Dinner, Planned! Your 1-Month Healthy Dinner Meal Plan: Week 1
By Breana Lai, M.P.H., R.D., August 29, 2014 - 1:24pm
What should I make for dinner? I used to ponder this question on my way home from work everyday, trying to balance my husband’s tastes with my own while also trying to avoid the same-old pasta and salad standby meal. This month, I don't even need to think about dinner because I’ll be using our new 28-day healthy dinner plan from the September/October 2014 issue of EatingWell magazine.
My favorite part of the dinner plan: there are a variety of quick, delicious, healthy meals and side dishes to round out the meal. There are foods inspired by different cultures: Italian, Chinese, French, Thai and American, plus recipes for soups and stews, sandwiches, stir-fries, pasta, pizza and more.
Sunday: This week, for an easy yet impressive Sunday dinner, I’m making a big classic Florentine steak for sharing with my husband. I’m making warm spinach and mushroom salad using wild mushrooms like oysters, shitakes and even a few maitakes. And for the complete Italian experience, I’m opening a bottle of Chianti too!
Monday: Paprika-rubbed chicken thighs, roasted on top of Brussels sprouts and shallots on a sheet pan are one of my go-to easy meals (I wrote this recipe!). While the chicken is roasting, I’ll make mashed potatoes flavored with rosemary.
Tuesday: Our Squash and Corn chowder recipe is so hearty and filling, you’d never believe it saves around 300 calories, 20 grams of saturated fat and 500 milligrams of sodium per serving compared to many store-bought or restaurant chowders. By bumping up the vegetables, using flour-thickened milk instead of heavy cream and reduced-sodium broth, this healthy squash and corn chowder is the perfect way to use up the last few squash and corn coming out of my garden.
Wednesday: Tomato, sausage and cheese pasta is the ultimate comfort food for me and this easy recipe delivers great flavor without being too heavy. Ready in just 35 minutes, I'll throw together a salad with a balsamic vinaigrette while the pasta sauce is simmering.
Thursday: Using kale and summer tomatoes, this is the grilled cheese of my dreams because it packs so much flavor into every gooey bite. If you don’t have a Panini maker (like me), you can make this sandwich in a hot skillet with a little butter and another pan on top to weigh down the top piece of bread. Serve with crudités and pickles.
Friday: For Friday's dinner, I'll skip sodium-and-oil-laden Chinese takeout and make a healthier version of general tso’s chicken. This recipe bumps up the vegetables, uses far less soy sauce and sautees the chicken at a high heat instead of deep- frying.
Saturday: Mussels cooked with white wine, turkey sausage and tomato are a quick and super-easy way to make dinner. I like to pick a white wine I want to drink, like a crisp Italian Pinot Grigio or Verdicchio, so I can serve the rest with dinner.
What’s the hardest part of meal planning? Tell us what you think below.