Summer is coming to an end. That means that vacation is over and your life will go back to being super busy before you know it! But, like any food-loving American, you still want to find the time to sit down to a delicious dinner with the whole family! If you’re worried about how you’ll find the time, you’re in luck. We’ve got some recipes that are going to help you plan great family meals for the whole week.
Weekly meal planning has become very popular in the foodie community, but where are you going to find the time? What actually goes into it? Is it hard? So many questions! Don’t worry. The Mr. Food Test Kitchen is here to help.
To pull this off, you’re going to need two things: one, an air fryer and, two, the freezer case and dairy aisle of your local grocery store. Or, as Howard likes to call them, “The Dream Team”. The freezer case found its perfect match in the easy-to-use air fryer! If you don’t already own an air fryer, don’t worry. Once you see the recipes below, you’ll want to invest in one!
Now, how do we start planning meals for the week? The first step is to talk to your family. After all, family meals need family input. After finding out what you and your partner are craving this week, select your recipes and make your shopping list.
Mr.Food Test Kitchen Tip! To save money during meal planning, try to plan some meals with overlapping ingredients; this will shorten your shopping list. Plus, check your pantry! You may already have some of the ingredients you need in stock.
Once you’ve got your shopping list ready, head to the freezer case, and dairy aisle, to pick up some of the key ingredients in this week’s meal plan. You’ll need cheese, frozen veggies, frozen appetizers (pick your favorite), eggs, milk, cream cheese, some refrigerated biscuits and pizza dough, and some whipped cream! Be sure to consult and follow the recipes below.
After picking up a few other things from around the store, we’re ready to get cooking. It’s that easy! Once you assign a specific meal to a certain day, you’ve will have successfully meal planned for an entire week.
Still need a little help? Let’s look at the sample weekly meal plan the MFTK family came up with just for you!
Monday: Super Stuffed Chicken Divan
Looks like Monday is a day for something classic. Our Super Stuffed Chicken Divan only takes 20-minutes to make, thanks to some key ingredients from the freezer aisle. Everyone at the dinner table is going to love this cheesy, fill-you-up family meal! Just so you know, this is one of Howard’s go-to favorites. It always leaves you full and satisfied. What more could you ask for from a Monday night meal?
Tuesday: Pizzeria-Style Stromboli
If you thought we were making a pizza when we said you’d need pizza dough, you were wrong. We’re making something better, inspired by that little pizzeria down the street! These easy, homemade Pizzeria-Style Stromboli are filled with succulent Italian deli-meat, spinach, and melty Italian cheese. Thanks to your air fryer and the freezer aisle, dinner tonight is going to be a taste of Italy from the comfort of your own home!
Wednesday: Chicken & Veggies Shepherd’s Pie
Wednesday means you could probably use a mid-week pick-me-up. We couldn’t think of a meal that had more comfort and flavor “fried in” than our Chicken & Veggie Shepherd’s Pie. This recipe is made in individual portions, which means everyone gets their own personal serving of weeknight deliciousness. Frozen veggies are the perfect shortcut ingredient, and your air fryer will make the crust of our Shepherd’s Pie the perfect golden-brown. Yum!
Thursday: Cracker-Crusted Mac ‘n’ Cheese
This recipe for your Thursday day is technically a side dish. But, if you serve it with a garden salad, it becomes the Thursday night main dish you’ve been waiting for! Ooey-gooey cheese, and a crispy butter cracker crust make our Cracker-Crusted Mac ‘n’ Cheese a recipe you’ll be craving more than just once a week. We don’t blame you, but try your best to stick to the plan! Maybe there’ll be some leftovers…but we seriously doubt it.
Friday: Chicken Taco Salad Bowl
We’ve always thought that Friday nights were the perfect time for a fiesta! That’s why we’re serving up our Chicken Taco Salad Bowl. You’ll need your air fryer to make the taco bowl and the chicken, but everything else is pretty much ready to go. This easy family meal is light, refreshing, easy-to-make, and totally tasty. There’s no easier way to spice up the start of your weekend than with this simple Tex-Mex meal.
No week of meals is complete without a little something sweet, right? Well, there’s no need to worry. Your air fryer does desserts too! And the freezer aisle has everything you need to give the dessert lovers in your family the perfect post-meal treat.
For a small snack, we recommend our Blue Ribbon “Fried” Cookies! Remember those “deep-fried” sandwich cookies you used to get at the State Fair? These are a DIY version you can make at home! They’re fast, and the perfect size for an on-the-go sweet. Additionally, since they’re made in the air fryer, the kids can enjoy that wonderful flaky crunch, and you don’t have to worry about all those unhealthy oils.
And for something more indulgent, we’re making our Mini Cookies & Cream Cheesecakes. That’s right, you read that correctly. Mini! Which means that every adult in the house gets their own personal cheesecake for dessert. Creamy, sweet, cookie perfection! After a week of holding it all together, we’re hoping this easy air fryer dessert will help you unwind. And it should, considering its main ingredient is one of our all-time favorites: Cream Cheese!
We Told You So! Most of our meals this week were chicken based. That cut down on the amount of meat we needed to purchase at the grocery store. Plus, both our desserts are made with chocolate sandwich cookies. That’s what we call getting more bang for your buck!
As you can see, dinner’s never more than a few easy steps away with shortcut ingredients and a quick kitchen gadget. Your air fryer and your local freezer case and dairy aisle, are all you need to feed everyone delicious meals every night of the week! The best part? These recipes take almost no time at all. Every day, no matter how busy your schedule gets, you’ll get to enjoy a family meal with your loved ones. It doesn’t get better than that.
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This conversation is sponsored by National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association. The opinions and text are all my own.
What’s your best weekly meal planning tip?