Image for Family Meals Month Meal Plan

September is Family Meals Month, a movement to raise awareness of the physical, social, and mental health benefits of eating frequent family meals. Courtesy of East Side Table, here’s one week of delicious, budget-friendly meals you can make for your family, complete with a shopping list, prep steps, and four easy recipes!

Shopping List


  • 2 cups dry brown rice
  • 1 cup dry black beans
  • ¼ cup taco seasoning
  • 6 bay leaves
  • Granulated garlic


  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • ½ head of cabbage
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 limes
  • 1 small knob ginger


  • 1 bag mixed vegetables


  • 2 packs chicken thighs
  • 4 eggs


  • 2 (28 oz.) cans tomatoes
  • 1 can of chipotles in adobo sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 box cornbread mix


Planning a flow of meals for the week is a great way to save time and money while still cooking delicious food. Do these prep steps ahead of time on a Sunday evening!

Simple Black Beans

Rinse beans. Cover with boiling water in a glass bowl and allow to soak for 30-60 minutes. Drain and add to a large pot with enough fresh water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1-2 hours until beans are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Use in Day 1 and Day 3 recipes.

Fluffy Brown Rice

Rinse 2 cups brown rice. Add rice and 4 cups water to a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 25-30 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is soft. Use in Day 1 and Day 2 recipes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Heat oven to 400°F. Peel 3 sweet potatoes and dice into 1/2″ cubes. Toss sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp. oil and seasonings of your choice (salt and pepper, garlic, paprika, etc.). Place directly on a baking sheet and roast 20 minutes, or until caramelized and fork-tender. Use in Day 1 and Day 3 recipes.

Crispy Chicken Thighs

Heat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, make a seasoning paste by whisking together 3 Tbsp. oil, 4 tsp. garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Place 8 chicken thighs in mixture and coat each thigh with the seasoning paste. Bake until internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 35-40 minutes. Use in Day 2 and Day 3 recipes.

Zero-Waste Chicken Stock

With a fork, remove meat from 4 chicken thighs and shred. Place bones and skin in a large pot, along with bay leaves and veggie scraps from Days 1 and 2. Add water until just barely covered. Bring stock to a simmer and skim any fat from the top. Simmer for 45 minutes or more. Use in Day 3 recipe.