5 Healthy Recipes to Make This Sunday
So many daily decisions pose a choice between time and money.
Spend time cleaning your house or spend money for someone else to do it. Complete your own taxes or hire an accountant. Mow your lawn or pay a teenager. Paint your own nails or hit the salon.
Then eating comes along and introduces a third variable to the mix: health.
Choosing fast food, for example, saves time AND money — but sacrifices health. Eating out can be healthy and effortless, but it gets expensive. At home, it’s a lot quicker to pop a cheap frozen pizza in the oven than to chop the veggies for a chunky homemade soup, right?
The hardest part? It’s so stinkin’ relentless. We eat dinner seven days a week (or at least we should). Who has the time or money to prepare a healthy dinner every day?
Thankfully, you can disrupt the time/money/health paradigm a little. Set yourself up for healthy, affordable, time-efficient dinners by preparing them in a single Sunday afternoon sesh.
The trick is to finding meals that are easy to double (or triple), easy to fridge or freeze for future dinners, and are tasty enough that you’ll be excited about leftovers. Also, if you’re like me, the recipe needs to be pretty quick and simple.
The meals below tick all those boxes.
Have a look, consider what you feel inspired to tackle. Maybe you’ll prepare one on Sunday and chomp the same dish all week. Or maybe you’ll prepare all five and have the dreamiest selection of frozen pre-made meals ever. Either way, your future you thanks you.
Skinny Baked Broccoli Macaroni And Cheese
This dreamy comfort food from The Comfort Kitchen is surprisingly easy and will appeal to even the most fervently broccoli-resistant people in your life.
Nonstick cooking spray
12 oz. whole wheat pasta (elbows, rotini, shells, etc.)
12 oz. fresh or frozen broccoli florets
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup freshly minced onion
1/4 cup flour
2 cups fat-free milk
1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
8 oz. (2 cups) reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat a 9 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and broccoli together; cook according to pasta’s package directions for al dente.
In a large skillet set to medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook another minute. Whisk in milk and chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook sauce about 5 minutes, or until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.
Once sauce has thickened, remove from heat. Add cheddar, stirring until well blended. Add pasta and broccoli; mix well. Pour into prepared baking dish. Top with grated parmesan and breadcrumbs. Lightly coat top with cooking spray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for 2-4 minutes to get the breadcrumbs golden.
5 Ingredient Sweet Potato Black Bean Chilli
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to love this hearty and healthy chili from the Minimalist Baker, and you’re going to adore its simplicity. Got time for more than five ingredients? Throw a few of your other favorite veggies in there.
1 medium yellow or white onion, diced (+ coconut or olive oil)
3 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean + chopped into bite sized pieces (organic when possible | ~4 cups)
1 16-ounce jar salsa (chunky is best)
1 15-ounce can black beans (with salt | if unsalted, add more salt), slightly drained
2 cups vegetable stock + 2 cups water
In a large pot over medium heat, sweat onions in 1 Tbsp oil and season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper. Stir and continue cooking on medium heat until translucent and soft. Add sweet potato and any desired spices at this time. Cook for 3 minutes. Then add salsa, water, and vegetable stock.
Bring mixture to a low boil on medium high heat and then lower heat to medium-low and simmer. Add black beans, cover and cook for at least 20 minutes more, preferably 30 — or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender and the soup and thickened. This soup is at its best when prepared the night before or allowed to rest for a few hours so the flavor marries with the vegetables and beans. Serve with chips, fresh cilantro, onion, avocado, and/or lime juice.
Easy Shepherd’s Pie
Don’t tell anybody, but sometimes I swap out instant potatoes for the top layer. I’m not proud of this, but it saves time and so far nobody has complained. Anyway, here’s a yummy and easy Shepherd's Pie from Simply Recipe.
1 1/2 to 2 pounds potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), peeled and quartered
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1-2 cups vegetables—diced carrots, corn, peas
1 1/2 lbs ground round beef
1/2 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice
Place the peeled and quartered potatoes in medium sized pot. Cover with at least an inch of cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender (about 20 minutes).
While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4T of the butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until tender, about 6 to 10 minutes. If you are including vegetables, add them according to their cooking time. Carrots should be cooked with the onions, because they take as long to cook as the onions do. If you are including peas or corn, add them toward the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat starts to cook, as they take very little cooking time.
Vegan Tomato and Chickpea Curry
If Indian cuisine isn’t already in rotation in your life, let this curry from One Ingredient Chef be your gateway meal. Relatively easy and crazy tasty.
2 cans (15 oz) chickpeas
2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1+ teaspoon each: cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt, cloves
1/4 cup cilantro – chopped
2 cups uncooked brown rice
One Ingredient Chef’s Andrew Olson presents each step with such affection and nuance that to list the directions succinctly won’t do them justice. But here’s a quick overview:
Saute onions in vegetable oil until translucent (about 4 minutes). Meanwhile, mince the garlic and ginger and set aside. Take 1 teaspoon of each spice (cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt, cloves) and add directly into the cooking onions. Stir until well incorporated.
Let the spices infuse into the onions for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, and two cans of drained chickpeas and let simmer for 3 more minutes.
Start the rice and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
After the chickpeas and onions have absorbed the flavors of the spices, add in the two cans of tomatoes and stir everything together. Cook together for about 30 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down and it resembles something like a stew. About half way through, assess whether to add additional spices.
Stir in a handful of chopped cilantro and simmer for one minute. Remove from the heat and spoon over brown rice.
Chicken Potato Bake
No secret instant mash for this dish from Dizzy, Busy and Hungry. These roasted potatoes are the real deal.
4 medium potatoes, cut into approximately ¾ inch cubes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 and ½ tablespoons olive oil
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
1 and ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 F. Place the potato cubes in a large bowl, add the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Spray a large (9x13) baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread potato mixture in dish and bake about 15 minutes.
Remove baking dish from oven and place the chicken pieces in the dish, nestling them down into the potato mixture a bit. If desired, brush the top of each chicken piece with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked and potatoes are browned.
Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top, return to the oven and bake for a few more minutes to melt the cheese. Serve with chopped parsley on top (if desired).
Get to know the chefs behind these recipes
All of these recipes come from lovely blogs that are worth your time to visit (and may indeed help your money and your health). While I’ve included the ingredients and directions, I encourage you to follow their respective links for additional tips and recommendations for preparing and serving each meal.
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