What's Cooking This Week? French Onion Soup, Roast Beef Sandwiches and Stuffed Shells

I love cooking for my fiancé and planning meals for us, but cooking for two often proves to be difficult. If I don't make a plan, I end up running around in circles at the grocery store and wasting half the ingredients I've bought (and I hate wasting food). Enter What's Cooking This Week - my meal plan and grocery guide. This way, I can make the most of my ingredients and my leftovers.

Last week, roasted sweet potatoes were served alongside Dijon Pork Chops and reused in a Sweet Potato Bisque. This week, a mixture of cream cheese and spinach gets stuffed into both Baked Shells and a Crispy Chicken Roulade.

Here's the rest of the plan:

  • Grilled Chicken Parm Subs
  • Spinach & Cream Cheese Stuffed Shells
  • French Onion Soup
  • Panko-Crusted Chicken Roulade
  • Weeknight French Dips

    Pantry Items

  • Oil (olive, extra virgin, canola, peanut)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Cooking spray
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Cream cheese
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Beef stock
  • Bay leaves
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Dry sherry (or dry red or white wine)

    Grocery List based on servings for 2 with leftovers

  • 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 lb good-quality deli roast beef
  • 1/4 lb provolone
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 package baby spinach leaves
  • 1 package mixed leafy greens
  • 1 package croutons
  • 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 package large shells
  • 4 good-quality hero rolls

    Day 1 - Grilled Chicken Parm Subs *Makes leftover Tomato Sauce for Stuffed Shells

    Make a quick marinara sauce by heating a saucepan over medium-high heat and coating lightly with olive oil. Add 1/2 chopped yellow onion and cook until softened. Add 2-3 cloves minced garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes and a pinch of sugar and oregano. Season with salt and crushed red pepper to taste and simmer for 15 minutes. *Reserve half for use in day 2.

    Meanwhile, slice 1 chicken breast in half widthwise. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano on both sides. Drizzle with oil and cook on a pre-heated grill pan or skillet coated with cooking spray. Cook, turning once, until golden-brown and cooked through.

    Slice open two rolls and add chicken. Brush each with a bit of marinara, a sprinkle of parmesan, and a slice of provolone. Broil until cheese is bubbling.

    Meanwhile, toss 1/2 package of mixed greens and 1 wedged tomato with minced shallot, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

    Top with more tomato sauce and serve with side salad.

    Day 2 - Spinach & Cream Cheese Stuffed Shells *Uses leftover Tomato Sauce and makes leftover Cream Cheese Stuffing for Chicken Roulade

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat lightly with oil. Toss in baby spinach leaves and 2-3 cloves minced garlic and cook until spinach is wilted. Season with a salt, paprika, and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside. Once cooled, squeeze out excess moisture using a kitchen towel or mesh strainer.

    In a small bowl, mix together 2/3 cup cream cheese, 1 clove minced garlic, drained spinach, and 1 tbsp parmesan cheese. *Reserve half for use in day 4.

    Let cool, then mix the remaining half with 1 egg.

    Meanwhile, cook two servings of pasta shells in boiling, salted water until al dente. Stuff the shells with the cream cheese mixture and place in a small baking dish covered in tomato sauce (reserve some sauce for serving). Drizzle lightly with oil and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until bubbling, about 35-45 minutes.

    Serve topped with marinara.

    Day 3 - French Onion Soup *Makes leftover Onion Sauce for French Dips

    Melt 1 tbsp butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat. Add 1½ thinly sliced yellow onions. Season with salt, pepper and a teaspoon of fresh thyme. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, until onions have softened and begin to caramelize, about 15-20 minutes. Add in 1 bay leaf and sprinkle onions with about 1-2 tbsp flour. Cook, stirring, for another minute. Add in 1/2 cup dry sherry or wine and scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan. Once reduced by half, add 4 cups of beef stock and bring mixture to a gentle bubble. Reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to serve. Taste and season as needed. *Reserve 1 cup for use in day 5.

    Ladle soup into crocks or oven-safe soup bowls and stuff a handful of croutons into each. Top with a sliced provolone and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and broil until cheese is golden brown and bubbling.

    Serve hot and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

    Day 4 - Panko-Crusted Chicken Roulade *Uses leftover Cream Cheese Stuffing

    Butterfly two chicken breasts and place them between two layers of plastic wrap. Use a mallet or the back of a pan to pound to even thickness (about 1/4-inch).

    Divide the leftover cream cheese mixture between the two breasts, making a log of stuffing across the widest part of each breast. Fold the ends over and roll up tightly, using toothpicks to secure.

    Set up a breading station with flour, beaten egg, and seasoned panko breadcrumbs. Lightly dust each chicken roll with flour, then dip in egg and finish by coating in breadcrumbs.

    Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat and add about 2 tbsp olive oil. Add chicken and sear until golden brown and crisp on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until juices run clear, about 10 minutes.

    Remove toothpicks and slice each roll into about 4 or 5 pieces. Serve over a bed of mixed greens tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

    Day 5 - Weeknight French Dips *Uses leftover Onion Sauce

    In a small pot, bring leftover soup mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and allow to thicken. Dip roast beef slices into pot and pile onto split sandwich rolls. Top with a slice of provolone cheese and broil until cheese is golden and bubbling.

    Ladle the thickened broth into small bowls.

    Slice sandwiches and serve with bowls of dipping sauce.

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