Hello from Canada where we get a holiday weekend a little early while we celebrate Victoria Day. Alas it’s still Monday so I have the meal plan ready to go for the week ahead. Meal planning is a part of my Sunday morning routine where I get to relax with my favorite cookbooks and magazine swipes and select the favorites to test out. Speaking of testing things out, you can take a peek at my Instagram account to see a little more of the process of cooking real food on a regular basis. Over there I share more helpful tips on kitchen shortcuts, healthy swap-outs in recipes and shortcuts! We can all use a few more shortcuts in the kitchen.

As you write out your grocery list for the upcoming week check out these healthy family friendly recipes from this weeks menu plan. Each featured recipe includes link to the complete recipe.

Dinner {GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free}

Meatless Monday: Creamy Spinach Sweet Potato Noodles with Cashew Sauce GF, Vegan. Note: if you don’t have a spiralizer, you can just chop and roast the potatoes instead.

Tuesday: Chicken Thighs with Ginger Sesame Glaze (swap the brown sugar for some maple syrup if you are off sugar). Marinate these in the morning if you have time, come home and toss them on a hot grill pan for a super fast dinner. Saute some snow peas on the side and serve it all over brown rice.

Wednesday: Grilled Salmon with White Bean and Arugula Salad. 20 minute dinner! GF. This was so, so good.

Thursday: Parm-style Chicken Sliders. Steamed green beans and corn on the cob on the side.

Friday: CORN = Clean Out Refrigerator Night.

Weekend: Spiced Beef Tostadas with cilantro-lime rice. A fun weekend recipe that lets everyone pick their favorite toppings.


Strawberry Broccoli Salad with Creamy Poppyseed Dressing


Oatmeal Superfood Breakfast Bars GF


5 minute Lemon Garlic Hummus


Honey Yogurt Popsicles– since it’s finally warm enough for them to eat outside!

Healthy Dinner Recipe Ideas for Your Meal Plan

For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

I hope you all had a great weekend and are ready to start a new week. We have some summery recipes, meatless mains and peppery salads.

Dinner {GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free}

Meatless Monday: Mushroom, Kale and Cheddar Frittata. (GF, NF). 40 minutes.

Tuesday: Baked Chicken Nuggets, baked sweet potato fries and Israeli couscous.  30 minutes.

Wednesday: Open-Face Steak Sandwich with Parmesan Dressing (skip the bread and you have a delicious gluten-free steak salad). 35 minutes.

Thursday: Slow Cooker Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos, GF. This is our “busy night = slow cooker night” day. Cook this recipe for 2 hours on high, or 4-6 on low.

Friday: CORN = Clean Out Refrigerator Night.

Weekend: Pizza night! Homemade pizza dough + Zucchini Ricotta pizza recipe and you will be so very happy. The dough takes about an hour, 5 minutes hands-on time and 50 minutes to knead and rise in the breadmaker.


Tempeh Reubens– after reading about gut health, I think I’ll give this a try.


Overnight Oats made with Kefir.

Raspberry Almond Scones– we are celebrating Victoria Day next weekend and I would love to make these for a special breakfast during the long weekend.


The dehydrator came back out this weekend and after making apple rings and strawberry fruit roll-ups, the kids ate them so fast I didn’t have any left for lunch boxes this week. Guess what I’ll be doing again this morning…


Creamy Coconut Margaritas caught my eye this week. I will be making these when it finally gets warm again here next weekend. Did I mention it snowed here yesterday…in May?!


open face steak sandwich with parmesan dressing

For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

After enjoying Mother’s Day brunch and some family time, here’s this week’s meal plan for all of you. Time is tight when it comes to making dinner so I’m checking the prep time on recipes for you. A recipe can be simple with few ingredients, but if it takes over an hour to cook on the stove, it may not be right for the weeknight menu plan. For more labor intensive options I’ll make a note of it going forward.

Quinoa taco lettuce wraps

Dinner {GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free}

Meatless Monday: Black Bean and Quinoa Taco Lettuce Wraps, GF, DF, P. (recipe source)

Tuesday: Grilled Pesto Chicken and Tomato skewers (recipe) GF. Prep ahead for this one. Cook time is only 12 minutes, but you want to marinate the chicken in the pesto for a bit to enhance the flavor. Serve with brown rice. (note: kids often LOVE kabobs; they can be a fun way to introduce new flavors like pesto. We also had success with fish kabobs too.)

Wednesday: Veggie Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce (recipe) GF, DF.

Thursday: Rainbow Pizza (recipe), to save time we make the pizza on Naan bread. Offer new veggies and lots of color to kids and let them build their own pizza.

Friday: Fish tacos. This fish taco recipe is just gorgeous; save yourself some time and buy the precut coleslaw veggies. They are just as good. Skip/reduce the sriracha sauce for the kids. Add in to the grown-up’s serving!

Weekend: Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Strawberry Mint Salsa (recipe). We made it this over the weekend and the flavors worked so well together. On the side I served quinoa with 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint mixed in. The chicken is best marinated for a bit in balsamic vinegar, but the recipe truly could be a weeknight meal too.

Fish taco recipe


Superfood Quinoa Bowl- Vegan/GF recipe:  make one batch of quinoa for the week and use it here and as a side with the Balsamic Chicken recipe.


Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal GF, DF- make this recipe ahead of time and bake early in the morning. I may make it and serve it for lunch and then save the leftovers!

Homemade Granola- I’m going to start playing with this my favorite homemade granola recipe to remove the brown sugar and still make it unforgettable. Orange zest may be another add…stay tuned!


Coconut Cashew Energy Balls, GF, DF- I’ve mentioned this recipe to so many friends it’s worth adding it to the menu again.

BONUS Recipe!

I remembered I had to add this Maple Oat Mixed Berry Crisp I made for a dinner party this weekend. It’s from Real Food Whole Life and it came out amazing. Our hosts couldn’t believe it was actually a healthy dessert! It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free.


p.s. Love and Lemons provides one of the recipes on the blog this week. Their new cookbook is gorgeous! 


For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

Happy May! This week’s meal plan kicks off the spring season with a Cinco de Mayo dinner and warm weather flavors. After eating my way through Toronto this weekend it’s great to be back in the kitchen.

Buddha bowl healthy quinoa


Monday: 20 minute Turkey Tacos with Apple Salsa, GF/DF. (recipe)

Tuesday: Chopped salad- great way to clean out the fridge and load up on veggies, hardboiled eggs, grilled chicken, bacon or beans for protein. (GF, DF as needed)

Wednesday: Grilled Pork Chops with Pineapple Onion Salsa, browned butter couscous and asparagus. (recipe 1, 2)

Thursday: For Cinco de Mayo we will make Chicken Tortilla Soup in the slow cooker. Super easy and festive. Plus a Lemon Basil margarita to celebrate!

Friday: Soy Ginger Scallops, leftover brown rice and sautéed greens. One of my all-time favorite seafood recipes.


Buddha Bowl- I had this at a local cafe and I’m going to recreate it with a mix of quinoa, chickpeas, spiraled carrots and beets, micro greens and a tahini dressing. (see below for the dressing recipe)


A frittata was another favorite meal this past weekend. This works for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is another great way to clean out the fridge of extra veggies. I’m going to make this Baked Frittata with Roasted Red Peppers, Arugula and Pesto. 

**In case you missed it, today is the last day to grab your Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. An itty bitty price of $29 for over $1000 worth of learning. (Meal plans, recipe books, organizing courses and more. Learn more here.**

Buddha bowl healthy quinoa

Lemon Tahini Dressing

A light and bright dressing for grain salad or fresh greens. A healthy and diary-free option to satisfy your palate.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Course: Salad Dressing
Author: Emily Roach


  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 lemons juiced (3-4 Tbsp)
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Pinch each sea salt + black pepper
  • Hot water to thin


  • Mix together all ingredients through salt and pepper in a mason jar and shake well to combine. Add 1 teaspoon of hot water at a time to thin out the dressing so you can drizzle it easily.
Tried this recipe?Mention @emilyroachwellness or tag #erwellness!

For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.


Overnight Oats for Breakfast

Hello everyone! Thanks for bearing with me as I switched over email providers and for answering my survey questions.The overwhelming answer about challenges to making healthy choices was time. This week I made sure the recipes are not too complicated and some can be repurposed for other meals during the week. The survey also confirmed the meal plans tend to be quite popular here so I want to make sure everyone gets their recipe inspiration when you need it. Leave a note in the comments sharing which day of the week you do your meal planning.

This week I am testing out a couple of new features with the meal plan. I added in a Shopping List you can print out that highlights the extra ingredients you need to create the meals shared this week. Let me know if you find it helpful, or it a different format works better for you.

Click on the Shopping List here and you will get a pdf printable you can print, update with any additional items you need and then take it to the store. (A blank Shopping List has also been added to the Wellness Worksheets page! Sign up below if you want to get access to the page.)


Below you will see codes assigned to some of the recipe ideas. These are to help those families who have dietary restrictions, concerns and sensitivities. The codes are assigned as follows: GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free.


{GF= Gluten Free, P=Paleo, DF=Dairy Free, NF= Nut Free}

  • Roasted whole chicken. This recipe walks you through how to roast a chicken if you don’t have your own favorite way. Roasting a chicken is mostly hands off, you just need to plan ahead to allow enough baking time. I stuffed mine today with apples and onions. Other days it’s lemon and thyme. Use what you have on hand. Oranges are another way to infuse bright flavor into the chicken. Cook this on Sunday and use the leftovers for…
  • Chicken Quesadillas. I like to make these on nights when time is tight. I create custom ones per kid: one likes guacamole/cheese/chicken, another likes cheese/chicken, etc. I will skip the bread and instead have leftover chicken over greens with avocado, cilantro, and tomatoes for a Mexican salad.
  • One pot Quinoa and Kale- serve as a main vegetarian dish or we used it as a side dish for multiple dinners. This recipe is a guideline; keep it simple with regular lemons, walnuts instead of pine nuts and we skipped the goat cheese so it’s more kid-friendly.
  • Zesty Lime Shrimp & Avocado Salad (recipe) GF, P. This recipe lends itself to be deconstructed for picky eaters: keep shrimp and avocado separate and skip the dressing. Add a serving of brown rice pasta on the side if needed.
  • Lemon Broccoli with Beans & Bacon (recipe) DF, GF, NF. Roast broccoli ahead of time to save time during the week.
  • Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (recipe). This will feed 6 easily so cook it for company over the weekend, or freeze half for dinner next week.


  • Apple slices with nut or seed butter with granola on top.
  • Lunch kabobs with cheese/grapes/cucumbers/turkey for the lunch boxes, GF. (I found short kabob sticks at the grocery store.)
  • If you still have any leftover chicken, chop it up into a cranberry chicken salad and serve with bread (or apple slices for a GF lunch)


  • Overnight Oats: This is now on my Sunday Prep List. I make 4 in pint jars so they are ready to go in the morning. I can heat them all up quickly in a pot of hot water, or eat them cold with the toppings of everyone’s choice. Here’s a guideline on how much to put in each pint jar. You can customize this to your dietary needs by choosing gluten-free oats and/or non-dairy milk. I am loving the Almond Coconut milk blend from our local store lately. It’s great in cereals and smoothies.


  • Stovetop Popcorn: NF- a great whole grain snack. Look for organic popping corn so it’s GMO-free.
  • Baked sweet potato chips: GF, DF, NF (recipe)
  • Yogurt frozen in the kid’s silicone cups topped with fruit. If it works out I’ll share the full details!

Lemon Broccoli and White Beans recipe

For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

Hello! Notice something new around here? Last week I said goodbye to Random Recycling and hello to emilyaroach as my new domain name. Over the past seven years the focus here has shifted from talking about eco-friendly ideas to one that speaks more about family nutrition. My goal is to keep delivering great meal plan ideas for all of you, develop simple recipes your kids will enjoy and share tools that can help you make healthy choices at home.

Hopefully all goes well this week as the nuts and bolts behind the blog are tweaked and updated. If you are a newsletter subscriber, you will start to receive content in an updated format. (I’ll share a link to subscribe once all is ready to go!) As a marketing nerd, it’s been fun learning about all the new technology offered to deliver content. I even sent out my first survey and it’s been awesome to read the responses. I’ll keep it open for a couple more days and I would love to have your input too: click here for survey.

As the weather took a dramatic turn towards spring this week, I was fixated on salads in my meal planning. I had noted four different salad recipes that look amazing so I’ll start testing them out. Large, chopped salads are fantastic meals with kids as it’s a great way to introduce new produce to picky eaters. Kids may not pick cucumbers for their salad the first time they see them, but getting them in front of them counts in the exposure column. Over time, suddenly out of the corner of your eye you notice them trying a vegetable they once questioned…I’ve been there. And it’s awesome to witness.

Here are the recipes I think you will enjoy trying out this week. And one other note, last week I mentioned I was going to try my favorite chicken nugget recipe with chopped pecans instead of breadcrumbs. It was a winner so I updated the recipe post and also made it printer-friendly (how hadn’t I noticed that before?!)

Simple and Easy Healthy Recipe Ideas for Families

Dinner (V=vegan, P= Paleo, GF= Gluten Free)

  • Veggie Paella (V)- healthy, meatless meal with bright flavors. Saffron is the key ingredient, but also on the pricier side. You can try a 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric in it’s place for a similar flavor. Need more protein? Add in some shrimp to the meal. (recipe). For kids, you can also deconstruct the meal and offer plain shrimp with peas. Always also offer the full meal too.
  • Sheet Pan Salmon- we made this again last week and I was impressed with how tender the salmon came out, and how much my daughter ate. (recipe)
  • Grilled Chicken BLTs (P, GF)- fun twist on grilled chicken. Skip the bread and thinly slice the chicken to create “buns” for this classic sandwich. (recipe)
  • Strawberry Chicken Salad – inspired by the cover of the latest Cooking Light magazine this salad just screams summer to me. Mixing fruit in a salad is a helpful way to get kids interested in their greens. They may pick out their strawberries but hopefully a spinach leaf gets tasted too!


  • Update your tuna salad by substituting Greek yogurt for the traditional mayonnaise. You get the same texture plus the benefits of probiotics.
  • Quesadillas with banana, almond butter and dark chocolate chips- a little sweet treat.


  • Superfood Breakfast Smoothie Bowl- if you follow me on Instagram, you may have heard my story about the smoothie bowl. I’m determined to create a great base so everyone can customize their own bowl with lots of healthy toppings. (recipe)
  • Spinach Feta Artichoke Bake- hearty and healthy recipe for dinner or a brunch. (recipe)

Thanks for stopping by this week! Which healthy recipe will you add to your meal plan? 


For more inspiration, see years of past dinner plans here, my Pinterest collection here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans.

Welcome back to this week’s meal plan. After a week on the road with family and friends I’m so ready to get back into my kitchen and cook! Throughout the week I read through some new cookbooks and blogs to find inspiration. In addition to the recipes I highlighted in last week’s meal plan, here are a few I have planned for this week.

Sweet Potato spiraled noodle salad recipe


  • Spanish Beef and Rice Bowls with Avocado (recipe)
  • Easy Maple Mustard Chicken Drumsticks with roasted radishes and asparagus (recipe). Kids are going to LOVE this one.
  • Almond Butter Quinoa- this is the first recipe I picked out of the newest Deliciously Ella cookbook. Looks amazing! If it’s good I’ll share some pics on Instagram.
  • Switching up my usual homemade chicken nugget recipe and dipping the chicken in ground pecans instead for a different flavor.


  • Sweet Potato Noodles and Apple Spinach salad. This looks like a great recipe for lunch or a dinner side dish.
  • Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps (recipe)


  • Carrot Cake Chia Pudding. Put this in the breakfast or snack category. (recipe)


Banana Split Bites Snack Recipe

Have a great week friends. Sorry this was delayed…had to restock the fridge instead this morning! Stay tuned this week for a name change on the blog…any guesses??


For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan here, my Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans. Some affiliate links included.

Happy April…snow? What’s this white stuff outside my window? I’m going to push it out of my mind and instead think of spring salads and farmers markets opening in the coming weeks. Although we are traveling this week, I wanted to share some recipes that caught my eye recently.

Slow cooker Moroccan chicken recipe

Well Plated’s slow cooker Moroccan chicken. This looks amazing.

creamy, clean eating chicken with sun-dried tomatoes

Sundried tomato creamy chicken. This is paleo and Whole30 approved.

Zoodles Chicken Caprese Recipe

We just ordered a spiralizer! I cannot wait to test it out with this recipe for Chicken Caprese Zoodles.

Gluten free Quinoa Bread Recipe

Very curious to make Quinoa Bread based on a friend’s recommendation. Here’s a comparable recipe to try it out yourself.

Till next week…happy cooking in your kitchen.

p.s. Watch for a new name on the blog in the days ahead! 


For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan heremy Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans. 

Instead of a regular meal plan this week, I thought I would share some meals you can make with leftover ham. If your refrigerator looks likes mine today, these recipe ideas may come in handy. Using up what is in your fridge first is the first step in meal planning. Make space in that fridge so you can find the healthy choices first, instead of burying them behind too many leftovers.

How to use up leftover ham

Zucchini zoodles with ham peas and basil

Zucchini Zoodles (or noodles) with Ham, Peas and Basil from Real Food Whole Life.

Ham cobb salad recipe

Ham Cobb Salad from Damn Delicious


Make sandwich kabobs for the kids school lunch. Details at Momendeavors.


[convertkit form=5272651]

Ham and cheese spinach puffs from EatWell101.


Potato and ham soup. This looks perfect for our rainy day today. Recipe from The Chic Site.

**When you realize you are over your sodium intake for the week, pop over here and pick out a green smoothie to make.

Have a great week and use up your leftover ham!

Chia seed pudding recipe

March is ending with a lion’s roar it seems. With all the snow in the forecast this week it looks like winter isn’t quite ready to let go. There will be some cozy dinner meals this week to help everyone forget it’s supposed to be spring. Easter brunch and dinner is being planned and I am very excited for my Dad to visit our new home. Sadly I think the snow will shock his system after being in Florida all winter.

As you prepare for a holiday feast, it’s really helpful to clear out your refrigerator and freezer space. Knowing we have a large ham and vegetables to prepare, I’m creating our meal plan this week by shopping the fridge first. Leftover chicken will be used for chicken salad lettuce wraps. Extra fruits will go into smoothies for snacks. You’ll be happy when you have some breathing room in your fridge for leftovers.

Here’s what’s cooking this week in our kitchen…slow cooker frenzy happening!


  • Quinoa Enchilada slow cooker– healthy vegetarian dinner with loads of protein and flavor. For the kids I strain it and put it in tortilla roll-ups.
  • Harvest Chicken Salad– over salad or in lettuce wraps using up leftover chicken
  • White Bean and Kielbasa cassoulet– another slow cooker dish planned for the day we have 5-8” of snow in the forecast
  • Our favorite meatball recipe by the kid’s request. This recipe has always been so well received. We will serve it with roasted asparagus and brown rice rotini.
  • For Good Friday, we will make Maple Cider Baked Beans. It’s from the Brown Eggs and Jam Jars cookbook and I was inspired to make it after our trip to Mapletown this past weekend. (see my Instagram to take a peek!) You can find similar recipes by searching on Pinterest.


  • This will be a big leftover week as we clear out the fridge. I have even started packing a lunch for Jim and we use the Planetbox stainless steel option which transports great. That box is indestructible.

Granola Muffin Recipe


  • I cannot wait to make these Granola Muffins. Such a great idea for a breakfast on the go, snack or lunch box treat. Take a look at all these great breakfast ideas in this past month’s Runner’s World magazine. The apple waffles are also calling my name.
  • Chia seed pudding- an old favorite has returned after a friend tracked down white chia seeds for me in a tiny organic shop. This recipe is best made with coconut milk and then add your favorite toppings. The kids liked it and some asked for seconds. (image above from Simple Bites)

Have a wonderful Easter weekend. I’ll be heading to Whole Foods to find a few dye free jelly beans for the kids and chocolate eggs to hide!


For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan heremy Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of weekly meal plans. Some affiliate links are included.