ThePrep: Mediterranean-Inspired Comfort Food Dinners

This week of comfort-food dinners delivers the coziness we're all craving this time of the year, with the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Chicken & Orzo

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Who says you can't eat healthy and enjoy the comfort foods you crave? These Mediterranean-inspired comfort-food recipes prove that you can have the best of both worlds. This week of healthy dinners incorporates the principles of the Mediterranean diet, with veggies, whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein, in a cozy, comforting form—think soup, pasta, burgers and casseroles!

Your Meal Plan

Hearty Minestrone soup

Soup might just be my favorite meal ever. Be it a creamy chowder, a spicy chili or a brothy chicken noodle, I just love it all! It's also a delicious (and cozy) way to up my veggie intake in the colder months. This week we have two veggie-packed soups—the satisfying Sausage, Brussels Sprout & Potato Soup on Sunday and the veggie-packed Hearty Minestrone (pictured above) on Thursday.

There's also pasta—which is my second favorite comfort food—with the lemony Quick Shrimp Scampi on Monday and the Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Chicken & Orzo on Wednesday. If you want to skip the slow-cooker, you can still make this yummy chicken and orzo recipe with our oven/stovetop version, which is ready in 40 minutes. Friday's flavorful Greek Burgers with Herb-Feta Sauce get stuffed inside a warm pita with creamy lemon-feta sauce, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions, to close out this week of delicious comfort food dinners. Plus, they can be cooked in the oven, if you'd prefer to not use the grill.

Sunday: Sausage, Brussels Sprout & Potato Soup

Monday: Quick Shrimp Scampi over whole-wheat spaghetti (or zucchini noodles)

Tuesday: EatingWell's Eggplant Parmesan

Wednesday: Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Chicken & Orzo

Thursday: Hearty Minestrone

Friday: Greek Burgers with Herb-Feta Sauce

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Big Batch Snack

peanut butter energy balls

My snacks last week consisted of leftover buffalo chicken dip that we made for Sunday football, plus cheese and crackers and while I'm not mad about either, I do need to prep something a little more balanced for this week. These Peanut Butter Energy Balls are a quick and easy go-to snack that still delivers a little sweetness on top of those healthy high-fiber oats and nut butter.

Get the Recipe: Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Treat Yourself

pumpkin spice hot toddy

I love a good, cozy cocktail—and this Pumpkin-Spice Hot Toddy definitely hits the spot. It's made with bourbon, honey, lemon and pumpkin-spiced herbal tea (or any herbal tea of your choice—cinnamon-apple would also be delicious). It's ready in a quick 5 minutes and is a delicious sipper to enjoy by a campfire or cuddled up on your couch. Cheers!

Get the Recipe: Pumpkin-Spice Hot Toddy

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