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 a hearty chicken casserole, a simple main dish salad, and a restaurant-quality pasta dish.
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 weekly meal plans include three main dish recipes, a few easy side dishes, a bread item, a breakfast idea, and a 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.
- Dinner 1: Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole, Meal Prep Salad (a basic green salad that you can make ahead of time)
- Dinner 2: Copycat Chick-fil-A Cobb Salad, Cheddar Cheese Biscuits
- Dinner 3: Creamy Ham Pasta with Peas & Tomatoes, Air Fryer Asparagus
- Breakfast: Sourdough French Toast
- Dessert: S’mores at Home (No Fire Required)
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:
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.
- Shred the cheeses for the casserole, salad, and biscuits all at one time if you don’t buy them already shredded.
- Prep the white sauce up to 2 days before assembling the casserole. You can freeze it for longer storage.
- Hard cooked eggs can be prepared up to a week in advance. They are great for easy snacks and breakfasts or to tuck into sandwiches.
- Make Fried Chicken Strips instead of buying the frozen chicken nuggets in the salad recipe.
- Cook the chicken and bacon ahead of time to incorporate into your meals. If you make extra of both you can work those proteins into other dishes or freeze them for later.
- Cube the ham yourself if it’s cheaper to buy a ham steak or half ham instead of cubed ham.
- The veggies for the salads can be prepped up to 4 days in advance. Store them in airtight containers in the fridge.
- The following recipes can be made in advance and frozen: a kit for assembling the casserole (see recipe for details), the biscuits, and the French toast. 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 veggies are delicious in soups, salads, or burrito bowls.
- Many of the basic ingredients like cooked chicken, ham, bacon, shredded cheese, and white sauce 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!