Love it or hate it, Halloween is here. I personally am in the “love it” camp and plan to enjoy every minute before Christmas music, lights, and lists clog my world. There’s no doubt that Halloween has gotten BIG, but it’s not big enough to slow down your work, school, and life schedule. This week will be busy, so a plan for weeknight meals will keep things ticking. And with the influx of all that candy, having healthy meals planned out and leftovers ready for lunches, you can keep yourself and the family in check. Each night’s menu will be on the table in less than 45 minutes.
The Plan Monday: Three-Bean Chili Tuesday: Fettuccine with Pumpkin Sauce Wednesday: Smoky Bell Pepper Soup with Grilled Turkey and Ham Sandwiches Thursday: Beef and Mushroom Sloppy Joes Friday: Oven-Fried Tilapia with Cheesy Polenta and Warm Spinach Salad Dessert Bonus: Candy Corn and M&M's Chewy Crispy Bars
Monday: Tackle this Meatless Monday with Three-Bean Chili that’s good in the evening and even better packed for a leftover lunch the next day. You can make ahead on Sunday night or have it on the table in less than 20 minutes the day of. Pair with store-bought or homemade corn muffins and you’ve got yourself a meal.
Tuesday: Fettuccine with Pumpkin Sauce has it all—pasta, bacon, pumpkin, parm, and heavy cream—for less than 350 calories. Seriously, this is weeknight fare that will earn you a reputation (in a good way). Round out the plate with a simple Fall salad: Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon honey in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce, 1 sliced apple, and 2 tablespoons pumpkinseeds; toss.
Wednesday: Smoky Bell Pepper Soup from our November Holiday Cookbook makes a vibrant first course for the Thanksgiving table, but it also works for a busy weeknight. The flavors are inspired by a Spanish romesco sauce, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is too fancy for a Wednesday. We’ve transformed bottled roasted bell peppers, lots of garlic, and almonds into a flavor-infused treat in less than 25 minutes. Pair with a grilled sandwich and cozy up for the evening.
Thursday: So if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like Halloween or thinks it’s gotten “overdone” in recent years, you should probably stop reading. It’s my favorite holiday by far—I won’t bore you with why—and I like to do it right. For me, “doing it right” usually involves a menu. We have an open invitation to friends and family at our house for dinner and trick-or-treating, so I have to have something ready for people coming in and out. This year I plan on making Beef and Mushroom Sloppy Joes, a kid-pleaser that the parents like, too. This recipe serves 4, but it’s easy to double (or quadruple in my case). You could serve with frozen sweet potato fries, veggies and hummus, a simple salad, or with whatever munchies your friends bring. And for the parents: They could probably use some Spiced Cider.
Friday: So, you made it through the tricks and treats and the day after. Why not finish the week a bit on the lighter side with Oven-Fried Tilapia with Cheesy Polenta. Serve with Warm Spinach Salad or any simple salad of your choosing, turn on a movie, and mark this week of meals a success.
Dessert Bonus: Need I say more? Make your own healthier treats for Halloween with our Candy Corn and M&M's Chewy Crispy Bars. Not into all that candy? Try any one of nine versions of this classic treat—from Maple Bacon to Browned Butter Pecan.
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