Sunday Strategist: Week of April 8

Here, another week’s worth of fast, healthy, and tasty menus. It’s not the love of cooking that deters so many of us from the kitchen each night; it’s actually deciding what to cook from the millions of options bombarding us from so many different places. Here, we’ve done the planning for you. Not just menus, but healthy menus that are fast – on the table in less than 45 minutes. Sound good? It does to me, too.

I’ve picked out some of our favorite fast recipes (and some of your favorites too, based on recipe ratings) that all work together to bring you a week’s worth of healthy, tasty meals. We’ve also saved these recipes to a menu at MyRecipes.com. Use it to make your shopping list.

Monday: I’m feeling a Meatless Monday. Let’s crack open some eggs and bring out the cast iron skillet with this Mushroom Frittata. Earthy, meaty mushrooms get a sharp, salty kick from pecorino Romano, all topped with a peppery arugula salad. I’m a sucker for all things salad, so my suggestion is to double the arugula mix. Ready in less than 30 minutes – that’s my kind of mushroom!

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday! The taco territory is vastly extensive and might just be the most fun food there is to create. There are two main types of tacos out there — those made with corn tortillas and those made with flour. Fresh corn tortillas always get my vote. That authentic masa aroma gets me every time. Added bonus: They’re also usually lower in calories and sodium. Double bonus! Flour tortillas contain about 90 calories and 200mg sodium versus the 60 calories and 40mg sodium in corn tortillas. I don’t know about you guys, but when I chow down on tacos, I want more than one. Opting for a corn-based wrapper leaves much more room for toppers!

Try these Garlic-Chipotle Chicken Tacos that utilize one of my favorite south-of-the-border products, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. You’ll find them canned in the Latin section of your supermarket. They impart a deep smoky flavor and a hit of spice to the chicken in these tacos. If you’ve got tender taste buds, a dollop of light sour cream will help cut some of that heat.

Serve with this bright Avocado and Orange Salad. It’s a tasty marriage of creamy avocado, bright citrus, and acidic tomatoes. You only need ½ cup of grape tomatoes in this recipe, but buy the whole container. We’ll use them again tomorrow night.

Wednesday: Here’s where I’m going to introduce you to my favorite vinaigrette of the moment. It’s divine. I use it on everything from salads to quinoa, grilled veggies to chicken. It is so easy! In our Pork over Couscous with Pistachio-Lemon Vinaigrette, we use it over a juicy bone-in loin pork chop and a couscous salad.

Side note: If you’re a whole-grain fanatic like me, sub in quinoa for couscous. Cook quinoa according to your normal routine (or learn how to cook perfect quinoa), and carry on with recipe.

The dressing is nutty, salty, and sweet, not like anything you will ever find in a bottle. Sub honey for maple syrup and regular balsamic vinegar for white, if necessary. I make it in my mini food processor; just give it a few pulses. Go ahead and double the recipe. It keeps very well in the refrigerator, and trust me, you’ll want extra. Ready in less than 30 minutes.

Thursday: While I’m on a favorite salad dressing kick, I will introduce you to another favorite: Fresh carrot-ginger vinaigrette. It goes with our Crispy Salmon and Arugula Salad. It’s another dressing that comes together quickly in a mini processor. This one hits all sorts of savory-sweet notes, with a bright, fresh gingery finish. I love fresh ginger. You’ll find ginger root in the produce section of your supermarket. It’s sold by the pound, and you can usually find a small piece that costs less than a buck. If not, just break a little piece off from a bigger root. That’s what I always do.

Make sure the pan is good and hot before you add the fish, skin side down. It makes all the difference in that crispy skin.

Friday: Happy Friday to all! Let’s celebrate with some tasty, juicy, healthy burgers. I can think of no better way to end the week than with our top-test-kitchen rated Cabernet-Balsamic Burger with Sauteed Mushrooms & Onions.

One important point: These guys take close to an hour, so I’ll offer you a quicker alternative. BUT if time allows, I highly recommend you try this burger. The time commitment falls to the caramelized onions. When properly executed, it takes about 30 minutes. These onions are spiked with jammy red wine and tart-sweet vinegar. A portion of the onions are then mixed into the patties to help keep lean beef moist. Once grilled, the burger is then topped with sautéed mushrooms and a garlicky blue cheese spread that’s just downright delicious. Go ahead and open a bottle of cabernet. You’ll need a little to cook down the onions. Then pour a glass for yourself and relax.  It’s Friday.

If you’d rather skip the lengthier recipe and opt for something shorter, try our tasty take on the legendary In-N-Out cheeseburger. Our Out-n-In California Burger is a tasty handful, complete with savory sauce — and it has about 100 fewer calories, 40% less fat (we even have an added bonus of avocado!), and 20% less sodium than the fast food original.

It’s ready in about 22 minutes. Now that’s what I call fast food! There isn’t red wine in this recipe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still open a bottle.

I’ll end on a sweet note. Our Raspberry Chocolate Parfaits are a fast, fun dessert that uses a favorite new product of ours: frozen Greek yogurt. It comes in perfect little pint-sized portions and is popping up in freezer aisles everywhere. To take that fro-yo up a notch, we make a quick compote with a little sugar, fresh raspberries, and orange juice, then layer it with creamy Greek fro-yo and bittersweet chocolate. Talk about tasty!

Alright, your Sunday Strategist, signing off. Cheers to a week of happy, healthy eating!

Ready to start shopping?

View this week’s menu, which includes every recipe you see mentioned here. From there, you can create a shopping list when you sign into your MyRecipes account.

COMMENTS

  1. Sara Henderson

    I think these are great. I’d love to see some with different spins – a plan for singles or couples, a plan for vegetarians and/or pescatarians, etc. I know that’s asking a lot but a girl can dream!

    April 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm

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