30 Simple Dinners (to help you win at meal planning)

30 Day Meal Plan to Simplify and Save Money

If you’re anything like me, then you’re likely always striving to make eating at home a more regular occurrence. The fact that made at home meals are almost always healthier and cheaper means you’re fighting back against two demons at once….the dollar devouring green-eyed dragon and the waistline expanding blubbery behemoth. And those two, they’re fierce competition. I’ve got your back though! All it takes to come out triumphant is a plan, and I’ve got 30 days of planning all lined up to get you into the kitchen and out of the restaurant.

Instant Pot

That one magic appliance that was on everyone’s Christmas list. Raise your hand if you are now the proud owner of an Instant Pot? {Raises Hand} If not, don’t worry. Most of these recipes can be made in a slow cooker or on the stove top.

I’ll be honest; I’m not yet a 100% convert to the Instant Pot. It’s just not as ‘Instant’ as I had imagined. The actual cook time is crazy fast; we’re talking less than 10 minutes for a delicious soup that tastes like it’s been simmering all day. But, there’s the warm-up and cool-down time that needs to be factored in. I still think it’s great, but dash any hopes of having dinner on the table in 15 minutes because you’re still looking at at least 30-45 minutes for even the most basic dishes. Still way faster than waiting all day for the slow cooker to do its thing.

Pressure Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken & Noodles from The Creative Bite

Instant Pot Pasta e Fagioli Soup from Creme De La Crumb

Un-stuffed Cabbage Bowls (Instant Pot or Stove Top) from Skinnytaste

Pressure Cooker Thai Green Chicken Curry With Eggplant and Kabocha Squash Recipe from Serious Eats

Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas from Gimme Some Oven

5-Ingredient Carnitas Soup from Gimme Some Oven

Salisbury Steak Meatballs (Instant Pot, Stove Top, Slow Cooker) from Skinnytaste

Instant Pot Korean Beef Tacos Recipe from Pinch of Yum

Vegetarian

One of the best ways to cut down your spending on groceries is to add in a few vegetarian meals. I would do this way more often but the bf is a MEAT EATER, and it’s hard to convince him to go veggie more than once or twice a week. Most of the recipes can be amended to add meat if you really have to or serve up a sandwich to go along with the soups. For me though, I’ll keep the tofu. Those Vietnamese sandwiches are the bomb.

Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl from Minimalist Baker

Grilled Lemongrass- and Coriander-Marinated Tofu Vietnamese Sandwiches (Vegan Banh Mi) Recipe from Serious Eats

Dr. Zhivago Borscht Recipe from Food52

How To Make a Frittata from The Kitchn

Dill Pickle Soup from The Kitchen Magpie

Salads

Some people love salads; I am not one of those people. Hence why there are only three salad recipes out of thirty, and you top them with all sorts of deliciousness, and there are no wilty greens in sight. Crunchy lettuce is essential. If I can’t stab it with a fork then you won’t find it on my plate. There’s also a monumental difference between homemade dressings and store bought, so do yourself a favour and don’t skip that step.

Nancy’s Chopped Salad from Smitten Kitchen

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wrap Chopped Salad from Skinnytaste

Skinny Chicken and Avocado Caesar Salad from Cafe Delites

Seafood

I might be fussy with meat, but I love ALL the seafood. The one problem? Living in a landlocked, lake lacking province like Alberta means that seafood is expensive. I find that the Costco frozen salmon fillets are a decent value (especially if you can grab them on sale) and we stock up on frozen shrimp when Superstore has them on sale. If you’re adding salmon to a pasta dish or that couscous salad listed below, then you can even use canned salmon as a cheaper alternative.

Baked Shrimp Taquitos from Skinnytaste

Brazilian Shrimp Soup Recipe from Food & Wine

Warm Couscous Salad With Salmon and Mustard-Dill Dressing Recipe from Serious Eats

Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro from Skinnytaste

Paleo Tuna Green Chile Zoodle Casserole from Cotter Crunch

Asian Salmon Sheet-Pan Dinner Recipe from POPSUGAR

Miscellaneous Meat Based

And all the rest that didn’t fit nicely into one of the headings above.

The white chili, tortilla soup and the bolognese sauce are all freezers friendly. Don’t hesitate to double up the recipe and load up that freezer. The bolognese is fantastic, but you will need to do it on a day when you’re kicking around the house. It’s become one of our go-to’s though, and we’ll make a huge batch and portion it out for super quick weeknight dinners. When you can have a restaurant quality pasta sauce by just defrosting and boiling some pasta, you’ll be way less tempted to order in.

Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls from Skinnytaste

Sausage and Potato Roast with Arugula from Smitten Kitchen

Crispy Tortellini with Peas and Prosciutto from Smitten Kitchen

Slow Cooker Creamy White Chicken Chili from The Chunky Chef

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup With All the Fixings Recipe from Serious Eats

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup from A Spicy Perspective

Slow-Cooked Bolognese Sauce from Serious Eats

Hopefully, these 30 days of dinners will make your meal planning easier, and you’ll find yourself eating at home more often than not. I am always on the lookout for new recipes, so please share some of your favourites in the comments for even more inspiration. 

30 Day Meal Plan to Simplify and Save Money

This post was proofread by Grammarly.

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2 comments

    1. That sounds exactly like my dude with the not getting full if he doesn’t eat meat! He doesn’t complain too much about any of these ones though.

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