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18 healthy, easy and delicious meals to make during the week

Whether you're in the mood for something meaty or craving something plant-based, we've got you covered.
These baked chicken and ricotta meatballs are lighter than their beefy counterparts and don't require a lot of work.
These baked chicken and ricotta meatballs are lighter than their beefy counterparts and don't require a lot of work. Patricia Niven
/ Source: TODAY

If you're looking for some new easy, healthy dinner ideas to start your year off with, you've come to the right place.

After a year full of of endless home-cooking, many of us have exhausted our go-to dinner recipes. Luckily, there's no shortage of simple, flavorful recipes that make it easy to pack nutritious ingredients into delicious dinners.

Whether we're enjoying the meal by ourselves or cooking for a big family who needs to fuel up, in the mood for something meaty or craving something plant-based, here some of TODAY Food's dinnertime favorites.

Seafood recipes

Priya Krishna's Orange-Peel Fish

The secret ingredient to this easy and flavorful weeknight fish dish is one that you might be tossing into the compost — an orange peel. The peel, with its distinctly sweet, sharp flavor, lends brightness, texture and aromatics. In this recipe, it gets mixed up into a paste alongside other vivifying and balancing ingredients: garlic, ginger, turmeric and green chilies.

The fresh herbs and sophisticated flavors make it feel fancy, but the quick prep and cleanup make this recipe easy enough for any weeknight. It's a no-fuss dinner idea for two because you can order exactly how much salmon you need, or opt for a bigger cut and have leftovers to throw on a salad for lunch the next day.

Shrimp don't need much dressing up to be tasty. Here, a simple marinade and quick sauté yields a deeply flavorful and perfectly cooked result. The crunchy broccolini and earthy soba noodles are a great complement to the sweet and savory shrimp.

Blackened Salmon with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa

"For me, part of becoming healthier was retraining my taste buds. I soon discovered that I actually did like some foods I thought I didn't when I found out how to prepare them in new, tasty ways," said Brittany Williams, author of "Instant Loss Eat Real, Lose Weight: How I Lost 125 Pounds."

This blackened salmon is one example. Williams uses fresh, wild-caught salmon, which is much less fishy-tasting than the farmed kind, and serves it with a fresh pineapple-avocado salsa.

Vegetarian recipes

Sheet Pan Aloo Gobi

Sheet Pan Aloo Gobi

Priya Krishna

Aloo gobi — potatoes and cauliflower sautéed in spices — was a staple Priya Krishna's upbringing. In this simplified version, the whole dish comes together on one sheet pan, popped into the oven.

"It’s simple to put together, pretty hands off, and its flavor to ease ratio is off the charts," said Krishna. "Also, potatoes and cauliflower are truly exceptional at absorbing and enhancing seasonings."

This satisfying soup's velvety consistency is made possible thanks to white beans and Greek yogurt. Whip up a batch and enjoy both its comforting flavor and its nutrient-rich ingredients in every spoonful.

Chana Masala

Chana Masala

Samah Dada

"I love chickpeas more than anything, not just because they're a great source of plant-based protein, but also because they're a) very cute, and b) a fabulous pantry staple," said Samah Dada. Her version of chana masala takes only 20 minutes to make and is the easiest lunch or dinner for yourself or to serve to those you love.

Hetty McKinnon discovered that "frying” rice in the oven, on a sheet pan, is not only possible, it actually produces the perfect amount of crisping. As with all sheet pan recipes, it’s the perfect throw-it-in-the-oven dish — simply toss your cold rice with veggies, kimchi and seasonings, spread it all onto a sheet pan and let a hot oven do the "frying" for you.

Chicken and turkey recipes

This salad is so satisfying and hearty, you won't miss the taco shells. It's one of those perfect healthy dinner ideas for kids, because they can help put together their own taco bowl — in advance, too. Just combine the crumbled ground turkey, pico de gallo, Greek yogurt, cheese and a lime wedge.

In this easy chicken dinner from Valerie Bertinelli, the sweet tomatoes beautifully balance the bracing acidity of the tangy sherry vinegar and briny olives. This recipe is so easy to throw together and has a bright pop of flavor in every bite.

Got any leftover roast chicken lying around? Use it to make a delectable new meal! Curtis Stone loves using leftover chicken and vegetables to make this filling dish. It comes together quickly and it's both healthy and satisfying at the same time.

These baked chicken and ricotta meatballs are lighter than their beefy counterparts and don't require a lot of work. Baking skips the time and mess of browning on the stovetop and leaves you with one mixing bowl and sheet pan to clean at the end — and, most importantly, 20 delicious meatballs.

Miso-Glazed Chicken and Bok Choy

This light weeknight dinner of lean protein and roasted veggies has all the flavors of a traditional stir-fry but is even easier to make. Everything gets baked on one sheet pan in just 30 minutes.

Thai Basil Chicken Bowls

This is one of those short-ingredient-list, quick stir-fry dinners that just knocks it out of the park, every time. Serve with jasmine rice to have the easiest, simplest and heartiest dinner that you can feel good about serving to your family.

Pork and beef recipes

Take it slow with this recipe: The longer it cooks, the more tender, succulent and flavorful the meat becomes. Make the gravy from the simmering liquid at the bottom of the pot and drizzle it over the finished brisket. Don't play hard to get with this recipe — it's a keeper!

Pork with Herbs au Jus

Pork with Herbs au Jus

Brittany Williams

This old school, classic dinner favorite can be made in a pressure cooker on evenings when you want something quick and filling for the family. It pairs wonderfully with garlicky mashed cauliflower or green beans.

Steak and Veggies with Zesty Chimichurri

A fabulous way to beef up beef's flavor without using butter or blue cheese is to top it with a bright herb sauce like chimichurri! This deliciously simple dish from Cooking Light requires just five fresh ingredients and takes only 20 minutes to make.

According to Jet Tila, the perfect salad should have at least three of the following components: a green, grain, fruit, nut and herb. Also, greens, pomegranates, pears, lentils and tangerines are all considered to be lucky foods in various cultures around the world, making this one super lucky salad. And we could all use a bit of luck going into the new year.