Food for a Month: Get Your First Week of Recipes

Week 1

Sure, anyone can make a giant casserole and eat it for a week.

But we're going to make your life a lot more interesting than that. What if we told you you only had to do less than an hour and a half of cooking one afternoon per week—and you could eat a different delicious dinner every single weeknight?

That, in a nutshell, is the concept behind Food for a Month—four full weeks of amazing meals we've created to save you time and money.

And it couldn't be easier: Here's what you need to do to get with the program and create these yummy feasts ...

  1. Get your shopping list, plus a week's worth of recipes. (For this week's list, click the first slide below, and the recipes will follow. For the next month, look for a link in our Daily each Friday.)
  2. Devote Sunday afternoon to that week's meal prep: We promise it won't take more than an hour and a half.
  3. Eat a different healthy dinner every night of the week, with only ten or fewer minutes of simple cooking or reheating! (Serving sizes are for two people, but you can always tweak for your needs.)

This Week's Menu

Day 1: Roast pork with roasted vegetables
Day 2: Pork pitas with vegetables and dill hummus
Day 3: Pork-fried quinoa with dill and capers
Day 4: Black bean and pork sweet potato salad
Day 5: Roasted vegetable and black bean soup
Snack: Dill hummus with pita chips

Your Plan for Week 1

Sunday’s your prep day, so leave yourself just over an hour (about 65 minutes) to prepare the basics you’ll need throughout the week. All of the recipes build off of each other, so you'll be using the ingredients from these prep recipes many a time.

For this week, you'll need to roast porkvegetablesgarlic and potatoes.  Feel free to use your own preferred recipe for roasting the meat and veggies, if you have one. While those are in the oven, clean the dill, radish greens and spinach. Store those greens in plastic containers topped with a damp paper towel to keep them fresh. Then, make the dill hummus.

Cook the quinoa and make the jalapeño dressing. As your roasted meat and vegetables come out of the oven, pop in the slices of pita bread to make pita chips.

Once your prep is done, each subsequent day there will be, on average, fewer than ten minutes of reheating or cooking. Bon appétit!

View Slide Show

Get the second week of recipes.

Get the third week of recipes.

Get the fourth week of recipes.

  • AngieSunrise

    What’s with all the pork.  Blech.  

  • AngieSunrise

    What’s with all the pork.  Blech.  

  • AngieSunrise

    What’s with all the pork.  Blech.  

  • Anonymous

    For those that can’t eat pork (or don’t like it) this isn’t really helpful

  • Anonymous

    For those that can’t eat pork (or don’t like it) this isn’t really helpful

  • Anonymous

    For those that can’t eat pork (or don’t like it) this isn’t really helpful

  • Alewis02

    This is great!  I love the planning involved to make it work for a week and using ingredients that are affordable. I can’t wait to see the next three weeks!

    For those not into pork substituting beef roast or chicken would be pretty simple.

  • Kimacw

    You can always substitute beef, chicken, etc. for the pork.

  • Tati

    This is great! I can’t wait to try the recipes…thanks for making it so easy.

  • Linda Concoby

    I am amazed by the complaints about pork. Many of us eat it and enjoy it. You at LearnVest have devoted time, energy, and money to offer us this feature, and I appreciate it.  As Alewis02 and kimacw said, substituting should be easy. As for myself, I don’t eat the hot stuff, so when I take a look at the actual recipe for jalapeno dressing, I’ll either simply leave out the jalapenos or use some other dressing.  If you base a week’s menus on tofu, I won’t complain. I’ll just substitute or skip that week.  Thanks again.

  • Worker Bee

    Can’t seem to find the Sunday prep day instructions…am I missing something?

    • Anonymous

      Hi! All the prep recipes can be found under the headline “Your Plan for Week 1″: Click on the links in that section to get to the individual recipes needed to do all the prep!

      • LovinLife

        I clicked on the links but the recipes still won’t load, any ideas?

  • SACarter

    This is awesome!

  • Jenny

    Awesome!  Thanks LearnVest.

  • Greene_D

    I’m from the southern states and some of the ingredients used are foreign to me plus it means I will have to spend time searching for the items like Quinoa. How would I sound to the groc. manager trying to pronounce it. :p 

    I do like the idea of preparing several meals from as few ingredients as possible. I’ve tried some Italian dishes, but many of the different cheeses and other items are like a whole different language of food.

    Simple is good. I fixed a casserole (Italian) that had as much as 12 ingredients and I have to say it was too much. I couldn’t taste the tomatoes for the competing artichokes and black olives. A little can go a long way such as home grown purple hull peas with marinated (fresh) vegetables, pepper relish and cajun pork roast, maybe with some rice. All this takes about 15-20 min. to prepare. Also any leftover vegetables in the crisper can be roasted or as a marinated salad. BTW, the roasted veg. recipe is GREAT!  

    • Jenny

      Quinoa is prounounced like this: [Key-Nwah] :)  Hope that helps!

    • annski

      I live in Alabama and was able to find quinoa at the nearest Target.

    • annski

      I live in Alabama and was able to find quinoa at the nearest Target.

  • http://senseofcents.blogspot.com/ Michelle

    This is great, I’ve been thinking about doing something like this.

  • Anonymous

    Where did you find all the ingredients for $27!? I just punched that list into my grocery store’s website and came up with more like $50…

    • DG

      mmckelly, I used ShopRite on line along with pricing from my local C-Town

    • Shannon Cherry

      Actually I spent about $33 dollars on all that, so it IS pretty accurate!

  • Gina

    This is really helpful.  In the future, could you find a way to make it printer friendly, so we can print the shopping list and directions?

  • Filjay8

    Pork????  Could you select another meat, many people do not eat pork.

    • DG

      Filjay8- that is the beauty of cooking, substitute at will!

      • Rachel

         agreed! Lots of easy ways to substitute this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000500906352 Chris Haviaris

    Wow, I used to do the sunday cooking for the week thing, but this seems so much easier than the way I used to do it.  I’m gonna give it a try!  Agree that having a printable format would be very helpful :-) thanks!

  • annski

    I found both the cost and time indicated to be extremely underestimated. Also, it would be nice to be able to print out everything at one time….not every recipe as a separate exercise. Like others, I had trouble loading the recipes, so copied and pasted them into Word. 

    This is a great idea, but unless it becomes more convenient and accurate, I don’t think I’ll try the whole week again. 

    • http://www.shannoncherry.com Shannon Cherry

      I actually disagree. My costs were $33. I worked less than 20 minutes on cutting up everything for roasting. And spent the rest of the time making the hummus, etc.  Total time was less than 1 .5 hours for me.

      • annski

        My food cost $59, but I live in a state that charges a barbaric 9% sales tax on everything, including food. I had to buy a 1.5 lb bag of quinoa and a small jar of tahini, which added to the cost. I also substituted a delicata squash for the parsnip and carrot, as those are not available on an individual basis at my store. 

        And perhaps I am a very slow chopper and cook. 

  • Greebo is a cat

    Euwwww, pork.

  • Greebo is a cat

    Euwwww, pork.

  • Greebo is a cat

    Euwwww, pork.

  • Caitlin Young

    Suggestions: I love this concept and am going to try it this month, however the formatting needs more work to become truly useful. An ‘email it’ or printable format for the shopping list is key. If there’s a LearnVest smartphone app in the works, including a shopping list feature would be great (simliar to Epicurious app) and of course you could partner with vendors to provide coupons on featured products (like many debit cards, or Upromise does) or even partner with a pricing-comparison company to alert users to stores with current deals.

    In addition to the shopping list, I found it non-intuitive to find the Sunday instructions, as well as the recipes. I was able to figure it out, but it’s not terribly user-friendly. While having it split out into the article is good for the landing page from the email promotion, it would be good to have a “home page” for each month and week where you can easily access all the information you need in a linear fashion. I realized this isn’t the core focus of Learn Vest, but with additional effort it would provide something to keep people coming back daily/weekly and also potential tie-ins to other vendors (profit for you, savings for us.)

    Lastly, I support the one-protein-a-week concept. That’s sort of the point, isn’t it? Get one thing and reuse it throughout the entire week. If you don’t like something, or are restricted from eating it surely you can substitute. Chicken or gluten are easily made into similar consistency products as pork. It’s not my go-to protein either, but as I try out this idea I figure why not open my mind up to new recipes and a different way of eating?

  • Caitlin Young

    Suggestions: I love this concept and am going to try it this month, however the formatting needs more work to become truly useful. An ‘email it’ or printable format for the shopping list is key. If there’s a LearnVest smartphone app in the works, including a shopping list feature would be great (simliar to Epicurious app) and of course you could partner with vendors to provide coupons on featured products (like many debit cards, or Upromise does) or even partner with a pricing-comparison company to alert users to stores with current deals.

    In addition to the shopping list, I found it non-intuitive to find the Sunday instructions, as well as the recipes. I was able to figure it out, but it’s not terribly user-friendly. While having it split out into the article is good for the landing page from the email promotion, it would be good to have a “home page” for each month and week where you can easily access all the information you need in a linear fashion. I realized this isn’t the core focus of Learn Vest, but with additional effort it would provide something to keep people coming back daily/weekly and also potential tie-ins to other vendors (profit for you, savings for us.)

    Lastly, I support the one-protein-a-week concept. That’s sort of the point, isn’t it? Get one thing and reuse it throughout the entire week. If you don’t like something, or are restricted from eating it surely you can substitute. Chicken or gluten are easily made into similar consistency products as pork. It’s not my go-to protein either, but as I try out this idea I figure why not open my mind up to new recipes and a different way of eating?

    • LovinLife

      Caitlin: would you mind sharing your non-intuitive process of finding the Sunday instructions?  I’ve purchased all the ingredients, printed the recipes, but unable to do any prep.

      • Caitlin Young

        Hi, so sorry I didn’t respond…I didn’t get an email or anything that there were responses to my comment. I hope you figured out that the prep was at the bottom of the page, and spread across some of the recipes.

    • Rachel

       I’m with Caitlin – the Sunday prep instructions are difficult to find and need some work… I do love this concept and am excited to get trying it out!

  • Junk Ready

    Some of these look awesome, can’t wait to try them.

  • Frugal Fannie

    Jalapeno-Lime Dressing
    I neither could get the recipes to open but you might try this jalapeno dressing–I’m assuming it has lime and cayenne in it since these items are on the grocery list but not used elsewhere.  My price for groceries were about $45 but I bought ready made humus since tahinni could not be found and several of my vegetables were bagged by the pound by the store.  I LOVE the pork; if you haven’t tried it lately, a good pork loin or tenderloin is a fantastic way to be reintroduced to this versatile meat.  All the recipies my hubby and I have tried so far have been excellent though I would love an easier format.  Can’t wait to see next weeks menu. :)
    INGREDIENTS:
    Juice of two limes1 jalapeno, seeded and diced6 tablespoons olive oil1/2 teaspoon coarse salt1/2 – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

    PREPARATION:
    In a bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk them together until blended. Chill and serve. I know the recipe calls for something like 2 teaspoons???? Heck, I will probably use most of it on the salad!

  • Linda Weber

    This is great idea; thank you; I’d really like to try it!  But, as was mentioned on the recipe page, the recipes won’t load.  Can you help?  Thanks again!

  • annski

    Another suggestion…could the recipes be published on Thursday instead of Friday? Our favorite local farmer’s market is on Thursday.

  • Lovingus2010

    I wish the shopping list was in one place, so it could be printed out. The recipes look great and I plan on trying these…next week as I do my grocery shopping on Sundays.

  • Nursenancy91

    enjoyed reading this and gave me new and interesting ideas

  • Kerry

    I have
    been trying to follow this idea this week. A road map to what is being used
    when would be helpful with the shopping list and prep.  For example:

     

    2 ½ pounds
    Pork loin:

    Prep: roast
    (season as you like)

    1. 8 oz; 2.
    6 oz; 3. 4 oz; 4. 6 oz; 5. 4 oz.

    (Do you
    really lose 12 oz in cooking)

     

    1 small
    bunch of radishes (12+) (both the roots and the greens)
:

    Prep:
    roast (whole? Halved? Stems removed?)

    1. 8 ;
    2.  4 sliced (based on
    picture);  3. Radish greens, sliced
    in ribbons; 4. 0; 5. Leftovers, sliced.

     

    1 cup
    quinoa
:

    Prep:
    prepare per package directions.

    3. 2+
    cups cooked; 5. 2 cups cooked

    (1 cup
    dry =4+ cups cooked really?)

  • Carrie@LearnVest

    Hey all, Carrie from LearnVest here. Our goal is to make these recipes as easy as possible for you, so thanks for all of the feedback. If you click in the first slide, you’ll see a complete shopping list for this week that’s easily printable. Keep it coming with your comments, and we’ll keep making each week better for you. Happy cooking.

    • LovinLife

      How about the Sunday prep instructions, could they be put on a slide as well?

  • Starkravingmad07

    I didn’t make every recipe on the list, but I loved the quinoa one and am making the soup tomorrow.  I love the idea of this though and can’t wait to see what next week hold for me :)  I’m not very creative with pork, so I was glad for the new recipes.

  • Caitlin Young

    In addition to my original comments, I blogged about my experience during Week 1. I’ll keep coming up with more suggestions as the month progresses! http://www.mischiefbaking.com/day-late-dollar-short

    • DG

      I enjoyed reading your post, Caitlin. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Mellogal

    The only problem I see with the recipes is the repetition of ingredients- I understand the concept of preparing a week’s worth of food but who wants to eat the same main ingredient each day? I like pork but I don’t think it would be healthy to eat it each day. Lentils are healthy but I would be so sick of lentils by the end of the week. I like more variety in my meals.

  • Kmacdoula

    Have any of you ever done the once-a-month cooking plan? I did that when my family was smaller. I got together with another Mom (family) that was the same size as mine and we doubled up on recipes, and prepared (shopped one day) and cooked up the recipes for a whole month. The dad’s took the kids for the day, so we were TOTALLY focused on what we were doing and then we split up the dinners and had a whole month’s worth of meals. It was GREAT!!

  • sgillette

    I think this one of the best things I’ve found on the Internet. Ideal for those who don’t have cooking in their DNA and often can’t face the question of what to make after a hard day, much less how to shop for it in advance. I’ve eaten more vegetables in one week of these menus than in entire months (not to mention all those that went bad in my refrigerator). And who knew turnips, parsnips, fennel and kale could be so tasty. The variety of meal is great! The main ingredient is sometimes prominent, sometimes in a supporting role. I love it, love it, love it.

  • http://radiant-brown-beauty.com/ Michelle

    Umm what if you don’t eat portk. I find pork disgusting and full of toxins. So this week doesn’t help.

    • Emily

      If you don’t like pork, just substitute chicken, beef, or tofu.

  • Azbabe

    This Week’s Menu

    Day 1: Roast pork with roasted vegetables
    Day 2: Pork pitas with vegetables and dill hummus
    Day 3: Pork-fried quinoa with dill and capers
    Day 4: Black bean and pork sweet potato salad
    Day 5: Roasted vegetable and black bean soup
    Snack: Dill hummus with pita chips

    Shopping List for Week 1

    Staples you might already have:
    Olive oil, Tahini, Cayenne Powder, Capers, Vinegar 

    Weekly ingredients:
    2 1/2 pounds boneless center cut pork loin
    2 heads garlic
    2 red peppers
    1 jalapeño
    1 small turnip
    1 small parsnip
    1 carrot
    1 small bunch of radishes (both the roots and the greens)
    1 lemon
    2 limes
    1 bunch dill
    1 bunch spinach (1/2 pound)
    1 large onion (12 ounces)
    1 pound potatoes (2 medium or 1 large potato)
    1 sweet potato (12 ounces)
    10 ounces plum tomatoes (2 medium)
    2 1/2 cups chicken stock (if canned, choose low sodium variety)*
    1 cup quinoa
    1 can black beans (15.5 ounces)
    1 can chickpeas (15.5 ounces)
    6 whole wheat pitas

    Your Plan for Week 1

    Sunday’s your prep day, so leave yourself just over an hour (about 65 minutes) to prepare the basics you’ll need throughout the week. All of the recipes build off of each other, so you’ll be using the ingredients from these prep recipes many a time.

    For this week, you’ll need to roast pork, vegetables, garlic and potatoes.  Feel free to use your own preferred recipe for roasting the meat and veggies, if you have one. While those are in the oven, clean the dill, radish greens and spinach. Store those greens in plastic containers topped with a damp paper towel to keep them fresh. Then, make the dill hummus.

    Cook the quinoa and make the jalapeño dressing. As your roasted meat and vegetables come out of the oven, pop in the slices of pita bread to make pita chips.

    Roasted Pork

    2 1/2 pounds boneless center cut pork loin, at room temperature

    Salt and pepper

    1 teaspoon olive oil

    Pat meat dry and season with salt and pepper. Put oil into pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, put in meat and brown all over, about 6 minutes. Place in 350 F oven until pork reaches 140 F. The time varies due to the thickness of the pork. Start checking temperature after 20 minutes. After pork reaches temperature, cover it with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

    Roasted Vegetables

    1 small parsnip, 1/2-inch slices on a diagonal

    1 carrot, 1/2-inch slices on a diagonal

    1 small turnip, 1/2-inch cubes

    12 small radish roots, trimmed

    2 red peppers, cut into strips

    1 large onion, cut into about 6 pieces

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1 teaspoon salt and pepper

    Directions

    Toss vegetables, salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast until onions are tender, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.

    Time

    Prep time: 10 minutes Total time: 50 minutes

    Roasted Garlic

    Cut off the top of two garlic bulbs to expose the individual cloves. Wrap the garlic, with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, in aluminum foil. Bake until garlic is soft (in a 350 F oven, about 30 minutes). When bulb is cool, squeeze the individual cloves out of the skin.

    Time

    Prep time: 3 minutes Total time: 35 minutes

    Roasted Potatoes 

    Scrub the potatoes and cut into cubes (do not peel them, as the nutrients are in the skin). Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sautee in the hot pan used for the pork until the potatoes begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.

    Time

    Prep time: 10 minutes Total time: 35 minutes

    Dill Hummus

    1 can chickpeas, well rinsed

    1/2 garlic clove, minced

    Juice of 1 lemon

    2 tablespoons 

    tahini

    1/2-3/4 cup olive oil

    1/2 cup dill, chopped

    Cayenne pepper, to taste

    Salt & pepper, to taste

    Directions

    In a food processor, place all ingredients but olive oil. While processor is on, add olive oil until desired consistency is achieved.

    Time

    Prep time: 5 minutes Total Time:  5 minutes

    Quinoa

    Directions

    Total time: 25 minutes

    Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup quinoa, cover and bring heat to a simmer. Don’t stir. Turn off the heat when water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

    Time

    Prep time: 1 minute

    Jalapeño Dressing

    1 small jalapeño, seeded and roughly chopped

    Juice of 2 limes

    2 teaspoon sugar

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    3/4 cup olive oil

    Directions

    Add pepper to a food processor with lime juice, sugar and salt. Blend those four ingredients and with motor still running, slowly add olive oil until dressing is thickened.

    Time

    Prep time: 5 minutes

    Total time: 8 minutes

    Day 1: Pork Plate

    Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 7 minutes 
    Serves: 2 

    8 ounces pork slices
    1/2 of the roasted parsnip
    1/2 of the roasted carrot
    1/2 of the roasted turnip
    8 of the roasted radishes
    2 wedges of the roasted onion
    1/2 of the roasted potatoes
    1/2 head roasted garlic

    Bring all ingredients to room temperature, heat in the oven at 400 F for 10 minutes, or eat as they come out of the oven during the big prep day. Divide all items onto two plates.

    Day 2: Pork Pitas

    Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 8 minutes
    Serves: 2 

    2 whole wheat pitas, sliced at the top
    1/2 cup dill hummus
    1 1/2 cups chopped spinach
    1/4 of the roasted pepper
    4 roasted radishes
    6 ounces pork, thinly sliced

    Coat the inside of a whole wheat pita generously with dill hummus, add chopped spinach, roasted peppers, radishes and pork.

    Day 3: Pork-Fried Quinoa

    Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 10 minutes
    Serves: 2 

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    6 cloves smashed, roasted garlic
    2 wedges of the roasted onion, chopped
    1/2 of the roasted potatoes
    4 teaspoon capers
    1/4 of the roasted peppers
    chopped radish greens, sliced into thin strips
    1 cup dill, chopped
    1 tablespoon vinegar (rice or cider vinegar)
    1/2 cup chicken stock
    2 generous cups quinoa
    4 ounces roast pork, chopped

    Heat large sauté pan over medium heat with olive oil. Add roasted garlic and 1 wedge of roasted onion, chopped. Add roasted potatoes and sauté. Add capers, roasted pepper, radish greens, and dill. Add vinegar, then chicken stock. Add quinoa and chopped pork. Mix well. Serve hot.

    Day 4: Pork and Sweet Potato Salad

    Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 7 minutes
    Serves: 2 

    1 sweet potato, peeled and shredded
    1/2 can black beans, well rinsed
    1/4 of the roasted red pepper, chopped
    2 ounces jalapeño dressing
    6 ounces roast pork, cubed

    Toss shredded sweet potato with 1/2-can of well rinsed black beans and roasted red pepper. Mix in the dressing after shaking well. Add cubed pork.

    Day 5: Roasted Vegetable Soup

    Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 15 minutes
    Serves: 3 

    1 teaspoon olive oil
    6 cloves roasted garlic
    2 plum tomatoes, chopped
    1/4 of the roasted pepper, chopped
    2 wedges of the roasted onions, chopped
    Any leftover roasted radishes, sliced
    1/2 of the roasted carrot
    1/2 of the roasted parsnip
    1/2 of the roasted turnip
    1/2-can black beans, well rinsed
    2 cups chicken stock
    Any leftover spinach, chopped
    2 cups quinoa
    4 ounces roast pork, cubed

    This is the ‘clean the fridge soup’ at the end of the week. Heat olive oil into a medium-sized soup pot over medium heat. Add roasted garlic, cook 1 minute. Add chopped tomatoes. Cook 1 minute. Add roasted vegetables and leftover half can of rinsed black beans. Add 2 cups chicken stock of stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and quinoa and portion into bowls. Garnish with left over pork. Optional: Swirl in some hummus.

    Pita Chips

    Ingredients

    1 tablespoon sesame seeds

    1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

    1/2 cup olive oil

    4 round whole wheat pita pockets

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350F.

    Combine sesame seeds, salt and olive oil. Cut the pitas in half and then cut each half into four triangles. Tear each triangle at the seam. Place pitas rough side up on a baking sheet, brush each piece with oil mixture. Bake until brown, about 10 minutes.

    Time

    Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 15 minutes