Five Paleo Dinners To Cook Next Week #1

As much as I like to play with my food, I sometimes get in a rut and find myself making the same things over and over.

It’s very easy to make a shopping list that way (chicken breasts, zucchini, plantains, repeat, repeat, repeat), and I can be half-asleep during the cooking process—but after a few weeks, I find myself craving something new.

Just in case you’re in need of kitchen inspiration, I’m trying a new kind of post: a roundup of recipes you can make next week. If you like this idea, I’ll do a new version every Thursday. Let me know in comments what you think of it!

So… here are five paleo and Whole30 compliant recipes you could make for dinner next week, along with a recommendation for a condiment (ketchup!) to spice up your other meals and one treat that celebrates Autumn (and is definitely not Whole30 approved).

I included some tips for each recipe, in case you want to do a big cookup to get ready for the week.

Happy cooking!

Dinner Ideas (Whole30 compliant)

Paleo Creole Ham and Cauliflower Rice |meljoulwan.comPaleo Creole Ham & Cauliflower Rice

Cookup Tips: Chop the raw cauliflower into rice and store in a covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to make the whole recipe. You can also cut up the veggies and ham in advance.

Paleo Tandoori Chicken with Curry-Pineapple Cauliflower Rice |

Tandoori Chicken with Curry Pineapple Fried Rice

Cookup Tips: Start the marinade process during your Cookup and cook the chicken the next day. The Mint Chutney can be made on cookup day and stored all week. Chop the raw cauliflower into rice and store in a covered container in the fridge until you’re ready to make the whole recipe.

Paleo Turkey and Cranberry Meatballs with Sweet Potato Fries |

Turkey & Cranberry Meatballs with Sweet Potato Fries

Cookup Tips: You can make the meat “dough” up to 3 days in advance, then cook the meatballs when you’re ready to eat them. The sweet potato can be microwaved and cut into strips in advance, then roasted just before eating.

Paleo Chicken Nanking with Sweet Potatoes |

Chicken Nanking

Cookup Tips: Start the marinade process during your Cookup and cook the chicken the next day. You can also prep the veggies and sauce in advance and store covered in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.

Old School Italian Meat Sauce |

Old School Italian Meat Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

Cookup Tips: This recipe is perfect for a lazy weekend day, when it can just do its own thing in the background. You can also prep the zucchini in advance: julienne it, sweat it, rinse it, pat it dry, and place in fridge until you’re ready to eat.

Condiment (Whole30 compliant)

Homemade Whole30 approved ketchup |

Kickass Ketchup

Cookup Tips: Make this during your Weekly Cookup and have it on hand all month to dip your Sweet Potato Fries or make Awesome Sauce.

Treat (Not Whole30 compliant)

Paleo Maple-Pumpkin Coconut Macaroons

Maple-Pumpkin Coconut Macaroons

Cookup Tips: I feel like these require no explanation whatsoever.

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  • Jennifer says:

    I love this idea and format! I’m on my second round of W30 and yes, food is definitely getting predictable, to say the least. Which most days is fine – I can Groundhog Day with the best of them – but I think my husband may be getting a little tired of chicken salad lunches and taco meat dinners.

    Those maple-pumpkin macaroons look amazing and will never enter my house. 🙂 Maybe I can convince a friend to make them and let me have one?

    • Congratulations on Whole30-ing! I’ve been Groundhog Day-ing my dinners all summer because after a full day of cooking for recipe testing, I have zero interest in food. I hope these ideas give you and your husband some inspiration 🙂

      And yes, the macaroons are really good. When I make them, I eat one and give the rest away. You should definitely recruit a co-conspirator.

  • Laura C says:

    This is a great idea. Since I started eating Paleo almost 3 years ago and bought YOUR cookbooks (as well as a few others)…dinner is almost never boring. I ALWAYS cook from a cookbook now. But this Blog idea great and helpful, especially for those busy weeks when I barely have the time to pull out my cookbooks for inspiration. Keep these coming!! I especially like the cook ahead tips. Thanks!

  • Katie says:

    That Creole Ham “rice” is among my favorite dishes of yours!! I will totally have to make that again next week. Thank you for the fun list!

  • Dione says:

    Awesome idea- love the 5 dinners!!! I’m so happy : )!!!

  • Maryellen says:

    Do you have any resources for a weekly cookup and menus? I have both your books (by far my favs) and feed three teens, and work full time. I need family friendly cook up recipes. Please!!

  • Jessica Hilliard says:

    i LOVE this new blog idea! I was just sitting down to schedule next week’s recipes when your email came through – talk about ridiculously perfect timing – well done! 😀 Pretty please keep it up!

  • Stacey says:

    When I first wanted to try a Whole 30, my husband reluctantly agreed to do it with me just to make meal preparation easier. Your first cookbook full of delicious meals was a life saver and turned him into a whole hearted Paleo convert. I have since purchased it and your second one for my Mom, sister and a few other friends who expressed interest.

    I would love to have this as a regular feature. We always fall into the same meals too and often it is just that new recipe or old favorite that we forgot that gets us excited about eating Paleo again.

  • Viktoria says:

    Thank you so much, Melissa. I think it’s a great idea!

  • becca says:

    I love this post! I was just sitting here thinking what in the world will I make for dinner next week….I appreciate the tips for the cook-up. i tend to be able to do this in the fall/winter because we’re inside watching football on Sundays – I just prep with the games on in the background!

  • Justina says:

    Thanks, Mel, I really like this idea! I am still on my first round going through the two WF books and I’m so indecisive each week with what to try next… these recipes do the decision making for me. The chicken nanking has been on my mind for a while now. And I am all about prep work so the cooking tips are super cool!

  • Chelsea says:

    Love this idea!!! All of these recipes look amazing! I’ve yet to get a copy of either of your books (sad face), but I’ve browsed your website a lot. My husband loves curry while I’m not a huge fan, but I think I could do this rice. 😀 Thanks so much!!!

  • Caroline says:

    love this!!!! thank you for doing this. I would approve of it continuing to happen 🙂 I was already thinking about my cookup this weekend and then to receive your email, BINGO. thanks!!

  • Beth says:

    love this idea – thanks muchly!

  • Vanessa says:

    I love this idea!! I’m just starting my whole30 today, so this will definitely be coming in handy!

  • Lauren says:

    Melissa, I love the Cook-Up ideas, they have transformed my meal planning. Please continue!

  • Martha says:

    Melissa, you are the BEST! I love this! I am starting a new W30 today, so this is fantastic. The first thing I did last year when I began my first W30 was to buy your 2 cookbooks. Couldn’t have done it without you!!

  • Mandy says:

    What a great idea!!! My Husband decided he wants to try a whole 30 mid october and I will be doing it with him! I like this because it also “reminds” me of recipes I may have seen on the blog or in the cookbooks, but never made…. Love This!

  • I love this! I get into really boring food ruts and this is just what I need to get things moving in the right direction again. Thank you!

  • Jamie says:

    I think this idea is great! Thanks so much! 😀

  • Kathy says:

    Thanks for these 5 new ideas! I’ve been kind of sleep walking through my Whole30 (4th time). I’m making the same meals each week which has been super easy but now we’re all itching for something new. Tandoori Chicken and with rice, turkey meatballs and sweet potato fries will be great new additions this week.

    I’ll look forward to next Thursday’s 5 meal suggestions.

    Be well.

  • Sara says:

    Please please please continue posts like this! I try to do planning and a cookup every week, which always involves my trusty Well Fed cookbooks. Do you’re basically doing my work for me!! Thanks! (My family will also thank you since I’ll be able to spend more time with them on the weekend and less time planning.)

  • Valerie says:

    Love this idea! Thanks!
    Also, I have had success freezing the califlower ‘rice’. I put it on parchment paper and a sheet pan to flash freeze it, then in containers or zip bags in measured portions. Super useful.

  • EmayInPA says:

    I am SO digging the new look! Congratulations on a job so very well done!

  • Jessica says:

    Love the new website and the cook up ideas!

  • Sharmon says:

    Love this idea! Thank you!

  • NicoleG says:

    I love this format. I’m trying to get better at meal planning and get ‘planning block’, this is great for pushing me into some new things. Doing another round of Whole30 and started CrossFit last month. Moroccan Dipping sauce, Sunshine sauce, WF Chili has saved me from falling off.

  • Yay for “Five Dinners to Cook Next Week” Thursdays!!!

    This will be wonderful for my partner and me (we’ve been eating the same 3-4 meals a little too often lately)…and to share with clients in our paleo-primal food program. Love it–please continue!

  • MommyD says:

    Hooray perfect timing! I was just making my shopping list for tomorrow’s trip to the store. Meal planning can get , oddly enough, stressful. II have the thought “didn’t I just feed these people yesterday” sometimes-but maybe that’s just me. LOL Either way , I love this idea!!! I regularly cook extra of one meall (for example, chicken) and turn the left overs into something else later in the week so if you ever have tips on leftovers uses, I’d love to see them. I’m definitely Sending this to a new whole 30er friend and posting on my groups whole30 Facebook group-ruts have been a theme. Thank you thank you!

    • I know what you mean: being responsible for the food situation in your house can be a big responsibility. I’m glad you like this post idea — and thanks for sharing! You’re smart to have “surplus” food around. I almost always have cooked chicken and ground beef in the fridge, just in case.

  • Darlingtonia says:

    Thank you Melissa! I love this format and meal planning ideas. My husband and I embark on our second Whole 30 today and we may not have made it through the first one without your cookbooks. I treasure food, feel blessed to have access to such bounty, and live to cook (cook to live). Meal planning is, by far, my least favorite part of the process. Many mahalos for being the ambassador of awesome flavor and excellent health.

  • April Lark says:

    I too love this idea, please keep them coming! I’m TOTALLY like you, I get stuck in a rut with what I make too, especially for lunch (and I know these are dinner, but lunch ideas are always appreciated, especially those of us that still have to work in the corporate world!) 🙂

  • Julie says:

    Mel you are amazing!!! This is such a great idea, please continue! I’m loving the new site.Thanks for helping me get my eating back on track!

  • Tracy says:

    OBSESSED WITH THIS BLOG POST. MORE MORE MORE. BTW, just a heads up some of your recipes are printing funky. Might just be me but the tandoori chicken one was all over the page (the chutney and pineapple rice part)

  • Denise says:

    YES! Keep this up. I have ZERO creativity! I need as much help as I can!

  • LOVE this idea and format, Melissa! You’re inspiring me to get back into the kitchen…as soon as I have three more rooms painted, rearranged, and put back together… 😛

  • Amy Oke says:

    Love it! Need some meal inspiration and perfect timing for the macaroons as I just finished a Whole30! I love your books by the way. I have a ton and they are my favourite! Thank you for everything you do. 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    Thanks Mel, I am starting my first Whole30 tomorrow and I will start with these recipes! I hope you will do this every week!!

  • Kris says:

    Love this idea! Hope you make it permanent. Thank you!

  • Vicki Kron says:

    What a great idea, now I am my own Personal Chef and it’s all legal.
    Thanks, Mel, I love your 5 meals deal.

  • Joanna says:

    I want to eat all of these right now! I love that you’ve chosen a couple of recipes using cauliflower rice and a couple using chicken so there’s some double up of ingredients – good planning, lady!

  • Angie says:

    LOVE this! I’ve been trying to cook and eat more clean, but as a full-time working woman who has a two-hour commute, I struggle with having time to find recipes. With your meal plan, I can easily plan and cook healthier meals for my husband and myself. Thank you!

  • Shameeron says:

    I love this. And today, even though I have both of the recipe books, I saw you mentioned the silky ginger zucchini soup. Passed by it in the book for two years but today I made it and we loved it. Really good.
    We need a broccoli soup recipe. I buy big bags of broccoli and sometimes we get tired of it the same way. Been searching for a good broccoli soup recipe. I love the golden cauliflower soup and now the silky zucchini so I know you can come up with something great!

    • I’m so glad you tried the zucchini soup. YAY! I literally eat it every day; that’s not an exaggeration. With bone broth?! Perfect health food.

      Re: broccoli. You can use the same recipe as zucchini soup, then add some coconut milk during the pureeing step.

  • Becki Blair-Jones says:

    Yes yes yes please and thank you. Great idea. Totally out of inspiration so these are wonderful to try and get the brain working on something new but too time consuming. Thank you !

  • Laura says:

    You are a genious. I love everyonoe of these recipes. Thank you for being so creative and having a great sense of what looks and tastes good.

    I am doing a dinner party and will be making everything from your recipes.

  • kathy says:

    Thanks, Melissa…a perfect idea. The recipes look easy and delicious. I will look forward to this weekly.

  • Delaine says:

    I love this idea for the blog! Super helpful.

  • Susan says:

    What a wonderful idea! I hope you keep doing this for awhile.

  • Amanda says:

    I love this idea! I love how you say how you could get things started early and how to prep ahead of time. I do most of my cooking on Sundays for M-F so if you have any recipes that can be cooked and frozen or refrigerated until the later days of the week (Thursday or Friday) that would also be super helpful! Keep it up! 🙂

  • Terry says:

    Hands down, I love this blog post. I would absolutely adore it if this became a regular series. My husband and I love your recipes so much. Your cookbooks were the first Paleo ones I bought, and are consistently the best recipes. I’m making a double batch of Golden Cauliflower Soup tomorrow — some for now & some for the freezer. It’s so delicious. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to trying the Creole Ham and Cauliflower Rice and Tandoori Chicken with Curry Pineapple Fried Rice.

    Thank you for all you do!!! I haven’t yet mastered batch cooking or even a weekly cookup, but I’m working on it. Your notes here help a lot.

  • Beth says:

    Love this new segment. Meal planning now for next week (yay Friday night fun!) and this is helpful!

  • Tiffany McDonald says:

    Love this idea! I am in a rut when it comes to meal planning so this will give me some fresh ideas. love the new site too! I think I made those macaroons last year for thanksgiving…..delicious

  • Jenn says:

    Yes! Thank you – this is a great idea!!

  • Michele with 1 L says:

    Your new site is beautiful! Love the new segment and the tips for incorporating the recipes in the cookup. Could not have made it through our first 2 Whole30s without your cookup plan from the blog!!

  • Mel, I love everything about this. So much so that I actually sat down to write a comment at my computer. << That's big.

    I love your cookbooks, and I'm using them almost exclusively now, but the hardest part for me is still picking recipes and planning for the week. I get distracted, I plan too much, I end up running out of time and cooking too little, and then we all go hungry and good food goes bad. This is exactly what I needed. Thank you!!

  • Beth says:

    Hi! I have never commented before but I wanted to wholeheartedly say yes! I would totally follow your weekly meal plan if you posted every week. Totally makes my life easier meal planning for my family. Thanks!

  • Jane says:

    Please don’t stop! I’m sitting down to meal plan and this helps immensely! I love your recipes too. Chocolate Chili with Bison is on the menu this week!

  • Virginia says:

    Well Fed was my very first Paleo cookbook and it, along with Well Fed 2 (LOVE them both!), are still my go-to’s for my weekly meal planning. I love the idea of five meal ideas popping up in my in box weekly. Like so many others, I tend to use the same recipes too often and get bored with them – not that they aren’t fabulous. So yay you for coming up with this great idea!

    Your new site is wonderful.

    Now, on to my Sunday prep/cook up…

  • Patricia says:

    Hi Melissa,
    You have provided some amazing recipes!! I am going to list you as my first go to for the Menu Selections for the week in meal planning. I have loved your recipes for quite some time just keep forgetting to check on you due to you being more along the lines of how we eat round our home. 🙂 I love your website and all the amazing recipes. I will be checking in with you first thing on Saturday morning before I start making my grocery list so I can plan my prepping on Sunday morning watching Football in the kitchen. 🙂 Thank you for you have been a god-send. 🙂 Have a great week! <3

  • Eleanor says:

    This is amazing – please, please do it again!

  • Sheila says:

    Love this post, your recipes look great!! I’m excited to try some as I do get stuck in a rut making the same meals over and over. I found your post from a FB post in my newsfeed by Barefoot Provisions. I was intrigued so I started reading some of your previous blog posts and came across one from May 2014 where you mentioned the BioForce HRV. I am intrigued by this idea as I have Hashimoto’s, multiple thyroid nodules, and am recovering from Adrenal Fatigue. I have worked back up to an intense bootcamp workout 3-4 days a week but now I’m starting to feel like I’m overdoing it. I’m reluctant to quit but maybe scaling back the intensity would be good-do you think the BioForce thing would be helpful? It is a lot of money so I’m wondering if you think it would help me (sorry to post all this on your menu post but I was not sure if you would see a comment on a months-old post!)

    • I’m glad you found me! (And yes, I answer all comments, even on old posts 🙂

      The HRV monitoring is really helpful, but you don’t need to use BioForce, since it is a bit expensive. Mark Sisson just released a wonderful HRV app that works with any heart rate monitor. You can check it out here:

      I was up to 5X per week again, but started to feel over-tired and sore; I’m back to 2-3X per week now to give my body a break. The HRV really helps associate how I FEEL with what my body is doing. Let me know how it goes with you!

  • Toheba says:

    I am seriously giddy over this post!! I’ve been searching for this type of format for a while. THANK YOU!! I’ve always loved everything I’ve made from your site.

  • Sheila says:

    Thank you!!! You saved me a ton of money by recommending I check out Mark Sisson’s post on HRV! I’m off to Amazon to buy your cookbooks with the money you saved me 🙂

  • Meggin says:

    Hey Melissa! I really love this new weekly round up, some of my old favorites (OH man I haven’t made your salmon cakes in too long…) and some new and super looking dishes. Two weeks now, we’re back to true paleo! Your inspiriational poem about returning to the caravan was a good kick in the butt. I hope you keep doing this:)

    • I’m so glad that Rumi poem helped you get your groove back! Congratulations on two weeks of paleo awesomeness! I’ll be posting the new “5 Dinners” tomorrow, and there are some good ones in the news list! Enjoy!

  • Kristen says:

    I don’t even know how I happened upon your site, but I’m so glad I found it! Thank you for posting the 5 recipes for a week ahead of time. It’s just what I’ve needed as our work and do-it-yourself house-remodeling schedule keeps us busy and I loathe the head scratching about what to make for dinner! 🙂 I don’t follow Whole30, but I eat similarly. Your presentation has certainly made me take a real look at what it is…

    May I also add that the fuss about “clean eating” has made me roll my eyes countless times as it always comes with rabid followers who preach endlessly about their sainthood. Your site and ideas don’t have an ounce of the ‘tude that usually makes me run for the hills. Thank you for your enthusiasm about eating well with not a whiff of holier-than-thou! Your site is bookmarked and I’ll be making many return trips. Your hard work is very much appreciated! 🙂

    • Hello! I’m so glad you found me!

      Here’s the thing: What you eat is nobody’s business but your own. I’m happy you’re enjoying my “no paleo police” approach. Eating well doesn’t make anyone more virtuous than anyone else. I just hope everyone eats the way that makes them feel their best so they can have a great life. Easy-peasy 🙂

  • Stacey says:

    Thank you Melissa!!! About to hit W30 Round 2 and these weekly menus are fantastic! I love your cookbooks, but trying to choose what to make boggles my mind each week! Now it’s easy and I’ll get to make every yummy recipe of yours. Keep ’em coming….

  • Denise says:

    I’m just starting Whole 30. Your recipes sound wonderful! I’ll be back later to let you know how they turned out.