Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Dinners — September 19-23
Every Sunday, we publish a week of Cooking Light dinner plans filled with our favorite recipes—both from current issues and classics. Each meal is designed to be ready and on the table in about an hour so that you have more time to enjoy the food you’ve prepared and the company of those you’ve prepared it for.
If you like having a healthy meal plan but want something customized to your dietary or caloric needs, check out The Cooking Light Diet. It’s a calorie-driven weekly meal plan—breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—based on your dieting goals and food preferences.
Monday: Crunchy Whole-Wheat Veggie Pizzas + Escarole and Bean SautéTuesday: Chili Potpie with Cheddar Biscuits + Roasted Broccoli and Red Bell PepperWednesday: Mini Bow Ties with Bacon and PeasThursday: Flank Steak with Tomato-Balsamic Sauce + Goat Cheese and Basil PolentaFriday: Chicken Gyro BowlsHappy Hour: Dark and Limey
Monday: I like to start the week off easy, with something I know will be a hit with the family. Can’t go wrong with pizza! Crunchy Whole-Wheat Veggie Pizzas use whole-grain tortillas as the base, so you don’t have to fuss with rolling or shaping dough. Escarole and Bean Sauté is a flavor-packed side dish that’s warm, creamy, and comforting. If you can’t find escarole, no worries—just use kale or spinach instead. You may have leftovers; try taking them to work for lunch with a little flaked canned tuna on top.
Tuesday: For this Chili Potpie with Cheddar Biscuits, we thicken the chili slightly, stir in more fresh fall vegetables, and bake with a flaky cheddar biscuit topper for a fun, fast take on a classic potpie. Creamy butternut squash and hearty beef chili provide combine to make this wholesome, easy weeknight dinner. We skipped the hassle of peeling and chopping the squash by buying the packaged cubes. Serve with a simple side of Roasted Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper.
Wednesday: Picky kids? No problem! Finishing your peas and carrots is exponentially more exciting when bacon is involved. In fact, almost every dish is more exciting when bacon comes to play, so feel free to swap your family’s favorite veggies into Mini Bow Ties with Bacon and Peas recipe.
Thursday: Flank steak is often sold in 2-pound cuts. Ask your butcher to cut one in half, or freeze the other half for another use later. Tonight’s Flank Steak with Tomato-Balsamic Sauce is ready in under 20 minutes. If you don’t like flank steak, opt for chicken or pork chops. It’s equally delicious with all those proteins. While the steak cooks, stir together Goat Cheese and Basil Polenta. Polenta is similar to grits, so feel free to sub with those if you happen to have some on hand.
Friday: Keep the week interesting with this healthier (and tastier) twist on a classic. Flip a gyro into whole-grain Chicken Gyro Bowl layered with kale, veggies, herbs, and chickpeas. We top it with lean, spice-packed chicken, feta cheese, and tahini-spiked yogurt. It’s everything you want from the hearty Greek platter with less than 400 calories—a sum of parts you feel good about finishing.
Happy Hour: Our Dark and Limey is a turmeric-laced twist on a Dark and Stormy, the classic dark rum and ginger beer combo. And it's exactly what this Friday needs so you can rest and relax into a great weekend.
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