Weeknight Cooking

10 Recipes to Mix and Match for a Week's Worth of Meals

March 21, 2015

We know that sometimes you get home and have a grand total of 15 minutes to figure out what you’re going to put on the table. Us too. Let's find a solution.

The answer may be cooking lots of dishes in advance to get you through the week, but the hard part of that option is getting organized and figuring out how to make the ingredients you purchased over the weekend last you over the course of a week. Think about it: You have dinners to make, lunches to pack, breakfasts to shovel down with your morning coffee while you sprint out the door so you can make it to the gym before work so you don’t have to go at night because...you'll be busy making dinner. The last thing you need -- or want -- is to stand forlornly in front of a half-empty fridge on Wednesday, cursing quietly and feeling like Mother Hubbard.

Here’s a piece of advice: Set Sunday aside. Get organized, go shopping, and get a whole lot of cooking done. Make these recipes on Sunday and read on to see how to turn them into a week's worth of meals:

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What to do with the roast chicken: Make one and eat some for dinner. Consider making two and you’ll be guaranteed a slew of best overs to carry you through Friday, including chicken salad, pot pies, enchiladas, and Chicken Orzo Soup

Where the Bagna Cauda can take you: Use leftover vegetables in more salads. Make extra dressing, and you’ll have the perfect element for that Not Sad Desk Lunch that you promised yourself that you’d start bringing to work.  

When making the fingerlings, add on a few more. They reheat beautifully, and, come Thursday, you can always top them with a fried egg, eat more salad, and call it a night.

With a pot of beans, you’ll be more than set for the week ahead; you'll have the building blocks for these Brothy, Garlicky Beans, as well as this avocado-white bean salad. Your beans will be a mid-week life-saver, satisfying in both flavor and in the fact that you didn't spend a copious amount of time prepping your ingredients.

It seems like a lot of work for one day. But if you think about it in terms of how much work you won’t have to do Monday through Friday, you’re already ahead of the curve. The key here is to buy more vegetables and ingredients than you need for one specific recipe; if you make extra food and have leftover ingredients from Sunday, you’ll be on a good track for the rest of the week, especially as these recipes are built to stand up over the course of a few days.

Your menu, day by day:







IMPORTANT: You made it to Friday! You’ve been so good and organized this week -- be sure to make something sweet for yourself.

What are your favorite strategies for getting dinner on the table night after night?  Tell us in the comments below.

Photos by Food52, James Ransom, Mark Weinberg, Food52, Alpha Smoot, Sarah Shatz, and Phyllis Grant.


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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Mei Chin

Written by: Mei Chin

Let's have dinner sometime. There will be champagne and ice cream for sure; everything else is up in the air.


Juliette T. January 16, 2017
Any vegetarian weekly meal plans in the book? Or on the cards?
luvcookbooks January 16, 2017
I have taken out vegetarian recipes for my weekly meal plans but there are no pre made vegetarian weeks. Ox the Barley salad with Onion Confit and Persimmons.
kimikoftokyo March 23, 2015
Well I do the whole cooking for a week thing. I make two core things that last all week such as meats and vegetables or potatos then put them in containers and each day eat off of it. Now if anything I will make the same just meat then go to whole foods and get sides. But either two days out the week or the weekend I go out to eat. I also eat a lot of international food. So those dishes seem to last longer so I don't have to prepare a lot to have for the whole week.
Millie |. March 22, 2015
I love making a roast chicken - it's so lovely making leftovers with!
luvcookbooks March 22, 2015
Would love to see more "cooking for the Week" columns. Trying to figure out new patterns instead of takeout/order in/go out. Thanks!
girlwithaknife March 22, 2015
YES. Agree.
Mei C. March 23, 2015
We're planning on it! Stay tuned.
Lucienne March 21, 2015
Keep loaves of unbaked Italian bread dough in your freezer. Monday, take 2 of them out in the morning and let them rise all day while you are at work. When you get home, make a bunch of tomato sauce and make 2 pizzas. You have dinner for 2 nights. On Wednesday, cook up a bunch of ravioli and serve with the leftover tomato sauce. On Thursday, pan fry the leftover ravioli in garlic and olive oil and serve it on a salad of romaine with Caesar salad dressing. Mmmmm, yummy!
Mei C. March 22, 2015
Brilliant! I love that idea.