Healthy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Looking for dinner ideas for tonight? These healthy weeknight dinner ideas are perfect when you’re tired of takeout but don’t know what to make for your family. 

With over 300 healthy dinner ideas (that taste good!) you’ll be sure to find a ton of new favorites for your family. These nourishing homemade dinner recipes focus on fresh produce, lean meats, and whole grains so you feel healthy inside and out.

This collection of healthy weeknight dinners includes plenty of options no matter what diet you follow -- from gluten free and low carb recipes to Whole 30 and Paleo options to healthier spins on classic comfort food favorites. 

You’ll also find tons of sheet pan dinners and one pan meals that make clean up so easy! 

Your whole family will love this sheet pan chicken recipe with crispy gnocchi and my favorite goulash soup. In the summer, grill up some Greek burgers. Or make an easy marinade for sirloin tip steak as a quick Monday night meal. 

Who knew healthy could taste so good -- or be so simple? 

Tortelloni Fagioli with Fire Roasted Tomatoes

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This spin on classic pasta fagioli was nothing more than an excuse eat tortellini.

Seriously. I’ve been craving it ever since I made Tortelloni Di Ricotta Di Noci Tostate but, since I find tortellini so easy to overeat, I try not to make it too often. Then I had a brilliant idea: stretch out a serving of tortellini by adding it to a soup full of nutritious ingredients. As it turns out, the soup that I created ended up being crave worthy in its own right — and is so much healthier than just eating a giant bowl of carbs and cheese for dinner (which is what I would have done otherwise).

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I always say that I like to make soup because it’s so simple, and this is one of the easiest yet — other than chopping an onion, all you have to do is open jars and dump them in your pot. Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe and I wanted to be sure that the final dish was full of flavor, I turned to my old favorite: fire roasted tomatoes. I really love the slightly smokey, charred flavor of these tomatoes and they really added a nice dimension to the soup.

Instead of regular cheese tortellini, I grabbed a package of chicken and proscuitto tortelloni from Buitoni. I LOVED the way these tasted in the soup! They were very delicate but they added a ton of flavor (they reminded me a little bit of wontons). I definitely recommend using them, but if you can’t find them — or if you’re a vegetarian — you can easily substitute regular cheese tortellini.

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Click to continue reading and get the recipe for Tortelloni Fagioli with Fire Roasted Tomatoes –>

Chana Saag (Chickpeas with Spinach)

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Following a month of eating mostly take-out and a trip to the Foodbuzz Festival (where I ate pretty much everything in sight) I’m excited to be back in the kitchen, cooking up healthy recipes.

Choosing the first meal to cook was a difficult task: I was sick of carbs, tired of cheese (yes, it’s possible!), and had my fill of meat. Soup seemed like the perfect solution, but Shawn was sick of that. I knew I was on to something when I spotted a can of chickpeas in the back of the cabinet — starchy, but not heavy like pasta, potatoes, or rice. It didn’t take long to figure out what I wanted to do with them. This chana saag was exactly the kind of meal that I was aching for: warm, creamy chickpeas coated in a fragrant spinach sauce provided enough protein and fiber to keep me satisfied without leaving me stuffed.

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I hadn’t made chana saag in years, and I had forgotten how easy it is! Start to finish, it will take you about a half hour and most of the ingredients involved are pantry staples, meaning this can be easily whipped up on a weeknight. A food processor makes pureeing the spinach sauce a breeze, but if you don’t have one it can also be made successfully in a blender.

Looking for a vegan meal? Substitute silken tofu for the yogurt! You can also leave it out entirely, but it does add a nice touch of creaminess to the sauce.

Looking for a meat-filled meal? I encourage you to give the chickpeas a try. But if you insist, you can substitute two chicken breasts for the chickpeas. Just adjust the final cooking time to ensure that it’s cooked through.

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Click to continue reading and get the recipe for Chana Saag –>

Tortellini with Walnut Pesto 1

Tortellini with Walnut Pesto

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This Monday, October 25, is World Pasta Day, a day devoted to one of the world’s most loved carbohydrate. I’ve decided to join in the celebration by sharing a recipe from the new book, The Geometry of Pasta. After all, what better time is there to share a review of a book dedicated entirely to pasta? Especially when the book contains fun recipes, like this one for Tortelloni Di Ricotta Al Pesto Di Noci Tostate (the fancy-pants Italian way of saying, “tortellini with burnt walnut pesto”)?

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This fun little book isn’t your standard cookbook at all, which is pretty evident before you even open it. The book is small but thick — like a long novel — and the striking graphic cover is as close to an illustration as you’ll get. But while this book lacks glossy photos (which we all know I love), there’s definitely no shortage of unique recipes. The Geometry of Pasta contains over 100 recipes, each featuring simple ingredients and designed to pair the perfect shape of pasta with the perfect sauce. While that may seem like overkill, there really is an art to figuring out whether a new sauce will pair better with a hearty, ridged pasta or with a smooth angel hair. This book takes the guesswork out of it — and introduces you to pasta shapes you’ve probably never heard of!

Some of the recipes are a little strange (I think I’ll pass on the alphabet pasta with ketchup, though I’m sure a little kid would find it to be a great alternative to spaghetti-o’s) and some of the pasta shapes may be hard to find but with so many recipes, this book has something for everyone. I was a huge fan of this tortellini recipe; cooking it was fun and eating it was even better. The combination of sauce and shape really was ideal — the chunky pesto settled perfectly into the curves of the tortellini, ensuring no sauce was left behind in the bottom of the bowl.

I also loved how the recipes in this book were written. They’re slightly vague, which might be frustrating to those less comfortable in the kitchen, but they remind me of something that might have been passed down by a grandparent — very, very authentic. The dual indexes — one in Italian and one in English – were also a nice touch that I appreciated a lot. While this is definitely more of a specialty cookbook than something you would use every day, it’s a great addition to your collection if you’re a fan of pasta or Italian cuisine.

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Click to get the recipe for Tortelloni Di Ricotta Al Pesto Di Noci Tostate From The Geometry of Pasta –>

Cassoulet with White Beans, Sausage & Turkey 2

Cassoulet with White Beans, Sausage & Turkey

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I don’t know how I managed to make it through 20-some years of life without trying cassoulet, but I have a feeling I’ll eat enough this fall and winter to make up for it. I made the one pictured here about two weeks ago, and I’ve been dying to have it again ever since. I actually have another one in the oven as I write this post.

Don’t let the fancy French name scare you off. When it comes down to it, cassoulet is nothing more than a white bean and tomato stew. A fragrant sauce flavored with fresh herbs cooks quickly on the stove before being mixed with the rest of the ingredients and baking in the oven. It’s pure stick-to-your-ribs comfort food full of rich and delicious flavors typical of the French countryside.

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This dish takes a little longer to make than most of my recipes, requiring about 20 minutes of active time and an hour or so in the oven, but with a little planning it can definitely be made on a weeknight. Go ahead and make a big batch — it tastes even better the next day.

Traditional cassoulet uses duck or goose confit, but since that can be difficult to find (not to mention expensive!) I’ve taken the liberty of using turkey instead. I like the flavor that using some poultry gives the cassoulet, but you can leave it out and use only sausage just as easily.

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Click to continue reading Cassoulet with White Beans, Sausage & Turkey –>

Crab & Corn Chowder

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Is there anything as comforting as a big bowl of nourishing soup after a long day? Not in my book!

I like to make a giant pot of soup every week throughout the fall and winter. In addition to making a delicious dinner, there are always plenty of leftovers to bring for lunch the rest of the week. It’s also a great way to get a few extra servings of vegetables when it seems like there isn’t much in season. One of the first soups that I make every fall is crab and corn chowder. We look forward to it all summer! Sweet end-of-summer corn pairs perfectly with smokey poblano peppers and spicy Old Bay seasoning to make a deeply satisfying meal (especially when you serve it with cheddar & green onion biscuits).

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I usually buy 4-ounce cans of crab from the tuna fish aisle for this soup, but I recently discovered the Chicken of the Sea crabmeat that was in the refrigerator case near the seafood counter and I couldn’t be happier with it. A 16-ounce can costs me $8.99, which was cheaper than buying the smaller cans, and the can is jam-packed with big, sweet pieces of claw meat. I did find a few pieces of shell in my can though, so you’ll want to be sure to take a good look at it before adding it to the pot.

I’m always taken back by the price of the crab when I make this chowder, but the rest of the ingredients are super cheap and the cost per serving is a lot less than canned soup. And yes, I consider 1 serving of soup to be 1 can of soup — whoever decided there are 2.5 servings in those cans in nuts! 😉

Click through to read more and get the recipe for Crab and Corn Chowder –>

Video Tour of the Troy Waterfront Market & Ricotta Gnocchi with Roasted Vegetables

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One of the best things about living in upstate New York is that we’re surrounded by farms and have easy access to all sorts of awesome produce; locally raised, grass-fed meats; and artisan cheese. Most of our Farmers Markets stay open year-round, but the selection available in August and September is mind-boggling. This past weekend I headed out to the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market with two of my blogging friends, Cynthia and Rebecca. We were amazing at the amount of produce that was available! The summer crops were still going strong, but there were also plenty of apples, pumpkins, and other fall goodies to be had. It was the best of both worlds! The Troy Market is one of the bigger ones in the area, as well as one of my personal favorites. Cynthia had never been before and she was a little overwhelmed by it all!

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At the market, we were on a mission: I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter (ICBINB) had invited me to host a Farmers Market Tour, where we would buy some fresh ingredients and then bring them back to my house to turn into a healthy, delicious lunch. Earlier this summer I attended an event that was hosted by Unilever, and I was really surprised to find out how versatile ICBINB is. I always have a bottle of the spray in my fridge — iI like how easy it is to spritz on just a little bit, and it tastes great on grilled corn without adding any calories — but it never occurred to me to cook with it. Did you know that you can bake with it? Or that it comes in stick form? I certainly didn’t! At the event, I sampled a blueberry muffin that had been made with the sticks, and I was very impressed. So I was happy to host this event and have the opportunity to experiment with the product a little more.

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We had a blast shopping and cooking, and our lunch was fantastic — we even discussed making Farmers Market Lunches an excuse for regular get-togethers! We ended up getting a bunch of vegetables and garlic that we roasted with the ICBINB and tossed with homemade ricotta gnocchi and a “butter” and basil sauce. We also bought an olive focaccia at the market, which we served with more of the roasted garlic, heirloom tomatoes, and marinated mozzarella. After all that, we were almost (but not quite) too stuffed to taste the peach and raspberry crisp that we made for dessert!   

I was particularly impressed with how well the gnocchi fried in the ICBINB. Cynthia and I had been talking earlier about how we love the sounds of food sizzling while it cooks — the gnocchi had some great sizzle-action going on! You can even hear it in the video that we took!

I want to say thank you to I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter for giving me this opportunity to hang out and cook with my friends.

Click through to watch a video that we took of the market and while we were cooking and to get the recipe for the ricotta gnocchi with roasted vegetables and basil-“butter” sauce –>

Barbecue Chicken with Fresh Mango Salsa

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On my way home from work yesterday, I noticed something: there were yellow leaves all over my neighbor’s lawn. I looked up, and sure enough, their huge elm tree is starting to change colors. I’ve noticed that the morning have been cooler — prompting me to grab a cardigan and even consider a light jacket — so I knew that fall was imminent, but I’m not ready for it to come on in full force! Where has summer gone?

We still have a few weeks of decent weather left so, before pumpkins start taking over my kitchen, I’m going to take every opportunity to get in a few more summery dishes. Like this barbecue chicken with mango salsa that I served with an avocado, bacon, and goat cheese salad. While you could theoretically make this dish any time, the fresh, bright flavors are perfectly suited for a hit, summery day. I love the contrast between the tangy barbecue sauce, the touch of spice from the jalapenos, and the juicy sweetness of the mango.

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Click to continue reading Barbecue Chicken with Fresh Mango Salsa –>

{15 Minute Dinner} Porcini Dusted Ribeye with Green Bean Salad 3

{15 Minute Dinner} Porcini Dusted Ribeye with Green Bean Salad

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These past few weeks have been crazy. Between being out of town every weekend for the past month, to seriously overcommitting myself on several blog projects, to general insanity at the office, I feel like I’ve barely had time to catch a breath, let alone plan a menu or go grocery shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I love being busy and everything has been 100% worth it. But I’m exhausted and I haven’t really felt like cooking. But a girl can only eat so much takeout before she starts to feel sick, and I knew that, despite the fact that I felt like collapsing onto the couch and not getting up until bed, it was time to cook a real dinner.

I came up with this porcini dusted steak with red wine sauce and a summery green bean, corn, and tomato salad on a whim, and I couldn’t have been happier with it. The steak was rich and flavorful, with a perfect crust of powdered mushrooms. The salad was light and fresh, featuring some of the best that August has to offer. And the whole thing was on the table in under 15 minutes. Which meant I could get back to the couch and put my feet up in half the time it would have taken to get a pizza delivered.

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