Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Dinners—September 21-25
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 45 minutes or less 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.
The PlanMonday: Squash Ribbon Pasta with Herb Cream Sauce + Spinach and Radicchio Salad with Lemon VinaigretteTuesday: Roasted BBQ Drumsticks with Cowboy Beans + White Sauce + Steamed BroccoliWednesday: Spiced Beef Tostadas with Cilantro-Lime Rice + Cheesy, Smoky Pinto BeansThursday: Lemon-Browned Butter Cod with Hazelnut Pilaf + Spicy Garlic BroccoliniFriday: Baked Chicken Breasts with Dijon-White Wine Sauce and Haricots Verts + Herbed Breadcrumb TomatoesDessert Bonus: Rocky Road Popcorn Balls
Monday: Draining the hot cooked pasta over the squash ribbons in this Squash Ribbon Pasta with Herb Cream Sauce softens the vegetables just enough to keep their fresh texture yet makes them tender enough for a delicious bite. It's a delightful way to sneak in a little more veg with your traditional creamy pasta dish. And did we mention it's entirely meatless? Serve with Spinach and Radicchio Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette for an easy, bright side to accompany the creamy herb sauce.
Tuesday: In under 45 minutes, you'll have perfect barbecue chicken and tender, meaty beans. Our Roasted BBQ Drumsticks with Cowboy Beans are designed to be full flavor without too much time and effort. The beans are a must. Their spicy-sweet flavor profile is highly addictive with the tangy barbecue. Tamper the heat with 10-minute White Sauce, and serve with a simple side of Steamed Broccoli. (Frozen steam-in-bag broccoli makes a great quick option.)
Wednesday: These Spiced Beef Tostadas with Cilantro-Lime Rice are inspired by classic taco night toppers and sides. It's a fork-and-knife instead of hand-held dinner, but if you want to hold it and eat it, we won't stop you. Serve with a side of Cheesy, Smoky Pinto Beans for an authentically flavorful side. Mashing half the beans retains just a bit of texture while keeping them creamy and cheesy.
Thursday: If getting a serving of seafood will alway be this delicious, sign me up! Our Lemon-Browned Butter Cod with Hazelnut Pilaf will make a seafood lover out of anyone. The citrusy butter sauce gives new life to the flakey, meaty cod. The pilaf side is hearty and filling, and the addition of hazelnuts add a hit of crunch. Keep an eye on the butter mixture as it browns--it can burn quickly. Spice up the side with our Spicy Garlic Broccolini. If you're not a fan of the crushed red pepper, you can just leave it out. It's plenty flavorful with garlic alone.
Friday: Baked Chicken Breasts with Dijon-White Wine Sauce and Haricots Verts are the perfect way to end another work/school week. White wine and Dijon mustard are a classic bistro-style pair for chicken. Carrots add body and a touch of sweetness to the pan sauce, but you can leave them out, if you like. Before the days get shorter and the delicious summer tomatoes are all gone, enjoy them one last time in this delightful side of Herbed Breadcrumb Tomatoes.
Dessert Bonus: The classic childhood treat gets revisited and made over into a lighter but still just as fun dessert. Tonight, you and the family can make our Rocky Road Popcorn Balls. Or if Rocky Road isn't your style, how about Old-Fashioned Popcorn Balls or our Bacon-Peanut Popcorn Balls?