Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Menus — January 13-17

January 12, 2014 | By | Comments (5)

Here, another week’s worth of fast, healthy, and tasty menus. It’s not the dread 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.

If you’re anything like me and my family, last week was all about survival—making it through the first full week back at work, getting kiddos back into the routine of school and activities. This week, though… This week is all about a serious post-holiday reset. Maybe, just maybe, you need to reset your diet because (like me!) you tended to overindulge during the chaos of the holidays and the chaos of last week. I want to think I’m not the only one in this boat, so let’s row ourselves together to a healthier place with a week of complete dinners all under 400 calories. Ready, set, reset!!

The Plan
Monday: Chipotle–Black Bean Chili with Quick Corn Bread with Smoky-Sweet Butter
Tuesday: Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca with Quick Chive Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes and Toasted Garlic
Wednesday: Spicy Shrimp Noodle Bowl with Cucumber-Peanut Salad
Thursday: Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Apples with Orzo with Garlicky Spinach
Friday: Barbecue Sirloin and Blue Cheese Salad with Garlic-Parmesan Toasts
Dessert Bonus: Anjou Pears and Grapes with Blue Cheese and Walnuts

Monday: A hearty bowl of chili is a fine, fine thing on a winter night, especially when it’s our fast and easy to make Chipotle–Black Bean Chili. This vegetarian version comes together in no time and picks up great flavor from canned chipotle chiles. Corn bread is the perfect side to complete the meal, especially when served with smoky honey butter. Total calories: 395!

Chipotle-Black Bean Chili

Chipotle-Black Bean Chili | Photo: Howard L. Puckett

Tuesday: A low-cal dinner that includes prosciutto and mashed potatoes? Yes, please! Turn boring chicken cutlets into a delicious, entertaining-worthy entrée by wrapping them with fresh sage and salty prosciutto for Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca. The citrusy sauce is great over mashed potatoes, which temper the tang and soak up every drop. A little chile heat in the broccoli side balances all the flavors.
Total calories: 363!

Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca

Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca | Photo: Johnny Autry

Quick Chive Mashed Potatoes

Quick Chive Mashed Potatoes | Photo: Johnny Autry

Wednesday: Time to stoke the fire with a spicy number! Everyday supermarket ingredients make up Spicy Shrimp Noodle Bowl, a dish with big, bold global flavors. It’s fun to slurp up the slippery noodles, and don’t be afraid to tip the bowl and drink the broth. To cool your palate, munch on crunchy Cucumber-Peanut Salad, a refreshing, superfast side.
Total calories: 288!

Spicy Shrimp Noodle Bowl

Spicy Shrimp Noodle Bowl | Photo: John Autry

Cucumber-Peanut Salad

Cucumber-Peanut Salad | Photo: Randy Mayor

Thursday: Pork and apples are a timeless combination. With our Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Apples, we give the classic a slight update by putting the sweet spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) on the pork and the savory touches (shallots, thyme) on the apples. Because the whole dish leans a bit sweet, serve with a decidedly savory side like Orzo with Garlicky Spinach, which combines starch and vegetable in one fast dish.
Total calories: 382!

Orzo with Garlicky Spinach

Orzo with Garlicky Spinach | Photo: Johnny Autry

Friday: A steakhouse meal would certainly blow this week’s calorie budget, so instead make a steakhouse-inspired meal that gives you spice-rubbed sirloin, blue cheese salad, and cheesy garlic bread for less than 400 calories! Barbecue Sirloin Salad is a big ol’ satisfying bowl of goodness with a hefty hit of blue cheese; use gorgonzola for milder flavor and creamier texture, or for full-on funky flavor try something strong like Maytag. A side of bubbly Garlic-Parmesan Toast goes great alongside.
Total calories: 387!

Garlic-Parmesan Toasts

Garlic-Parmesan Toasts | Photo: Randy Mayor

Dessert Bonus: For many folks, a cheese tray is the perfect dessert. I tend to agree: A little fruit, some nuts, some cheese—yummmmm and not too sweet. Create that at home with this simple, elegant combo (don’t skip the walnut oil—it’s delicious!) with only 212 calories.

Ready to start shopping? View this week’s menu, which includes every recipe you see mentioned here. From there, you can add all the ingredients to your shopping list in one click when you sign into your MyRecipes account.


  1. Chalkboard Menu Planner | Plucking Daisies

    […] STEP 5:  Write out your menu.  I find my menu plans at Cooking Light “The Sunday Strategist” […]

    February 7, 2014 at 9:06 am
  2. Susan McNeil

    I made four of the meals on the menu and my family thought they were eating out every night. I shopped on Sunday after downloading the shopping list into my myrecipe app. I had every ingredient at my fingertips after a long day of work and the meals were quick and mostly easy…thank you. I love to cook but get tired of thinking about what to make. This is a good solution. I can’t wait for this weeks.

    January 17, 2014 at 6:15 pm
  3. posgamxzbtbaf


    January 16, 2014 at 7:11 am
  4. E Snyder

    Is there a way to have the Sunday Strategist menus sent directly to me through email, facebook, pinterest . . . anything?

    January 12, 2014 at 1:47 pm
  5. Barbie Morgan

    These items all sound amazing but for those of us who live in rural areas, and who farm, these things are not something we are “able” to make as we rarely go to town.

    January 12, 2014 at 10:23 am

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