5 Easy Week Night Meals in a Bowl


The age-old question: What's for dinner? It's a tough one. It was hard when I worked and didn't have a child, and it's hard when I don't work but have a child. I think everyone can relate to the challenge of getting a delicious, healthy meal on the table in a timely manner during the week. If you find it easy, then by all means comment and let us know your secret. ;) 

Also, you may be wondering, why in a bowl? I ask you this, why not in a bowl? Josh and I were talking about it, and we eat the majority of our meals from a bowl. It's just so handy - everything goes one dish, it's easy to scoop up the food, and each bite is exciting. Forever we used small bowls and realized it just wasn't big enough. We're hungry people! We got these bowls from Cost Plus World Market, and they are perfect. 

I have my meal planning method that I'll share some time with you. For now, in short, I plan everything over the weekend, grocery shop on Sunday, make most of the meal during nap time each day and finish up (or heat up) the dinner in the evening. It makes nap time busy, but it's worth it at the end of the day for me. 

For today, I've collected five favorite bowl meals that I make regularly. And five meals will get you through one work week (yay for math)! I do enjoy cooking, but I haven't mastered creating recipes. However, I do feel as though I'm good at finding recipes. I am mostly a true-to-recipe follower, but I do make adjustments based on ease of ingredients, my own likes/dislikes, and whatnot. I've shared what I do differently in case you'd like to try it my way.

Oh, and I get like 98% of my recipes from bloggers. Check out the sources for my recipes - I love all these blogs. Ready? Let's go.

Five Meals in a Bowl 

Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Feta and Avocado

Recipe Source: Cookie and Kate

How do you feel about cauliflower? I only enjoy it roasted. I see raw cauliflower on veggie dip trays and wonder who actually eats it. Do you? If you're not hugely in love with cauliflower then I suggest you try roasting it. You may change your mind. If you do, then you should try this grain bowl.

Speaking of grains, the base of this delicious bowl is farro. Eh, farro, excuse me? Farro is an ancient grain somewhat similar to barley and quinoa. It's nutty and chewy and I love it. I often swap it out for rice to mix things up. Bob's Red Mill is my go-to brand, but Trader Joe's has a 10-minute farro that is awesome (I just don't get to TJ's often enough). Oh, and be sure it's semi-pearled farro as it is not quite as chewy as whole farro.

Oh, and I do like avocado it in, but I didn't have any when I took this photo. Bummer!

Some of my adjustments:

  • Farro: I usually throw in salt, a sprinkle of garlic powder, and a bay leaf in at the beginning rather than at the end. I feel like it adds more flavor.
  • For the everything else, or toppings: I usually don't put on olives (yuck) or sundried-tomatoes (just don't keep them around much, try it if you have them). However, I add roasted sunflower seeds for some crunch. 
  • Sauce: I add a dollop of Greek yogurt, or if I have more time, I mix up 1 cup greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon tahini. Mix it together and plop it on top.

Skinny Thai Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce

Recipe Source: Jo Cooks

Oh, how I love Thai food. This might not be truly authentic, but it is so tasty. If I continue posting more recipes, you'll soon discover I have a love of meatballs. It's a terrible name, but they are so versatile and are great for making ahead of time. I also appreciate the lower cost of ground meat. I serve this dish with brown rice and steamed broccoli. Yum!

Some of my adjustments:

  • I use ground turkey instead of ground chicken only because it's more readily available and generally cheaper. I get the 93% lean ground turkey.
  • Reduce the green onions in the meatballs. I tend to use only two green onions since with four I just feel like they are too oniony.
  • For the sauce, I use light coconut milk, which luckily doesn't seem to break (separate) the sauce. In other words, not a broken sauce where it didn't emulsify and you see little bits of coconut milk instead of it all blended together.

Cuban Picadillo with Quick Cabbage Slaw

Recipe Source: SkinnyTaste

I do not cook a ton of red meat, but I try to mix it in every so often for Josh since he digs it. Plus, it adds some iron and variety to our weekly meals. Surprisingly, I really love this meal. I used to get a picadillo sauce at Trader Joe's and it was freaking awesome. Sadly, they stopped carrying it. Why, I ask, why? This meal reminds me of those Trader Joe's picadillo days. The picadillo and cabbage slaw is great on top of brown rice. 

Some of my adjustments:

  • I use the whole red bell pepper, because why not?! 
  • I don't love cilantro, but I'm not one of those people who think it tastes like soap. I hate buying a bunch of it, so I just shake in a bit of dried cilantro from my pantry.
  • As noted in the recipe, I use capers since I can't seem to find alcaparrados.
  • For the quick cabbage slaw, I skip the red bell pepper and onion and add shredded carrots (one carrot). I have also used red cabbage (hence the photo), since you can buy it pre-shredded and sometimes that's just nice for saving time.

Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo

Recipe Source: Simply Recipes

I made this a few weeks ago when the stomach bug was making its rounds and Josh needed soup. But, this is a good spring soup as it's not too heavy and yet still very filling for dinner. You must serve it with toasted bread. My favorite is the Trader Joe's rosemary bread.

Some of my adjustments:

  • I use wheat bread and toast it since I forget to leave it out overnight. Or, if I have no bread on hand, I'll use 1/2 cup breadcrumbs instead.
  • For the ground turkey, I use 93% lean turkey. 
  • I never have fresh parsley, so I use a dash of dried parsley.
  • Whole wheat orzo instead of plain orzo because it seems healthier.
  • I bake the meatballs for 20 minutes at 350 rather than browning them. I hate browning meatballs because I typically overcrowd the pan and they end up breaking and losing their ball form.
  • If you have it, throw a parmesan rind into the soup as it cooks. Flavor town! (That's a Guy Ferretti thing to say)

Light Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

Recipe Source: Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Honestly, my first time making this dish was this week but I loved it and thought it worth sharing. I'll definitely be making this one again. It has everything: protein, dairy, veggie, carb, and pretty darn healthy. Of course, this must get some parmesan sprinkled on top! 

Some of my adjustments:

  • I made this during nap time, but when I heated it up for dinner I added some more chicken broth (it got a bit dry).
  • I added a cup more pasta and a cup more of broccoli so it would make another two meals.
  • Try tossing the chicken with flour in a ziploc bag, then you have one less dish to clean. 
  • For garlic, I use frozen, crushed garlic cubes. You can find it in the frozen section at Trader Joes and some grocery stores. It's got a red top and is called Dorot. This is really the only garlic I use. I enjoy garlic but it tends to upset my stomach if I eat too much. Additionally, I dislike how it gets a smell on my fingers and cutting board - and before you say anything, I don't think the stainless steel thing works that great for getting the smell out. With that said, I added two cubes of frozen, crushed garlic. 
  • For the pasta, I used Barilla protein plus penne. 

In the words of Emeril, BAM! BAM! BAM! Dinner is served. Do you have any favorite, easy week night meals?