March 22, 2015

It’s late March, which means most of us have been enjoying longer, lighter days and warmer temps (sorry, East Coast!). Time to start on that spring-cleaning to-do list, make Easter and Passover plans, and prepare (or recover from) Spring Break adventures. So, what to cook?

Every Sunday, we publish a week of Cooking Light dinners composed of our favorite recipes from current issues and classics, ready and on the table in 45 minutes or less. These are the dishes that let us contemplate dusting off the patio table and eating al fresco, even if the cooler and grill aren’t quite required yet.

The Plan

Monday: Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo and Spicy Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with GarlicTuesday: Grilled Shrimp Tostadas with Lime and Jicama SlawWednesday: Chicken and White Bean Soup with Ciabatta Parmesan ToastsThursday: Pork Schnitzel with Peas and CarrotsFriday: BBQ Chicken and Blue Cheese Pizza with Celery and Parsley SaladDessert Bonus: Fresh Strawberry Shortcakes with Yogurt Cream

Monday: Kick off the week with super speedy Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo. Individually breading and baking the eggplant slices and microwaving lower-sodium marinara sauce fast tracks this main without losing what we love about the original Italian specialty. Pair with Spicy Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic for a punchy, anything-but-boring side.

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo 

Spicy Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with GarlicTuesday: Taco Tuesday is alive and well, and even easier with stackable Grilled Shrimp Tostadas with Lime. This fun main is almost no-cook: Simply sear the shrimp and layer on the tostadas (essentially taco shells baked flat) with bean and avocado salsas. Serve with a cool, crunchy Jicama Slaw, either alongside or piled on top of the tostadas.

Grilled Shrimp Tostadas with Lime

 Jicama SlawWednesday: Cook extra orzo pasta earlier in the week and hold aside to stir into this quick, Tuscan-style Chicken and White Bean Soup. Chicken thighs and white beans make this a hearty bowl, but not too rich or heavy, perfect for still-cool nights. Serve with cheesy Ciabatta Parmesan Toasts.

Chicken and White Bean Soup

Ciabatta Parmesan ToastsThursday: Peas and carrots need not be an unfortunate cafeteria side dish. For a quick side to the crispy, juicy Pork Schnitzel, combine 6 halved baby carrots and 3/4 cup water in a skillet and boil, covered, over medium-high heat for 6 minutes. Drain; wipe out pan. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil to pan. Add carrots and sauté 1 1/2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas; sauté 2 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Pork Schnitzel with Peas and CarrotsFriday: If Tuesday is for tacos, Friday and pizza still feel like a worthy pair. Skip delivery and make your own fast BBQ Chicken and Blue Cheese Pizza, made speedy with a prebaked thin pizza crust. The barbecue sauce and blue cheese make this a flavor-packed main, so keep the side simple with a fresh, crunchy Celery and Parsley Salad.

BBQ Chicken and Blue Cheese Pizza

Celery and Parsley SaladDessert Bonus: You know spring is around the corner when strawberries go on sale at the supermarket. If you couldn’t resist the 3 quarts for $5.00 deal, try Fresh Strawberry Shortcakes with Yogurt Cream. The shortcakes are whole-grain yet still so tender, and the fluffy whipped cream has a light (yet unnoticeable) yogurt twist.

Fresh Strawberry Shortcakes with Yogurt CreamReady 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 calorie-driven weekly meal plan—breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—based on your dieting goals and food preferences.

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