Nourish

Your Weeknight Meal Planner: Brighten Up Mid-Winter Nights

Get inspired for the week ahead with our top picks from this week’s menu.

As we head deeper into January, our New Year’s cooking momentum is still going strong—no winter doldrums here! To bring a little extra sunshine to your plate, this week’s dishes are all about pops of color and texture, plus a couple cold-weather comforts to warm your soul. We start with speedy chicken and spinach rotini tossed in a creamy grape tomato sauce. On Tuesday, tangy, nutty za’atar coats roasted salmon that’s perched atop beet and carrot couscous. Next, grilled cheese gets tricked out Italian-style with fresh mozzarella, kale pesto, and marinara sauce for dipping. We take a different track on Thursday with seared chicken breasts, sautéed apple and fennel, and a simple side salad. Round out the week with a date night showstopper: seared steaks served with horseradish mashed potatoes and a red wine pan sauce. It may be cold and dark outside, but the kitchen is as inviting as ever.

Now, on to the recipes!

Monday: Chicken and Chickpea Rotini with Tomato-Cream Sauce

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:
4 ounces broccolini
2 cloves garlic
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ pint grape tomatoes
8 ounces Banza chickpea rotini
2 tablespoons white wine
½ cup heavy cream
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions:
1. Bring a large, covered pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse all produce. Trim and discard woody bottoms of broccolini, then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Using the flat side of a knife, gently crush garlic cloves. Pat chicken dry with paper towel and season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large high-sided pan over medium-high heat.

2. When oil in pan is shimmering, add chicken; sear until golden on bottom, about 6 minutes. Flip chicken and scatter around whole grape tomatoes and crushed garlic in pan. Continue searing until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, tomatoes are bursting, and garlic is soft, 6 minutes more. Transfer chicken and garlic to cutting board and set aside to rest, leaving tomatoes behind in pan, off heat, for Step 4.

3. While chicken and tomatoes cook, season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in chickpea rotini and cook for 3 minutes. Then, add broccolini and cook until rotini is al dente and broccolini is bright green and tender, 4 minutes more. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water, then drain rotini and broccolini and return to pot, off heat.

4. Finely chop garlic, then return to pan with tomatoes. Return pan to medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add white wine and cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until liquid is reduced by half, 1–2 minutes.

5. Add heavy cream to pan with tomatoes, still over medium-high heat. Using a potato masher or spoon, mash tomatoes to release their juices. Cook, stirring, until liquid is slightly reduced, 1–2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

6. Cut rested chicken into ¼-inch slices. To pot with rotini and broccolini, still off heat, stir in sliced chicken and tomato-cream sauce. Adding 1 tablespoon at a time, stir in reserved pasta cooking water until sauce is silky and coats pasta. Divide chicken and chickpea rotini among serving bowls and garnish with black pepper as desired.

Tuesday: Za’atar Roasted Salmon with Beets and Feta Couscous

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:
6 ounces carrots
1 red onion
⅛ ounce cilantro, divided
⅛ ounce parsley, divided
1 package steamed beets
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon za’atar spice mix
10 ounces salmon
½ cup Israeli couscous
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

See full recipe on plated.com!

Wednesday: Kale Pesto Grilled Cheese with Marinara Sauce

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:
2 ounces curly kale
¼ ounce basil 1 lemon
4 ounces fresh mozzarella
1 clove garlic, divided
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese, divided
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup marinara sauce
4 slices brioche
1 ounce shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese blend
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Rinse all produce. Roughly chop or tear kale leaves, discarding long stems. Pick basil leaves, discarding stems. Halve lemon. Thinly slice mozzarella. Mince garlic.

2. In a blender or food processor, combine pine nuts, kale, basil, half of garlic, 1 tablespoon water, and 2 tablespoons olive oil; pulse until smooth. If you don’t have a blender or food processor, finely chop pine nuts, kale, and basil, then combine in a bowl with remaining pesto ingredients. Your pesto might not be as smooth, but it will still be delicious. Stir in half of Parmesan, 1 squeeze lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Set kale pesto aside until Step 4. Save remaining lemon to brighten a glass of water.

3. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium high-sided pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add oregano and remaining garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase heat to medium high and add marinara sauce. Simmer, stirring, until warmed through and flavors have melded, 6–8 minutes more. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Remove pan from heat; cover and set aside until Step 6.

4. While marinara simmers, drizzle olive oil over 1 side of bread slices. Arrange oilside up on a baking sheet and bake until beginning to crisp, 2 minutes, then flip. Spread kale pesto over plain sides of bread slices and top with shredded mozzarella and provolone, then remaining Parmesan, then mozzarella slices. Return to oven and bake until cheeses are melted and bread is golden, 3–4 minutes more.

5. Close sandwiches, pressing to adhere. Return to oven and bake until tops of sandwiches are golden, 1–2 minutes.

6. Cut kale pesto grilled cheese in half on a diagonal. Divide marinara sauce between small bowls and serve with sandwiches for dipping.

Thursday: Pan-Roasted Cider Chicken with Fennel, Apple, and Creamy Mustard

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 bulb fennel, divided
1 Gala apple, divided
⅛ ounce tarragon
1 shallot, divided
2 cloves garlic
½ cup apple cider, divided
¼ cup white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 ounces baby arugula
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

See full recipe on plated.com!

Friday: Seared Steak with Green Beans, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, and Red Wine–Shallot Pan Sauce

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:
12 ounces red-skinned potatoes
4 ounces haricots verts
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
2 steaks
⅛ ounce rosemary
1 shallot
½ cup heavy cream, divided
2 teaspoons horseradish
¼ cup red wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Rinse all produce. Place whole potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch, then season generously with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until tender when pierced with a knife tip, 15–18 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pot, off heat.

2. While potatoes boil, trim and discard ends of green beans (line up the ends to trim them all at once). On a baking sheet, toss almonds and green beans with 2 teaspoons olive oil, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Arrange in a single layer and roast until green beans are bright green and crisp and almonds are toasted, 6–8 minutes.

3. While green beans roast, pat steaks dry with paper towel and season all over with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add steaks and sear until browned and medium rare, 4– 6 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to a plate, leaving behind any juices in pan to make sauce, and set aside to rest.

4. While steaks sear, striprosemary leaves and mince, discarding stems. Peel shallot and mince. In a small bowl, reserve 1 teaspoon cream for the next step. To pot with potatoes, still off heat, add horseradish and remaining cream. Using a large fork or potato masher, mash until smooth. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

5. Heat pan from steaks over medium heat with 1 teaspoon olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add rosemary and shallot; sauté, stirring, until shallot is softened, 1–2 minutes. Add red wine and cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until liquid is mostly evaporated, 1–2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat and stir in butter, reserved 1 teaspoon cream, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to combine.

6. Once rested, cut steaks against the grain into ¼-inch slices. Cutting meat against the grain ensures tenderness. Find the direction of the grain (muscle fibers) and slice across it, rather than parallel. Divide horseradish mashed potatoes between serving plates. Top with sliced steak and drizzle over red wine–shallot pan sauce. Serve with roasted green beans and almonds.

Want more pasta? Same. Order one of Plated's many pasta recipes!

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