May 04, 2014

Every Sunday, we publish a week of Cooking Light dinner plans—new recipes from current issues matched with previously published favorites. Each meal is designed to be ready and on the table in 45 minutes or less.

The PlanMonday: Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Penne Salad with Goat CheeseTuesday: Shrimp Marinara Soup with Crumbled Feta and Simple Salad with Lemon DressingWednesday: Spring Vegetable Pizza with Gremolata and Tomato, Sweet Onion, and Parsley SaladThursday: Linguine with Ricotta Meatballs and Garlic Haricots VertsFriday: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad and Parmesan Cheese ToastsDessert Bonus: Fresh Strawberry Shortcakes with Yogurt Cream

The ground is finally thawing, and everything is really starting to come into season across the country. Flowers are blooming. Freshly-tilled ground is rich with anticipation of coming harvests. Seasonal favorites like asparagus, arugula, radishes, and carrots are popping up in farmers' markets and grocery stores. This week, we're going to enjoy all that's fresh and delicious with some old favorites and a few newer recipes. Be sure to pick up our June issue, which will be on newsstands this Friday. It's chock full of tasty recipes you'll be making all summer long.

Monday: When some people think of meatless dishes, they see big bowls of white lettuce chunks or paltry pasta plates. But ask anyone who eats meatless regularly, and they'll tell you there's nothing boring about vegetarian dining. Let's combine smoky roasted asparagus, tomatoes, arugula, and creamy goat cheese for a deliciously filling pasta salad. Dinner tonight is our Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Penne Salad with Goat Cheese. Grab extra asparagus because we'll use it again this week.

Tuesday: Most people say, "No way!" to seafood and cheese, but tonight, we say, "Yes way!" Shrimp Marinara Soup with Crumbled Feta sauces up Plain Jane shrimp pasta with comforting low-sodium marinara sauce. Crushed red pepper gives the saucy dish a hint of warmth, but you'll finish off each bowl with tangy feta cheese to cool down your palate. Seriously, you'll be surprised how much you're going to like this dish. Round out the meal with Simple Salad with Lemon Dressing. Grab some extra cherry tomatoes--we'll use them as a side again later this week--and we'll use up the marinara sauce and some of the feta cheese later, too.

Wednesday: Let's use up that super crisp asparagus you bought earlier this week on Spring Vegetable Pizza with Gremolata. This light pizza has a creamy base--no tomato sauce since we just had some last night--and it's fast, ready in just 30 minutes. You can't order delivery and get it that quickly. Finish off the meal with another quickly assembled side: Tomato, Sweet Onion, and Parsley Salad.

Thursday: Spaghetti and meatballs might be one of my all-time most favorite dishes. We didn't get it a lot growing up, which might explain why I like it so much now. If you're a fan of the classic Italian meatball, the addition of ricotta in our Linguine with Ricotta Meatballs might seem odd, but I promise it's worth following the recipe here. Ricotta lends moisture and helps keep the meatballs tender and fluffy. To finish the meal, let's add Garlic Haricots Verts. They can roast while you're browning the meatballs and bringing the dish together.

Friday: I always want to eat small meals on Friday nights. Maybe it's because I'm secretly saving room for a drink or a dessert, a treat to send off another crazy week. Tonight, we'll enjoy a fresh salad, our Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad. It will fill you up, but it's a lighter alternative to the typical grilled chicken Caesar. Instead of rich, creamy Caesar dressing, we're using a Caesar-inspired vinaigrette. No need for a fussy side tonight. Just make a few Parmesan Cheese Toasts to round out the plate.

Dessert Bonus: We can't let this week end without enjoying the beautiful strawberries that are starting to crop up. We're actually in the middle of strawberry season here in Alabama--some of you are just beginning--so it's a perfect time to whip up a batch of our Fresh Strawberry Shortcakes with Yogurt Cream. Seriously, you can make strawberry shortcakes with fresh cream in just 25 minutes. And if you love these so much you want one for breakfast tomorrow, we won't tell.

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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