ThePrep: A Week of 500-Calorie Fall Dinners
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Fall has me craving all sorts of delicious, comforting dishes! And contrary to what some might think, you can still enjoy all the creamy, cozy fall dishes, no matter what your health goals might be. This week of recipes was specially developed to deliver the deliciousness we all love, still with plenty of veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats—for a well-rounded 500-calorie meal. But remember that how much and what we eat is more than a calorie count. Recommended calories and meal plans should only be used as an inspiration and guide. Listening to your hunger and fullness cues is one of the best ways to better estimate your calorie needs.
Your Meal Plan
Sunday's Chicken Cutlets with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce is a perfect weekend dinner for fall. The sun-dried tomato sauce is light but creamy and full of flavor, and the parsley on top adds a fresh touch. If you haven't tried this recipe before, be prepared—it's really good. So much so that we created over 15 riffs on this recipe, from casseroles to soups. To make this a complete meal, I'll pair it with a mixed greens salad and some Sherry Dijon Vinaigrette. A simple salad with homemade vinaigrette is my go-to—it's a delicious and easy way to add veggies to this meal.
The weather is starting to drop here in Seattle, and we have some cloudy days ahead of us. That's why I'll be making cozy dishes like Wednesday's American Goulash. One thing I like about this recipe is that it's made in a single saucepan, which makes cooking and cleaning easier for hump day. And with the high-fiber whole-wheat pasta in this recipe and lean ground beef, it's a satisfying healthy meal. To increase the veggie content and add even more fiber to the meal, I'll sauté some frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets to serve on the side.
Thursday's Minestra Maritata (Italian Wedding Soup) is another cozy winner—soups are just the best way to warm up! This dinner's veggie mix of carrots, onions, spinach and celery adds beautiful color, flavor and nutrition. Also, this recipe can be easily adapted to whatever ground meat you might have in your freezer, whether it's chicken, pork, turkey or beef. Personally, I'll buy cooked chicken meatballs for easy prep.
Monday: Roasted Chickpea Curry Bowl topped with half an avocado, sliced (497 calories)
Tuesday: Garlic Butter-Roasted Salmon with Potatoes & Asparagus (522 calories)
Thursday: Minestra Maritata (Italian Wedding Soup) paired with a slice of toasted whole-wheat baguette (525 calories)
Friday: Charred Shrimp, Pesto & Quinoa Bowls with a slice of toasted bread topped with 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil (540 calories)
Get the printable shopping list here.
Apples are a must on my shopping list, especially during autumn. I generally assume that my husband and I will eat one for a snack, which honestly doesn't always happen. So whenever I have some apples lying around in the kitchen, I look for yummy recipes to use them up and avoid food waste. This week I'll make some fried apple pie rolls. This alternative version of a traditional apple pie is crispy on the outside with a sweet cinnamon-spiked apple filling. Plus, the individual servings make leftovers easier to store.
Get the Recipe: Fried Apple Pie Rolls
What's Inspiring Me This Week
When trying to lose weight or just be "healthier," it's pretty common to incorporate not-so-healthy strategies like trying fad diets, working out intensely and skipping meals. Not only can these strategies have a negative impact on your health but they could also sabotage your efforts. In fact, a recently published study suggests that skipping breakfast can increase your hunger levels and reduce your calorie burn. So instead of looking for unsustainable solutions, focus on nourishing your body from breakfast to dessert.
I wish you all a great week, and if you have any questions or requests for future newsletters, please let me know by emailing ThePrep@eatingwell.com! Don't forget to add a recipe review if you try one.