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Healthy, Comforting Weeknight Dinners

Easy recipes for hearty, satisfying meals.

By Michael Tyrrell

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Gnocchi with Pine Nuts and Broccoli Rabe
Tina Rupp
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Gnocchi with Pine Nuts and Broccoli Rabe

Makes: 4 servings

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 8 minutes

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Chicken and Basmati Rice Casserole

Makes: 6 servings

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 14 minutes

Bake: 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

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Scallops Fra Diavolo

Makes: 4 servings

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 11 minutes

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Easiest-Ever Choucroute

Makes: 4 servings

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 16 minutes

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Chicken-Bacon Bowtie Bake

Makes: 6 servings

Prep: 15 minutes

Broil: 17 minutes

Cook: 19 minutes

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Provencal Pork Chops

Makes: 4 servings

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 9 minutes

Broil: 6 minutes

Give This a Try: Sub in boneless, skinless chicken breast for pork chops and broil 4 inches from flame for about 6 minutes per side or until temperature registers 165 degrees F. Instead of baby spinach, stir a 6-ounce bag of mixed salad greens into orzo.

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Blue Cheese-Topped Tenderloin with Mushrooms

Makes: 4 servings

Prep: 20 minutes

Bake: 60 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Cook: 11 minutes

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The tenderloin with shiitake mushrooms is festive enough for company. Any of these under-$15 picks will make the evening even more fun.

Cupcake Prosecco

Creamy, with notes of white peach, grapefruit and melon. Enjoy as an aperitif; pairs well with salty foods. ($14)

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Midas Soave 2009

Light-bodied white wine from the Veneto region of Italy. Crisp, with aroma of wildflowers and lemon and just enough acidity. Serve chilled. ($14)

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Rioja Vega 2009

Fresh and fruity young wine made from Tempranillo grapes; from Spain's esteemed Rioja region. Complements beef and strong cheeses. Serve just slightly chilled. ($12)

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Healthy Snack Ideas

Especially busy days and nights can bring on a major case of the hungries. Some simple, good-for-you ideas:

Taco Cheese Dip: Combine 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat taco cheese blend, 1/2 cup medium-hot salsa, 2 tablespoons milk and 2 tablespoons chopped scallion. Serve with carrot and celery sticks.

Blender Black Bean Hummus: In a blender whirl together 1 can drained and rinsed black beans, 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt and a pinch of cayenne. Serve with garlic flat bread crackers.

Take-Along Healthy Snack Mix: On a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet combine 2 cups reduced-fat Triscuits, broken up into bite-size pieces, and 1/2 cup each dry-roasted pumpkin seeds and dried fruit bits. Toss with 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium Worcestershire sauce. Bake at 250 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Cool and portion out into 4 small resealable plastic bags.

Originally published in the December 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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