Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Menus—December 29 -January 2
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.
The Plan Monday: Butternut Squash, Kale, and Black Bean Quesadillas with Avocado and Orange SaladTuesday: Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Friend Chicken with Caribbean-Style Roast Cabbage with CarrotsWednesday: Halibut with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes and Broccoli Rabe with Polenta CroutonsThursday: Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash and quinoaFriday: Spanish Spaghetti with Olives and Green Salad with Simple VinaigretteDessert Bonus: Cinnamon-Apple Panini
The PlanMonday: It's going to be a fun--if not crazy--week, so every dish this week is simple yet comforting. After all, it's still cold outside for most of the country, so we need this week's meals to be fast, efficient, and filling. Let's start with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Black Bean Quesadillas for a hearty Meatless Monday dish. Because it's squash season, you can more easily find pre-chopped butternut squash. If you can't, add a few more minutes into your weekly prep and chop your own. (Read how-to peel and chop butternut squash.) Serve with a fresh side that includes seasonal citrus like our Avocado and Orange Salad.
Tuesday: This Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Friend Chicken has all the crunch and juiciness of the fried chicken we love so much, just without all the saturated fat and calories. Keep this one in your back pocket. After this week, you'll be serving it a lot. For a side, shaved carrots and roasted cabbage get a tangy-heat-sweet in this Caribbean-Style Roast Cabbage with Carrots.
Wednesday: New Year's Eve, and you've got a party to get to, right? This dinner of Halibut with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes and Broccoli Rabe with Polenta Croutons is simple and no-fuss but big on flavor. If you're not a fan of halibut or it's too pricey, look for a similar fish, such as tilapia or cod. Polenta croutons are an ingenious way to add texture and flavor to a simple side of sauteed broccoli rabe. You could use homemade croutons--just cut a baguette into one-inch cubes and toast slightly--if you don't want to buy or can't find refrigerated polenta.
Thursday: After a fun night of ringing in the New Year, make an incredibly flavorful dish the whole family will love in less than 30 minutes. This Beef Tagine with Butternut Squash will use up any remaining pre-chopped butternut squash you bought, or any you chopped at the beginning of the week. While you've got the tagine simmering, make four servings of quinoa to accompany. Just before serving, stir in a little chopped parsley, and spoon the tagine over top the quinoa in a bowl. Yum!
Friday: Readers (and Cooking Light staff even) still love this recipe for Spanish Spaghetti with Olives years after it first ran in the magazine. If you've got young eaters in your house, they'll recognize the weeknight favorite, but it has a flavorful twist with the addition of pimiento-stuffed olives. Add a little green to the plate with a side of Green Salad with Simple Vinaigrette.
Dessert Bonus: This quick-fix dessert is playful and tasty. It combines all the flavors of a caramel apple with warm cinnamon-raisin bread. You'll only need a few minutes to pull together each Cinnamon-Apple Panini, so slice the apples and get everyone involved in the panini making.