Sunday Strategist: Week of May 20
Here, another week’s worth of fast, healthy, and tasty menus. It’s not the love of cooking that deters so many of us from the kitchen each night; it’s actually deciding what to cook from the millions of options bombarding us from so many different places. Here, we’ve done the planning for you. Not just menus, but healthy menus that are fast – on the table in less than 45 minutes.
The PlanMonday: Open-Faced Eggplant SandwichesTuesday: Pasta Pork Bolognese and Salad with Balsamic VinaigretteWednesday: Grilled Chicken with Tomato-Avocado SaladThursday: Greek Chicken Bread Salad and Olive-Almond Green BeansFriday: Spice-Rubbed New York Strip with Avocado-Lime SalsaDessert: Classic Fudge-Walnut Brownies
Monday: Pick fresh for Meatless Monday! It’s my favorite time of year, when all those fresh farm veggies start rolling in. Find a produce stand on a corner or town square near you this weekend. Buy a big fat eggplant and a bunch of basil, and whip up these tasty Open-Faced Eggplant Sandwiches. Buy a good loaf of crusty whole grain bread – the crustier the better for this messy sandwich! It’s a fork-and-knife kind of affair, if you know what I mean.
Tuesday: How about a little Bolognese? Even better, how about a 14-minute Bolognese? That’s right! Pasta Pork Bolognese is a saucy, savory pasta is ready in a snap and bursting with flavor. Hopefully you’ve still got some marinara and basil leftover from last night – we’ll put it to work again in this quick dish. Find fresh fettuccine in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. It cooks up in just minutes! Buy some extra carrots, so you can use them up in Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette to serve alongside.
Wednesday: It’s finally starting to look (and feel!) like spring out there, so let’s get grilling! How about this gorgeous Grilled Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salad, featured on the cover of our June issue. I think I went back for thirds the day we tasted this in our Test Kitchen. It just might make a regular rotation in your monthly meal plans. The chicken, corn, and onion all get a nice smoky char that really makes this dish a standout. Grill up some extra chicken, and we’ll use it in tomorrow night’s dinner. The ingredient list looks a little lengthy, but it comes together in a flash, really. The whole meal is ready in just 40 minutes. Don’t skip the bright, tangy buttermilk dressing – it’s the best part!
Thursday: Take the extra grilled chicken breast halves from last night’s grilling bonanza, and toss them up in this tasty Greek Chicken Bread Salad. If you’ve got any of that crusty bread leftover from Monday’s sandwiches, this is a great place to use it. You need a hard, crusty bread in this salad to soak up all that oregano and garlic vinaigrette, but still keep from getting too soggy. If you you’re starting with a fresh loaf, that’s fine – just be sure to give it a good toast before you toss it into the salad.
Serve alongside Olive-Almond Green Beans. It’s ok to let a few of those crunchy almonds and tangy olives creep into the Chicken Bread Salad. In fact, I might even recommend it.
Friday: I just can’t get enough of the grill this time of year. What better way to end the week than another night back out on the patio? Check out these juicy steaks, served with an avocado lime salsa that’s not to be missed.
If you’re feeling a little experimental, try grilling up some farm-fresh Vidalia onions while the fire is hot. Vidalia’s can be tough to find outside of the South, but most any spring onion will do. Smaller onions may just need less grilling time. The sugars from the onions will caramelize on the grill, and the bulbs will take on a bit of that smoky char from the fire. The tangy vinaigrette pairs perfectly with juicy tomatoes, some hard-boiled egg, and lots of fresh spring herbs. And of course, feel free to enjoy with a well-deserved glass of vino. Maybe a light-to-medium bodied red, like pinot noir.
Dessert bonus: I can think of no better way to end the week than with our all-time staff favorite Classic Fudge-Walnut Brownies. They take just 45 minutes, and you can pop them in the oven as soon as you sit down to eat. Let them bake away while you finish grilling and chilling in the cool spring weather. Save a sip or two of that wine to enjoy with dessert too…