Something about the beginning of a new year had me feeling extra motivated in the kitchen. I kicked off 2024 with a little meal planning (one of my big goals for the new year is to do MORE of this!) and made a few new-to-me recipes which breathed some life into our evening meals.

I figured the first week of 2024 would be a good one to recap as part of my Week of Weeknight Meals series since there was a decent variety in our meals last week but they also included a couple of tried-and-true recipe favorites.

Week of Weeknight Meals: January 2024

Our first meal of 2024 looked like a lot of the first meals we’ve enjoyed on the first day of the year in years past! As a kid, I always enjoyed the meal my mom would make for dinner on New Year’s Day, as she said each of the foods represented something special to bring you luck in the coming year. As an adult, I find myself making something similar for our family for the very same reason and for the sake of nostalgia. On our plates: Marinated pork chops, black-eyed peas and collard greens (this recipe was a winner!), for prosperity, good fortune and good luck in the new year!

This recipe was a little polarizing in our house. I thought it was wonderful but it wasn’t Ryan’s favorite. This isn’t a huge surprise as I love any and all seafood prepared in a myriad of ways whereas Ryan, for the most part, prefers shrimp as shrimp alone and not incorporated into other recipes. We both still cleared our plates but this is a recipe I’ll be making for myself for lunch rather than dinner for the family in the future. (My recipe changes: I used full-fat dairy products in the recipe and also added a diced onion to the skillet when I added the sliced cherry tomatoes.)

  • Wednesday: Lemon Pepper Roasted Chicken

I’m 99 percent sure I have not prepared a full roasted chicken using a recipe other than the one we love so much from The Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook for years. I always triple the number of vegetables in the recipe, however, because they’re so, so good and we cannot get enough of them!

This was our easiest meal of the week thanks to freezer food and leftover chicken. I baked one of the Daily Harvest bakes I had in our freezer (a gigante bean and artichoke bake I think must’ve been discontinued because I no longer see it on their site) and added chicken we had leftover from Wednesday night’s meal. Simple and delicious!

I love ricotta cheese so much and I’m not sure why I don’t incorporate it into my meals more often. Thankfully Friday night’s dinner had plenty of it and for that reason alone, I loved it! I made a new-to-me recipe from the blog Salt & Lavender and Ryan and I both loved this meal. I admittedly did not follow the recipe exactly (I added spinach and extra chicken I sliced into pieces before cooking and reduced the amount of marinara sauce so it wasn’t too saucy) but the blogger recipe I found provided a good outline. Though we enjoyed ours with fresh crusty bread on the side, I think this would be delicious served over penne or another kind of pasta in the future!

Question of the Day

What was the best meal you ate last week? 

Do you have any food-related goals for 2024? I’m hoping to get better at prioritizing meal planning and food prep on the weekends because it makes such a difference when it comes to getting nutrient-dense and delicious food on the table for our family every night.

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