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Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Menus — December 2 - 6

Here, another week’s worth of fast, healthy, and tasty menus. It’s not a dislike of cooking that deters so many of us from the kitchen each night; it’s actually deciding what to cook from the millions of options bombarding us from so many different places. Here, we’ve done the planning for you. Not just menus, but healthy menus that are fast – on the table in less than 45 minutes.

The Plan Monday: Eggs Blindfolded over Garlic-Cheddar Grits, Fluffy Buttermilk Drop Biscuits Tuesday: Pork Schnitzel with Buttermilk Ranch SauceGlazed Baby Carrots, and Quick Chive Mashed Potatoes Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Salad Thursday: Bacon and Broccoli Mac and Cheese Friday: Tuna Melts Dessert: Butterscotch Blondies

Are you still full from Thanksgiving dinner and all the nibbling on leftover turkey, dressing, and pumpkin pie? This week’s menus get you back on the healthy-eating track, especially if you’re working holiday parties into your calorie budget. The recipes are from our latest special edition, Cooking Light Comfort Food Favorites, which is full of satisfying dishes you can serve year-round.

Monday: As a transplanted Yankee who moved to Birmingham, Alabama, 27 years ago, I’ve learned that grits are about as comforting as it gets in the South. This week’s Meatless Monday, Eggs Blindfolded over Garlic-Cheddar Grits, is a breakfast-for-dinner option that’s a twist on poached eggs. The eggs are dropped on a hot skillet and then covered with a couple of pieces of ice and the lid. The sizzling ice makes for delightful half-fried, half-poached eggs. It’s all ready in 10 minutes, if you use instant grits. No Southern breakfast is complete without homemade Fluffy Buttermilk Drop Biscuits, but most traditional biscuits have 300 calories—and that’s before you slather on the butter and fruit preserves. We discovered a trick to get a fluffy texture using less butter: Stir melted butter into cold fat-free buttermilk. The little pockets of butter disperse throughout the batter, so you end up using half the amount of the original. Serve with strawberries, orange sections, or any fresh fruit you have on hand.

Tuesday: Pork Schnitzel with Buttermilk Ranch Sauce is a nostalgic reminder of a classic German dish I had as a child when my dad was stationed overseas.  A schnitzel is a piece of boneless meat (such as veal or pork) pounded, coated in flour, dipped in egg, breaded, and fried. Our lighter version is just like I remember it. Round out this cozy meal with Quick Chive Mashed Potatoes and Glazed Baby Carrots. You’ll use the rest of the bunch of carrots in tomorrow’s dinner.

Wednesday: By midweek, I’m craving fresh greens and vegetables, but coming up with a hearty, robust main-dish salad in December can be a challenge. Buffalo Chicken Salad is a gussied up entrée version of a classic barroom appetizer, with healthy chicken strips, crisp carrots, celery, and a pungent buttermilk–blue cheese dressing.

Thursday: What would a week of comfort foods be without Bacon and Broccoli Mac and Cheese? The saying, “It’s better with bacon” is definitely true in this dish that’s sure to create feel-good vibes. You’ll use the center-cut bacon in tomorrow night’s sandwich, too. Using 2% reduced-fat milk versus fat-free makes for a richer-tasting, creamier sauce. Any short pasta, such as macaroni, penne, or cavatappi, can be used in place of rigatoni.

Friday: Even though it’s the end of the week, it’s probably the start of a busy weekend of parties, decorating, and holiday shopping. Hot grilled sandwiches like Tuna Melts feel like more of a meal than ho-hum cold deli turkey, and you probably have all the ingredients on hand. Add apple wedges and baked sweet potato chips.

Bonus Dessert: Butterscotch Blondies are easy to make and the perfect portable dessert for cookie swaps, office parties, and potlucks. Rich and chewy on the inside and golden-crisp around the edges, these bars are full of buttery brown sugar goodness. No one will suspect these whole-grain treats have half the calories and fat of their heavyweight original in one square.

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.