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Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Menus — March 3-7

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 forms of media. 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. Sound good? It does to me too.

I’ve picked out some of our favorite fast recipes (and some of your favorites too, based on recipe ratings) that all work together to bring you a week’s worth of healthy, tasty meals.

The Plan Monday: Black Bean, Hominy, and Kale Stew and Fluffy Buttermilk Drop Biscuits Tuesday: Steak Tacos with Lime Mayo and Mardi Gras Slaw Wednesday: Salmon with Red Pepper Pesto and Quick Parsley-Spinach Salad Thursday: Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken and Asparagus with Peas and Prosciutto Friday: Pork over Couscous with Pistachio-Lemon Vinaigrette Dessert Bonus: No-Bake Fresh Strawberry Pie

Meatless Monday: I’m over the cold. Over it. Ready for spring. But those light, bright salads are not yet quite satisfying enough when it’s still dipping below freezing outside. This hearty bean-and-green-packed stew will get you through one last freeze. Simple, filling, and delicious, full of black beans, kale, and my personal comfort-food favorite, hominy.

Serve with these 20-minute biscuits. Trust me--they’ll change your life. You’ll never reach for the sodium-packed canned variety again. Ever. They’re perfect for sopping up all the goodness left at the bottom of the bowl.

Tuesday: Happy Mardi Gras! There's no better way to Let the Good Times Roll than with a fun, friendly taco night. These are a favorite at our house. I love the chipotle rub on these steak tacos--no need to marinate! Leftovers work wonderfully on a bed of crisp greens or tucked into a crusty baguette for tomorrow’s lunch. The char on the corn tortillas adds an extra layer of yum. If you don’t have a gas range simply toast the tortillas under the broiler until blistered, turning frequently.

And what’s a taco without a fresh, crunchy slaw? This one comes together in just 8 minutes--whip, snap, ready to roll. It’s festive, fun, and delightfully refreshing.

Mardi Gras Slaw | Photo: Iain Bagwell; Stylist: Cindy Barr

Wednesday: Let’s make it a heart-healthy hump day and pack in some omega-3s. Just one 6-ounce serving of salmon serves up double your daily needs. The red pepper pesto is a brilliant way to use bottled roasted red peppers. Both fish and sauce are ready in just 20 minutes. Don’t have almonds? Try toasted walnuts, pine nuts, or even pistachios.

A bright, fresh spinach and parsley salad completes the meal. You don’t have to buy extra nuts--just use the same variety in both the pesto and the salad, if you wish.

Thursday: If you’re starting to get a little spring fever, try this Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken. It combines crunchy cucumber, bell pepper, and green onion with the bright flavors of lemon and dill. Even better, it’s sprinkled with goat cheese. (Feta cheese works fine and dandy here, too. Whichever one you choose, we’ll use it again tomorrow night). The best part? This meal is ready in 15 minutes. Here’s a little tip: Make it as soon as you get home and let it sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so to let the flavors meld.

Double up on spring with this quick side of peas and asparagus. I love the salty kick of prosciutto and pop of fresh mint.

Friday: Cheers to the weekend! A stunning restaurant dish made right in your own kitchen. The star is the vinaigrette--I’ve been making it at home ever since we tested it in the test kitchen. Nutty, cheesy, salty, sweet, it’s delicious with virtually anything--over greens, with fish, chicken, even tossed into quinoa. I make a large batch and keep it in a mason jar in the fridge.

Dessert Bonus: Need another reason to jumpstart spring? Try this decadent no-bake strawberry pie. It’s a delicious collaboration of so much good: chocolate, cream cheesy-filling, and fresh strawberries. This breaks the 45 minute mark – but only because it has to chill about 30 minutes in the fridge, if you can wait that long.

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.