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Your Low-Cal Meal Plan for April

Sure, April showers bring May flowers, but that doesn't mean you have to be stuck inside with the same-old dinner recipes. Try these cheery, healthy takes instead!

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Spring Essence Soup With Pistou Exps Ssmz20 65884 B04 10 2b 4

Day 1: Spring Essence Soup with Pistou

I went outside the last part of April and picked what I had available in the garden. I found oregano, leeks, asparagus and rhubarb. This became the base for an essence-of-spring recipe. The rhubarb adds a citrus flavor; which is balanced by the nutty, earthy pistou. It is truly a layering of flavors. —Laurie Bock, Lynden, Washington

Goes Great With: Thyme-Sea Salt Crackers

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Cod And Asparagus Bake Exps Tham18 200337 B10 08 5b 9

Day 2: Cod and Asparagus Bake

In this bright and lively one-pan dish, green and red veggies back up tender fish, and lemon pulls everything together. You can use grated Parmesan cheese instead of Romano. —Thomas Faglon, Somerset, New Jersey

Goes Great With: Cauliflower Mash

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Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups Exps Thedscodr19 204435 E03 01 2b Rms 1

Day 3: Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups

Lettuce wraps make a light, lively dinner. These are easy to make because the slow cooker does most of the work. Just load it up and let things get cooking. When the chicken is cooked, just shred and serve. —Robin Haas, West Roxbury, Massachusetts

Goes Great With: Shrimp Salad Appetizers

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Pork Loin With Strawberry Rhubarb Chutney Exps Thca19 68744 E02 26 4b 6

Day 4: Pork Loin with Strawberry-Rhubarb Chutney

I love strawberry rhubarb pie, so I thought the same flavor combination could work as a chutney—and it does! It makes a delicious and festive accompaniment to a succulent pork roast. The chutney can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator. —Deborah Biggs, Omaha, Nebraska

Goes Great With: Broccoli Cauliflower Combo

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Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice Exps Tohescodr20 246006 E03 17 2b 6

Day 5: Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice

This healthier take on kimchi fried rice is one of my favorite recipes because it's customizable. If there's a vegetarian in the family, leave out the bacon and add your favorite veggies. —Stefanie Schaldenbrand, Los Angeles, California

Goes Great With: Spring Pea & Radish Salad

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Broiled Sirloin Exps Ft21 11282 F 0218 1 3

Day 6: Easy London Broil

A mild marinade prepared with lemon juice, thyme and oregano seasons this steak. It feeds a family of four with lots left over to enjoy in satisfying second-day dishes later in the week. —Sue Ross, Casa Grande, Arizona

Goes Great With: Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus with Raspberry Sauce

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Mediterranean Ham Pie Exps Hca19 206476 C09 12 4b 1

Day 7: Ham and Spinach Pie

With the exception of the phyllo dough, which I always have on hand, this ham and spinach pie recipe is made entirely from Easter dinner leftovers. One of my neighbors traded me four freshly caught trout for a slice! —Teena Petrus, Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Goes Great With: Slow-Cooker Marinated Mushrooms

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Air Fryer Coconut Crusted Turkey Strips Exps Hckar21 246490 E10 28 4b 7

Day 8: Air-Fryer Coconut-Crusted Turkey Fingers

My granddaughter shared these turkey fingers with me. With a plum dipping sauce, they’re just the thing for a light supper. —Agnes Ward, Stratford, Ontario

Goes Great With: Garbanzo-Stuffed Mini Peppers

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Lemon Chicken Rice Soup Exps Ssmz20 151442 E10 08 3b 4

Day 9: Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup

Years ago, I fell hard for a lemony Greek soup at Panera Bread. It was just a special back then, but I re-created it at home so we could eat it whenever a craving hit! —Kristin Cherry, Bothell, Washington

Goes Great With: Polenta Mushroom Appetizers

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Seared Salmon With Strawberry Basil Relish Exps Fttmz19 175414 E03 15 3b Rms 2

Day 10: Seared Salmon with Strawberry Basil Relish

Salmon and basil take a sweet new approach when topped off with a relish of strawberries, honey and pepper. —Stacy Mullens, Gresham, Oregon

Goes Great With: Three-Pepper Coleslaw

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Thai Salad With Peanut Dressing Exps Ft20 251881 F 0630 1 Home 1

Day 11: Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing

This Thai salad is very fresh and flavorful. The peanut garnish adds a satisfying crunch. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor

Goes Great With: Tzatziki Shrimp Cucumber Rounds

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Sheet Pan Taco Turkey Meat Loaf Exps Tohescodr20 53851 B02 19 4b 5

Day 12: Taco Turkey Meat Loaf

After buying a supersized package of ground turkey, I made this spicy taco turkey meat loaf using what I had on hand. It’s now become a family favorite! I serve it for tailgating parties and it’s delicious the next day for sandwiches. —Holly Battiste, Barrington, New Jersey

Goes Great With: Avocado Endive Cups with Salsa

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Pepper Ricotta Primavera Exps Thjj17 8919 B02 08 1b 2

Day 13: Pepper Ricotta Primavera

Garlic, peppers and herbs top creamy ricotta cheese in this meatless skillet meal you can make in just 20 minutes. —Janet Boulger, Botwood, Newfoundland and Labrador

Goes Great With: Tomato & Artichoke Brushetta

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Poached Chicken Exps Ghtaj17 206961 D05 23 5b 2

Day 14: Poached Chicken

You can’t beat poaching for chicken that is moist and tender. Once it’s cooled, store extra in the freezer for quick meals.—James Schend, Taste of Home Food Editor

Goes Great With: Zesty Garlic Broccoli

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California Sushi Rolls Exps Ft20 142244 F 0806 1 6

Day 15: California Sushi Rolls

This tastes as good as any restaurant or store-bought California roll. Plus, it’s one of the easiest sushi recipes for when you’re first learning how to make sushi. For best results, use the sushi rice to ensure the right sticky consistency. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Goes Great With: Asian-Inspired Cucumber Salad

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Grilled Steak And Mushroom Salad Exps Sdas18 34012 C03 30  1b 2

Day 16: Grilled Steak and Mushroom Salad

My husband loves this salad, especially during summer. He says he feels as if he’s eating a healthy salad and getting his steak, too! I always serve it with some fresh homemade bread. —Julie Cashion, Sanford, Florida
More Mushroom Salad Recipes »

Goes Great With: Slow-Cooker Caponata

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Slow Cooked Ropa Vieja Exps Tohescodr20 239047 E02 11 4b 1

Day 17: Slow-Cooked Ropa Vieja

I traveled to Cuba a few years ago and had some of the best food imaginable. This dish stuck out, and when I returned home, I began to experiment with making ropa vieja in the slow cooker. I hope you enjoy the flavors of Cuba as much as I do. —Joshua Boyer, Traverse City, Michigan

Goes Great With: Chicken Cakes with Avocado Mango Sauce

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Whole Wheat Veggie Pizza Exps Hcka19 12558 C10 13 5b 2

Day 18: Whole Wheat Veggie Pizza

A wonderful crust layered with herbed tomato sauce and toppings encourages my family of six to dig right in to this low-fat main course. —Denise Warner, Red Lodge, Montana

Goes Great With: Baked Veggie Cups

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Turkey Sausage Cabbage Rolls Exps Sddj17 197362 B08 11 6b 3

Day 19: Turkey Sausage Cabbage Rolls

I practically grew up in my Polish grandmother’s kitchen, watching Babci cook and listening to her stories. I made her cabbage roll recipe healthier with whole grains and turkey, but kept the same rich flavors I remember. —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas

Goes Great With: Mini Zucchini Pizzas

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Crunchy Chili Cilantro Lime Roasted Shrimp  Exps Cwdj21 251263 B07 14 2b 3

Day 20: Crunchy Chili Lime Shrimp

Easy, quick and family-friendly, this chili lime shrimp recipe comes together in just 30 minutes. The secret is the flavor-packed sauce and crunchy tortilla chips. — Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland

Goes Great With: Quick Picante Sauce with Chips

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Beef Tenderloin Roast Exps Ft20 16494 F 1215 1 2

Day 21: Beef Tenderloin Roast

This beef tenderloin roast is a simple way to dress up dinner. Prepare the rest of your meal while it bakes in the oven. —Judith LaBrozzi, Canton, Ohio

Goes Great With: Moroccan-Stuffed Mushrooms

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Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Salad Exps Hcbz21 175204 B10 13 1b 1

Day 22: Slow-Cooker Chicken Taco Salad

We use this super duper chicken across several meals, including it in tacos, sandwiches, omelets and enchiladas. My little guys love helping measure seasonings. —Karie Houghton, Lynnwood, Washington

Goes Great With: Avocado Salad Dressing

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Exps89089 Lr153742d08 21 4b 4

Day 23: Lemon-Pepper Tilapia with Mushrooms

My husband and I are trying to add more fish and healthy entrees to our diet and this one makes it easy. It comes together in less than 30 minutes, so it’s perfect for hectic weeknights. —Donna McDonald, Lake Elsinore, California

Goes Great With: Caprese Salad Kabobs

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Exps145808 Sd153320c12 05 1b 3

Day 24: Chicken Veggie Skillet

I invented this chicken and veggie dish to use up extra mushrooms and asparagus. My husband suggested I write it down because it’s a keeper. —Rebekah Beyer, Sabetha, Kansas

Goes Great With: Cucumber and Red Onion Salad

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Simple Asparagus Soup Exps Hck17 125637 B08 26 1b 1

Day 25: Simple Asparagus Soup

My family and friends love this soup. It’s elegant and unusual, but the hardest part of making it is occasional stirring. —Kathryn Labat, Raceland, Louisiana

Goes Great With: Spring Pea Crostini

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Easy Poached Salmon Exps Thedsc19 187504 B03 01 2b Rms 1

Day 26: Easy Poached Salmon

In 46 years of marriage, we had never tasted salmon until a friend told me about poaching it in a low cooker. I tried it and got flaky, moist results with little fuss. I added some soy sauce for extra flavor. — Johnna Johnson, Scottsdale, Arizona

Goes Great With: Grilled Asparagus 

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Makeover Meatless Lasagna Exps Thca18 167473 D08 31 1b 4

Day 27: Makeover Meatless Lasagna

If you’ve never tried tofu before, this is the best recipe to give it a try. It blends in with all the other ingredients, adding protein without the fat and calories of ground beef. —Mary Lou Moeller, Wooster, Ohio

Goes Great With: Zucchini & Cheese Roulades

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Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Exps Ft20 192992 F 0204 1 2

Day 28: Slow-Cooker Butter Chicken

This slow-cooker butter chicken recipe is similar to the Middle Eastern version I had in Malaysia. I spent several years there eating a variety of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian food. Butter chicken was one of my favorite dishes while I was there! —Shannon Copley, Upper Arlington, Ohio

Goes Great With: Air-Fryer Chickpea Fritters with Sweet-Spicy Sauce

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Classic Cobb Salad Exps Thfm17 4728 D09 27 4b 2

Day 29: Classic Cobb Salad

Making this salad is a lot like putting in a garden. I “plant” everything in nice, neat sections, just as I do with seedlings. —Patricia Kile, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

Goes Great With: Garlicky Herbed Shrimp

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Basic Meat Loaf Exps Ft20 27563 F 0519 1 Home 4

Day 30: Basic Meat Loaf

Since I can’t have much salt, I’ve come up with a recipe for easy meatloaf that is really tasty without it. —Lillian Wittler, Wayne, Nebraska

Goes Great With: Cucumbers with Dill

Christina Herbst
Christina is an Assistant Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in content creation and SEO optimization. She enjoys trying out local foodie restaurants and coffeehouses and adding copious amounts of garlic and cheese to any recipe she can get her hands on.

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