Introducing ‘Week of Meals’: Our new series aimed at bringing you easy recipes for busy weeknights

These Sticky Orange Chicken Thighs are part of the new 'Week of Meals" series that gives you five weeknight dinners.
These Sticky Orange Chicken Thighs are part of the new ‘Week of Meals” series that gives you five weeknight dinners from one shopping trip. Prop styling by Kate Parisian. Food styling by Leah Choi.
(Silvia Razgova/For The Times)

People are getting tired of cooking. I understand that feeling intimately, especially as someone whose job it is to cook and come up with new recipes to inspire you, the reader. Whether for work or pleasure, I’m never not chopping or boiling something. The endless meal planning, organizing and, worst of all, dishwashing really takes a toll. All this to say, I get you.

One year into cooking more meals at home than ever before, the fatigue has set in for even the most cooking-obsessed among us. So to ease the frustration of having to cook for yourself or your household every day, I’m introducing a series called “Week of Meals,” which will give you five weeknight dinner recipes with all the planning and strategizing built in.

Each meal will make four servings, come together — start to finish — in less than 60 minutes, and require 10 or fewer ingredients. The groceries for all five meals can be bought from a single grocery store and in a single shopping trip (remember, we’re looking to alleviate your frustration) and will cost less than $100 total.


Of course, there are some caveats: Spices, condiments and other basic pantry staples I expect you to have will be priced by the amount used in the recipes and, whenever possible, I will give substitutions for them in the recipe’s headnote. But also know that if I call for certain spices, they will be used at least twice throughout the week so you can get used to incorporating them in different ways and with different ingredients.

Staples like salt and pepper, cooking oil and water will not be included in the shopping list nor will they be counted in the 10 ingredients for each recipe (because, well, if you don’t have these things, maybe takeout really is the best option). For oil, however, I will provide the total amount needed for all five recipes so you can check whether you have enough before shopping.

Any ingredients that need to be prepped ahead of time will be listed in the “Sunday Prep” section, so that once it’s time to cook, some of the hard work will already be done. And all meat, produce, herbs or other fresh/perishable ingredients will be fully used up by the end of the week so there will be no half-used, sadly wilting herb bundles to toss out on Friday.

We will publish the grocery list in full, along with the specific grocery store where the author has shopped so that, should you choose, you can go to that location or the same chain. Specialty chains and gourmet grocery stores will be off-limits.

Whether you follow the plan in full or simply make one recipe, my hope is that you will enjoy delicious, simple and balanced weeknight meals without any of the mental or physical anguish that goes along with planning and prep. Sometimes I will develop the recipes for a “Week of Meals,” but much of the time they will be developed by other cooks and authors in California with the goal to have them — by going to their own neighborhood grocery stores — show you how different cooks get dinner on the table throughout the week.

Read about Cooking columnist Ben Mims’s first Week of Meals:


Our cooking columnist gives the run-down on how he eats during the week, which inspires the first ‘Week of Meals’ recipes.

March 12, 2021

Here’s everything you need to make the first Week of Meals recipes:

All the ingredients you need and all the prep work to set yourself up for an easy week of delicious recipes.

March 12, 2021

Get the recipes:

Spiced Rice and Fish With Minty Peas

Time 50 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Swiss & Swiss Toasts With Spiked Radishes

Time 40 minutes
Yields Serves 4