Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Menus--February 23-27
Weary of winter? We are too. Granted, here in Birmingham, it only takes a few flakes and a dip below 30° to make us retreat beneath the blankets. From those simply annoyed by the persistent chill to others slogging through mile-high slush piles, we’ve got you covered. Every Sunday, we publish a week of Cooking Light dinners composed of our favorite recipes from current issues and classics, ready and on the table in 45 minutes or less. Here, some hearty menus to look forward to after a cold commute, plus some spring-leaning dishes to get you excited for warmer weather (despite what that ol’ groundhog says).
The PlanMonday: Poached Eggs with Spinach and Walnuts and Roasted Acorn SquashTuesday: Chicken Posole and Corn Bread Muffins and Avocado Radish SaladWednesday: Steak and Asparagus Stir-Fry and Sesame Brown RiceThursday: Pork Chops with Tangy Red Currant Sauce and Gingered Sweet PotatoesFriday: Cornmeal-Dusted Catfish with Quinoa Sauté and Lemon-Tarragon AsparagusDessert Bonus: Granola Cookie Wedges
Monday: Go meatless on Monday with simple Poached Eggs with Spinach and Walnuts. Walnuts and Gruyere add nuttiness and protein. Break the gently poached egg and let the gorgeous yolk run over all, or serve the eggs sunny side up, diner-style. Cold weather begs for roasted root vegetables—wedges of Roasted Acorn Squash get beautifully browned in just 15 minutes.
Tuesday: Think of Chicken Posole and Corn Bread Muffins like Mexico’s answer to your grandmother’s chicken noodle soup: hearty, with just enough heat and zing from jalapeño and tomatillo to chase away a winter cold. Bake the cornbread mixture in ramekins for oversized muffins, or divide among 6 muffin cups and enjoy the extras for lunch tomorrow. Serve with a fresh Avocado Radish Salad.
Wednesday: Stir-fry is a great one-pan plan for busy nights, and a healthier alternative to Chinese takeout. Buy extra asparagus for this Steak and Asparagus Stir-Fry and use as a side later in the week, or add any vegetable, like broccoli florets or snow peas, to the stir-fry. Want to save even more time? Look for fajita steak (typically thinly sliced flank steak) at the supermarket. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan as you cook, or the steak will steam rather than brown. Serve with Sesame Brown Rice to soak up the delicious sauce.
Thursday: Red currant jam has a nice balance of tart and sweet, with a rich, wine-like undertone that pairs beautifully with simply cooked Pork Chops with Tangy Red Currant Sauce. Keep a jar on hand for instant glazes, or spread on toast or biscotti. If you can’t find it, substitute cherry preserves (strawberry or raspberry jam would be too sweet). Instead of the usual potato mash, go for color with mashed Gingered Sweet Potatoes. Serve with simply steamed peas or your favorite green veggie.
Friday: If you’re observing Lent this month, chances are meat is off the menu this Friday. Never fear! For the Cornmeal-Dusted Catfish with Quinoa Sauté, sear cornmeal crusted catfish until crisp, then serve with a bright quinoa salad and Lemon-Tarragon Asparagus for a hint of spring. Not a catfish fan? Try flounder or tilapia.
Dessert bonus: Because no one should wait too long for a warm chocolate chip cookie on a cold night, these easy Granola Cookie Wedges are ready in less than 20 minutes—just spoon the batter into a pie plate and bake, then slice. On another night, heat in the microwave at HIGH for 10 seconds for warm, chewy, chocolate and oatmeal bliss.
Ready to start shopping? View this week’s menu, which includes every recipe you see mentioned here. From there, you can add all the ingredients to your shopping list in one click when you sign into your MyRecipes account.
If you like having a healthy meal plan but want something custom 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.