ThePrep: Nourishing 400-Calorie Dinners to Make in 3 Steps or Less

This week of delicious dinners will help you feel your best all week long.

Pork Chops with Balsamic Sweet Onions

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It's totally normal to eat more than you usually do during the holidays. It's all those special dishes—and times with friends and family—that make celebrating so special! I sure got my fill of herb-roasted turkey, melting potatoes and apple crisp with cranberries last week. In no way do you need to "eat clean" or "detox" afterward, but you might be feeling out of your routine—like me—and craving healthy dinners to help you feel your best. This week, I'm making dinners that come in around 400 calories per serving and are ready in three steps or less to keep your prep as easy as possible.

Your Meal Plan


The quality of the food we eat is more important than the number of calories it has, which is why these dinners are packed with nutrient-rich veggies, lean proteins and healthy carbs. Let's dive in.

The Pork Chops with Balsamic Sweet Onions recipe makes a flavorful and healthy entree for Sunday dinner. Adding balsamic vinegar to your veggies makes them irresistibly delicious! The balsamic onions in this recipe are full of flavor, and the thyme and parsley add a touch of freshness. To complete the meal, I'll serve the pork chops with a side of quinoa.

I'm planning to serve Tuesday's dinner, the Honey Mustard Salmon with Mango Quinoa, with a side of quinoa, too, so making a double batch on Sunday means I can skip that step during the busier workweek. Honey mustard is one of my favorite condiments, and it's so easy to make at home. Whether it's on top of salmon (like in Tuesday's dinner), slathered on grilled chicken or used as a salad dressing, it's so tasty. The quinoa salad perfectly complements the fish; it's crunchy and slightly sweet from mango, with a spicy twist from the jalapeño. I'll serve this dish with some Sautéed Zucchini to add a serving of veggies and round out the meal.

I'll welcome the weekend with this mouthwatering Sheet-Pan Shrimp Fried Rice recipe. Sheet-pan recipes are great to make on busy nights. And though you'll need a couple of bowls for this dinner, the cleanup is pretty straightforward, and there's no need to clean your stovetop afterward. For easy prep, I'll use precooked packets of brown rice, which will add a little more fiber to the dish than the white rice that's called for.

Sunday: Pork Chops with Balsamic Sweet Onions with a side of ⅔ cups of cooked quinoa (394 calories)

Monday: Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole paired with 2 cups of greens salad tossed with a tablespoon of Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette (400 calories)

Tuesday: Honey Mustard Salmon with Mango Quinoapaired with one serving of Sautéed Zucchini (384 calories)

Wednesday: Chickpea & Potato Hash (382 calories)

Thursday: Creamy White Chili with Cream Cheese with a side of Balsamic-Parmesan Sautéed Spinach (403 calories)

Friday: Sheet-Pan Shrimp Fried Rice (393 calories)

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Something to Sip On

Baileys & Chambord Spiked Hot Cocoa
Jamie Vespa, M.S., R.D.

The temperature continues to drop here in Seattle, which makes me crave more comforting warm drinks instead of ice-cold ones. And this boozy Baileys & Chambord Spiked Hot Cocoa is calling my name. This chocolaty drink can be whipped up in just a few minutes and only requires three ingredients (not counting the water and optional garnishes). This drink just might become your favorite cocoa for this holiday season.

Get the Recipe: ​​Baileys & Chambord Spiked Hot Cocoa

What's Inspiring Me This Week

a photo of a Costco storefront
Getty Images

I can't believe it is almost December; this year definitely flew by. And my favorite holiday, Christmas, is just around the corner! I've started planning my shopping list to make sure I get my loved ones some thoughtful gifts this year. Costco just launched some great deals which got me inspired. The sale items I'm most excited about are the blender, cookware sets and air fryer. Since my mom and sister also love to cook, I think some kitchen appliances will make great gifts for them.

Find Out More: The 14 Best Sale Items at Costco in December

I wish you all a great week, and if you have any questions or requests for future newsletters, please let me know by emailing! Don't forget to add a recipe review if you try one.

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