Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Menus — June 30-July 4
Every Sunday, we publish a week of Cooking Light dinner plans filled with our favorite recipes—both from current issues and those we simply can’t forget. 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. We’re keeping this week’s menu light, fresh, and full of glorious summer pickings.
The PlanMonday: Roasted Zucchini and Black Bean Tostadas with Crisp Radish Relish and Tomato Salad with Avocado and OnionTuesday: Halibut with Charred Tomatoes and Dill with Creamy PolentaWednesday: Grilled Steak Panzanella with Pickled VegetablesThursday: Chicken Kebabs with Creamy Pesto and Herbed CouscousFriday: Paprika Pork Chops with Zucchini and Corn with Chile-Cheese MayoDessert Bonus: Seared Figs and White Peaches with Balsamic Reduction
Monday: We’re kicking the week off with a Mexican-inspired meatless meal that provides just the level of refreshing satisfaction we all need at the end of a Monday. Tostadas are one of my favorite casual suppers because, in essence, they’re mini-mountains of layered delectability (and it’s A-OK to make a little bit of a mess while eating). Crisp peppery radishes and rich sour cream balance out a savory-spiced zucchini and black bean blend, all stacked high on an oven-baked tortilla base. Go ahead and chop up some extra cilantro to sprinkle over your Tomato Salad with Avocado and Onion.
Tuesday: The beauty of this elegant dish lies in its simplicity. Delicate halibut needs but a few minutes of cook time, which we’re making the most of by simmering the fish in dry white wine. After cooking, all that our flavor-infused halibut requires is a sprinkling of fresh herbs. However, to add a pop of color and juicy bursts of flavor, we complete this dish with quick charred tomatoes. For a fun play on “fish and grits,” serve with a side of rich Creamy Polenta.
Wednesday: This stunning summer salad highlights a few of my very favorite items: tender steak, crusty grilled bread, and pickled veggies. Even if you’re not exactly a pickle person, I would strongly discourage you from skipping out on the onion, radish, and carrot topping. A quick pickling gives the veggies just enough acidity to instill the salad with a punch of brightness, while allowing them to maintain their crispness. Not to mention, few things say summer quite like grilling and pickling—with this recipe, you get both in a single dish.
Thursday: You know what they say—everything tastes better on a stick. Or for all intents and purposes, a skewer works too. Requiring just 12 minutes under the broiler and paired with an addictively tasty pesto sauce, these kebabs are the epitome of a fast and family-friendly meal. Given the versatility of this recipe, feel free to swap out protein and veggies for whatever you love/have on hand. For a tropical twist, try substituting pork tenderloin pieces for the chicken and swapping the tomatoes for pineapple. Keeping things simple, serve your kebabs over a bed of Herbed Couscous for a well-rounded plate.
Friday: A super simple dry rub makes these grilled chops shine. The blend of brown sugar and paprika imparts a sweet-smoky flavor to the pork that serves as a delicious compliment to the slightly tangy mustard-dressed zucchini. While your pork chops and zucchini are getting their char on, get a pot of water boiling for the corn. Or if you’d rather, you can always throw your shucked cobs right onto the grill and cook for about 8 minutes, or until lightly charred. Just bet sure to rotate the corn occasionally to ensure even grilling. As everything cooks, whisk together mayo, fresh cilantro, parmesan, and chili powder for one finger-licking corn condiment.
Dessert Bonus: While fully flavorful and satisfying, our Seared Figs and White Peaches with Balsamic Reduction is not a cloyingly sweet treat bound to weigh you down. Given the natural sweetness of ripe figs and peaches, you won't need added sugar to create beautiful caramelization on the fruit for this lovely and luscious dessert. A drizzle of sweet-tart balsamic reduction and a dollop of rich and tangy crème fraîche bring such bright life to the seared fruit. With a bit of depth provided by fresh thyme, the completed dish is an excellent way to enjoy the inherent floral notes of these beautiful summer gems.