Welcome to Next Week’s Meal Plan! I want to help you find inspiration and ease some of the pain points that come with getting dinner on the table night after night, whether you’re cooking for one or a family of eight. That’s why, as promised, this series is shifting — every week I’ll be answering reader requests and sharing meal plans that you want to see. And it’s not too late — tell me what kinds of meal plans you want to see in the comments below.

This meal plan is for anyone who’s new to cooking and in need of a place to start. Beginning the week with a plan is an easy way to reduce weeknight stress, and the dinners in this plan specifically are all extra quick and easy to prepare. Plus, they’ll teach you a variety of skills you’ll use again and again, from how to sear chicken breasts to the fastest way to prepare gnocchi.

This chicken dinner is great for beginners, because once you learn the basic technique, you can adapt this recipe to make an endless number of easy dinners. A couple of chicken cutlets (or butterflied boneless breasts) are seared on the stovetop, then topped with a quick homemade bruschetta (which can be made in advance). Round out dinner with rice, corn on the cob, or a simple salad.

Forget about that dumpling texture you get from boiling gnocchi and roast them in the oven instead. It gives gnocchi an irresistible crispy exterior with a chewy, tender inside — and requires little more than tossing everything together on a sheet pan.

Dump everything into the slow cooker first thing in the morning, and at the end of the day you’ve got a hearty, flavoredful soup. To make dinner even more filling, pair it with a simple green salad, a loaf of bread, or a baked potato.

This skillet dinner starts with a short ingredient list, hits the table in no time, and finishes with the promise of easy cleanup. Simmering the pork chops in salsa is your insurance policy for keeping them super juicy. Serve the meat over a bed of cauliflower rice, couscous, or rice to soak up all the extra sauce.

Make these meat-free tacos once, and they’re sure to become a regular in your dinner rotation. The filling comes together in about 30 minutes, and you can top ’em off with crumbled cheese, guac, and a squeeze of lime.

New to meal planning? Start here.

About Next Week’s Meal Plan

Meal planning isn’t always easy — especially if you’re just getting started. But I’m a firm believer that it’s the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. So whether you’re just learning to meal plan or you’re already a tried-and-true pro, I’m here to help you solve the question of what to cook for the week ahead. Every week, I’ll be sharing a new meal plan — either how I’m feeding my own family, or a meal plan solution specifically customized for you.