Welcome back! Thanks for checking out this week's meal plan. For those of you who are new, the next few paragraphs are about my plans and some friendly reminders. You may want to check those out along with my tips for Pinterest meal planning and list-making on Google Keep.  For those who have already read these reminders, scroll down for week 13's fabulous recipes and grocery list! 

You'll notice that many of my plans will include recipes that have similar ingredients or, better yet, make creative use of leftovers to help minimize your grocery list  (aka save you money) and the amount of time you need to spend in the kitchen on those busy weeknights. 

You'll also notice that I only have dinners planned for Monday through Friday. I'm a realist. I know that we're all busy and the chances of you actually getting to a home-cooked meal every weeknight are low. So feel free to rearrange plans and postpone as needed to fit your busy life. Go pick up take-out when you need to save your sanity and save one of these for the weekend. Managed to actually make each of these throughout the week? Great job! When you're at a loss for what to make over the weekend, go treat yourself to a dinner out - you earned it! 

Final note. I don't know how big your family is. You're going to want to look through the recipes and adjust amounts as needed - make sure you adjust your grocery list accordingly. Keep in mind that for plans that call for leftovers, you'll want to make sure to make more than enough of the original recipe to create leftovers. Essentially, any time I'm doing something in a crock pot, I'm making at least twice what I need so I have leftovers. Also, think about how you can integrate some of the week's ingredients into your lunches! If you like to meal prep for your lunches at the beginning of the week, I found some great containers for that here on Amazon (affil.). 

Meal Planning on Pinterest

I typically plan out the menu for my week on Pinterest. I have a board called "This Week's Menu" and I update it over the weekend or sometime before I plan on doing my grocery shopping.  By pinning all of the recipes in one place for the week, it's just a few clicks to get the ingredients added to my grocery list (I use Google Keep), and a quick click each day to find my dinner recipe. 

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This week marks the start of the melaniewinters.com accountability group, so with that in mind, this week's meal plan is going to be all about seriously good for you food that aims to promote healthy living for everyone but particularly help those of us with RA manage our symptoms. 

My joints are a mess post holidays so I'm packing this week with anti-inflammatory foods such as cruciferous vegetables, fruits and fish. You can read more about the best (and worst) foods for you here in My RA Story Week 2. Whether you have RA, some other autoimmune disease, or are as healthy as an ox - it's almost never a bad idea to up your fruit, veggie and protein intake so this one's for you! Don't forget to pick up some extra kale or spinach to make up some fresh side salads to add to your dinner most days! 


 Gluten free option, dairy free, vegetarian and delcious?! Start your week off right with this meatless Monday gem from Pinch of Yum! Image credit and permissions from  Pinch of Yum .

Gluten free option, dairy free, vegetarian and delcious?! Start your week off right with this meatless Monday gem from Pinch of Yum! Image credit and permissions from Pinch of Yum.

Let me just clarify for you before yo go reading and re-reading this recipe a dozen times like I did - THERE IS ACTUALLY NO CHEESE IN THIS RECIPE. This gluten free (if you do GF croutons or leave them out entirely), dairy free and vegetarian soup from Pinch of Yum is the perfect way to start your week and celebrate meatless Monday. 

Tuesday: Kale Taco Salad

 Perfect for the health-conscious Taco Tuesday. Packed with flavor, you're going to want to go back for seconds! Image credit & permissions from  What's Gaby Cooking .

Perfect for the health-conscious Taco Tuesday. Packed with flavor, you're going to want to go back for seconds! Image credit & permissions from What's Gaby Cooking.

Enjoy Taco Tuesday with this seriously good for you taco salad from What's Gaby Cooking. You won't even miss the tortillas. 

Wednesday: Herb & Caper Crusted Salmon

 A delicious, quick and easy meal that comes together in minutes! This gluten free salmon is the perfect dinner to get over hump day! Photo credits and permission from Iowa Girl Eats.

A delicious, quick and easy meal that comes together in minutes! This gluten free salmon is the perfect dinner to get over hump day! Photo credits and permission from Iowa Girl Eats.

I'm a sucker for anything with capers, and capers and salmon go together like peanut butter and jelly! It's hard to put together a meal plan without including something from Kristin over at Iowa Girl Eats. She is the queen of gluten free cooking and I've never tried a recipe of hers that disappointed. Serve this delicious Salmon with a side of steamed broccoli and rice or mashed/baked potato. Make extra rice and use the leftovers as a side for tomorrow! 

Thursday One Pan Lemon Butter Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus

 One pan, 20 minutes. A healthy, gluten free and delicious one pan dinner to get you through to Friday. Image credit and permission from  Carlsbad Cravings .

One pan, 20 minutes. A healthy, gluten free and delicious one pan dinner to get you through to Friday. Image credit and permission from Carlsbad Cravings.

Easy, delicious and oh so good for you. Carlsbad Cravings provides the perfect one pan dinner to get you through to Friday. 

Friday: Easy Asparagus Penne

 Fridays are always perfect for a pasta night and this easy asparagus penne is the perfect way to wind down after a long week! 

Fridays are always perfect for a pasta night and this easy asparagus penne is the perfect way to wind down after a long week! 

Enjoy and easy pasta night from our recipe section to help wind down after a long week. Use gluten free penne (I use Simply Balanced or Barilla) and serve with a side spinach/kale salad to keep it good for your joints! 

Grocery List

Staples (Items you should always have on hand)

  • capers
  • lemons
  • garlic
  • onions (yellow and red)
  • salt
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • red chili pepper flakes
  • paprika
  • red wine vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • butter
  • rice
  • gluten free penne pasta
  • vegetable broth
  • canned black beans
  • cheddar cheese
  • nutritional yeast
  • frozen raw shrimp - tail-off, peeled and deveined (you can buy fresh but I always like to have a bag or two of frozen on hand)

Additional Items

  • fresh flat leaf parsley
  • fresh dill
  • cilantro
  • broccoli
  • curly kale
  • jalapeno
  • avocados
  • green onions
  • 2 ears of corn (or canned fire roasted corn if you're like me) 
  • cherry tomatoes
  • celery
  • carrots
  • shallot
  • potatoes (use up extra potatoes by making baked potatoes for lunch!)
  • asparagus
  • salmon filets
  • almond milk
  • heavy cream (could also substitute this for the almond milk in the broccoli soup recipe)
  • chive and onion cream cheese
  • optional: croutons or GF croutons (or make your own)

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