Healthy Weekly Dinner Plan using Core Recipes

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We’ve created a Healthy Weekly Dinner Plan using Core Recipes that you can use again and again. It’s family-friendly and many recipes can be made in batches so mealtime is even easier the next week. 

Collage of 4 core recipes: chicken, shrimp, meatloaf muffins and London broil for healthy dinners on autopilot plan

Wouldn’t you love to have just one week of AMAZING dinners planned out?

Do it thoughtfully so you have a framework to use week after week. Tweak the plan and add new recipes along the way. 

We call this putting Dinner on Autopilot and it relies on the concept of “Core Recipes.”

Quick Links to Sections

What is a Core Recipe?
Four types of Core Recipes
Sample Healthy Weekly Dinner Plan

What is a Core Recipe?

Core recipes are for the preparation of main ingredients that you use all the time, like chicken, beef, fish or beans. Find core recipes you love and double or triple them each time you make them.

It takes some of the guesswork out of what to have for dinner. 

You don’t eat the exact same thing every single week, because you vary the side dishes.

Or, you make a completely different dish that incorporates the main protein. (Think cook once, eat twice.)

Even though I’m trying out new recipes and ingredients ALL THE TIME, it’s so comforting to have this plan.

Simplifying dinner in this way actually allows MORE freedom to be creative…with side dishes and in selecting and using core recipes. It may even spur your family on to try new things.

In our Healthy Dinners on Autopilot Quick Start Guide (it’s free!), we identify 4 core recipes. Each recipe addresses a different dinner preparation struggle.

You don’t have to use the exact same recipes or even the same proteins. And, yes you can definitely have more than 4 core recipes.

The rationale is that most people end up eating the same type of foods each week…so just make those foods healthy and plan on it! 

Healthy means something different to everyone. We’re striving to follow Clean Eating Guidelines and the guidance in Choose My Plate, eat more vegetables and fruits and use whole grains. 

Note: I am NOT a nutritionist and do not have a medical background. We are simply sharing a meal plan that we have found useful at our house and for my family. Consult with your doctor about any special concerns or conditions that you may have.

Four Types of Core Recipes

Here are 4 fantastic recipes that are easily incorporated into many types of diets including low-carb and gluten-free.

Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken

Double or Triple the recipe. Cube or shred leftover chicken and store it in the freezer to make casseroles, rice bowls, tacos and ready to go into any recipe that calls for cooked chicken.

Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Breast Recipe
Incredibly flavorful and juicy Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken is low-carb, gluten-free and takes MINUTES to prepare.
Check out this recipe
Baked Lemon Pepper Chicken Recipe

London Broil

Keep an extra bag of your favorite cut of meat in the freezer…marinating and ready to go on the grill or in the oven.

Best London Broil Marinade Recipe
The best London Broil marinade was used in our Make Ahead Meal Kitchen thousands of times! Use it to make perfect top round steak in the oven or on the grill every single time!  
Check out this recipe
Sliced pieces of steak on cutting board using The Best London Broil Marinade

Gourmet Meatloaf

Cook lots of these meatloaf muffins and store them in the freezer and dinner will never be more than a few minutes away. These can be made with ground chicken and in the shape of meatballs too!

Gourmet Meatloaf with Mozzarella and Sundried Tomatoes
This gourmet meatloaf is bursting with flavor. Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, onions, fresh basil and sundried tomatoes take this comfort food to a whole new level of delicious!
Check out this recipe
2 Gourmet Meatloaf Muffins with Mozzarella and Sundried Tomatoes on a plate

Skillet Shrimp

Stock your freezer with shrimp, fish or thin cuts of meat that defrost quickly. Use this easy preparation for shrimp for make pasta, salads soups, rice bowls and more.

Skillet Shrimp in 10 Minutes or Less
Make tender, perfectly cooked shrimp every single time using this easy skillet shrimp recipe that's ready in 10 minutes or less!
Check out this recipe
Skillet shrimp piled in a bowl with salad and pasta in the background.

Sample Healthy Weekly Dinner Plan

Here’s how you can use these recipes to create a dinner plan. We’ve included lots of notes so you can customize it. Be sure to print out the Free Printable Weekly Dinner Menu Planner and check out the Step-by-Step Process so you can slot the recipes into the best days for you!

  • SundayLondon Broil (Core Recipe), sweet potatoes, Microwave Corn on the Cob and green beans
    • Make up several bags of London Broil to freeze.
    • Sweet potatoes are used the next day.
    • Italian Green Beans and Tomatoes is an easy way to jazz up this vegetable. There are other ideas in this post too!
    • An alternative to beef is Pork Tenderloin.
    • Plan for leftovers and make steak salad or fajitas later in the week.
    • This Easy Blue Cheese Sauce is delicious on London Broil, freezes and can be used on burgers too.
  • Monday – Meatless Monday – Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili with Quinoa
    • Try a new recipe one day during the week! 
    • My daughter is vegan so I usually double this recipe so she can have this later in the week! If my hubby doesn’t want meatless chili, at least we have leftover London Broil!
    • This is delicious for lunch the next day!
  • TuesdayBaked Lemon Pepper Chicken (Core Recipe), zucchini and yellow squash (roasted in the air fryer or made into spirals and heated on the stovetop) and Vegetable Rice Pilaf
    • Double or triple the chicken recipe so you can dice and freeze packages for future recipes and dinners.
    • Make extra rice pilaf so you can make rice bowls on Thursday.
    • Blackened Honey Chicken is an alternative chicken recipe that’s also delicious.
  • WednesdaySkillet Shrimp (Core Recipe) and Pasta with Olive Oil, Garlic and Mushrooms
  • Thursday – Leftovers – Make Rice Bowls using Vegetable Rice Pilaf as the base
    • Use leftover chicken, shrimp or London broil as the protein.
    • Incorporate vegetables used in earlier recipes, like zucchini, spinach or corn, if desired.
    • Other topping ideas: nuts, seeds and a drizzle of your favorite dressing.
  • Friday – Pizza Night, Let’s Eat Out or Fun Family Favorites like Hawaiian Pizza-dillas.  Make cooking a fun event using recipes like:
  • SaturdayGourmet Meatloaf (Core Recipe) made into muffins and/or meatballs with a Signature Salad
    • These are little more time-consuming. When you have all the ingredients out, make lots of them!
    • Meatloaf Muffins can be cooked and then individually frozen.
    • Meatloaf can also be assembled in a standard sized tin and frozen uncooked.
    • Need a specialty house salad? Check out Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing served with mixed greens and topped with shredded cheese, walnuts, and strawberries.

Last, but not least, add fruit to each meal! Some of our favorites are:

Use a Seasonal Produce Guide to select fruits and vegetables that are in season. They’ll be fresher and cheaper!

So, what do you think? Drop us a note in the comments. 

Collage with food on healthy dinners on autopilot weekly meal plan.

We hope you find this sample healthy weekly dinner plan something you can come back to again and again! 🙂

We'd love for you to share!

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