Simple Meal Planner Recipes

Use these recipes as part of our Low-Cost Menu Planner. Need to buy ingredients? Be sure to check out our Simple Meal Plan Shopping List before you go to the supermarket.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4
Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7

Day 1


Picnic Potato Salad
Serves: 4
Serving size: 1/2 cup

3 medium potatoes, chopped
1/2 Tbsp. onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped

1 egg, hard-boiled, chopped
2 Tbsp. lowfat mayonnaise
1/8 tsp. pepper

  1. Wash, peel and cube potatoes. Place potatoes in sauce pan; add just enough water to cover. Cover and boil for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender but not mushy.
  2. Put egg in a pan with water to just cover. Bring to a boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let sit on the burner for 15-17 minutes. Remove from water and let cool. Peel and chop.
  3. While potatoes and egg are cooking, combine mayonnaise, pepper, onion, and celery in a 3-quart salad bowl.
  4. Add cooled potatoes. Stir just to blend. Serve.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.


Chicken Stir Fry
Serves: 4
Serving size: 2 cups

4 tsp. canola oil
3/4 pound chicken, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1 1/2 cups broccoli
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)

3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 14.5 oz. can low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
3/4 tsp. ground ginger

  1. In a skillet, over medium heat, sauté chicken in 2 teaspoons of oil, until well cooked.
  2. While the chicken cooks, chop the vegetables. Remove the chicken from the skillet.
  3. Put carrots, broccoli, celery, onions and the rest of the oil in the skillet and sauté until tender crisp. Add the cooked chicken back into the skillet.
  4. In bowl, blend cornstarch, chicken broth, water, soy sauce and ginger until smooth.
  5. Gradually stir into vegetable/chicken mix. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens, stirring often.
Day 2


Caribbean Black Beans and Rice
Serves: 4
Serving size: 1 cup

1 1/2 cups long grain rice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup orange juice or pineapple juice

1/2 tsp. allspice or thyme
1 Tbsp. canola oil

  1. Cook the rice according to the directions on the rice's package.
  2. While rice is cooking, in a skillet, sauté the onion in oil.
  3. Add black beans, orange juice, allspice, and pepper. Mash some beans with spoon for thicker consistency. Simmer over low heat until liquid is mostly absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve black beans over rice.


Skillet Noodles and Beef
Serves: 4
Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

1/4 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup onion, chopped 1 small
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
3/4 cups water
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. basil
1 1/2 cups uncooked noodles, 1/2 inch wide
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach
1 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded, about 1/4 cup

  1. Brown ground meat in a large skillet. Drain and rinse to remove fat.
  2. Add onion, tomato sauce, water, and spices. Cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Add noodles. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Defrost spinach in the microwave. Squeeze out excess moisture. Drop spoonfuls of spinach onto skillet mixture. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir mixture. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add water if mixture get too dry.
Day 3


Baked Spicy Fish
Serves: 4
Serving size: 4 ounces

1 pound fresh or frozen cod fillets
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/8 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. thyme or basil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. canola oil

  1. Thaw fish (if frozen) according to package instructions.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Place fish fillets in an ungreased baking pan.
  4. Combine seasonings in a small bowl and sprinkle over fish. Pour lemon juice and oil over fish.
  5. Bake fish for about 20-25 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork.
Day 4


Oven Fries
Serves: 4
Serving size: 1/2 cup

1 large sweet potato, sliced into strips
1 large white potato, sliced into strips
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. chili powder or pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Combine oil, chili powder or pepper, and paprika in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Add potatoes and mix until they are coated with the oil and spices.
  4. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Turn fries over halfway through, and continue baking.
  5. Remove from oven, place on paper towel, and sprinkle with small amount of salt.
Day 5


Italian Bean and Pasta Salad
Serves: 6
Serving size: 1 cup

3 cups pasta, cooked
1 1/2 cups blanched broccoli pieces
3/4 cup carrot slices, cooked
1/3 cup pepper strips
1 Tbsp. onions, diced
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1/3 cup lowfat salad dressing

  1. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans.
  2. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving.


Crispy Oven Chicken
Serves: 4
Serving size: 6 ounces

1 pound boneless chicken thighs
1/4 cup nonfat or 1% milk
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 cup corn type cereal flakes
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/4 tsp. onion powder

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Remove skin and fat from chicken.
  3. Place milk in a shallow bowl. Combine flour, paprika and pepper on a plate. Put cereal on another plate and crush.
  4. Place chicken into the milk and turn to coat.
  5. Dip each chicken piece into seasoned flour.
  6. Return chicken to milk and turn to coat.
  7. Dip each chicken piece into crushed cereal.
  8. Put chicken on a foil lined baking sheet, drizzle oil over chicken.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn chicken over and continue to bake until crust is crisp about 15 minutes more.
Day 6


Carrot Raisin Salad
Serves: 4
Serving size: 1/4 of recipe

4 medium carrots, peeled
1/4 cup raisins
2 Tbsp. lowfat mayonnaise

  1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix carrots, raisins, and mayonnaise.
  2. Refrigerate.
  3. Serve chilled.


Mix 'N Match Pasta
Serves: 4
Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

Pasta - leftover or cooked fresh, 3 cups
Use any shape pasta you like
Try whole wheat pasta for a change of pace
Seasoning - 1/2 - 1 tsp.
Any combination seasonings like Italian herb mix, southwestern seasonings
Garlic powder
Garlic pepper
Lemon juice

Sauce - 1 cup
Tomato or spaghetti sauce

Vegetables - choose any combination, 1 cup total, canned, frozen, fresh, or leftover
Tomatoes, Zucchini, Peppers, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Green Beans, Peas, Carrots, Olives, Mushrooms, Leftover vegetable stir fry

Protein - 1 cup cooked, if desired

Toppings - 1/4 cup, if desired
shredded reduced fat cheese, mozzarella, cheddar, Monterey jack

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. Prepare and cook the vegetables (stir fry, steam, and microwave.)
  3. While those are cooking, prepare the sauce or seasonings.
  4. Mix the ingredients together and serve.
Day 7


English Muffin Pizza
Serves: 8 small pizzas
Serving size: 2 small pizzas

8 whole English muffins
1/2 cup tomato or pizza sauce
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 pound ground turkey
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup peppers, chopped
1 cup shredded reduced fat cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cook ground turkey. Chop onions and peppers.
  3. Slice English muffins in half and place on baking sheet.
  4. Mix tomato sauce and oregano, and spoon on each muffin.
  5. Sprinkle onions, peppers, and ground turkey, over tomato sauce mixture. Top with shredded cheese.
  6. Bake until crust is lightly browned and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.