of ½ lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.

4. Finish couscous
Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a medium nonstick pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add spinach and peas and cook, stirring to wilt spinach, about 2 minutes. Transfer spinach and peas to pot with couscous, along with almonds, scallion, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to serve. Wipe pan from vegetables clean. Pat salmon dry with paper towel and season all over with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.

5. Sear salmon and char lemon
Return pan from vegetables to medium heat with 2 teaspoons olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add salmon skin-side down and remaining lemon cut-side down. Sear together until salmon is golden on bottom, 5 minutes. Flip salmon and cover pan, keeping lid slightly ajar for steam to escape. Continue searing until salmon is cooked through and opaque and lemon is charred, 3-5 minutes more.

6. Plate salmon and couscous
Divide Israeli couscous between serving plates and top with salmon. Spoon over salsa verde. Squeeze charred lemon over salmon and dig in!

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

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