ThePrep: 500-Calorie Dinners to Make This Winter

Delicious and nourishing dinners that will help you feel your best between the holidays!

Crispy Gnocchi Pasta with Tomatoes & Leeks

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With all the focus on the main holiday meal, I tend to forget to plan dinners for the rest of the week. I always crave lighter, fresh and easy-to-prep dinners after a big feast, which is why I'm turning to these recipes. They all come in at 500 calories or less and deliver lots of veggies to help me feel my best as I welcome the new year.

Your Meal Plan

Chicken Cutlets with Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

Christmas is my all-time favorite holiday! This time of year is when all of my family gets together to count our blessings and spend some quality time with each other. Growing up, my sister and I would help my mom with all the cooking, since we'd always host Christmas Day at our house. Some of my family's Christmas staple recipes included roasted turkey, buttery green beans with sliced almonds, wild rice and, of course, dessert. My mom would always set a dessert table with lots of options, including holiday cookies from friends. And while many people may have their holiday menus all figured out, I've got you covered if you don't—see Sunday's menu below.

After the holidays, I usually crave something simpler yet still nourishing. This Crispy Gnocchi Pasta with Tomatoes & Leeks recipe is perfect for the occasion. The Parmesan cheese and sage add coziness and freshness to the recipe. While I love making gnocchi from scratch, I'll use store-bought to keep things easy after all the cooking from the day before.

On Wednesday, I'll make another simple yet flavorful recipe. This Slow-Cooker Chicken & White Bean Stew is as easy as it gets. Only 15 minutes of prep work is required, then the slow cooker does the rest of the work. This hearty recipe is packed with protein from the cannellini beans, chicken and Parmesan cheese to keep you satisfied for longer. While the recipe calls for soaking dried cannellini beans ahead of time, you can always swap in four cans of no-salt-added beans.

Friday's Chicken Cutlets with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce is a great recipe to warm up in winter. This five-star-rated recipe is easily made in two steps and 20 minutes from start to finish. The sun-dried tomato sauce is light yet creamy and delicious. To add some veggies to the meal, I'll serve the chicken cutlets over some cauliflower rice. I'll buy frozen cauliflower rice but, if you're into prepping it yourself, this cauliflower rice only takes about 10 minutes.

Sunday/Christmas Day: Garlic-Rosemary Roast Beef with Horseradish Saucewith Melting Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Goat Cheese & Pomegranate and, for dessert, Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie

Christmas Day: Get the printable shopping list.

Monday: Crispy Gnocchi Pasta with Tomatoes & Leeks (399 calories)
Tuesday: Lemon-Garlic Pasta with Salmon(473 calories)
Wednesday: Slow-Cooker Chicken & White Bean Stew (493 calories)
Thursday: Crispy Cod with Charred Snow Peas & Creamy Herb Sauce with a side of ½ cup brown rice (400 calories)
Friday: Chicken Cutlets with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce over ½ cup cauliflower rice (488 calories)

Monday through Friday: Get the printable shopping list.

Something to Sip On

three glasses of coquito
Brie Passano

Having some rompope is another must-have Christmas tradition in my family. If you're not familiar with it, rompope is an eggnog-like Mexican drink made with almonds, milk, egg yolks, sugar, rum and cinnamon. Honestly, I've never made it myself because every year a dear friend of my mom's would give us a bottle as her Christmas gift. This year we've decided to try out another creamy cocktail, coquito, to add to our dessert table. Coquito is a Puerto Rican cocktail that's also made with milk, cinnamon and rum, but with coconut instead of almonds.

Get the Recipe: Coquito

Looking to cut back on the booze? Try out one of these festive mocktail recipes or some of the best nonalcoholic beers and hop seltzers, according to our editors.

What's Inspiring Me This Week

Whipped Feta Dip with Roasted Red Peppers
Victor Protasio

Appetizers are always a must for holiday get-togethers. If you're on appetizer duty (like I am) and don't know where to start, this whipped feta crostini is a great option. This cheesy toast is definitely a crowd-pleaser, and you can top it with basically anything, from chopped olives to fresh herbs. And while the recipe calls for a food processor, a hand mixer on high speed does the trick.

Find Out More: My Favorite Holiday Appetizer Is So Good, My Friends Say They Haven't Stopped Thinking About It


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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