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5 days of healthy dinners: Chicken paillards, chili, and salads

Trying to eat healthier in the new year? Use this 5-day dinner plan and grocery list to help you get started!
/ Source: TODAY

And so another year begins. Once again we cling to our resolutions to lose weight and get healthy like punch-drunk fighters gripping the rope, but don’t despair. TODAY Food is in your corner so you don’t have to white knuckle it. The month of January is devoted to healthy/detox/clean eating and living, so we put together this helpful 5-day menu to get you on track. Keep checking back because there will be lots of tips and healthy recipes — and be sure to check out this awesome 30-day vegan recipe calendar too.

Courtesy of Page Street Publishing Co.

The first recipe uses a technique I turn to regularly because it yields such delicious results without adding an ounce of fat. Salt baking is traditionally done on whole fish (any small whole fish such as striped bass or branzino will do just as well as snapper—just make sure it comes from sustainable sources), but it also works on beef (a whole filet) wonderfully, because it seals all the flavorful juices in and yields the most sublime results. You can also bury some small potatoes in the salt mixture to eat with the fish—a perfect combination especially with a tangy winter slaw on the side. Play around with the technique and I’m sure you’ll come up with more ideas, marveling that you’ve lived this long without salt baking in your life.

RELATED: 30 vegan recipes even meat eaters will love

Also, you’ll notice that one day has nothing but Japanese-style ginger carrot dressing on the menu. The idea is to compose a hearty salad platter of greens plus anything else you have on hand whether it’s leftovers from New Year’s or simply some avocado, hard boiled eggs, beans or a can of good Italian tuna. If you’re counting the calories avoid cheese or croutons, and substitute some steamed veggies. Make extra dressing—you’ll be happy it’s there in your corner, too.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy new year!


Ina Garten's Winter Slaw



Stuffed Eggplants
Easy Beet and Quinoa Salad



Black and Kidney Bean Chili

Grocery list:

  • 3 beets
  • 2 handfuls of arugula
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • 1 bunch of curly kale
  • 6 ounces Brussels sprouts
  • 1 small head radicchio
  • 1 small kabocha squash
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 small onions
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 Italian or 3 Japanese eggplants
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 2-3” piece fresh ginger
  • 1 Clementine or other seedless orange
  • 3 lemons
  • Fresh sage
  • Fresh thyme
  • Pistachios or walnuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 box white or red quinoa
  • Large box of kosher salt
  • ¼ cup panko or regular breadcrumbs
  • One 15-ounce can pureed tomatoes
  • Two 15-ounce cans black beans
  • One 15-ounce can red kidney beans
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 eggs
  • Chunk of good Parmesan
  • 1 4-lb whole snapper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Pantry items:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Neutral oil, such as grapeseed or safflower
  • Red wine or sherry vinegar
  • Unseasoned rice vinegar
  • Soy sauce or tamari
  • Sugar
  • Garlic powder
  • Dijon mustard
  • Red pepper or chili flakes
  • Brown rice

NOTE: The recipes are measured by servings, usually four, so you'll need to scale the shopping list up or down, depending on how many you are feeding and their appetites. Also, basics like salt and pepper or olive oil aren't included unless an unusually large quantity is required. Finally, feel free to make substitutions, especially pantry items you already have on hand — don't go out and buy three different kinds of vinegar unless you happen to want to stock your pantry.