Knowing what you’re going to make for dinner each week, even if it’s just a few nights, can help you save time and money and avoid decision fatigue. This week’s plan includes baked chicken, sautéed fish, and an easy chicken noodle soup.
This is a new feature on Good Cheap Eats this year – free 3-day meal plans to help take some of the load off and help you enjoy meals you love all year long!
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Be inspired with easy meals every week! Our free budget-friendly weekly meal plans include three main dish recipes, a few easy side dishes, a make-ahead breakfast, and a delicious dessert.
Why not a full week? So much goes into crafting meals for the week: social events, leftovers, groceries that need using up, and your mood!
Yep, it’s okay to make what sounds good even if it’s not on the plan.
Our 3-day meal plans allow you some flexibility at the same time as adding structure and reducing decision fatigue. Not to mention they’ll save you a bundle of cash!
Be sure to read our strategies for saving money on groceries, tips for quick meal prep, swapping in ingredients, and what to do with leftovers. These strategies will serve you even if you don’t cook up these exact recipes.
Hungry for more? Check out this month’s featured meal plan on sale. You’ll find easy meals for every day of the month.
This Week’s Recipes
This week’s meal plan includes 3 main dishes, 3-4 sides, a breakfast idea, and a sweet treat. This allows you freedom in the week to enjoy leftovers, go out to eat, or be spontaneous with the evening’s plan. Feel free to mix and match the recipes as they suit you best.
You can click their names to read the full posts and grab the recipes.
How to Save Money on This Week’s Meals
- Shop the kitchen. Compare the shopping list with what you already have on hand. Avoid buying duplicates wherever possible. Consult our list of ingredient swaps so that you can use what you have.
- Plan frugal meals. We’ve taken care of this for you! All these recipes are budget-friendly, using typically affordable ingredients. Build the rest of your meals based on frugal ingredients and you will stretch your dollar further.
- Make a plan for leftovers. This is leftover ingredients as well as leftover prepped food. Scroll down for specific tips on what to do with the leftovers from this week.
- Shop the store with the best prices. What store you choose will make a difference in what you pay. Compare prices so you know what’s the best fit for you this week.
- Scan the sales and clearance. You can save a bundle buying a few extras of the items you regularly use when you see them on sale.
- Cook from scratch. Not only does homemade taste better, but it’s usually cheaper, too. I’ve developed recipes that make it easy to make homemade so you can save yourself more money.
- Freeze extra for later. Anytime you can freeze extra prepped food or ingredients for another time, you’re saving yourself effort as well as cash and avoiding food waste. See below for what meals can be frozen.
Here’s this week’s 3-day meal plan. Click the Shopping List button for the customizable and printable grocery list.
Meal Prep Tips
Many recipes in this meal plan can be made in advance. Some can even be made ahead and frozen. If you like to meal prep, know that you can prepare each of the recipes to serve later.
- Prep the Herbes de Provence and other spice mixes at the same time and use them throughout the week to season vegetables, meats, and other dinner recipes.
- The veggies can be prepped up to 4 days in advance. Store them in airtight containers in the fridge.
- Make the Cilantro Lime Dressing up to 4 days in advance and store in the fridge.
- Make enough of the baked chicken so that you have 2 cups leftover to use in the soup. Make your own Chicken Stock to save money and avoid food waste.
- Pancakes can be a great Meal Prep Breakfast. Consider making a big batch for on-the-go meals throughout the week.
- The following items can be frozen: the chicken, chicken stock, breadsticks, and pancakes. Consider making double batches of these items to freeze for a future time.
What to Do with Leftovers
Be sure to refrigerate leftovers promptly and consume them within 4 days of preparation.
- Leftover quinoa is delicious in soups, salads, or burrito bowls.
- Leftover corn salad should be good for a few days in the fridge. It’s great in bowls or wraps.
- Leftover green beans and veggies are great chopped and stirred into the planned soup, in a salad or bowl, or tucked into a pot pie.
- Leftover chicken is also great in a Chicken Pot Pie or Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole Recipe.
- Many of the basic ingredients like cooked chicken, stock, corn, and green beans can be frozen to use another time.
Want more done-for-you meal plans? Purchase our featured meal plan of the month.
A Month of Meals Back to Basics is a return to classic favorites that everyone loves. They are familiar meal ideas that you can make yourself for less at home.
Whether you’re an old pro in the kitchen or a novice home cook, this basics meal plan is designed to make suppers simple for the weeks to come.
Which recipes do you love?
Be sure to leave starred reviews on the recipes so we know what you love. This helps us build better meal plans for you! Click on the recipe name and choose the number of stars you want to award the recipe.
Show us your meals!
Be sure to snap a photo of your meals this week and share on social media with the hashtag #goodcheapeats. We love it when you share your creations with friends and family!