December 29, 2013

Here, another week’s worth of fast, healthy, and tasty menus. It’s not the dread 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.

If you love following along with our meal strategies online each week, be sure to check out the new Sunday Strategist column in Cooking Light magazine. It starts this month with our January/February issue--on newsstands and available for download now!

The PlanMonday: Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Poblano-Tomato SoupTuesday: Mushroom and Bell Pepper Omelets with Fontina and Fresh Fruit Salad with Nutmeg-Cinnamon SyrupWednesday: Cider and Sage Pork with Warm Salad of Mustard Greens and Black-Eyed PeasThursday: Prosciutto and Fontina-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Quick Parsley-Spinach SaladFriday: Cumin-Crusted Sablefish and Green Beans with Toasted GarlicDessert Bonus: Poached Fruit over Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

Monday: A manic Monday--especially one following the onslaught of holiday chaos--begs for a relaxed sandwich night at the dinner table. Although these Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches are a breeze to prepare, they’re far from simple in terms of flavor. Herbaceous pesto spread compliments rich tangy goat cheese and adds depth to the meaty, roasted eggplant. Bonus: leftover pesto is a great condiment for any number of sandwiches and makes a flavorful add-in to soups, salad dressings, and sauces. A bowl of robust Poblano-Tomato Soup, ideal for dunking the crusty ciabatta bread, rounds out this wholly comforting soup and sammie supper.

Tuesday: Let’s be honest, your dinner tonight may very well look something like various goodies wrapped in puff pastry and/or bacon, hot crab dip, and champagne. It’s New Year’s Eve-- enjoy! If you are planning to ring in the new year with hor d'oeuvres and bubbly, be sure to pack in your fruits and veggies early in the day. Filled with a savory blend of shiitake mushrooms, peppers, green onions, and tomatoes topped off with lightly nutty flavored cheese, Mushroom and Bell Pepper Omelets with Fontina make for an impressive and super satisfying breakfast or brunch. Make sure to hold on to 1 ounce of the Fontina for a dish to come later in the week. To add a touch of sweetness and even more color to your plate, serve these omelets with a Fresh Fruit Salad with Nutmeg-Cinnamon Syrup. Even for the folks who prefer to stay in tonight, breakfast for dinner is always a festive option to fuel family fun until midnight.

Wednesday: Pork for progress, peas for luck, and greens for prosperity… all your essentials to kick off the new year, ready and delicious on a single plate. Sautéed tenderloin medallions are brought to life with a flavorful sauce of sage, cream, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar in our Cider and Sage Pork. To go along side, we’ve combined luck and prosperity into a Warm Salad of Mustard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas. Tinged with southern flare, this dish highlights the distinctive bite of greens enhanced with smoky bacon and makes a great partner to the tangy pork entree.

Thursday: Ease and elegance… what more could you ask for from a Thursday? Prosciutto and Fontina-Stuffed Chicken Breasts are a hassle-free fix that look stunning on the plate-- especial after you slice into them. Having a relatively rich main course, we’re keeping the side dish simple with a Quick Parsley-Spinach Salad. The lightly dressed greens make a delicate and delicious bed for our crisp chicken to rest on. Not to mention, the spinach’s deep green color against golden pan-fried chicken adds to the overall beauty of the meal.

Friday: On a night you’re really not trying to spend hours in the kitchen (i.e. Friday), fish is a prime pick for dinner. The tender buttery flesh of this Cumin-Crusted Sablefish is ready for your fork after a quick sear on each side and about four minutes in the oven. While toasting and grinding your own cumin seeds requires a bit more time, the flavor burst is completely worth it. For an equally effortless side, toss together some Green Beans with Toasted Garlic. If you haven’t already fried up the rest of that package of bacon from Wednesday’s mustard greens and black-eyed peas, try the Peppery Bacon variation of this recipe. It’s not like you can go wrong by adding bacon into the mix.

Dessert Bonus: We found this dessert at the corner of way too easy and absolutely delectable. Warm syrupy, spiced fruit draped over silky frozen yogurt… it’s pure bliss in a bowl. Use a blend of your favorite dried fruits (perhaps fig, pear, and apricot) to make this Poached Fruit over Vanilla Frozen Yogurt your own.

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.

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