Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Menus—March 28 – April 1

March 27, 2016 | By | Comments (0)

Every Sunday, we publish a week of Cooking Light dinner plans filled with our favorite recipes—both from current issues and classics. Each meal is designed to be ready and on the table in about an hour so that you have more time to enjoy the food you’ve prepared and the company of those you’ve prepared it for. Since spring has now officially sprung, every meal here showcases glorious seasonal produce. Get your spring on, and enjoy!

If you like having a healthy meal plan but want something customized to your dietary or caloric needs, check out The Cooking Light Diet. It’s a calorie-driven weekly meal plan—breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—based on your dieting goals and food preferences.

The Plan
Monday: Pasta with Asparagus, Pancetta, and Pine Nuts with Celery and Parsley Salad
Tuesday: Sesame Cabbage Salad with Grilled Salmon
Wednesday: Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini with Garlic Haricots Verts
Thursday: Chicken and White Bean Soup with Ciabatta Parmesan Toasts
Friday: Wild Mushroom, Flank Steak, and Poblano Tacos with Spinach, Avocado, and Orange Salad
Drink Bonus: Celery Gin Fizz

Monday: A light and luscious noodle dish is the perfect spring supper; it’s comforting for sure, but dressed simply with lemon juice, olive oil, and a sprinkle of cheese–this Pasta with Asparagus, Pancetta, and Pine Nuts won’t weigh you down. Plus, if you’re looking to use up leftover Easter ham, here’s a delicious opportunity. Swap the pancetta in this recipe for a few ounces of diced ham. If you go this route, skip steps 4 and 5 of the recipe. You can reheat your ham simply by stirring it into the warm pasta or throw it into a hot skillet with a drizzle of oil to get some crispy edges. A simple peppery green Celery and Parsley Salad rounds out the plate perfectly.

pasta-asparagus-pancetta-ck-xPasta with Asparagus, Pancetta, and Pine Nuts

celery-parsley-salad-ck-xCelery and Parsley Salad

Tuesday: If ever there was a company-worthy and weeknight-friendly recipe, this Sesame Cabbage Salad with Grilled Salmon is it. A vibrant shredded red and green cabbage salad boasts full-on flavor with sesame, soy sauce, and fresh cilantro defining the dressing and delivers incredibly vibrant color and crunch to the plate. Topped with a fillet of simple grilled salmon, this dish is as elegant as it is easy. If you want to add a quick grain to the meal, grab a package of instant brown rice–heat it, toss in some extra sliced green onions and a light drizzle of sesame oil, and get to grubbing.

Various recipes for Superfast-Aug 15Sesame Cabbage Salad with Grilled Salmon

Wednesday: Welcome to “Will It Waffle?” Wednesday! Today’s guest: a toasty panini loaded with turkey, bacon, cheddar, and apple slices. OK, spoiler alert… of course our Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini will waffle. It was born to waffle. An abundance of crisp crevices matched with this sandwich’s warm gooey interior will make it a fast family favorite. Instead of a typical fried potato side to the sandwich, go for savory roasted Garlic Haricots Verts–hey, they’re finger-friendly too.

6028802_DTSFA0165Waffle Iron Turkey Melt Panini

garlic-haricots-verts-ck-xGarlic Haricots Verts

Thursday: Rustic and wholly satisfying, a bowl of brothy Chicken and White Bean Soup  is the type of soul-warming elixir we all need to see us through to Friday. Naturally, a bowl of sumptuous soup requires a grade-A dipper–enter, Ciabatta Parmesan Toasts. And if you felt like throwing back this Thursday, Monday’s Celery and Parsley Salad would likewise be a more-than-welcome accompaniment to this meal.

chicken-white-bean-soup-ck-xChicken and White Bean Soup

ciabatta-parmesan-toasts-ck-xCiabatta Parmesan Toasts

Friday: Oh hey, Friday–looks like it’s time to fiesta. Pairing wild mushrooms with steak creates a rich umami factor that really sets these Wild Mushroom, Flank Steak, and Poblano Tacos apart. All you need is a vibrant Spinach, Avocado, and Orange Salad, and you’re almost ready to welcome in the weekend.

mushroom-steak-tacos-ck-xWild Mushroom, Flank Steak, and Poblano Tacos

Spinach Salad With Avocado And Orange; Photographer: Jason Varney Prop Stylist: Lindsey Lower: Food Stylist: Erin MerharSpinach, Avocado, and Orange Salad

Drink Bonus: Still have celery hanging out in the fridge from this week’s salads? Oh, do we have the recipe for you! (P.S. If you don’t still have celery hanging out in your fridge, you may want to go find some).

Celery lends a refreshing peppery punch to this delightful twist on a Gin Fizz. While the celery simple syrup is a delicious partner to gin’s herbaceous notes, this drink is easily converted to a non-alcoholic cocktail that is equally refreshing. Simply combine the simple syrup with fresh lemon juice and club soda to taste. OK, since you have a bright and tasty beverage in hand, now you’re ready to welcome in the weekend. Cheers!

Nov 15: Use It Up CeleryCelery Gin Fizz

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