Even though I work with and think about food all day as an assistant food editor at EatingWell, I often don’t get the chance to make a weeknight dinner plan and shopping list. And there are plenty of good reasons I should make the time—research shows that people who plan their meals eat healthier and spend less money on food. Who doesn’t want that? Luckily the EatingWell Test Kitchen has already done the work for me. They’ve chosen 5 dinner recipes—one for each weeknight—that all cost less than $3 per serving, cook in 45 minutes or less and offer a variety of flavors.
We’ll start with ravioli and work our way through the week with quesadillas, stuffed potatoes, roasted chicken and baked ziti. And to make it even easier, I’m offering ideas for easy and healthy sides to round out the meal.
Here’s this week’s menu:
Monday: Spinach Ravioli with Zucchini Ribbons
Serve with: Garlic bread
With spinach, zucchini and cheese in a light cream sauce, this vegetarian pasta is an EatingWell favorite. We like to serve it with crusty garlic bread to sop up all the last bits of the Parmesan-and-basil sauce.
Tuesday: Roasted Chicken Drumsticks & Potatoes with Mojo Sauce
Serve with: Green beans or broccoli
Nothing is more comforting than roasted chicken and potatoes. The mojo sauce, made with orange juice, cilantro and spices, is a special treat. It’s fantastic on the chicken and the drumsticks. If you prefer, use chicken breasts and adjust the cooking time to 20-25 minutes, depending on the size. While the chicken is cooking, steam some green beans or broccoli to make this a balanced meal.
Wednesday: Bacon Chard Quesadillas
Serve with: Guacamole and fixin’s
Quesadillas are a great midweek meal. In this recipe, we stuff them with bacon, black beans and vitamin C-rich chard, then melt it all together with shredded pepper Jack cheese. Serve with guacamole, light sour cream, chopped tomatoes and shredded lettuce.
Thursday: Sausage & Peppers Baked Ziti
Serve with: Green salad
In this easy one-pan dinner, turkey sausage and bell peppers simmer with pasta and tomato sauce to make a comforting supper. While the vegetables and sausage cook, assemble a quick green salad with a red-wine vinaigrette.
Friday: Asparagus & Ham Stuffed Potatoes
For Friday, we’re making your life easy. Using a microwave, these asparagus- and ham-stuffed potatoes combine your meat, vegetable and starch into one potato jacket. If you don’t like asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower make a great substitute. For a slightly fancier dinner, serve with a grilled steak.
For this week's recipes and more: