A Week of Dinners

On Monday, my Fittest Loser team had had a rough week. Easter candy plus a stressful week made for some less than fantastic decisions when it came to food. We only have 2 weeks to go, so it was time for a bit of a kick in the pants to finish these last few weeks out strong. It was also healthy eating week for our check in with the Daily Herald, so I issued myself a challenge that would boost the team as well: make 1 dinner every night this week that takes 20 minutes or less of prep work, photograph it, and share the recipe with them. Here’s what I came up with:

IMG_0109Monday: Pantry Turkey Tacos

I love this recipe for ground turkey tacos because the seasonings for the meat are always in my pantry. All I ever need to buy is 99% lean ground turkey and whatever fixings I’d like. I’ll frequently have just the meat in a romaine leaf for a crunchy, refreshing taco.


1 lb. 99% lean ground turkey
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. tomato sauce
Seasonings to taste – I used about 1/4 tsp. each chili powder, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder and 1/2 tbsp. Penzey’s Salsa seasoning along with salt and pepper. Add more or less chili powder depending on your tastes.
4 6″ flour tortillas
1/2 c. shredded Mexican cheese
2 c. romaine lettuce

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey, breaking it up with your spatula, and brown the meat.
  2. Add the tomato sauce and spices. Stir to combine, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  3. Arrange meat on your tortilla with 2 tbsp. cheese and romaine lettuce and enjoy!

Serves 4

Macros: 296 cal, 36 P, 21 C, 13 F

Tuesday: Baked Katsu

Last week, I had a bit of a food slump. I was eating the same thing over and over (whole wheat pasta with chicken sausage, in case you’re curious), and when I wanted some variety, I was eating whatever takeout my partner ordered instead of making the effort to cook something else for myself. To break through that, I bought a new bento box cookbook. The focus on colorful, appealing bento boxes means they usually have plenty of fresh produce! Katsu – breaded and fried pork loin – was one of the recipes I was interested in, but I didn’t want a heavy, fried dinner or lunch. I tried to bake it like I do with my favorite method of making chicken tenders (more on that later).

The onigiri in hats are optional but fun. They are a MUCH less detailed version of MosoGourmet’s tutorial here.

1 lb. thin-cut pork loin (should be about .5” thick)
2 tbsp. flour
1 egg
¼ c. panko crumbs
Olive oil spray

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Trim off any excess fat. Make small incisions between the pork and remaining fat, as they will cook and shrink at different rates.
  3. Use a meat tenderizer on the pork loins. If you don’t have a meat tenderizer, there are some other options in your kitchen that will work; I wrapped some plastic wrap around my rolling pin.
  4. Push the pork loins back into their original shape with your hands.
  5. Season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper.
  6. Put flour, egg, and breadcrumbs into 3 separate bowls. Dredge the pork in the flour, then the egg, then the panko crumbs before arranging on a greased baking tray.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  8. Enjoy! Serve with your choice of sides and maybe some tonkatsu sauce!

Serves 4

Macros: 156 cal, 24 P, 7 C, 12 F


Wednesday: Orange Chicken Tenders

My partner is a great guy, but he is not adventurous when it comes to food. Healthy recipes had better at least slightly resemble a food he likes, or I’m on my own for dinner. Getting very creative with chicken tenders is an easy way to make sure he’ll enjoy dinner (and not order tempting takeout). This chicken tender recipe can be used with all kinds of sauces, from barbecue to sriracha. I make them with orange sauce when I’m craving some greasy Chinese food late at night. Double the recipe and make a big pan all at once to freeze and reheat later to bust cravings – just pop them in the toaster oven at 400 degrees for 8 minutes for a crispy reheated tender!


1 lb. chicken tenderloins
2 tbsp. flour
1 egg
¼ c. panko crumbs
Olive oil spray
Sauce of your choice

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Put flour, egg, and breadcrumbs into 3 separate bowls. Dredge the tenderloins through the flour, then the egg, then the panko crumbs before arranging on a greased baking tray.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  5. Serve with your choice of sauce and enjoy!

Serves 4

Macros: 156 cal, 24 P, 7 C, 12 F

Thursday: Freezer-Friendly Meatloafballs

When you’re a recent college grad with loans to pay back, you become an expert at bargain shopping. Recently, I’ve started going to the grocery store without a shopping list, just an idea of what I need (2 proteins, 3 veggies, some fruit, etc) and buying whatever is on sale. Which is how I ended up with a pound and a half of ground beef and no idea what to do with it. I thought about making meatloaf, but knew I’d need to freeze a lot of the recipe, and meatloaf doesn’t exactly freeze well. That’s how I ended up preparing the beef like meatloaf, then cooking it in meatball form.

The meat I used was slightly less lean than I usually choose, but that is what was on sale. If you want a leaner version, this works fine with ground turkey (and that’s actually what I usually use for my meat loaf). This is awesome for a ketogenic diet with only 5 g of carbs.


1.5 lbs. 90% lean ground beef
1 egg
1/4 c. bread crumbs (I used seasoned Italian)
1/4 c. ketchup
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt, pepper, and dried oregano to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil

  1. Combine all ingredients except oil in a large mixing bowl. You can try using a spatula, but the mixing will go a lot quicker if you just get in there with your hands.
  2. Form the meat into 1″ meatballs. You should end up with about 40.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the meatballs in batches, turning to brown all sides.
  4. Remove the meatballs onto a plate lined with paper towels. Serve immediately. To freeze, arrange on a baking tray and place entire tray in your freezer. Once frozen through, remove to a freezer-safe bag or container.

Serves 8

Macros: 314 cal, 20 P, 5 C, 23 F

Friday: BBQ Pulled Chicken Tacos

I still had some leftover tortillas and fixings from Monday’s meal, so for Friday, I cooked up a huge batch of BBQ pulled chicken. This is a great fix it and forget it or crock pot recipe that takes barely any prep time (but a longer cook time). I used the chicken recipe I shared in my Southwestern BBQ Pulled Chicken Quinoa Salad Bowl blog, then used the meat in my tacos. Yum!


I hope you enjoyed! If you try any of these recipes, please tag me @amandasternklar on Twitter and Instagram.


One thought on “A Week of Dinners

Add yours

  1. Sounds like a week of yummy meals, and those onigiri in hats are adorable! Good job putting yourself back on track after the holidays / a hard week, I struggled with it myself. Oh, and thanks for sharing the chicken tenders recipe, definitely something I want to try. x


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