I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like October is FLYING by! Work is crazy, we’re finally nailing some things down for the wedding, and there’s something going on every weekend. I am really trying to focus on enjoying my favorite season and all the fun things it has to offer, especially being outside of the apartment as much as possible before it gets too cold. That means I want to make my meals as simple as possible, so that I can spend minimal time in the kitchen on the weekends!
One of the chief complaints I get about making healthy food is, “I don’t have the time!” so I thought I’d put together four healthy weeknight dinners that take 40 minutes or less (and half of that time is usually for roasting the veggies and walking away). All the foods pictured can be found at Wegmans- one of my favorite places to grocery shop! They have the best quality produce for the price, lots of reasonable organic/grass fed/wild caught protein options and a ton of cool specialty products. They also have a huge selection of pre-made burgers, pre-marinated proteins, and pre-cut veggies for busy professionals or families just trying to get a balanced, nutrient dense meal.
Meal 1: Greek Turkey Burgers with Sauteed Mushrooms, Eggplant Chips and Sweet Potato Fries
The nice thing about these burgers is that they are already seasoned and have veggies and cheese added, so all you have to do is fire up the grill or stove here- minimal prep required!
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees for our veggies.
2. As it heats up, slice your eggplant up into round ‘coins’. Toss both the eggplant and the sweet potato fries in about ½ tablespoon of olive oil and some garlic salt, and spread them on a sheet pan (half the pan should be the eggplant coins and half should be the fries).
3. Roast them both in the oven for about half an hour, flipping the coins and moving the potatoes around halfway through for even cooking. The coins may need a little less time, while the potatoes may need closer to 35 minutes.
4. While the veggies are cooking, fire up the grill and start cooking the burgers with about 10 minutes left on the veggies. They should take about 3-4 minutes per side (similar time in a pan on the stove top).
5. Sautee the mushrooms in about ⅓ tablespoon of olive oil and a ¼ teaspoon of garlic salt in a separate pan while the burgers are cooking.
6. Top the burgers with sauteed mushrooms, served with sides of eggplant coins and sweet potato fries and enjoy!
Meal 2: Baked Salmon with Lemon, Roasted Delicata Squash and Green Beans
I usually buy the frozen, wild caught salmon here so that I have it in the freezer ready in a pinch, but you can also use fresh salmon. Wild caught frozen is also a little cheaper than fresh and still good quality- it’ all depends on your preference and your budget.
Start by pulling the salmon out of the freezer in the morning to defrost in the fridge during the day in a paper towel lined container. Forgot this step? No worries! Just put the salmon in a bowl of cold water for about 30 minutes.
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Sautee squash in ½ tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Optional add: pumpkin pie spice (I promise it’s yummy and brings out the sweetness and fall flavors of the squash).
3. Roast the squash for 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice.
4. Place the salmon onto a sheet pan lined with parchment, skin side down. Top with a pinch of salt and pepper and some sliced lemon (save a couple slices for the green beans). Pop the salmon in the oven with 12 minutes left on the squash.
5. While the salmon and squash are cooking, bring a stock pot of water to a boil. Throw the green beans in the boiling water to blanch, 2-3 minutes. Drain the beans and use the same pan to saute them in ½ tablespoon of olive oil and about a ½ teaspoon garlic and a couple squeezes of lemon for 3-4 minutes.
6. Remove the squash and salmon from the oven. Salmon should reach an internal temp of 145 degrees.
7. Plate the salmon, squash, and a heaping serving of green beans and enjoy!
Meal 3: Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken tossed with Squash and Asparagus in Veggie Noodles
I love this as a sub to your standard easy pasta night- much more nutrient dense and protein packed. The trick here is not to cook too long, to make sure the noodles and veggies don’t get soggy.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Saute squash in ½ tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of garlic, salt, and pepper and place in oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
3. If using a grill for the chicken, preheat to high, sear 1-3 minutes per side. Turn over and reduce heat to medium and cook 15-20 minutes turning several times until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees fahrenheit.
4. In the oven: preheat the oven to 350 (or lower to 350 at the end of cooking the squash) and pan sear if cutlets are thicker than ½ inch. Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees fahrenheit.
5. While the chicken is cooking, chop asparagus up into ½ inch pieces. Bring a stock pot of water to a boil and toss asparagus in to blanch 3-4 minutes.
6. When the chicken and squash are done, pull them out of the oven and let them rest for about 5 minutes. Slice the chicken into strips or bite sized chunks.
7. Heat ½ tablespoon of oil up in large saute pan and toss in veggie noodles and asparagus. Sautee 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
8. Add chicken and squash to veggie noodles and asparagus mixture, use a large spoon to serve entire “pasta” mixture!
Meal 4: Breakfast for Dinner
This is perhaps the easiest and most convenient dinner on this list! I recommend keeping the items pictured on hand for a night when you need a last minute protein and veggie packed meal. Think of it as your “emergency plan”...
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Saute broccoli and cauliflower mix in ½ tablespoon of oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
3. Spread veggie mixture onto a sheet pan and cook 20-30 minutes, stirring 1-2 times.
4. Slice sausage up into bite sized pieces and cook in foil or a separate pan at the same time, about 10-15 minutes (use 1 sausage per person).
5. When sausage is done and veggies have about 10 minutes left, heat a saute pan up with a teaspoon of oil. Throw in 1-2 handfuls of spinach to wilt.
6. When the spinach is mostly wilted, throw the sausage into the pan. Whisk two eggs per person in a cup and throw into the pan with the spinach and sausage.
7. Scramble the eggs, spinach, and sausage together and cook to desired consistency (soft vs hard scrambled).
8. Plate scrambled mix with roasted veggies and enjoy!
So there you have it! Four easy dinners in an hour or less- bookmark this post for your next grocery store trip and don’t forget to tag me at @meganbtheRD if you make any of the meals!