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Ideas for healthy, weekday dinners

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  January 23, 2013 08:00 AM

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Do you find it challenging to create a healthy weekday dinner that doesn’t require a lot of time slicing, dicing, and sautéing in the kitchen? Here are 5 healthy and quick cuisines designed for those who are time impaired.

Mid-Week Meal No. 1: Turkey Pizza Cutlets
For the ultimate Italian night, try these easy Turkey Pizza Cutlets (see recipe below). Since the lean turkey cutlets are baked rather than pan fried, you're no longer a sautéing slave to your stove. This not only reduces the fat in the cutlets, but also frees up your time for more important things, like washing the breakfast dishes that are still stacked in the kitchen sink. Add some cooked pasta and green beans with sun dried tomatoes for a dinner Italiano-style.

Mid-Week Meal No. 2: Ziti with Chicken and Broccoli in a Creamy Sauce
Since this mock Alfredo-type cream sauce is made with low-fat evaporated milk, it's guaranteed to be kind to your bathroom scale. But here's the best part of the dinner: The broccoli is cooked along with the pasta, which means that there is one less pot to scour. Just add a tossed salad with this easy ziti with chicken and broccoli in a creamy sauce dinner.

Mid-Week Meal No. 3: Grilled Salmon with Ranch Sauce
Yes, you can make fish during the week with this easy Grilled Salmon with Ranch Sauce (see recipe below). Add the quick brown rice & shredded carrots sauté for any easy side. You will fall in love with this fish dish -- hook, line, and sinker.

Mid-Week Meal No. 4: Marvelous Microwave Meatballs
With only four ingredients, these marvelous microwave meatballs are not only a snap to make but the microwave does all the work. Leftovers can be frozen for a quick thaw and dinner for next week. If you are feeding a crowd, double the recipe to guarantee leftovers for another meal. While the turkey meatballs are cooking in microwave, boil some water for pasta. Serve the meal with a side of baby carrots and a light dressing for dunking.

Mid-Week Meal No. 5: Mexican Macaroni and Cheese
By the end of the week, the refrigerator is likely to be bare so head to the cupboard for your dinner fixings. Add a can of lower sodium black beans to a lonely box of macaroni and cheese along with some chunky salsa, and you'll have mexican macaroni & cheese. If you can't find the lower-sodium canned beans, spoon regular canned beans into a colander and rinse under running cold water to reduce the sodium content by over 40 percent.

Turkey Pizza Cutlets
• 1 pound turkey breast cutlets
• 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
• 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
• 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce
• 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
• vegetable oil spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray baking pan with vegetable oil spray and set aside. Place egg whites in a shallow bowl. Spoon bread crumbs onto a small plate. Dip each cutlet into egg whites and then coat with bread crumbs. Place on baking pan. Bake for approximately 18 to 20 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. Remove pan from oven. Carefully spoon on sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for an additional 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Makes 4 cutlets.
Nutrition Information:
Per cutlet:
Calories: 216
Fat: 7.5 grams
Saturated Fat: 2.5 grams
Cholesterol: 52 milligrams
Sodium: 444 milligrams
Fiber: 1 gram
Copyright © Joan Salge Blake

Grilled Salmon with Ranch Sauce
• 3 tablespoons light ranch salad dressing
• 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
• 5 scallions, chopped
• 1 pound salmon fillets
• 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
• vegetable oil spray

Heat grill or broiler. Combine salad dressing, yogurt, and scallions in small container. Cover and refrigerate. Spray salmon with vegetable oil spray and sprinkle with pepper. Broil or grill for 6 minutes. Turn and grill for an additional 4 minutes or until salmon is flaky and thoroughly cooked. Remove from grill and divide among four plates. Top with ranch sauce.
Makes 4 servings.
Kitchen Shortcut: Ranch sauce can be made the night before or early in the morning. Refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use.
Nutrition Information:
Per serving:
Calories: 190
Fat: 9.5 grams
Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams
Cholesterol: 61 milligrams
Sodium: 157 milligrams
Dietary Fiber: 0
Copyright © Joan Salge Blake

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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