Farmers Market Meal Plan: Week 1 of the September Eat Local Challenge

This week's meal plan has a little something for everyone! Classics like meatballs, pizza, quesadillas, and burgers will keep the kiddos happy, but plenty of veggies insure the meals are as nutritious as they are delicious. Keep in mind these meal plans are a guideline, and feel free to adapt recipes as you see fit. Substitutions can always be made in a pinch and quantities can be adjusted. This meal plan is meant to feed a family of four for 5 nights, but you’ll most certainly have leftovers for lunch with some of the recipes as well as additional ingredients that could be re-purposed during the week, like extra tortillas, eggs, and cheese...breakfast burritos anyone?

And don't forget to sign up for the Central Illinois Eat Local September Challenge to get farmers market meal plans like this one delivered straight to your inbox during the month of September.

Farmers Market Shopping List

  • 2 ½ lbs ground beef - $17.50 ($7/lb)

  • ½ lb uncooked chorizo sausage - $4.00 ($8/lb)

  • 5 pounds yukon or red skin potatoes - $5.00

  • 2 bulbs garlic –$1.25 ($0.62 each)

  • 1 bunch green onions - $2.00

  • 3 white onions - $2.25 ($0.75 each)

  • 1 carton of eggs - $3.50

  • 4 large peaches, ripe, but firm - $2.00 (around $0.50 each. A half peck- about 12 peaches, costs around $8.00)

  • Honey - $6 (for a honey bear size)

  • 10 small/medium zucchini (about 3lbs total). Patty pan squash can also be substituted - $10

  • 3/4 pound tomatoes- $1.50

  • 1 bunch cilantro - $2.00

  • 1 small fresh jalapeño or serrano chile- $0.25

  • 1 bunch kale- $2.50

Total: $59.75

Based on Illinois Farmers Market Price Reports and the Springfield Old Capitol Farmers Market

Additional ingredients

(You may be able to find some of these additional items, like cheese and bread, at your farmers market or local food retailer as well, so be sure to check!)


  • Smoked Paprika

  • Garlic powder

  • Cayenne

  • Cumin

  • Coriander

  • Chili powder

  • Italian seasoning


  • 1 box panko bread crumbs

  • Hoagie Rolls (or your favorite sub sandwich bread)

  • 1 package tortillas

  • 2 lbs storebought pizza dough or 1 package of naan

  • 4 brioche or pretzel buns


  • 2 lbs fresh mozzarella (32 oz)

  • 8 oz parmesan cheese

  • 8 oz sheep’s milk feta


  • Olive oil

  • 1 lemon

  • 2 limes

  • Hot sauce

  • 1 bunch Parsley

  • 1 package bacon (optional…for the potato salad)

  • Balsamic vinegar

  • Dijon mustard

  • Brown sugar

  • Flour

  • 1 small package Roasted, salted almonds; toasted pine nuts; or chopped toasted walnuts

  • Caesar dressing

  • 2 6 oz can Tomato paste

Sunday Prep Day:

Monday will be the most labor intensive cooking day, with three different recipes. Save yourself some time and start prepping on Sunday!

  • Wash, dice, and blanch, and dry your potatoes and store them in the fridge so they are ready to roast tomorrow. You can even go as far as roasting them and just toss them in the oven to re-heat on Monday.

  • Wash your zucchini and either use a vegetable peeler to peel into ribbons…or alternatively use a zoodle make to make zoodles, or simply slice into thin strips. Store in the fridge for Monday.

  • Mix up your meatballs and roll them into balls in advance so all you have to do is pan-fry them on Monday. Alternatively, you could even bake them in the oven in advance for 18-20 minutes at 425 degrees, then all you’ll need to do is toss them in with the brava sauce on Monday while it’s cooking in order to heat them through.

Monday: Spanish meatballs, patatas bravas, and zucchini salad

Start by preparing a double batch of zucchini salad and setting aside in the fridge. Next prepare a double batch of potatoes and roast them in the oven. While they are roasting, work on your meatballs, pan-frying them in batches. Once the meatballs are completed you can use the same frying pan to make the sauce. Make sure to double the sauce recipe as you’ll be using it for the potatoes and meatballs. During the last few minutes while the sauce cooks, return your meatballs to the pan. Reserve half of the potatoes, half of the zucchini salad, and a portion of the meatballs for use later in the week. Serve the remaining meatballs and “brava” sauce along with your roasted potatoes and zucchini salad.

Easy Spanish Meatballs

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • 1/2 lb uncooked chorizo sausage

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef

  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs


Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium heat and add olive oil, onions, garlic, and paprika, and cook until softened (4-5 minutes). Add the onion mixture, chorizo, beef, and breadcrumbs together. Mix thoroughly and roll into 1 inch balls. Return to the frying pan and saute for 3 minutes, then rotate and saute for another 3 minutes.

Money Saving Tip: Stretch your meatballs a little further by swapping out a portion of the meat and adding an equal portion of grated or finely diced zucchini that has been gently cooked along with the onion. The zucchini keeps the meatballs extra moist, while also saving money and calories.

Patatas Bravas (double this recipe):

Zucchini Salad:

Tuesday: Zucchini pizza and kale caesar

This zucchini pizza recipe calls for salting your zucchini to remove extra moisture….but lucky you, you’ve been salting and marinating your zucchini all night in the fridge. Throw you zucchini salad in a strainer to drain off the extra liquid and then toss it directly onto your pizza. It will have an extra punch of flavor from marinating all night. The recipe also calls for using pre-made pizza dough, but if you’re really looking to save time, use na’an flatbread which is widely available at most supermarkets now. It’s a great foolproof pizza crust that’s super easy and delicious.

Kale caesar: Wash one bunch of kale and remove the tough stems. Chop your kale leaves into ribbons and top with your favorite Caesar dressing and a sprinkle of parmesan. Mix this together before you put together your pizza. Kale leaves can be a little tough and the longer the dressing mixtures sits on the leaves, the more tender they’ll become. Toss in some tomatoes and croutons if the mood strikes.

Zucchini pizza:

Wednesday: Meatball Subs and zucchini fries

Start by preparing your zucchini fries. They’ll take longer to cook…about 20 minutes….so they’ll need to go into the oven first. Once the fries are in the oven you can whip together your subs and add them into the oven towards the end as they’ll only need 7-10 minutes to heat through. (Reserve half of the zucchini fries to be used in the quesadilla recipe for tomorrow)

Zucchini fries (Double recipe):

Meatball Subs: Stuff your sub sandwiches with leftover Spanish meatballs and mozzarella cheese, place them on a baking sheet, and bake them in a 425 degree oven until the cheese is perfectly melty (7-10 minutes)

Thursday: Zucchini quesadillas with fresh pico de gallo

Prepare your pico de gallo first. The flavors will meld together the longer they sit. Once that’s prepared, you can start in on the zucchini quesadillas. The recipe is below, but it’s not really a real recipe in that you can switch it up as much as you’d like! There aren’t specific measurements, so feel free to play around with the flavor combinations and even add in extra ingredients. Toss in some pico de gallo for an extra flavor punch, or if you need a little extra protein, throw in canned black beans or some seasoned and browned ground beef.

Pico de gallo:

Zucchini quesadillas:


  • Grilled or roasted zucchini

  • Tortillas

  • Mozzarella Cheese

  • Feta Cheese

  • Diced green onion (or regular onion)

  • Diced cilantro

  • Dash of cumin

  • Dash of Chili powder

  • Honey

  • Lime

  • Olive oil


Turn your skillet onto medium heat, drizzle with a splash of olive oil to coat the pan and then throw in a tortilla. Top this tortilla with a sprinkle of mozzarella, your leftover zucchini fries, a sprinkle of chopped green onions, a sprinkle of cilantro, a dash of cumin, a dash of chili powder (For those that absolutely need to measure stuff…a dash is about ¼ teaspoon), a drizzle of honey, a squeeze of lime, feta cheese, and another sprinkle of mozzarella. Top it all off with another tortilla. Cook on both sides until the cheese is gooey.

Check out this video for a quick tip on using a plate to flip your quesadilla without making a mess….I can’t tell you how much this tip has saved my life! Just be careful not to burn yourself with the edge of the hot pan:

Friday: Roasted potato salad, peach mozzarella burgers

Take those leftover roasted potatoes from Monday and use them to make a great potato salad to serve alongside these knock-your-socks off fresh peach and mozzarella burgers. It’s the perfect way to end the work week.

Roasted potato salad:

Peach mozzarella burgers:


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