Week nights are busy. By the time I finish work, commute, go to the gym, run errands, and just deal with life, I don’t have time for an elaborate dinner. What I do have time for is something quick, easy, inexpensive, healthy, and tasty. And, lets be honest weekends tend to be splurg-y so weekdays are a good time to be healthy so it all balances out. Here’s my weeknight dinners from last week complete with shopping list, ingredients, and directions. Not that you even need the directions, its that easy…

Italian Sausage, Spinach, Mushrooms, and Whole Wheat Pasta

sausage and pasta

This is a simple one dish recipe that takes about 20 minutes. Its got tons of flavor and is perfect for a colder, rainy day b/c of its heartiness. Here’s the short ingredient list:

  • TJ’s chicken and roasted red pepper sausage, peel off casing and break into chunks (used 3 for 2 people)
  • 2 cups mushrooms (presliced to save time)
  • bag of spinach (prewashed to save time)
  • 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  • garlic and italian spices
  • 1 cup uncooked whole wheat pasta.

Boil water and add pasta. Use a little olive oil and garlic to get things fragrant, add mushrooms and when they are almost done add in chicken sausage, spinach, and spices of your choice. When everything is done mix in tomato sauce to add liquid. I will definitely make this again.

Chicken, Mixed Veggies and Brown Rice

chicken and veggies

This took 20 minutes from start to finish and I had help from my good friend, Trader Joe’s. All 4 ingredients were picked up at TJs and throw into a one pan wonder:

  • grilled chicken
  • frozen mixed veggie bag
  • sesame soy ginger vinaigrette
  • brown rice

Chop the chicken into chunks, grill it until almost done, throw in veggies, when everything is almost done, add about 1/2 cup of marinate. Pop already prepared rice into microwave for 60 seconds. DONE. I enjoyed the marinade, the dish had flavor and was filling, but I’m not sure I would make this very often – its just not very exciting 😦

Shrimp tacos and Lettuce Cups

shrimp and veggies

Mexican food is the best solution to a quick dinner. So easy.

  • whole wheat wraps
  • shrimp
  • salsa
  • tomatoes
  • avocado
  • red onion
  • lettuce leaves

Chop up all veggies (or buy prechopped), mix in with salsa. Grill shrimp using a spice that has a kick. I used cooking spray and then sprinkled taco seasoning. Broil wraps, throw it all in and your are good to go. To save on calories, I usually eat one real deal taco and then switch to wrapping the veggies and protein in a lettuce wrap. I would also make this again.

Next week for Easy Weeknight Dinners:

  • Orange Glazed Salmon with Red Bliss Potatoes and Spinach
  • Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cooking for one combined with an “on-the-go” lifestyle makes eating healthfully and economically challenging. Here’s the simple approach I take:

Step 1: Take a few days at a time, look at your calendar, and determine what meals you will eat at home

meal count chart

In the chart above, I see that I need:

  • breakfast food
  • 3 portions of a healthful meal (2 dinner and 1 lunch)
  • Something that is easy to assemble to make another lunch and snacks

For the healthful meal, I try to keep it easy…time and ingredient wise. I have tons of recipes bookmarked in my favorites, so I tend to scan through and see what appeals to me. I just took a look and fajitas sound great! For breakfast, I alternate between whole grain bread with almond butter and a yogurt parfait. My favorite snack is hummus, salsa, and veggies, and to make it a lunch I add whole grain flatbread. EASY!

Step 2: Make a shopping list of what to buy (some items you will already have at home)

  • Chicken Breast (or portabella mushrooms to keep it vegetarian)
  • Peppers (red, green, yellow)
  • Vidalia Onion
  • Mexican Spice Pack
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce (use leaves as the shell instead of tortilla wrap)
  • Hummus (I heart SABRA Original Hummus)
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Almond butter
  • Apple
  • Nectarines
  • Whole wheat bread

TOTAL COST: #35.00

Hummus with Veggies (~190), Chicken and Veggie Fajitas with Lettuce Shell (~360)

Hummus with Veggies (~190 cal), Chicken and Veggie Fajitas with Lettuce Shell (~360 cal)

Nutrition Labels are super easy to create on Calorie Count.