After a long day of work, it's easy to let healthy eating slide. I would much prefer to go out to dinner than come home and start worrying about what to make for dinner. But I've found a secret to making quick, easy and healthy weeknight meals: I plan ahead. On Sunday, I make a list of meals for the week, I shop for them all at once, and post my menu on the fridge to stay on track. It's a lot harder to justify a restaurant meal when all my ingredients for a healthy, home-cooked dinner that can be done quickly are right in front of me.
Here is what's on the menu this week:
Monday: Steak & Potato Kebabs with Creamy Cilantro Sauce (recipe below)-Steak kebabs get a Southwestern spin with poblano peppers and a creamy sauce spiked with cilantro, chile powder, cumin and vinegar. The potatoes are partially cooked in the microwave before putting them on the grill so they're done at the same time as faster-cooking steak, peppers and onions. Serve with: Green salad and Spanish rice.
Tuesday: Huevos Rancheros Verdes (click for recipe)-Huevos rancheros or "ranch eggs" is a classic Mexican dish that is great for a quick dinner. Traditionally, it's made with a red tomato-based sauce. Here we use tart and tangy green salsa instead. Serve with: Brown rice and slices of avocado.
Wednesday: Grilled Salmon & Zucchini with Red Pepper Sauce (click for recipe)-Jazz up simply grilled salmon and summer vegetables with a zesty sauce based on the classic Spanish romesco. Made with roasted red peppers, tomatoes and almonds, this sauce is a great match for any seafood, poultry or vegetables. Using smoked paprika brings out the flavors from the grill. Serve with: Grilled baguette.
Thursday: Arugula & Prosciutto Pizza (click for recipe)-Sautéed onions, prosciutto and fontina cheese flavor this white pizza. Topping the hot-out-of-the-oven pizza with fresh greens and diced tomatoes gives it a delicious, summery twist. We use store-bought pizza dough to keep it quick. Serve with: Crunchy vegetables and your favorite dip.
Friday: Oven-Fried Fish & Chips (click for recipe)-Fish and chips are traditionally sold wrapped in paper to soak up all the grease-not a good sign. To cut the calories in half and reduce the fat, we coat the delicate fish in a crispy cornflake crust and then bake it along with sliced potatoes. Serve with: Coleslaw and malt vinegar or lemon wedges.
Steak & Potato Kebabs with Creamy Cilantro Sauce
Active time: 40 minutes | Total: 40 minutes | Equipment: Eight 10- to 12-inch skewers
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, minced
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
8 new or baby red potatoes
1 1/4 pounds strip steak, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 poblano peppers or 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1. Combine cilantro, vinegar, sour cream, garlic, chile powder, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Preheat grill to high.
3. Place potatoes in a microwave-safe container. Cover and microwave on High until just tender when pierced with a fork, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes.
4. Toss the potatoes, steak and pepper pieces with oil and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Thread the potatoes, steak, peppers and onion chunks onto 8 skewers (see Tip). Grill, turning once or twice, until the steak reaches desired doneness, about 6 minutes for medium. Serve the kebabs with the reserved sauce.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 271 calories; 9 g fat (3 g sat, 4 g mono); 65 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 30 g protein; 2 g fiber; 368 mg sodium; 786 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C & Zinc (35% daily value), Potassium (22% dv), Iron (15% dv).
Tip: Grilling with wooden skewers-Wrap the exposed parts with foil to keep them from burning. (Contrary to conventional wisdom, soaking skewers in water doesn't protect them.)
By Hilary Meyer
EatingWell assistant editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.
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