Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Menus—March 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 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. Since spring has now officially sprung, every meal here showcases glorious seasonal produce. Get your spring on, and enjoy!
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: Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto and Radishes in Browned Butter and LemonTuesday: Pork Scaloppine with Mustard Pan Sauce and Baby Carrots and Pan-Seared Potatoes with Spinach and GarlicWednesday: Sizzling Skirt Steak with Asparagus and Red Pepper and Quinoa with Toasted Pine NutsThursday: Kale and Beet Salad with Salmon and Herbed Goat Cheese Garlic ToastsFriday: Sweet-Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry and Cashew and Green Onion BulgurDessert Bonus: Carrot-Zucchini Cake with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
Monday: Go green this Meatless Monday with Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto. You'll love how the spinach keeps the color and flavor of this pesto bright and fresh. If you see delicate young spinach at the farmers' market, go for it; it'll taste sweeter. (And know that grocery store spinach is still great, too.) Ever had cooked radishes? If not, our Radishes in Browned Butter and Lemon may just be a game-changer. They're juicy, with the pepper edge toned down to reveal more tangy sweetness.
Tuesday: Pork Scaloppine with Mustard Pan Sauce and Baby Carrots tastes indulgently rich but is refreshingly light; a creamy pan sauce featuring grainy mustard, chicken stock, and reduced-fat sour cream coats the pork deliciously. And those baby carrots roast to sweet, tender perfection in only 20 minutes. A side of market-fresh Pan-Seared Potatoes with Spinach and Garlic rounds out this lovely spring meal.
Wednesday: Sizzling Skirt Steak with Asparagus and Red Pepper is weeknight cooking at its finest—regular-rotation delicious, done in only 40 minutes (which includes a half-hour of marinating time), and requiring only five ingredients (olive oil is considered a freebie). While you can certainly serve the steak mixture over a bed of brown rice, I love the extra flavor you get from Quinoa with Toasted Pine Nuts.
Thursday: Make dinner tonight super-fresh and super-easy. You need to save your energy for the weekend, after all! Kale and Beet Salad with Salmon uses canned red salmon—a simple, affordable way to work more seafood into your diet, and a great way to go sustainable. And the lightly pickled onions and microwave-roasted sweet golden beets are absolute knockouts. Herbed Goat Cheese Garlic toasts take the crouton idea to new heights, featuring whole-grain bread made more delicious with fresh garlic, tangy goat cheese, and woodsy fresh thyme.
Friday: Satisfy your takeout cravings with Sweet-Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry, which features sweet sugar snap peas. It's every bit as delicious as takeout, way lower in fat and sodium, and faster than calling in your order and picking it up. For a nutty, flavorful change of pace, serve with Cashew and Green Onion Bulgur—whole grains done right.
Dessert Bonus: What happens when you combine carrot cake, zucchini bread, and 100% whole-grain goodness? Carrot-Zucchini Cake with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting, that's what. Made in a 13 x 9–inch pan, it's way less fussy than a layer cake, with a just-right cake-to-frosting ratio. It'll serve a crowd—and hey, Easter is coming up, so treat your friends and family to this springy sweet treat.
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