June 16, 2013

Here, another week’s worth of fast, healthy, and tasty menus. It’s not the love 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. 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 PlanMonday: Tomato and Feta Toasts with Mixed Greens SaladTuesday: Hoisin-Grilled Chicken with Soba Noodles and Cucumber-Peanut SaladWednesday: Chicken and Guacamole Tostadas and Mardi Gras SlawThursday: Fettuccine with Pistachio-Mint Pesto and TomatoesFriday: Great Plains Burger and Quick Classic Baked BeansDessert bonus: Raspberry-Mint Ice Pops

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Birmingham, Alabama, it’s hot. Technically the first day of summer isn't until Friday, but it has felt like summer for weeks down here. This type of weather calls for easy, fast cooking (or no cooking at all) so that the kitchen and the cook stay cool. Sip on a cold one (I highly recommend our Blackberry Margaritas), and don’t sweat it: This week will be easy!

Monday: OK, so yesterday was Dad’s day, and you may have gotten your fill of meaty things then. Hooray for Meatless Monday to switch things up! Tonight, try Tomato and Feta Toasts with Mixed Greens Salad—a satisfying meal featuring herb-marinated feta cheese and juicy farmers’ market tomatoes. It’s exactly the type of light, not-too-heavy eating you crave on a warm evening, and it goes great with a crisp, cold white wine. Grab an extra tomato for Wednesday’s dinner, and buy extra red onion for dinner Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Tuesday: I love the big flavors of Hoisin-Grilled Chicken with Soba Noodles. Ready in only 30 minutes, it combines whole-grain, quick-cooking soba with aromatic five-spice powder and sticky-sweet hoisin sauce. If you want to serve it as a chilled dish, rinse the noodles and peas with cold water to cool them down. And if you don’t have sambal oelek, that great fiery chile paste found in the Asian section of most supermarkets, you can use Sriracha, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or no chile heat at all. Serve with Cucumber-Peanut Salad, a lightly sweetened, crunchy refresher.

Wednesday: How about a family-friendly, no-cook, 20-minute entrée to get you through humpday? Our Chicken and Guacamole Tostadas come together in a flash, with purchased crunchy tostada shells, gussied-up rotisserie chicken (tossed with smoked paprika for grilled flavor), quick guac, and fresh pico de gallo. Set out the components, and let everyone have fun building their own tostada creations. Creamy Mardi Gras Slaw, ready in only eight minutes, is the perfect side.

Thursday: If you have a backyard garden going, you’re likely to have some cherry tomatoes that are now ripe. Let them shine in Fettuccine with Pistachio-Mint Pesto and Tomatoes. The robust pesto is matched with a sprinkling of salty pecorino Romano cheese, and those juicy tomatoes add a burst of sweet-tart freshness. For this recipe, you’ll use 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, not quite a full package. No worries: If you make our bonus dessert, you’ll put the rest of that mint to tasty use.

Friday: Time for a family cookout! You’ll get a kick out of our Great Plains Burger—it has crushed corn chips (we’re talking Fritos!) in the patties, which gives them incredibly rich, delicious corn flavor. Then to keep the corn vibes going, grilled corn kernels get turned into a charred corn mayo. I’m telling you: This burger is some kind of good. Pair with Quick Classic Baked Beans, which have traditional sweet baked bean flavor and are ready in only 31 minutes.

Dessert bonus: You’ll need to get a jumpstart on our Raspberry-Mint Ice Pops—they have to freeze overnight, or at least the good part of a day. But they’re low effort with a huge payoff: so fruity, zesty, and juicy. Now that’s a smart way to deal with the heat.

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View this week’s menu, which includes every recipe you see mentioned here. From there, you can create a shopping list when you sign into your MyRecipes account.

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