By Breana Lai, M.P.H., R.D. , November 12, 2013 - 10:21am
Stacy Fraser, EatingWell’s Test Kitchen Manager, and I recently offered dinner ideas and advice to a group of working mothers. When we asked, “What is the most difficult part of making a healthy dinner?” the overwhelming answer was one word: time. Serving a healthy dinner is hard when you’re trying to juggle school, work, exercising, grocery shopping and activities for kids and parents. The last thing you want is to add another to-do to your list—to plan your meals. Most of us just make it up on the fly. At 4:55 p.m. In the grocery store.
So we figured we could help out. We spend our days thinking about food and what to eat (and we have to feed our families every night too!). So we came up with a FREE downloadable mini cookbook of 20 weeknight-friendly recipes for busy families, enough to get you through a month of meals!
The recipes in this week’s plan start with protein-packed quinoa veggie burgers and include Cheddar-stuffed meatloaf, sweet salmon, BBQ sausage-and-beans and lightened General Tso’s Chicken. I've also included ideas below for fast and healthy side dishes to round out each meal. So take a deep breath—we've taken away the stress of meal planning and having to decide “What's for dinner?” Your overworked brain—and family—will thank you.
Here's this week's menu:
Monday: Quinoa Veggie Burger 
Serving idea: On a whole-wheat bun, with a mixed green salad with a Dijon vinaigrette.
Tuesday: Cheddar-Stuffed Mini Meatloaves 
Serving idea: While the meatloaf bakes, sauté some baby spinach with garlic and serve with mashed sweet potatoes.
These adorable mini meatloaves have an added surprise—cheese! If you don’t have mini loaf pans, just shape the meatloaves freeform onto a baking sheet. To make this an even quicker meal, assemble the meatloaves in the morning and refrigerate until you're back home and ready to bake.
Wednesday: Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon 
Serving idea: While the salmon broils, sauté some zucchini and peppers and steam some brown rice.
Thursday: BBQ Beans & Sausage 
Serving idea: Pair with a tossed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
Friday: General Tso’s Chicken 
Serving idea: Spoon over brown rice or rice noodles.
Instead of getting greasy takeout, why not make a healthy version at home? This Chinese-inspired recipe is a makeover of the classic sweet and fried chicken known as General Tso’s. With a fraction of the salt and calories—and with added green vegetables—this recipe is sure to become a family favorite.
For this week's recipes and more:
Get the 4-week meal plan, plus 20 recipes, in one amazing and free pdf. 
What is your go-to weeknight dinner? Tell us what you think below.