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: Blue Cheese Polenta with Vegetables + Green Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette Tuesday: Quick Beef Stroganoff + Grainy Brussels Sprouts Wednesday: Seafood Arrabbiata + Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Golden Raisins Thursday: Cider Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter Pecan Rice + Citrusy Carrots with Parsley Friday: Farfalle with Sausage, Cannellini Beans, and Kale Beverage Bonus: Pomegranate Gin Sling
Monday: Is there really a better way to celebrate meatless Monday than with a heap of super savory veggies piled high on bed of creamy, dreamy grains? I’m gonna go with a big ol’ No. Crumbled gorgonzola instills this rich polenta with bold blue flavor that gracefully compliments the inherent umami of the mushrooms sitting on top. Such a hearty dish begs for leafy green salad as a side. Hazelnut oil and red wine vinegar come together for the base of this simple salad’s dressing and deliver a beautiful balance of nutty sweetness and bright tang. Happy Monday to your mouth.
Tuesday: If silky, rich beef stroganoff doesn't say cold weather comfort food, I have no idea what does. We've cut the cook time but kept all of the hearty flavor in this classic, making a perfect weeknight go-to. Bring some green color and zingy flavor to the plate with a pile of mustard-glazed sprouts.
Wednesday: Don’t be fooled by the ease of preparation, Seafood Arrabbiata is an utterly elegant dish that makes Wednesday feel like extra special. A load of fresh seafood and spicy tomato sauce served over linguine–really, what’s not to love? To create a colorful and complete meal, serve the arrabbiata with a side of Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Golden Raisins. Toasty garlic matched with plump, sweet golden raisins deliver a powerful flavor punch to tender-crisp broccoli rabe.
Thursday: Can we just take a second to count off all of descriptors here that say, “Oh hey fall, I adore everything about you,” please? Cider-glazed, browned butter, butter-pecan, citrusy carrots… seriously, I am loving everything about this situation. Here’s the deal—a mere 3 ingredients (butter, apple cider, and mustard) cook down to create a tangy-sweet and glossy glaze that loads more robust vibrancy onto a chicken breast cutlet than you ever dreamed possible. Accept it, and enjoy it. The accompanying rice is a shining illustration of supermarket shortcut victory. Using boil-in-bag brown rice allows you to get whole grains on the plate fast, while doctoring these plain Jane grains up with flavor-forward accents—cue browned butter and toasted pecans—lends the dish a layer of delicious sophistication with next-to-no effort on the cook’s part. On a Thursday night, you best believe that’s my kind of food. Brighten the neutral toned-plate with a burst of bright color and flavor via some citrus-kissed and parsley-studded carrots.
Friday: Break out the kale; it’s going to provide a burst of nutrients and fresh green color to our Farfalle with Sausage, Cannellini Beans, and Kale. This hearty one-dish meal stands strong on its own and keeps prep/clean-up low--it's Friday, ain't nobody got time for a sink full of dishes. Packed with lean protein from turkey sausage and white beans, a plate of this pasta isn’t about to leave anyone hungry. Shave fresh Parmesan over the warm pasta right before you serve.
Beverage Bonus: Pomegranate juice plus gin... you made it to the weekend, yes--you deserve it. Cheers!
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