Welcome to the Better Dinner Institute

Prepare to feed your family really good food.

Weeks 37-38 – Mid-September

I’m not going to lie: I LOVE my carbs. (Although I also do my best to fill half my plate with veggies.) Perhaps my favorite thing to eat in the whole world is a big bowl of linguine with some kind of nutty Alfredo sauce (a bunch of nuts in the blender with some nutritional yeast and seasonings…), with broccoli cooked at the same time as the pasta. Or any kind of Asian noodles tossed with lots of fresh veggies.

In this meal plan, I indulge so of my noodle fantasies. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!


  • Let’s talk about noodles for a moment. If you have an Asian grocer nearby, go on a field trip and pick cool-looking noodles for the Noodly miso soup, the Harvest Noodles and the Hearty Coconut Noodle Soup. I am still looking for a kind of noodle my family does *not* like (other than whole-wheat spaghetti). The noodles mentioned in the plan are just suggestions. Whatever you do, do NOT buy the type of ramen that one might associate with students (the 3 packs for $1 type). Get dry noodles that have not been pre-fried. In a pinch, regular spaghetti or spaghettini will do. Check the ingredients as some types (but not many) include eggs. (But, you know what, if you end up with the student-style noodles… don’t worry about it! It’s not like you eat that stuff every day.)
  • Do you grow your own herbs? Some are a bit tricky, but basil and parsley are easy – even in the cooler months. I have listed a bunch of parsley and another of basil on the shopping list, but you can adjust the quantities based on what you have at hand.
  • If you have ever heard me talk about the balance between time, nutrition, taste, etc. you’ll find an example of that in the Roasted squash quesadillas (a family plan meal also suggested as a variation in the mini plan). I think they taste great as-is, but some people might find them a little bland because it’s just roasted squash and black beans, plus salsa. If that’s your case, you can always pre-sauté the black beans with onion, garlic and some taco-style seasonings. If you don’t fear stuff that comes in a package, you could even add an envelope of taco seasoning and we’ll still be friends. If you’re in a rush and/or a purist, you can just enjoy the quesadillas in their simplest form.

Questions? Worries? Get help.