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healthy dinner recipes for weeknight meals

If we were into dating our food, these are the dishes you’d marry. Loveable, reliable and so damn delicious, these quick and healthy dinner recipes from health coach, writer and creator of the blog Real Food Scout, Jenny Giles, are basically our edible soulmates when it comes to weeknight dining.

Here’s what she said on Instagram recently. We felt it so hard and had to bring to you…

I get you. I do. ‘Cause I’m you. You don’t want to cook after a long day. Or you don’t want to cook ’cause you don’t want to do dishes after the dreaded cooking. Most of our days are packed full and once the day ends, we’re starving and just want to throw on those sweatpants we’ve been advised not to wear in public, pour a glass of wine (organic and biodynamic, of course) and have dinner delivered to our couch.

Instead of standing over a hot stove for 40 minutes, missing valuable Netflix watching time, I’ve got super simple, what I call “passive,” recipes that will change your life. If you can get a frozen burrito out of your freezer and onto a sheet pan, well then, you can make these recipes too. Even though we sometimes believe that opening a frozen burrito package and putting it in the oven takes less time than a healthy, fresh salmon dinner, it actually doesn’t. These sheet-pan recipes take the same amount of time and energy, or lack thereof, as that burrito, but with a much higher reward. Minimal cooking effort, minimal clean up and big, healthy, satisfying real food. You’ll feel so proud and you’ll want a gold star — and I’ll make sure you get one.

These recipes also use pantry items I almost always have on hand like maple syrup, mustard and rice. A stocked, real-food pantry is a game changer and makes your shopping trip faster and less expensive too. All you’ve got to do at the store is grab some vegetables and fish or chicken. So, let’s spread some items on a sheet pan, drizzling with a little saucy goodness, put it in the oven and then, the best part… walk away. 

Maple Broiled Salmon

Ingredients:

4 wild-caught salmon filets (or kept whole, but that will require more cooking time)
1 large head of broccoli, chopped into small chunks (less than two inches to help them cook evenly and quickly) or 1/2 lb of snap peas, no chopping required
olive or avocado oil

For the maple glaze:
4 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce (organic)
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
(you can just do these ingredients if that’s all you’ve got, but upgrade it a bit with these goodies)
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Directions:

Mix together soy, maple syrup, vinegar, oil and ginger in measuring cup (if you have time, place salmon in a plastic bag for 15 minutes with 3 tablespoons of the sauce, if not, no worries, seriously).

Turn on broiler (you can just do this at 425 degrees too, but it takes a bit longer and the fish is not as crisp).

Line baking sheet with parchment paper (easy clean up). Place salmon (skin side down) on the paper and add a little salt and pepper. Add broccoli around the salmon. Toss broccoli with salt and pepper and a little olive or avocado oil.

Broil on the middle rack for about approximately 10 minutes (this time really varies depending on the size of your salmon). Drizzle 1/2 of the sauce on the salmon on the last 2-3 minutes of broiling. The sugar in the syrup tends to burn at this high temp, so you don’t want to put it on the beginning, just the last couple of minutes.

Once cooked, serve with the roasted broccoli and brown rice. Those precooked, 1 ingredient, organic brown rice bags (available at Trader Joes and Whole Foods) are so easy to warm up. Drizzle remaining sauce over salmon, and top with sesame seeds.

Boom. You’re welcome.

Mustard Chicken Thighs & Brussels

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lb small/fingerling potatoes
1 lb Brussels sprouts, small ones or cut larger in half
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp coarse-grain mustard
6-8 small chicken thighs

Directions:

Combine oil, salt and black pepper. On an oil-greased or parchment-lined sheet pan, toss fingerling potatoes and Brussels sprouts with oil, salt and pepper.

Combine 1 tablespoon of oil with maple syrup and coarse-grain mustard; spoon over chicken thighs. Place on sheet pan and roast at 450 degrees for 35 minutes.

Seriously, that’s it. Grab your glass of wine or your meditation poof, and chill until dinner is done.

Panko-Crusted Halibut

Ingredients:

4 5-6 oz filets of wild-caught halibut or cod
2 Tbsp of Dijon mustard (or organic mayo like Sir Kensington’s)
1 cup of panko breadcrumbs *gluten free if needed – Ian’s is a good brand (you could do 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts, minus lemon or parsley)
1 lemon, zested
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
1 bunch of asparagus or 1 lb green beans or 3 medium zucchini (chopped into chunks)

Directions:

Mix together panko, lemon zest and parsley.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper (easy clean up). Place fish on the paper and add a little salt and pepper. Spread with a thin layer of mustard or mayo on top of the fish, and then press the breadcrumb mixture to the top. Drizzle or spray with olive or avocado oil to help the breadcrumbs crisp up and brown in the oven. You can do melted butter too. Mmmm. Lay veggies at one end of the baking sheet and toss with oil, salt and pepper.

Bake for 10 minutes (time varies on size and thickness of the fish, so don’t overcook), and serve with rice as mentioned in salmon recipe.


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