For me, Sunday is always my meal planning day. It’s the day that I sit down with my notebook, my recipes, my coupons, and ads, and plan out our week accordingly. It takes a bit of time – maybe an hour, but then I know what to shop for, what to prep, and generally, just feel way more relaxed.
Then after I grocery shop, I come home and start to prep some things to save time later in the week. Sometimes that means roasting a big bunch of vegetables, sometimes it’s dividing up a rotisserie chicken into baggies for meals, and sometimes it’s chopping various things for meals throughout the week. Everything gets baggied, and some things get frozen. It never takes very long, and then, it’s done.
Here are some dinners to try out (for the record, this isn’t my personal meal plan for the week, but a combination of some of our favorite healthy “go to’s”. I’ve included some of the nutritional breakdowns, just so you have an idea if you are keeping track. A lot of these have come from Hungry Girl’s 300 under 300 cookbook, some from on my own, others from the TurboFire or Chalean Extreme cookbooks, and a few from Pinterest.
1. Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes– seriously, one of the easiest meals ever. Start to finish in 10 minutes flat. This serves 4.
4 sweet potatoes
1 can of sweet corn, drained
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatos, drained
Chopped green onion, optional
1 dallop low fat or fat free sour cream per potato
1 tbsp low fat cheddar cheese per potato
Poke your sweet potatoes with a fork, and microwave for 7 – 8 minutes.
While they are baking, combine your corn, beans, and tomatoes and give them a little toss in a bowl.
Let your potatoes sit for a moment after being microwaved, and microwave your corn, bean , and tomato mixture for 2 minutes. Cut open your sweet potato and give them a good fluff with a fork. Top each with ¼ of the corn, bean, and tomato mixture. Sprinkle with low fat cheddar cheese and top with a dallop of sour cream. If you so desire, add some chopped green onion on top.
The breakdown- 257 calories; 6.5 g. fat; 10 mg. cholesterol; 298 mg. sodium; 39.8 g. carbohydrate; 8.2 g. fiber; 11.3 g. protein
8 ounces raw, boneless chicken- cubed
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
¾ cups cubed bell pepper
¾ cup sliced and halved zucchini
¾ cup chopped onion
1 cup canned fire-roasted diced tomato, drained
½ cup canned tomato paste
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
preheat oven to 375 degrees
place chicken in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the diced tomato, tomato paste, basil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add eggplant, bell pepper, zucchini, and onion- Give it a toss to coat the center of the foil. Place another sheet of foil over the top and seal the edges, forming a packet. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for a few moments before cutting the foil to release the steam. Eat up!
The breakdown- (½ the recipe) 300 calories, 2 grams of fat, 660 mg sodium, 32.5 g carbs, 9.75 g fiber, 18g sugar, 37.5 g protein
3.Southwest BBQ Chicken Quesadilla (serves 1)
1 tbsp bbq sauce (try for one that’s about 45 calories per serving)
1 wedge Laughing Cow light creamy swiss cheese
1 medium-large high fiber tortilla (about 110 calories)
2 ounces cooked and shredded boneless, skinless chicken (A rotisserie chicken works well for this)
1 tbsp canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp corn kernels, thawed from frozen
2 tbsp shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese
1 tbsp chopped green onion
Optional dips- bbq sauce, salsa, fat free ranch dressing
In a small bowl, mix bbq sauce and cheese wedge until blended- spread over ½ the tortilla. Top with all other ingredients and set aside.
Spray a pan with nonstick spray and heat over medium high. Place the half-loaded tortilla flat in the skillet for about 2 minutes. Carefully fold up the other half and gently press down with a spatula to seal. Flip, and continue cooking for 3 minutes, until both sides are crispy. Once cool, cut into wedges, and dunk into dipping sauce of your choice!
The breakdown: 1 quesadilla- 300 calories, 7.75 g fat, 940 mg sodium, 35g carbs, 7g fiber, 7g sugar, 27g protein
½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup white flour
swirl of olive oil
2 tilapia filets, thawed from frozen
Set up a breading station (I use paper plates for easy clean up) 1 with the flour, 1 with the egg, and 1 with a combined mix of the bread crumbs and your parm cheese. Take the tilapia through each step- flour, shake excess, egg, and then bread crumbs on both sides. Coat a pan with a swirl of olive oil, and toss your tilapia in- Cook for roughly 3 minutes, then flip and continue to cook for 4 minutes.
While that is finishing, in another skillet, toss a tiny bit of olive oil in a pan with about 1 tbsp minced garlic. Add an entire bag of baby spinach and give it a toss over medium heat- add 1 tbsp lemon juice ( just a good hearty squeeze and swirl will do) and continue to toss as the spinach wilts.. the whole process will take about 3 minutes… it’s good to start it when you flip your fish- they’ll finish at the same time that way.
The breakdown: Fish- 167 calories, 6.5 g fat, 275 mg sodium, 26 g protein
Spinach- 45 calories, 4 g fat, 303 mg sodium, 12 g fiber, 4 g protein
*note- we often eat this with a dinner roll as well. I like Alexia’s Ciabatta Rolls- the breakdown for the roll is as follows: 1 roll – 120 calories, 1.4 g fat, 230 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g protein *
(yes- I said bacon… )
1- 5 oz boneless skinless lean chicken breast cutlet
2 tbsp bbq sauce (look for about 45 calories per serving- I use Stubb’s which is 30 calories per 2 tbsp)
2 slices turkey bacon
1 sweet potato
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray. Season chicken with a dash of salt and pepper and coat with bbq sauce. Wrap bacon around chicken and place in pan. Bake about 20 minutes, then set oven to broil and broil til bacon is crispy- about 4 minutes.
While cooking, bake your sweet potato in the microwave during the last 8 minutes. Be sure to poke holes, or it will explode!
The breakdown- Chicken- 267 calories, 7 g fat, 802 mg sodium, 11 g carbs, 10g sugar, 37 g protein
Sweet potato- 102 calories, 0 fat, 40 mg sodium, 24 g cabs, 4g fiber, 2g protein
(if you add butter, add 100 calories and 11 g of fat)
(A hearty meal from start to finish in about 10 minutes…1 bowl, and 1 microwave.)
2 spoonfuls minced garlic
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 poblano peppers
1 medium onion
2 packs of tyson’s precooked diced chicken breast (or about 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken)
1 16 oz jar salsa verde
2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp taco seasoning
Mix all together in microwave safe bowl, heat for 7 minutes… stirring halfway through- top with your favorite chili toppers such as tortilla strips, sour cream, quac, salsa, or cheese.
Yep- that’s it.
the breakdown- (per 1 cup) – Calories 230, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol 70 mg, Carbohydrate 21 g, Protein 21 g, Sodium 750 mg, Fiber 4 g
1 100 calorie bun
1 wedge laughing cow light creamy swiss cheese
¼ cup shredded lettuce
1 slice tomato
1 slice red onion
1 frozen meatless hamburger style patty- about 100 calories
1 ounce sliced avocado (about ¼ of an avocado)
Optional- BBQ sauce- I LOVE mine with BBQ (30 calories per 2 tbsp- so about 15 calories..so worth it!)
Split bun in half and lightly toast on a medium hot skillet.
Spread bottom half with cheese wedge and top with lettuce, tomato and red onion.
Bring skillet to medium and add the “hamburger” patty. Cook 4 minutes per side and place over veggies. Top with BBQ sauce and sliced avocado. Top with your other bun half!
I like my burger with fries- lets be honest…
burger- 292 calories, 9.2 g fat, 728 mg sodium, 33.5 g carbs, 11g fiber, 5 g sugar, 19g protein
fries- (3 oz- about 30 fries) 150 calories, 6 g fat, 440 mg sodium, 24 g carbs, 2g fiber, 2g protein
(sometimes, a girl just wants FRIES)
8. Sausage- Spinach Rice Bowl
1 pouch precooked brown rice (think Uncle Ben’s microwave pouch)
1 tbsp olive oil
6 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage, casing removed (I’ll be honest, I often use Jimmy Dean precooked turkey sausage crumbles)
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1tbsp minced garlic
1 6 ounce pack of fresh baby spinach
¼ cup parm-reggiano cheese, shaved
Heat large skillet over medium-high. Swirl with oil and add sausage and red pepper. Cook about 4 minutes, add garlic, and cook an additional 30 seconds, stirring. Add spinach, cook a minute more- still stirring. Add rice, toss, and sprinkle with cheese.
The breakdown- (per cup) 333 calories, 15.4 g fat, 17.5 g protein, 33g carbs, 4 g fiber, 610 mg sodium
9. Broiled Tenderloin Steak with Ginger-Hoisin Glaze- serves 4
(serve with wilted spinach, balsamic marinated tomatoes, asparagus, or over top a big salad)
1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
1 ½ tsp grated ginger
1 ½ tsp honey
1 ½ low sodium soy sauce
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
4- 4 oz beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (1 inch thick)
preheat broiler to high
combine your first 5 ingredients and stir with a wisk (or fork)
Place steaks on a foil lined broiler pan coated with nonstick spray; sprinkle with salt and broil steaks 5 inches from heat for 2 minutes, flip and brush with half the glaze mixture. Broil 1 minute. Flip once more and brush with remaining half of glaze- broil 2 minutes, or to desired degree of doneness. ( I like ours medium rare)
Breakdown Per Steak- 194 calories, 7.8 g fat, 24.5 g protein, 4.9 g carbs, 278 mg sodium
asparagus with balsamic tomatoes
1 pound of asparagus, trimmed
2 tsp olive oil
1 ½ cups halved grape tomatoes
½ tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
½ tsp black pepper
cook asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain
heat oil in skillet, add tomatoes and garlic- cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, cook 3 minutes. Stir in salt. Arrange asparagus on plate and top with tomato mix- sprinkle with goat cheese and pepper.
(serves 4, per serving: 69 calories, 4 g fat., 3 g protein, 6.5 g carbs, 181 mg sodium)
5 oz center cut lean, boneless porkchop (or 2 smaller thin boneless chops)
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
2 tbsp shallots, chopped
1 tbsp country style mustard
4 cherry tomatos, halved
2 cups spinach
2 tbsp chicken broth
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
Season pork with salt and lemon pepper, and sear in a nonstick skillet for about 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan. In the same pan, sauté shallots for about 2 minutes. Add mustard, chicken broth, and water… reduce until thick. Top the pork with the sauce. In same pan, sauté spinach and tomato for about 2 minutes. Spoon alongside pork and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
The breakdown- 382 calories, 14 g fat, 49g protein, 14 g carbs, 9.5 g fiber
1 and ¼ pounds raw lean ground turkey
1 red onion, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
¼ cup shredded carrot
tiny bit of oil
2 tbsp bbq sauce
Heat oven to 375
Chop and Saute your onion, peppers, and carrot- about 3 minutes.
Cool the veggies a smidge, then mix in a large bowl with your ground turkey.
Form a loaf, top with BBQ sauce, and bake in the oven for about an hour.
OR if you’re like me, and you don’t have that kind of time… MUFFIN PAN TO THE RESCUE!
Spray your muffin pan, press your meatloaf mixture into each cup (you should get about 6), and top each with a tiny hit of bbq sauce. Those babies will bake in 15 minutes instead of an hour.
The breakdown per “muffin” – 200 calories, 8 g fat, 436 mg sodium, 10g carbs, 2 g fiber 3.5 g sugar, 25.5 g protein
12.Skillet Lasagna- Adapted from Weight Watchers
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3 basil leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
About 6 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into thirds & fully cooked
2 tablespoons parsley (dried or fresh)
Weight Watchers Points Plus Points: 7
1 Tbsp butter
5 medium onions, sliced ( I like to mix yellow and red for flavor profile)
½ tsp salt
2 bay leaves
6 cups low sodium beef broth
½ cup dry red wine
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 slices of baguette or sourdough
½ cup shredded swiss cheese
Heat butter in a large pot over low heat. Add the onions and salt. Cover and cook, about 30 minutes until caramelized. Add the bay leaves, broth, wine, and thyme. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Season with pepper, discard bay leaves.
Preheat broiler- divide the soup among 4 oven proof bowls. Top each with a slice of bread and some cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly (about 3 minutes)
The breakdown- 230 calories, 8 g fat, 720 mg sodium
2 tsp oil
¾ pound beef top sirloin steak, trimmed, and cut into thin strips
½ medium lime
2 medium bell peppers, one red, one green- cut into strips
1 large onion, cut into ½ inch wedges
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ tsp cumin
4, 6 inch corn tortillas
½ cup fat free sour cream
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Heat 1 tsp oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add steak and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until slightly pink. Transfer to a plate and squeeze ½ a lime over the steak. Add remaining tsp of oil to the pan along with bell peppers, and onions. Cook for about 8 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes and cook another minute. Return steak to the skillet for an additional minute. Warm tortillas, and top evenly with fajita mixture. Top with sour cream and cilantro, and garish with lime wedges.
Great with black beans or Spanish rice.
The Breakdown per tortilla pile up- 252 calories, 7 g fat, 90 mg sodium, 24 g carbs, 4g fiber, 24 g protein
Hope you enjoy some of these recipes this week!