Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Menus — September 9-13
School’s back in session, my white shoes are put away, and my family of 4 is back in full-on fall scheduling chaos. I can’t let my favorite moment of the day—sitting down to dinner with my family—get sidetracked, and a meal plan set out on Sunday night for the coming week is what keeps me in check. So, here’s another week’s worth of fast, healthy, and tasty menus. I’ve done the planning for you based on some tricks that work for me. Each night’s menu will be on the table in less than 45 minutes.
The PlanMonday: Sausage, Tomato, and Arugula FettuccineTuesday: Ancho Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Avocado CreamWednesday: Shrimp Cobb SaladThursday: Maple-Glazed Salmon with Tomato-Dill CouscousFriday: Bacon, Tomato, and Arugula PizzaDessert bonus: Chocolate Chip Cookies
Monday: I like to start the week with something that makes enough for leftovers…either for lunch or for another night when dinner doesn’t come together. Sausage, Tomato, and Arugula Fettuccine fits that bill and takes just 20 minutes to prepare. It serves 4, but it’s a generous serving size; even with my family of 2 adults and 2 young children, we still have leftovers with this recipe. It also calls for 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, but I often double that and just get twice the veggies (and you get to squish the tomatoes with the back of spoon, a satisfying act after a stressful day at work). It’s really a meal in one, but a side of broccoli never hurt anyone. My trick for this recipe: I portion out leftovers for lunch over a heaping pile of extra arugula. At the office the next day, I heat everything for 1 minute just to take the chill off the pasta and I have a salad-heavy version of this delicious dish.
Watch contributing editor Allison Fishman Task make quick work of this dish.
Tuesday: At my house, if it’s Tuesday, it’s Taco Tuesday. I like to stick to themes on certain nights to give myself a starting place with dinner ideas. Plus, the kids seem more eager to try something new when I put it in a taco (shrimp, fish, veggies…the possibilities are endless). This week try Ancho Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Avocado Cream. Adjust the spices to suit your taste, and serve with a simple bowl of black beans. You get 2 filling tacos for just over 300 calories!
Wednesday: Shrimp Cobb Salad meets my requirements for a dinner salad: It fills me up and doesn’t make me heading for the cereal bowl at bedtime. This riff on the classic Cobb replaces chicken and hard-cooked eggs with shrimp and corn. At our house, my kids don’t love the idea of “a salad,” but when I break up the components on the plate, they gobble it up (and it doesn’t hurt that this recipe includes bacon).
Thursday: I try to fit salmon into the plan at least once a week for its amazing heart-health benefits, and Maple-Glazed Salmon is a consistent winner for me. I can buy everything in this meal plan ahead of time, but I usually buy the salmon on the way home from work. Serve with Tomato-Dill Couscous and grilled vegetables (on the grill pan…I don’t have time to heat up the grill).
Friday: Ready for another theme? It’s a Friday pizza party at our house every week, and the high point for the kids is helping roll out the dough. I buy refrigerated fresh pizza dough from my grocery store’s bakery and do variations. Try Bacon, Tomato, and Arugula Pizza, pour yourself a glass of wine, and take an end-of-week deep breath. And I get it, serve the arugula salad on the side if greens on their pizza won’t work for the kids.
Dessert bonus: Chocolate Chip Cookies. I like to make homemade treats on the weekend with my kids. This recipe makes 4 dozen cookies, so I save out enough for the week (for school lunch boxes in my case) and freeze the rest in weekly portions. Each cookie is just 88 calories—less than those unfulfilling 100-calorie packs.