ThePrep: 450-Calorie Dinners to Prep in 25 Minutes or Less

A week of flavorful and nutritious dinners to get on the table quickly, even after long workdays.

Bacon, Leek & Pear Skillet Pizza
Photo: Greg DuPree

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I love ending a busy weekday either on the couch, watching an episode of Shark Tank with my husband, or going out for a walk, especially as days get longer. However, sometimes dinner takes longer to make than I expect it to, and I'm left with no time for my after-dinner activities. That's why this week, I'll stick to recipes I can prep in 25 minutes or less, so I make sure I have time to relax after dinner.

Your Meal Plan

Creamy Harissa Chicken Cutlets
Jacob Fox

This week's dinners show that getting well-balanced and nutritious meals on the table quickly is possible, even after long workdays. These recipes require only 25 minutes or less of prepping time and are packed with delicious flavors and nutrients to help you feel your best. Although these dinners provide around 450 calories, it's better to listen to your hunger and fullness cues. You can adjust these meals to what works best for you and your family without needing to rely on a strict calorie count.

Tuesday's dinner is great proof of a tasty, nutritious and easy-to-make meal. The ​​Creamy Harissa Chicken Cutlets feature harissa, a spicy condiment made from chile peppers commonly used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisines. Research shows that capsaicin—a compound found in chiles—has anti-inflammatory properties and supports weight management. And this five-star-rated recipe is easily made in two steps and only takes 20 minutes from start to finish. For some freshness and a well-rounded meal, I'll serve the chicken cutlets with a side salad of mixed greens tossed with a tablespoon of Sherry Dijon Vinaigrette. Mixed greens with homemade vinaigrette are my go-to—it's a flavorful and simple way to add more veggies to this meal.

Sunday: Bacon, Leek & Pear Skillet Pizza (378 calories)
Monday: Roasted Chickpea Curry Bowltopped with 1/3 of an avocado (410 calories)
Tuesday: ​​Creamy Harissa Chicken Cutlets with a side of 2 cups mixed greens tossed with 1 Tbsp. Sherry Dijon Vinaigrette(434 calories)
Wednesday: Seared Tuna with Bulgur & Chickpea Salad (459 calories)
Thursday: Skillet Lemon Chicken with Spinach paired with a slice of toasted whole-wheat baguette (427 calories)
Friday: Grilled Blackened Shrimp Tacos with 1 cup Broccoli and Cauliflower Sauté (393 calories)

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Something to Sip On


One of my favorite ways to savor the weekend is by enjoying a glass of wine or a beer on the rooftop of my apartment building. Yet, my husband and I decided to take a booze break, which doesn't mean I can't enjoy something tasty and refreshing. This Watermelon Mint Mocktail is a refreshing sip on a sunny day. Garnishing the drink with mint and a slice of watermelon makes it feel extra special.

Get the Recipe: Watermelon Mint Mocktail

What's Inspiring Me This Week

a photo of Giada De Laurentiis
Getty Images

Easter lunch is a big tradition in my family. When I was a kid, my grandma always hosted it at her house, where she prepared delicious Middle Eastern dishes like tabbouleh, kibbeh and Lamb & Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves. Years later, the tradition shifted, and my mom started hosting. Her menu included paella and a couple of salads. This year, my husband and I will be hosting an Easter lunch with some friends, since we won't be able to join our families. So I'm planning my own twist on our tradition. And Giada's Easter menu, including a quick, five-ingredient salad, looks like the perfect lineup—simple and delicious recipes that are definitely crowd-pleasers.

Find Out More: Giada De Laurentiis Just Announced Her Easter Menu, and It Includes a Quick, 5-Ingredient Salad

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