7-Day Dinner Plan: Shortcut Dinners for Spring
The longer days and warmer temperatures signal a shift in the seasons from winter to spring. With spring comes a craving for light and flavorful meals that use fresh spring ingredients, like peas, strawberries, radishes, greens and plenty of tasty herbs. In this 7-day dinner plan, spring ingredients combine with shortcuts, like frozen tortellini, healthy store-bought dressing, prepared pizza dough and frozen cauliflower rice to create a week of healthy, easy dinners that will satisfy your seasonal cravings.
See More: Healthy Spring Dinner Recipes
Prosciutto, Mozzarella & Melon Plate: For those warm spring nights that beckon you outside, this easy picnic dinner is as simple as it gets-no cooking required! The fresh cantaloupe (which you can buy precut for ease) pairs so well with the salty prosciutto, creamy mozzarella and crunchy hazelnuts, and the chocolate-dipped strawberries for dessert make the meal extra-special. Pick up these ingredients during your weekend shopping trip and plan to start the week with this picnic dinner.
Chicken & Spring Vegetable Tortellini Salad: Store-bought tortellini and frozen peas keep things quick in this healthy 30-minute meal. Jazzed-up bottled salad dressing helps it go even faster. Look for one with 200 mg or less of sodium and 3 g or less of sugar per serving. Keep it even easier and pick up precooked chicken breasts from the deli counter rather than poaching it yourself.
Day 3: Cuban Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Cuban Cauliflower Rice Bowl: In this riff on a healthy grain bowl recipe, we use cauliflower rice instead of another whole grain like brown rice to cut back on carbs and load up on veggie servings. The simple citrusy mojo sauce that gets drizzled on top gives this easy dinner that fresh flavor you crave after a winter of savory casseroles and stews. To cut down on prep time, this recipe uses canned beans and store-bought pico de gallo. We also recommend using frozen riced cauliflower rather than making your own to keep things quick.
Strawberry Poppy Seed Salad with Chicken: In this healthy spring salad, we combine precooked (or leftover) chicken and store-bought poppy seed dressing with fresh greens, strawberries and goat cheese for an easy throw-together meal that's ready in 10 minutes. It's so good that you'll want to prep extra and pack it up for lunch the next day. Serve it with a chunk of toasted whole-wheat baguette drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to round out the meal.
Grilled Pizza with Prosciutto, Corn & Basil: Store-bought pizza dough is one of the easiest ingredient shortcuts that guarantees a delicious dinner every time. In this easy 20-minute grilled pizza recipe, the dough gets topped with garlic, mozzarella, prosciutto, corn and fresh arugula greens. Thawed frozen corn works in place of fresh; just pat it dry before sprinkling it on the pizza. If you have time to spare, you could let the dough stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to make rolling it out easier.
Lemony Linguine with Spring Vegetables: Frozen artichoke hearts and peas help to keep this easy spring dinner quick to cook. Instead of waiting for a huge pot of water to boil, here we use just 3½ cups of water for this one-pot pasta recipe. When the pasta is al dente, most of the water has evaporated and the bit that's left is thickened with the starch that cooks off the pasta. Add in lemon juice, a little half-and-half and Parmesan cheese and you get a delicious silky sauce.
Day 7: Chicken Sausage and Peppers
Chicken Sausage and Peppers: Precooked chicken sausage is key to keeping this dinner fast, while colorful peppers and tomatoes and sweet onion make this simple dinner pop with fresh flavor. The prep can be done in a quick 15 minutes-the peppers and onions require a quick chop, while the tomatoes go on the sheet pan whole. Roast for 30 minutes and dinner is done.