Every Sunday, we publish a week of Cooking Light dinner plans filled with our favorite recipes—both from current issues and classics. Each meal is designed to be ready and on the table in 45 minutes or less so that you have more time to enjoy the food you've prepared and the company of those you've prepared it for.
The Plan Monday: Smoky Hoppin' John and Quick Braised Kale Tuesday: Easy Chicken and Dumplings and Endive Salad with Pear and Gorgonzola Wednesday: Seared Sirloin Steak Bites with Miso Butter and Rice with Roasted Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms Thursday: Salmon with Lime-Hoisin Glaze and Crunchy Bok Choy Slaw Friday: Lamb Chops with Farro, Arugula, and Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette Dessert Bonus: Chocolate Cloud Cakes
Monday: Smoky Hoppin' John is everything warm and comforting you need on the first day back to work. Using instant brown rice speeds up the recipe, but you could use regular brown rice if it's already on hand. It'll stretch your total cook time an additional 15-25 minutes. While the rice and stock are simmering, begin the Quick Braised Kale. A fast cook over intense heat wilts the kale, tenderizing it. A splash of cider vinegar livens up the kale's earthy flavor, bringing the whole dish together into a tasty Meatless Monday your family is sure to love. 382 calories, 11.7g fat, 2.9g sat fat, 650mg sodium
Tuesday: What says comfort more than chicken and dumplings? I can't think of much. And the best part about these Easy Chicken and Dumplings is how fast they will be ready--just 40 minutes. Instead of rolling delicate noodle-y dumplings, this recipe makes drop biscuit-like dumplings that cook in the stock mixture, speeding up the process. Make a fast and fresh side, like our Endive Salad with Pear and Gorgonzola to finish off the comforting Tuesday dinner. 509 calories, 20.5g fat, 7.2g sat fat, 770mg sodium
Wednesday: I made this last week, and I'm quite obsessed with it. It's fast--once the prep work is finished, Seared Sirloin Steak Bites with Miso Butter and Rice comes together in about 20 minutes. Because it's so fast, you'll want to start your side of Roasted Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms just before you begin cooking the steak. Be warned: The miso butter is addictive. You'll soon be thinking of ways to use it on everything you cook. 438 calories, 16.5g fat, 6.3g sat fat, 381mg sodium
Thursday: If you're not a fan of salmon, don't worry. You could use this same recipe with a less-fishy alternative, such as arctic char. If you choose to use salmon, however, you'll really like how the sweet-sticky crust in this Salmon with Lime-Hoisin Glaze complements the fish. A side of Crunchy Bok Choy Slaw is a simple, fast, and flavorful addition. You've had rice the past few nights, so feel free to sub quinoa or another whole grain. Some grains may take a bit longer than the rice, so just allow the extra time. 506 calories, 20.2g fat, 3.2g sat fat, 498mg sodium
Friday: It's Friday, so we need to spend as little time cooking as possible. What if I told you these Lamb Chops with Farro, Arugula, and Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette take 20 minutes? That's it. Really. Buying and using precooked farro speeds up this dish tremendously, but if you can't find it or don't want it, cook your own farro. You might even consider cooking it earlier in the week, so your Friday dinner is a breeze. 484 calories, 20.8g fat, 5.8g sat fat, 419mg sodium
Dessert Bonus: Have you ever found yourself craving something sweet with nothing to satisfy it? These Chocolate Cloud Cakes are about to become your go-to dessert recipe. You'll likely always have the ingredients on hand--they're very basic--and it doesn't take long to whip together and bake. 150 calories, 7.9g fat, 4.1g sat fat, 111mg sodium
Ready to start shopping? View this week’s menu, which includes every recipe you see mentioned here. From there, you can add all the ingredients to your shopping list in one click when you sign into your MyRecipes account.
If you like having a healthy meal plan but want something custom to your dietary or caloric needs, check out the Cooking Light Diet. It’s a a calorie-driven weekly meal plan—breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—based on your dieting goals and food preferences.