Welcome to Next Week’s Meal Plan! Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But I’m a firm believer that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. I want to help you find inspiration and ease some of the pain points that come with getting dinner on the table night after night, whether you’re cooking for one or a family of eight. Every week, I’ll be sharing a new meal plan solution specifically customized for you from reader requests or from a guest contributor.
This week’s reader-requested meal plan comes from a home cook looking for healthy and inexpensive slow cooker dinners. Soups always work well, but come summer one of my favorite ways to keep meals wholesome and my food budget in check is with vegetable-heavy dinners. With seasonal produce at its prime, not only are these meals more flavorful than any other time of year, but also the least expensive.
Here are five slow cooker dinners that put summer favorites like eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, corn, and fresh herbs at the center of the plate.
Monday: Slow-Cooker Ratatouille
Ratatouille is a summertime must in my book. This veggie-packed dinner takes advantage of prime seasonal produce, which means it’s both super flavorful and inexpensive to stock up on right now. Round out dinner by topping your bowl of ratatouille with a fried egg or two.
Get the recipe: Slow-Cooker Ratatouille
Tuesday: Rice Bowls with Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken
Tonight’s dinner is a breeze to pull together and starts with a simple, dairy-free pesto (the recipe calls for basil, but any herbs or greens you have on hand will work). Use the chicken as a topper for a brown rice bowl, along with cherry tomatoes (or a scoop of ratatouille if you have leftovers).
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Veggie Burrito Bowls
This is the recipe to lean on when you’re tempted to forgo cooking for your local Chipotle. Not only is it a breeze to pull together, but it’ll also help you use up any zucchini, summer squash, or corn on the cob you have hanging around. Mix it up before work, and you’ll come home to a cool kitchen and a ready-made meal. In addition to the lime sour cream, round out your bowl with ripe avocado and fresh cilantro.
Get the recipe: How To Make Slow Cooker Veggie Burrito Bowls
Thursday: Light & Fresh Slow Cooker Corn Chowder
This is one of the best ways to turn a bundle of sweet summer corn into dinner. The soup is meant to be eaten warm, but I think it’s just as delicious chilled. Round out dinner with a fresh green salad.
Get the recipe: Light & Fresh Slow Cooker Corn Chowder
Friday: Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew
I love this vegetarian stew. It’s such a great way to clear out the crisper. Any and all summer vegetables are fair game — that means swapping fresh tomatoes for canned and using whatever greens you have handy (kale or even beet tops work as well as spinach). Serve it over brown rice or your favorite grain, and freeze the leftovers for another week.
Get the recipe: Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew
New to meal planning? Start here.
- The Beginner’s Guide to Meal Planning: What to Know, How to Succeed, and What to Skip
- The Best Way to Use a Weekend for Meal Planning Success
- Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before You Start Meal Planning
- 5 Strategies for Picking Recipes for a Week of Meal Planning
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