Meal Plan Monday: Week 3 is Easier than Ever!

This week is what is affectionately known as hell week in the theatre.  My daughter plays the evil stepmother in the musical Cinderella that opens this Thursday at her high school.  She’ll be at school from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Me?  I’ll be right there with her for as much time as I can, painting sets, helping feed 130 cast and crew members and basically doing anything I can to support the program.  So meal time this week has to be SUPER easy for me.  Which means it’s going to be SUPER easy for YOU, too!


Meal Plan Monday Week 3-Meals in Minutes


Meatless Monday: 20 Minute Lemon Broccoli Pasta Skillet

Finally! My kids are old enough to enjoy broccoli! Oh who am I kidding? It’s me who took some time to get used to that vegetable. You can easily substitute asparagus too (which I love!!) and use any kind of pasta. Who doesn’t love a recipe where you can use up what you’ve got?  For the whole mouth-watering blog, visit The Food Charlatan.


From The Food Charlatan
From The Food Charlatan



  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh broccoli
  • 1 pound rotini pasta
  • 3-4 cups spinach
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup fresh Parmesan, plus more to garnish
  • olive oil, to garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh lemon wedges, to garnish


In a large skillet or pot, bring the salt and water to a boil.

While you wait, prep your broccoli by trimming the stems and cutting the florets into similar sized pieces.

Add the rotini and boil on high for 4 minutes. Add the broccoli, cover, and set a timer for 3 minutes (Leave the burner on high enough to keep a rolling boil). The broccoli will still be crisp-ish and not soggy.

When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and drain the pasta using a lid or colander. Return to the pan and stir in the spinach.

Sprinkle with lemon zest. Let it sit for a few minutes so the spinach wilts.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet melt the 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and crushed red pepper and saute for about 1 minute, until fragrant.

Turn off the heat and add 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Add the lemon butter to the pasta and stir.

Stir in 1 cup fresh parmesan cheese. Add a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.


Taco Tuesday: Taco Salad

This is as easy as can be.


Simply take some taco meat (I prefer to use ground turkey) and place on your favorite lettuce. I like to use Boston Bibb because it makes a nice little bowl for the taco meat. Then simply add your favorite toppings such as sour cream, cheese, salsa, olives-whatever you love on a taco.

Side note: I like to make taco meat in advance and freeze it; just to make life easier. I also make my own taco seasoning. It’s healthier, less expensive than those packets, and super easy.  This recipe from The Pioneer Woman makes six batches. Now Taco Tuesday is even easier!


The Pioneer Woman
The Pioneer Woman


Taco Seasoning:

Measure out all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well. Then taste and adjust the salt or spices as desired. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

For a larger batch (the equivalent of about 6 packets), use:

1/4 cup chili powder
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon each paprika, crushed red pepper, and salt
1 1/2 teaspoons each garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, black pepper


Wednesday: Poppy Seed Chicken

This is Hannah’s favorite dinner. Hannah is my daughter’s friend that she’s known since Kindergarten! Teachers used to get them mixed up since they’re both blondies. I can’t believe they are going to college next year! If this were paper you’d see tear stains. This is just plain hard. Anyway-it’s an easy recipe originally from Southern Living.


Southern Living
Southern Living


  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 (16 oz) container sour cream (I use fat free)
  • 3 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 31 round buttery crackers, like Town House, crushed
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted



Combine first four ingredients. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 11 x 7 inch baking dish.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a glass bowl.  Take one sleeve of Town House crackers and crush, in the sleeve.  Then pour out into the butter and mix well. Sprinkle evenly over casserole.

Bake at 450 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


Thursday: Roast Beef Subs

It’s Opening Night!  I won’t even have time to eat at home.  My son will be running in (pardon the pun) from track practice to have a quick meal before returning to the school.  Hubby will scarf down dinner before the show.  So it’s time for a make-ahead meal.


  • Roast beef (I just get Boars Head deli sliced)
  • Nice sub rolls
  • Provolone cheese slices
  • Au Jus sauce (the kind in the packet-if you have time)


Open the sub rolls.  Place in one piece of cheese, meat, and a second piece of cheese.  Making a sandwich of the meat keeps it from sliding off the bread.  I wrap in foil and pop in the fridge.  Whenever people come home they can warm theirs up in the oven. 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.


And now for your grocery list!  Always check to see what you’ve got on hand first; you’ll spend less at the grocery store.

Need a grocery printable?  I’ve got a pre-filled out one or a blank one-to make life easier for you.  And they’re FREE printables!

FREE printable grocery list!FREE printable grocery list!


  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds fresh broccoli
  • 3-4 cups spinach
  • 2 large lemons (1 is for garnish)
  • 2 cloves garlic


  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 pound hamburger or ground turkey
  • Roast beef deli meat



  • 1 can cream of chicken soup


  • Poppy seeds
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Taco seasoning packet or
    • 1/4 cup chili powder
    • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
    • 1 tablespoon each paprika, crushed red pepper, and salt
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons each garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, black pepper


  • Butter
  • Shredded cheese for tacos
  • 1 cup fresh Parmesan, plus more to garnish
  • Provolone cheese slices
  • 2 pints sour cream


  • Foil
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound rotini pasta (or any other type of pasta)
  • Sub rolls
  • Town House or other round buttery crackers


Another week of meals planned.  I find that having your meals planned out significantly reduces stress during the week. So sit back, relax, and pat yourself on the back!

Happy (easy) cooking!


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5 Responses

  1. Lynne

    Love the idea of making taco seasoning from scratch rather than buying the pre-made stuff! Thanks, Daria! Oh, by the way, the link to this weeks meals doesn’t work. It gets you to your web site but not directly to the meals.

    • Daria Harvey

      Thanks for your comment Lynne! I’m not sure what happened to the link. Thanks for the heads up so I can fix it!

  2. Morgan Tyree

    I’m going to try that taco seasoning. I love making my own! Thanks for a great plan for the week. Good luck with your SUPER week!!!

  3. Daria Harvey

    Thanks Morgan! I’ve just returned from the theatre where I spent 11 hours painting sets. So grateful I already have dinner done!

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