Dinner Meal Plan from A Couple Cooks

A Couple Cooks is back with seven better-for-you dinners to help you bring freshness home this week. For more meal inspiration, check out our breakfast, lunch and snack page. Download a shopping list with everything you’ll need here. See all the ways ALDI can help you eat well and save big here.

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Day 1: Loaded Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 1

This impressive-looking sandwich is loaded with goodness: kale white bean spread, carrots, greens, and feta cheese.

Ingredients:

For the Dip (yields 1.5 cups):

¼ cup grated Priano Parmesan Cheese Wedge

1 cup SimplyNature Organic Kale

2 cloves garlic

8 teaspoons Southern Grove Walnuts

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice (1/2 lemon), divided

½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar, divided

¼ cup Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 15-ounce can Dakota’s Pride Cannellini Beans

Stonemill Iodized Salt

For the Sandwich:

¼ red onion

1 carrot

½ cup pea shoots, microgreens, or greens of any type (SimplyNature Organic Baby Spinach, lettuce, etc.)

2 pieces L’oven Fresh 100% Whole Wheat Bread

2 tablespoons Happy Farms Preferred Feta Cheese Crumbles

Directions:

For the Dip:

  1. Grate ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and set aside. Wash the kale, remove the stems, and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine 2 cloves garlic, 1 cup kale leaves, and 8 teaspoons Pulse 5 to 6 times until the ingredients are chopped finely but are not mushy.

  3. Add grated Parmesan cheese, 1 pinch salt, ½ tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice, and ¼ tablespoon balsamic vinegar to the food processor, then turn it on and add ¼ cup olive oil in a steady stream. Remove all but ¼ cup pesto from the food processor.

  4. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans. Place them in a food processor with ¼ cup pesto, ½ tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice, ¼ tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and several pinches salt. Blend again, then taste and add additional salt, lemon juice or vinegar to taste. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)


Directions:

For the Sandwich:

  1. Thinly slice the red onion. Peel and shred the carrot (this tool is perfect for the job).

  2. Spread one slice of bread with ¼ cup of the white bean dip. Add the red onion slices, shredded carrot, feta crumbles, and pea shoots. Top with the second slice of bread.


Nutrition Information Per Serving: 420 calories, 19g fat, 5g saturated fat, 20mg cholesterol, 800mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate,10g fiber, 10g sugar, 20g protein, Vitamin A 250%, Vitamin C 25%, Calcium 30%, Iron 25%


Day 2: Southwestern Black Bean Quinoa

Total Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

This zesty quinoa is colorful and has a taste to match, featuring black beans, colorful vegetables, and fajita spices.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups SimplyNature Organic Quinoa

1 15.5-ounce can SimplyNature Organic Black Beans  (1½ cups cooked)

¾ cup Happy Harvest Whole Kernel Corn

3 green onions

½ large zucchini (or one small)

1 pint grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons fajita seasoning

½ teaspoon Stonemill Iodized Salt

2 tablespoons Carlini Pure Olive Oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Directions:

  1. Rinse the 1 ½ cups quinoa and drain completely. Place quinoa in a medium saucepan with 2¼ cups water and a few pinches salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot and simmer for about 13 to 15 minutes, until the water has been completely absorbed (part the quinoa with a fork to check if the water is absorbed; if not, cook for a few more minutes). Turn off the heat and let sit covered to cool for about 5 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork.

  2. If using canned black beans, drain the beans.

  3. Thinly slice 3 green onions. Dice the zucchini. Cut the grape tomatoes in half. Place all vegetables in a bowl.

  4. When the quinoa is done, let it cool slightly, then add it to the bowl with the vegetables. Stir in 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, and mix gently to combine.


Nutrition Information Per Serving: 500 calories, 11g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 390mg sodium, 66g carbohydrates, 9g fiber, 9g sugars, 18g protein, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 35%, Calcium 6%, Iron 35%


Day 3: Quick Garlic Shrimp and Couscous

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Almost laughably simple, it’s on the table in 15 minutes, but you’d never know it from the big flavors of buttery shrimp and lemon-parsley couscous.

Ingredients:

1 cup Earthly Grains Couscous

1 tablespoon Carlini Pure Olive Oil

1 ¼ teaspoon Stonemill Iodized Salt, divided

1 lemon

2 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons Countryside Creamery Butter

¾ pound Sea Queen Medium Easy Peel Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, bring 1 ¼ cups water to a boil. Add couscous and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. When done, stir in olive oil, the juice from 1 lemon and another ¼ teaspoon salt. Taste, and add additional olive oil and lemon to taste.

  2. Mince the garlic. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, then add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Increase the heat to medium high and add the shrimp, ½ teaspoon salt, fresh ground pepper. Cook until the shrimp are opaque, about 3 minutes, turning once.

  3. Serve the shrimp over couscous garnished with chopped parsley.

     


Nutrition Information Per Serving: 330 calories, 8g fat, 2g saturated fat, 145mg cholesterol, 890mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 3g sugars, 26g protein, Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 6%, Calcium 2%, Iron 8%


Day 4: Salad Bar

Total Time: 30 minutes (includes hard-boiled eggs)

Serves: up to you!

Instead of a strict recipe, Salad Bar is perfect for a mid-week meal that pleases everyone. Use any veg and proteins you have on hand, and homemade dressing to top it off.

Ingredients:

For the Salad Bar:

SimplyNature Organic Baby Spinach

SimplyNature Organic Mixed Greens

Green leaf lettuce

Hard-boiled Goldhen Large Eggs

Cooked Dakota’s Pride Garbanzo Beans

Carrots

Peas

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Red onion

Grape tomatoes

Bell peppers

Southern Grove Whole Almonds

Southern Grove Walnuts

Southern Grove Pecan Halves

Happy Farms Mild Cheddar or Colby Jack Cheese Cubes

SimplyNature Organic Seasoned Croutons

Friendly Farms Cottage Cheese

For the Dressing:

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Burman’s Dijon Mustard

2 teaspoons Berryhill Honey

¼ teaspoon Stonemill Iodized Salt

⅛ teaspoon Stonemill Ground Black Pepper

½ cup + 1 tablespoon Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

For the Salad Bar:

  1. Make the hard-boiled eggs (can be prepared in advance).

  2. Wash and chop the vegetables; place them in serving bowls.

  3. Drain the chickpeas, if using.


Directions:

For the Dressing:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients except olive oil, then slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing thickens and an emulsion forms. Taste and adjust quantities as desired.

  2. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; bring to room temperature and stir before serving.


Nutrition Information Per Serving: Nutrition information will vary.


Day 5: One-Pot Zoodle Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 8

This cozy, spiced Italian-style soup features zucchini noodles instead of traditional noodles, along with vegetables and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons SimplyNature Organic Coconut Oil

1 yellow onion, diced

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon Stonemill Ground Cumin

½ teaspoon Stonemill Oregano

½ teaspoon Stonemill Basil Leaves

½ teaspoon Stonemill Crushed Red Pepper

½ teaspoon Stonemill Iodized Salt, plus additional to taste

½ teaspoon Stonemill Ground Black Pepper, plus additional to taste

1 28-ounce can Happy Harvest Crushed Tomatoes

2 14.5-ounce cans Happy Harvest Diced Tomatoes

2 32-ounce cartons SimplyNature Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth

1 cup chopped fresh green beans

1 15.5-ounce can Dakota’s Pride Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed

1 15.5 ounce can Dakota’s Pride Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed

8 ounces Priano Parmesan Cheese Wedge

2 bay leaves

2 zucchini

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup sliced fresh basil

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon Stonemill Garlic Salt

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, over medium heat, melt coconut oil.  Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes then add spices. Cook for an additional 7 minutes or until onions are translucent.

  2. Add crushed and diced tomatoes, stir until combined. Stir in chicken broth, green beans, kidney beans and garbanzo beans. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer.

  3. Remove rind from cheese wedge and add to soup along with bay leaves. Simmer for 15 minutes. Shred remaining parmesan cheese to use as garnish, or save for a later date.

  4. Using a spiralizer, create “noodles” from the zucchini. Gently chop and add to soup pot.

  5. Add lemon juice, basil, parsley and garlic salt.

  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  7. Garnish with shredded cheese.


ALDI Test Kitchen Tip:  Too much soup? Freeze half for a quick weeknight meal. The zoodles freeze well and don’t absorb moisture from the soup, making reheating a breeze.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 340 calories, 12g fat, 7g saturated fat, 30mg cholesterol, 1740mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate, 10g fiber, 13g sugars, 21g protein, Vitamin A 90%, Vitamin C 70%, Calcium 60%, Iron 25%


Day 6: Pantry Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Serves: 6

Who doesn’t love chili? This robust veggie chili is made only of pantry ingredients, and features ancho chilies for maximum flavor. It’s simple to put together and the mixture of beans and chickpeas make it loaded with protein.

Ingredients:

2 dried ancho chili peppers

1 cup hot water

1 15.5-ounce can Dakota’s Pride Garbanzo Beans, drained

1 15.5-ounce can SimplyNature Organic Black Beans, drained

1 10-ounce can Casa Mamita Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies, undrained

1 8-ounce can Happy Harvest Tomato Sauce

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon Stonemill Chili Powder

2 teaspoons Stonemill Ground Cumin

Stonemill Iodized Salt, to taste

Stonemill Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, soak the chili peppers in hot water.

  2. Pour the peppers and water into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a medium pot.

  3. Add remaining ingredients except for salt and pepper. Simmer for 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


ALDI Test Kitchen Tip: Top with shredded cheese or sour cream and serve with chips or crackers.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 160 calories, 1.5g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 510mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 6g sugars, 9g protein, Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 25%, Calcium 6%, Iron 15%


Day 7: Eggplant Fold-Over

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 5

A Mediterranean-style gem, this recipe features spiced, baked eggplant wrapped around a savory filling of spinach, tomatoes, and smoked gouda.

Ingredients:

Carlini Canola Cooking Spray

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons Carlini Pure Olive Oil, divided

2 tablespoons Stonemill Paprika

¼ teaspoon Stonemill Chili Powder

1 large eggplant, cut into 5 equal slices, lengthwise

Stonemill Iodized Salt, to taste

Stonemill Ground Black Pepper, to taste

¼ cup Southern Grove Sliced Almonds

3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup diced red onion

2 14.5-ounce cans Happy Harvest Diced Tomatoes, drained

5 ounces SimplyNature Organic Baby Spinach

3 ½ ounces Specially Selected Smoked Gouda, shredded

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the ¼ cup oil, paprika and chili powder.

  3. Place eggplant slices on baking sheet. Brush each side evenly with the paprika oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn and finish baking for 8 minutes or until tender.

  4. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, toast the almonds, about 2 minutes. Reserve.

  5. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the garlic and onions for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sauté for 4 minutes.

  6. Add the spinach in batches, stirring until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a colander to drain excess liquid for 10 minutes.

  7. In a large bowl, combine the spinach mixture, almonds and gouda. Place 1/5 of the mixture on the larger half of each eggplant slice. Fold the smaller half over the spinach mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.


Nutrition Information Per Serving: 330 calories, 26g fat, 7g saturated fat, 20mg cholesterol, 300mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 9g sugars, 10g protein, Vitamin A 80%, Vitamin C 45%, Calcium 30%, Iron 15%

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