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40 Healthy Weeknight Dinners That Will Get You Through the Holidays

Short on time, but hate to eat drive-thru food every night? These soups, salads and mains are fast, flavorful and low-calorie. They're just the thing to help balance out heavy holiday meals.

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Stir-Fry Rice Bowl

My meatless version of Korean bibimbap is tasty, pretty and easy to tweak for different spice levels. —Devon Delaney, Westport, Connecticut
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Skinny Cobb Salad

This "skinny" version of Cobb salad has all the taste and creaminess with half the fat and calories. You can skip the coleslaw mix and do all lettuce, but I like the crunch you get with cabbage. —Taylor Kiser, Brandon, Florida
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Turkey and Vegetable Barley Soup

Using ingredients on hand, I stirred up this turkey and veggie-packed soup. If you have them, corn, beans and celery are great here, too. —Lisa Wiger, St. Michael, Minnesota
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Couscous Tabbouleh with Fresh Mint & Feta

Using couscous instead of bulgur for tabbouleh really speeds up the process of making this colorful salad. Other quick-cooking grains, such as barley or quinoa, also work well. —Elodie Rosinovsky, Brighton, Massachusetts
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Italian Veggie Beef Soup

My sweet father-in-law, Pop Pop, would bring this chunky soup to our house when we were under the weather. We like it so well, we take it to our own friends who need comfort. Always does the trick. —Sue Webb, Reisterstown, Maryland
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Shrimp Avocado Salad

This salad can be served as a cool and satisfying dinner or lunch. The delicious taste and smooth texture of avocados mixed with the crisp shrimp salad is heavenly. —Teri Rasey, Cadillac, Michigan
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Beef and Black Bean Spaghetti Squash

I've been working on developing healthier recipes that still taste fabulous—and keep me satisfied. This squash tossed with beef, beans and kale has so much flavor it's easy to forget it's good for you! —Charlotte Cravins, Opelousas, Louisiana
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Quick Shrimp Creole

My mother made shrimp Creole when I was growing up, so I’ve carried on the family tradition. For extra kick, pass the Louisiana hot sauce. —Gina Norton, Wonder Lake, IL
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Cold-Day Chicken Noodle Soup

When I was sick, my mom would make me this heartwarming chicken noodle soup. It was soothing when I had a cold, but this soup is a bowlful of comfort on any chilly day. —Anthony Graham, Ottawa, lllinois
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Bow Tie & Spinach Salad

With pasta salad, it’s easy to change up ingredients. We like to add grilled chicken and pine nuts, and sometimes we substitute black beans for the garbanzo beans. —Julie Kirkpatrick, Billings, Montana
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Easy Cuban Picadillo

My girlfriend gave me this delicious recipe years ago. I’ve made it ever since for family and friends, and they all love it. My daughter loves to take leftovers to school for lunch the next day. —Marie Wielgus, Wayne, New Jersey
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Sassy Chicken & Peppers

This quick and healthy chicken and peppers recipe tastes like a naked taco and is bursting with fresh flavors. And it can all be prepared in the same pan for easy cleanup—it's a win-win! —Doris Heath, Franklin, North Carolina
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Apple Sausage Salad with Cinnamon Vinaigrette

Making croutons with cinnamon-raisin bread is sweet genius. Toss together the rest of the salad while they toast. —Kim Van Dunk, Caldwell, New Jersey
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Mediterranean Spinach & Beans

If you want to make this dish vegetarian, use soy sauce instead of Worcestershire. I like this skillet meal served warm or cold. —Becky Cuba, Spotsylvania, Virginia
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Sausage & Greens Soup

I always have an abundance of fresh vegetables on hand, so I wanted to create a delicious soup to enjoy during the colder months. I think I found a winner! —Angie Pitts, Charleston, South Carolina.
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Turkey Salsa Bowls with Tortilla Wedges

Delicious and nutritious, this dish was a favorite of the kids who participated in the junior chef classes I taught at my church. The recipe encouraged creativity and healthy eating as students designed their own salsa bowls using whole grains, vegetables and lean protein. —Jean Gottfried, Upper Sandusky, Ohio
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Brown Rice Chutney Salad

A simple rice salad in a cafe inspired thoughts of adding Indian spices and chutney to this dish. To fire things up, mix in a small amount of hot chili oil, tasting carefully as you go. —Brooke Martin, Greenfield, Minnesota
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Gingered Spaghetti Salad

We love this chilled chicken salad brimming with colorful veggies. Make it meatless by omitting the chicken and tossing in more edamame. —Cindy Heinbaugh, Aurora, Colorado
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Warm Rice & Pintos Salad

During my undergrad years, my roommate taught me how to cook vegetarian dishes like brown rice with pintos. It's so versatile; you can turn it into a wrap or casserole. —Natalie Van Apeldoorn, Vancouver, British Columbia
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Turkey Taco Salad

I discovered this taco salad while I was on a health kick. My husband and I love it now. When I served it at a family birthday party, everyone eagerly asked for the recipe. —Angela Matson, Amboy, Washington
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Crunchy Tuna Salad with Tomatoes

On a hot summer day, there's nothing more refreshing than this salad. I grow a few tomato plants in my garden and the fresh-picked taste makes the dish even more of a treat. —Diane Selich, Vassar, Michigan
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Sesame Chicken Slaw Salad

I tasted many types of Asian chicken salad in California. When I moved back to Georgia, I wanted more. Here’s a gingery-sweet recipe using wonton strips. —Michelle Mulrain, Evans, Georgia
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Twisted Eggs Benedict Salad

Salad for breakfast? Absolutely. You can prep everything except the dressing and chill it overnight. In the morning, dress the salad and poach the eggs. —Noelle Myers, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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Blackened Tilapia with Zucchini Noodles

I love quick and bright meals like this one-skillet wonder. The way it tastes, you'd think it takes a lot more effort, but it goes from prep to dinner table in half an hour. The recipe works well with any light fish, or even shrimp. —Tammy Brownlow, Dallas, Texas
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Balsamic Steak Salad

My husband loves blue cheese and I like a hearty salad that eats like a meal, so I put the two things together to make this steak salad recipe. The sweet-tartness of dried cranberries pairs deliciously with the cheese, creamy avocado and balsamic vinegar. It's irresistible! —Marla Clark, Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Veggie Tacos

These vegetarian tacos are stuffed with a blend of sauteed cabbage, peppers and black beans so filling, you won't miss the meat. Top with avocado, cheese or a dollop of sour cream. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Mediterranean Chickpeas

Add this to your meatless Monday lineup. It's great with feta cheese on top. —Elaine Ober, Brookline, Massachusetts
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Mini Mediterranean Pizza

I was on a mini-pizza kick and had already served up Mexican and Italian variations, so I opted for a Mediterranean version and came up with these. —Jenny Dubinsky, Inwood, West Virginia
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Teriyaki Steak Skewers

When these flavorful skewered steaks are sizzling on the grill, the aroma makes everyone around stop what they're doing and come see what's cooking. The tasty marinade is easy to make, and these little steaks are quick to cook and fun to eat. —Jeri Dobrowski, Beach, North Dakota
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Pesto Shrimp Pasta

A dash of red pepper puts zip in this lively main dish from Gloria Jones Grenga of Newnan, Georgia.
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Salmon with Horseradish Pistachio Crust

Impress everyone at your table with this elegant but easy salmon that's delicious and nutritious. You can substitute scallions for shallots if you like. —Linda Press Wolfe, Cross River, New York
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Caribbean-Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Peach Salsa

I love this recipe because of the depth of flavors and burst of colors. It's quick and easy to make. It's best when peaches are in season, but you could try strawberries or pineapple instead. —Holly Bauer, West Bend, Wisconsin
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Pork Medallions in Mustard Sauce

I like pork medallions with apricot preserves and wondered how else I could dress them up. I played around with different flavors until I found this combo. Wows every time. —Tahnia Fox, Trenton, Michigan
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Cuban-Style Pork Chops

These are like Cuban sandwiches without the bread, so they’re a bit more elegant. Let your family customize the chops with pickles, mustard and other condiments. —Erica Allen, Tuckerton, New Jersey
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Beef Barley Soup for 2

Who knew you could simmer up such a hearty soup in 30 minutes? This is packed with my favorite homey veggies and savory roast beef.—Sue Jurack, Mequon, Wisconsin
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Turkey Asparagus Stir-Fry

Twenty minutes is all you'll need to make this quick stir-fry. Lean turkey, asparagus and mushrooms make it super nutritious, too. —Darlene Kennedy, Galion, Ohio
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Curried Squash & Sausage

This stovetop supper is simple to make, and it charms my whole family of curry lovers. My kids even ask for it cold to have in their school lunches. —Colette Lower, York, Pennsylvania
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Chicken Bulgur Skillet

This recipe was passed on to me by a friend. I've altered it slightly to suit our tastes. We like it with a fresh green salad. —Leann Hilmer, Sylvan Grove, Kansas
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Dan's Peppery London Broil

I was bored making our usual London broil, so I got a little creative and sparked up the flavor. What a great change! —Dan Wright, San Jose, California
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Apricot Ham Steak

Ham is a versatile main menu item that's a standby with all country cooks. One of the best and easiest ways to serve ham slices is topped off with a slightly sweet glaze, like this apricot version. —Scott Woodward, Shullsburg, Wisconsin

Colleen DuVall
Colleen is a writer/editor/podcaster who has made it a lifelong hobby to collect and try out new recipes. After another October has come and gone, she starts counting down the days until next Halloween.
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