How To Plan Weeknight Dinners That Practically Make Themselves (Slideshow)

Making a frittata is a great way to use up just about any leftovers and so it is easily adaptable to the cook-once-all-week plan. Whether you're making beef stew or chicken fajitas, the same ingredients you're already using can be chopped up and cooked in a pan with eggs to make a protein-packed dinner. All you have to do on any given weeknight is crack some eggs, add the ingredients you prepped during the weekend, and bake. Click here for our best frittata recipes.

Think Outside the Lettuce Salad

Salads don't have to be served cold and they don't have to be based around leafy greens. Lots of wholesome and filling grains like quinoa or barley can be cooked ahead on the weekend and tossed (warm or cold) with vegetables, meat, nuts, cheese, or dried fruit. The same quinoa you had for dinner on Monday night can quickly be tossed with shredded pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, almonds, and dried cherries for a super-easy one-bowl meal. Click here for our best salad recipes. 

Make a Casserole

If you're already cooking on the weekend, why not make a casserole and put it away in your freezer. That way, all you have to do on a busy weeknight is pop it in the oven and wait for it to cook. Click here for our best casserole recipes.

Learn to Make Soup From Scratch

Not only does it taste better and have less sodium than canned varieties, but homemade soup can simmer away while you do other things, and they can easily be stored away for later in the week. Click here for our best soup recipes.

Make Anything On Bread

Pizza, tacos, and sandwiches are all highly-adaptable and can be made with very little work on a weeknight. Top or fill them with the same ingredients you're making your other meals from; barbecue chicken pizza, fish tacos with quinoa instead of rice, and pork tenderloin sandwiches — the possibilities are endless. Click here for our best pizza recipes. Click here for our best taco recipes. Click here for our best sandwich recipes.

Use Prepared Ingredients

Don't be afraid to use high-quality prepared ingredients in your pursuit of easy weeknight meals. A store-bought rotisserie chicken or two or fresh prepared pasta can go a long way in making a delicious and easy meal. One bag of fresh, prepared pasta, for example, can do more than just make a pasta-centric main dish; use it in soup or a casserole too.

Make Spice Blends

To prevent monotony, you'll need to learn to utilize different spices and flavorings; if you made a pork tenderloin for the week, for example, you can easily transform its flavor five times with different spices. Make a few of your own spice blends on the weekend and store them in air-tight containers for an easy way to change the flavor or your weeknight meals. Click here for our best spice blend recipes.

Create a Routine

If the planning seems to daunting, try creating a routine for yourself until you get the hang of it. For example, always serve casseroles on Mondays, tacos on Tuesdays, and so on. After a few weeks try creating a new routine.