Buy 10 Ingredients, Make 7 Delicious Dinners

By Christine Byrne |

Shopping once and eating for an entire week has never been easier.

Brussels Sprouts, Tomato, and Chicken Pasta with Parmesan

As a food writer and chef, I’m always saying things like, “Cooking at home doesn’t need to be hard!” and “Once you master the basics, you can throw together any recipe you want!”

While both things are absolutely true, sometimes I fail to acknowledge one very important point: The hardest part of home cooking is gathering the right ingredients—without making multiple trips to the grocery store each week.

That’s why I set out to find a solution. And now, I’m sharing my secret with you: Before heading out on my weekly shopping trip, I pick a few versatile ingredients from each of the following categories, depending on what’s in season or on sale:

  • Vegetables
  • Proteins
  • Healthy starches, such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta
  • Healthy fats, such as avocado

Then, I spend the week ahead remixing the ingredients into as many different dishes as possible. It’s really that simple! But in case you’re not convinced, I created the seven-day meal plan below to prove it. With just 10 basic ingredients (plus a few pantry staples), you can make a delicious, healthy dinner at home every night this week.

Your 10-Ingredient Grocery List

seven meals ingredients

Each recipe serves two people. If you’re cooking for one, refrigerate your leftovers, and reheat them for lunch the following day. If you’re dining with more people, simply multiply the amounts to make more.

  • Avocado, 1 medium
  • Brussels sprouts, 5 cups
  • Cherry tomatoes, 3 cups
  • Chicken, 7 medium thighs (about 4 ounces each)
  • Eggs, 1 dozen
  • Lemons, 2
  • Parmesan cheese, 6 ounces
  • Parsley, 1 bunch
  • Sweet potatoes, 7 medium
  • Whole wheat pasta of your choice, 12 ounces uncooked

You’ll also need a few pantry staples, which you likely already have on hand: olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Your 7-Day Dinner Menu

You can make the seven meals below in any order, but here are two tips:

Remember to keep food safety in mind. You should only keep raw chicken in your fridge for one to two days, so it’s a good idea to make the Skillet Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts (Meal #1) first. That way, you won’t need to freeze and thaw the meat to use later in the week.

Consider roasting all of your chicken thighs at once to use later in the week. They’ll keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. You can also roast several sweet potatoes at a time, since a cooked sweet potato keeps for up to four days in your fridge.

Meal #1: Skillet Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts

When you crisp skin-on chicken thighs on the stove before pan-roasting them in the oven, like you do in this recipe, some of the fat renders and can be used as flavor-rich cooking oil for vegetables.

Skillet Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts

You’ll need:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 medium chicken thighs (about 4 ounces each)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces

What to do: Preheat oven to 400˚F. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper.

Place chicken skin side down in skillet. Cook until most of the fat has rendered and the skin is crispy, about 5 minutes. Set the partially cooked chicken aside on a plate.

Add Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes to skillet, and toss to coat with chicken fat. Spread in an even layer, then place chicken thighs on top, skin side up. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and sweet potatoes are soft.

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Meal #2: Brussels Sprouts, Tomato, and Chicken Pasta with Parmesan

A one-cup serving of whole wheat pasta packs about six grams of fiber and seven grams of protein, which makes for a surprisingly satisfying meal. It’s also a delicious base for vegetables, meat, and cheese.

Brussels Sprouts, Tomato, and Chicken Pasta with Parmesan
You’ll need:

  • 4 ounces uncooked whole wheat pasta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium chicken thigh (about 4 ounces), cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 ounces shredded Parmesan

What to do: Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, reserving a bit of pasta water.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until Brussels sprouts are bright green, about 1 minute.

Add tomatoes and chicken to the skillet, and cook until warm. Toss in pasta and Parmesan. Serve topped with a little extra pepper and Parmesan, if desired.

Meal #3: Sweet Potato Salad with Chicken, Avocado, and Parsley

Roasted sweet potatoes are a tasty source of fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Pairing them with avocado (healthy fat) and chicken (protein) makes for a balanced meal, and the kick of herbs and citrus pulls everything together perfectly.

Sweet Potato Salad with Chicken, Avocado, and Parsley

You’ll need:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, roasted or microwaved
  • 2 medium chicken thighs (about 4 ounces each), cooked
  • ½ medium avocado
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • Zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

What to do: Cut sweet potato, chicken, and avocado into bite-sized pieces, and combine in a large bowl. Chop parsley and add to bowl. Zest lemon into bowl, and drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over everything. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

Meal #4: Vegetable Frittata with Parmesan

Frittatas aren’t just for breakfast. This warm, egg-based dish is packed with vegetables and has just enough cheese to be tasty without adding too many calories.

Vegetable Frittata with Parmesan

You’ll need:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium sweet potato, roasted or microwaved, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 ounce shredded Parmesan

What to do: Preheat oven to 375° F. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium (8- to 10-inch) cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until Brussels sprouts are bright green, about 1 minute.

Add tomatoes and sweet potato to the skillet, and cook, stirring, until warm.

Add eggs and spread the mixture over the skillet. Top with Parmesan. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, until frittata is puffed and cooked through.

Meal #5: Lemony Pasta Salad with Chicken, Tomato, and Avocado

This pasta salad is refreshing but hearty. Cherry tomatoes add crispness to the cooked pasta and creamy avocado.

Lemony Pasta Salad with Chicken, Tomato, and Avocado

You’ll need:

  • 4 ounces uncooked whole wheat pasta
  • 2 medium chicken thighs (about 4 ounces each), cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ medium avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

What to do: Cook pasta according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water to cool to room temperature, and drain.

In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Meal #6: Egg-Stuffed Sweet Potato with Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan

Eggs taste great on toast, but have you ever eaten them inside a sweet potato? Shredded Brussels sprouts cook up like leafy greens in this recipe, so they mix right into the creamy scrambled eggs.

Egg-Stuffed Sweet Potato with Brussels Sprouts and Parmesan

You’ll need:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 ounce shredded Parmesan

What to do: Preheat oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork, and wrap with foil. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until soft.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until sprouts are bright green, about 1 minute.

Reduce heat to low. Add eggs, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until eggs are almost set. Remove from heat, and toss in parsley and Parmesan.

Cut sweet potatoes open lengthwise, then stuff each one with half of the egg mixture.

Meal #7: Lemon-Parsley Pasta with a Soft-Boiled Egg

This meatless dish gets its protein from a combination of whole wheat pasta, Parmesan, and a soft-boiled egg, also called “seven-minute eggs” since that’s about how long you cook them. If soft-boiling isn’t your thing, you can add an over-easy or poached egg on top instead.

Lemon-Parsley Pasta with a Soft-Boiled Egg

You’ll need:

  • 4 ounces uncooked whole wheat pasta
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 ounces shredded Parmesan
  • 2 eggs, soft-boiled or prepared to your liking
  • Salt and pepper

What to do: Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain without rinsing, and transfer to a large bowl.

Add remaining ingredients to the bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Toss until parsley is slightly wilted. Serve each plate with an egg on top.

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Photos: Christine Byrne.

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