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4 Organic Dinners, 1 Easy Grocery List

by Daniela Gerson

Oct. 28, 2020

by Daniela Gerson

Hi, Organic Valley readers! Daniela here from Waves in the Kitchen and I’m sharing a special menu of four delicious recipes using one simple ingredient list. This list of 17 ingredients paired with some kitchen staples you likely already have will lead to four nourishing dinners full of flavor and variety!

How This Menu Works

Too many meal prep plans online consist of a huge number of ingredients that don’t always overlap. This often causes waste in the kitchen and makes for a long, stressful grocery shopping experience.

These four family-friendly dinner recipes use overlapping ingredients which means no waste! Although some ingredients will be used in multiple recipes, the flavors of each dish are distinct. Each recipe stands alone and is thematically different, so if you make them all in the same week, you won’t be at risk of mealtime boredom.

These strategic recipes and accompanying grocery list helps busy parents streamline their meal planning and shopping, leaving more time for the important things in life during this busy back-to-school season!

Here, I’ll walk you through each dish, share tips and tricks, and highlight the kid-friendly activities in each one.

A few notes before we dive into each dish

  • All the recipes are sized for a family of four; however, they can all easily be scaled up or down.
  • The animal protein in each recipe can be easily swapped for another. Simply adjust cooking time accordingly.
  • The menu demonstrates how to strategically repurpose leftovers from one recipe into another.
  • A full grocery list is provided at the end of this article to make this meal plan even simpler for you!

Let’s go!

Plate served with Sheet Pan Caper-Butter Chicken Dinner. Photo by Daniela Gerson.

This Sheet Pan Caper-Butter Chicken Dinner is low-prep and high-satisfaction.

Sheet Pan Caper-Butter Chicken Dinner with Green Beans and Potatoes

Sheet pan dinners win the grand prize for being the fastest and easiest dinners to prepare. They are perfect for busy parents feeding hungry kids during the week. This sheet pan chicken requires almost no prep and is perfect for weeknight dinners. The briny capers and fresh lemon add bright and bold flavors to this quick and easy family-size meal!

Kid-friendly activities in this recipe

  • Scrubbing the potatoes and tossing them with olive oil.
  • Patting the chicken dry and seasoning it.
  • Adding the green beans, onions, olives, chicken, and lemon slices to the sheet pan with the potatoes and carefully mixing everything around with a spatula (the pan will be hot from roasting the potatoes, but it’s important to teach kids how to handle hot dishes).
  • Drizzling the caper butter over the sheet pan.

Sheet Pan Chicken Dinner Tips and Tricks

If you’re planning on making all four recipes in this menu, I would recommend starting with this one!

Make extra chicken. Leftovers can be shredded and used in any of the other three recipes in this menu. Shredded chicken can replace the ground meat in the cheesy baked pasta, replace the salmon in the niçoise salad, or replace the chicken in the rice dish.

The recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs; however, breast, drumsticks, wings, or any other cut of chicken all work as well. For the juiciest and most flavorful results, use bone-in, skin-on chicken regardless of the cut. Keep in mind that white meat will cook faster than dark meat, and bone-in cuts will take longer to cook than their boneless counterparts. If cooking both white and dark meat on the same sheet pan, simply take the white meat off and tent with foil while the dark meat continues to cook.

Leftover potatoes can be repurposed for the niçoise salad.

Any variety of olives can be used, and you can customize with anything else you’d typically come across in an olive bar such as peppers, roasted garlic, marinated artichoke hearts, etc.

Both this recipe and the salmon niçoise use green beans. You can trim the green beans for both dishes at the same time and simply store the ones you won’t be using in the fridge, where they’ll remain fresh for three to five days.

Baked mac and cheese with meat and vegetables being served onto a plate. Photo by Daniela Gerson.

Baked mac and cheese with meat and veg is as comforting as it gets!

Baked Cheesy Pasta with Broccoli and Ground Meat

This baked cheesy pasta is comfort food perfection, and with the addition of a protein and fresh broccoli, it eats like a meal!

Kid-friendly activities in this recipe

  • Adding the cheese to the sauce and carefully whisking until the cheese melts.
  • Combining cheese sauce with the pasta, broccoli, and ground meat, and stirring until it’s evenly combined.

Baked Cheesy Pasta Tips and Tricks

Ground beef, turkey, chicken, or pork can all work in this recipe, or the ground meat can be swapped for shredded leftover chicken.

Simply swap and follow the rest of the directions.

Leftover mac n’ cheese can be refrigerated for up to five days, and it reheats very well in the microwave or oven.

Both this recipe and the Tomato Chicken with Rice use broccoli florets. You can cut the broccoli into florets for both dishes at the same time and store the broccoli florets for the other recipe in the fridge, where they’ll remain fresh for three to five days.

One-pan dinner, Tomato Chicken with Rice and Broccoli. Photo by Daniela Gerson.

One-pan dinners like this Tomato Chicken with Rice and Broccoli are perfect weeknight meals.

One-Pan Tomato Chicken with Rice, Broccoli, and Cheese

Crispy chicken bakes on a bed of aromatic tomato rice with broccoli for a delicious chicken dinner that the whole family will love. This dinner comes together in a single pan, is easy to prep, and is bursting with savory tomato flavor.

Kid-friendly activities in this recipe

  • Patting the chicken dry and seasoning it.
  • Adding rice, crushed tomatoes, and chicken stock or water to the pan.
  • Placing chicken over the rice mixture.
  • Stirring in the cheese. Keep in mind the pan will be hot!

Tomato Chicken with Rice Tips and Tricks

If you own a cast iron skillet or another oven-safe skillet, this would be a great recipe to use it. If not, you can sear the chicken on the stovetop in a normal pan and then transfer everything to a baking dish.

Leftover chicken from this recipe can be shredded and repurposed into the other dinners on this menu.

Both this recipe and the cheesy pasta call for broccoli florets. You can prep and cut the broccoli into florets for both dishes at the same time, and simply store the broccoli florets for the other recipe in the fridge, where they’ll remain fresh for three to five days.

Large platter of Salmon Niçoise Salad. Photo by Daniela Gerson.

This Salmon Niçoise Salad is packed with veggies and full of flavor.

Salmon Niçoise with Eggs, Potatoes, Green Beans, Olives, and Capers

This riff on the classic salad niçoise with roasted salmon is packed with a delicious list of healthy ingredients and is hearty enough for a meal!

Of the four recipes, this one involves the most prep, but the individual steps are all fairly simple. We are blanching green beans, hard-boiling and peeling eggs, and boiling potatoes. This is an excellent recipe to do with kids because there are lots of easy tasks they can do.

Kid-friendly activities in this recipe

  • Patting the salmon dry and seasoning it.
  • Trimming the green beans with scissors.
  • Preparing the ice bath for the green beans.
  • Peeling the hard-boiled eggs and cutting them with a safety knife.
  • Whisking the simple lemon and olive oil salad dressing together.

Salmon Niçoise Tips and Tricks

Leftover potatoes from the sheet pan dinner can be repurposed in this dish. Simply reheat in the microwave or oven (skip boiling them) and follow the rest of the directions.

This salad is endlessly customizable. The salmon can easily be swapped with the other proteins, such as shredded or diced chicken repurposed from either of the chicken dinners, extra ground meat from the pasta dinner, or fresh or canned tuna. Have a leftover piece of steak or another type of fish? Sure! Feel free to use more than one type of protein as well.

Any extra fresh broccoli that may still be lingering in your fridge can also be included here. Either boil, roast or sauté the broccoli and add to the platter with the rest of the ingredients.

Repurposing This Dish

There are many ways you can repurpose leftovers from this veggie-packed salmon salad.

Leftover potatoes can be used in the chicken sheet pan dinner. Simply add them to the sheet pan for the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking time so they just heat through.

Leftover green beans can be repurposed in the chicken sheet pan dinner or added to the chicken and rice dish. Add at the same time the rice is added.

Leftover salmon can be repurposed in the cheesy pasta. Simply add it to the pot with the cooked pasta and broccoli after mixing in the cheese sauce (fold gently so it doesn’t fall apart too much).

Conclusion

This meal plan will help you save time at the grocery store, cook more efficiently, learn to creatively repurpose leftovers, and create deliciously nourishing meals. Plus, our strategic ingredient list ensures that all the ingredients will be used and there’s no food waste.

I hope this plan helps you see how to simplify your weekly menu and grocery shopping while still making tasty, nutritious, and interesting meals!

Wishing you all the nourishment in the kitchen, and I hope these four recipes with one simple grocery list makes getting dinner on the table that much easier!


Master Grocery List

You can download the printable Master Grocery List here.

Produce

2 lb. potatoes

2 to 4 large heads broccoli (to get 8 cups florets)

2 lb. green beans

Onions: 2 medium yellow, 1 small red

2 lemons

Dry Goods and Condiments

1 lb. macaroni noodles (or similar)

1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice

1 (14.5-oz.) can crushed tomatoes

1 1/3 cups olives (your favorite variety)

½ cup nonpareil capers

Protein

4 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

4 (6 to 8 oz.) salmon fillets

12 oz. Organic Prairie Ground Meat (beef, pork, chicken, or turkey)

Dairy and Eggs

4 large Organic Valley Eggs

2 cups Organic Valley Milk

3 packages Organic Valley Thick-cut Shredded Cheese: 1 pkg. Italian blend or Mozzarella, and 2 pkg. variety(ies) of your choice

10 Tbsp. Organic Valley Butter or Ghee

Pantry Staples and Optional Items

Olive oil

Dried basil

Fresh parsley

Flour

Mustard (variety of choice)

Chicken or vegetable stock

Salt and pepper


Daniela Gerson

Daniela Gerson is a California-based food photographer, stylist, and recipe developer with a prop-filled studio in Venice, Los Angeles. She’s a real food advocate who’s on a mission to help people see how sexy vegetables are by sourcing the most colorful produce imaginable from local farm markets and emphasizing the beauty of real food in utterly enchanting food photography. Her work has been featured by commodity boards, brands in the consumer packaged goods space, and restaurants. When she’s not in the kitchen or behind the camera, you’ll find sharing her love of surfing with others and traveling the world searching for the perfect south swell.