Photo: Kelsey Hansen; Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Time to spring into action.

Sara Tane
April 04, 2018

A warmer, happier, brighter season is upon us, which is a perfect excuse to break up the routine and work a new crop of weeknight dinners into your routine. Whether you’re stuck in a slow cooker rut from the cold, winter days or you’re just not quite sure how to make the most out of the current in-season produce, we’ve got plenty of delicious (and easy, because...weeknight) options for you. Grab a skillet and your favorite sheet pan, because you are not swinging by your go-to takeout joint for dinner tonight–we believe in you.

Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes

Photo: Kelsey Hansen; Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Fennel bulbs–what the heck do you do with ‘em, amiright? Oh, I know. You pan sear them, along with tomatoes and a couple of glorious, bone-in pork chops, then slide the whole skillet concoction into the oven to finish cooking into an amazing one-dish dinner, that’s what you do. If you have 30 minutes, you can not only whip up an incredible meal for yourself, but you’ve got lunch for tomorrow, too.

Skillet Chicken Thighs with Spring Vegetables and Shallot Vinaigrette

Photo: Kelsey Hansen; Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

I’m no mathematician, but I know for certain that protein + veggies + starch + flavorful vinaigrette = one seriously good dinner. This user-friendly recipe has no shame in your frozen veggie game, and the whole dish is going to come together in under an hour. Not convinced? Just take our word that this shallot vinaigrette is one that you don’t want to miss out on.

 

WATCH: How to Make Crispy Chicken Thighs with Wine-Butter Sauce

Spaghetti with Pistachio-Mint Pesto and Spinach

Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Lindsey Lower

For a meatless meal that is far from boring, this easy pasta dish packs in fresh, herbaceous flavor while incorporating a heavy handful of hearty greens, as well. Livened up with Parm (of course), creamy burrata cheese, and a sprinkling of toasted pistachios, this spring-y pasta dinner is about to become one of your new favs.

Carne Asada Bowls

Carne Asada Bowls image

Photo: Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine

I hold a strong belief that every meal should be eaten out of a bowl, and this simple dinner is no exception. Next time you’re craving Chipotle, just make this instead: seared flank steak with pinto beans and all the classic toppings. Because it’s probably a beautiful day, we highly recommend eating this highly-Instagrammable dinner outside, alongside a fresh pitcher of margaritas. It’s a mid-week treat, ok?

Chicken and Arugula Pasta Salad

Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Claire Spollen

‘Tis the season for arugula, and lots of it. In this simple main-dish salad, we are in full support of a low-key going for a store-bought rotisserie chicken. And of course, we thought some fusilli and Brie would be great additions to the party, because cheese and carbs are important, too. Not to mention, if you have leftovers, this healthy bowl of greens is sure to make your coworkers extremely jealous tomorrow.

For delicious meal planning made easy, join the Cooking Light Diet today. More information available here.

Strawberry-Chicken Salad with Pecans

Photo: Jennifer Causey Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Besides warm, long days, the best thing that comes with the return of spring is THE STRAWBERRY. Don’t waste any time on working these back into your daily eating ASAP. This bright salad comes together in a flash, and is a great option for even the pickiest of eaters (you know who you are). Topped with feta and toasted pecans, this salad is an all-around winner (...winner, chicken dinner).

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