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.
If you like having a healthy meal plan but want something customized to your dietary or caloric needs, check out The Cooking Light Diet. It’s a calorie-driven weekly meal plan—breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—based on your dieting goals and food preferences.
The Plan Monday: Whole-Grain Veggie Burrito Bowl Tuesday: Pork and Chive Dumplings with Red Chile Oil + Sesame-Garlic Broccolini Wednesday: Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini +Spinach and Arugula Salad with Creamy Parmesan Dressing Thursday: Cauliflower Alfredo + Herbed Goat Cheese Garlic Toasts Friday: The Cheeseburger Salad Dessert Bonus: Crunchy-Chewy Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Our April issue hits stands this Friday the 11th, so each main this week features a gorgeous and nutritious dish from the issue. Enjoy!
Monday: Happy Meatless Monday, y'all! Try eating a bowl of colorful vegetables at least one night this week with our Whole-Grain Veggie Burrito Bowl, a Tex-Mex riff on the Korean rice dish bibimbap. Here, smoky black beans, fresh pico de gallo, and slaw top brown rice to satisfy your daily dose of whole-grain goodness. The greatest perk of this dinner? You can use leftovers (if any!) for lunch the day after—spread mashed avocado on a whole-wheat tortilla, add elements from burrito bowl, and roll up.
Tuesday: Gather your family, roll up your sleeves, and stuff and fold your way to some deliciously good fun with our Pork and Chive Dumplings with Red Chile Oil. The pleating of these dumplings is a bit more advanced; if your kids have trouble, they can help make half-moons and skip the pleating. To save some time, make the chile oil up to 5 days ahead; store in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with Sesame-Garlic Broccolini to round out the meal.
Wednesday: Our Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini's abundant crisp crevices and gooey interior will have the whole family wondering, "What can we waffle next?" Add Spinach and Arugula Salad with Creamy Parmesan Dressing to the menu. Its light but rich dressing meets at the happy place between Caesar and ranch.
Thursday: With this clever trick, pasta night will never be the same. Our Cauliflower Alfredo is a simple way to healthier fettuccine Alfredo. Cooked cauliflower becomes creamy and luscious when pureed with stock and garlic. Our Herbed Goat Cheese Garlic Toasts complete the meal. Now, that's amore!
Friday: No need for bread here! In The Cheeseburger Salad, classic burger elements become a fast, fun dinner—a deconstructed take on a diner favorite. The best part? This recipe feeds four at just $11.55 total. Instead of four burger patties, we cook just two, then chop and sprinkle them over the top. Yum!
Dessert Bonus: Executive Food Editor Ann Pittman is releasing her first whole grains cookbook, Everyday Whole Grains (available for pre-order now on Amazon, or in bookstores 3/22). Crunchy-Chewy Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies has been her go-to "house" cookie for years—when she tells the kids she's making cookies, it's these guys, made with no-frills, good ol' whole-wheat flour. The good news is that they work with other flours, too. They're wonderfully crisp around the edges and chewy in the middle; that soft center comes from using all brown sugar (no granulated) and a drizzle of honey.