Healthy dinner menu

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I tried to come up with a healthy dinner menu last week when I stumbled across the Tiffin Tale menu for a fall dinner that she entered for a food blog challenge. What a perfect moment! Tiffin Tales has amazing images and recipes, so I knew I couldn't go wrong. My goal was to create a menu for the cooler weather that was hearty but healthy. I used organic ingredients whenever possible. I decided to make a Farmer’s Market corn chowder, braised chicken with fig balsamic glaze, and sauteed chard. From the Tiffin Tales menu, I chose the Wild Mushroom Polenta Bolognese Gratin and the Artichoke Stew in Olive Oil and White Wine. For dessert, I turned to my trustworthy Cancer-Fighting Kitchen cookbook by Rebecca Katz, and decided on Fresh Strawberries with Mango and Coconut "Sabayon". Here are the recipes for this healthy dinner menu:

Farmer's Market Corn Soup

Adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetable Soups cookbook. All vegetables come from the local farmers market. 2 sweet corn cobs, peeled and cooked for 5 minutes (about 2 cups of grains) 4 cups of chicken stock 1 bay leaf 1 sprig of fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 celery stalk, diced 1 onion, finely chopped 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced ½ inch 1/2 red bell pepper, diced ½ inch 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika Spanish1 tablespoon flour1 cup low-fat milk2 sweet corn cobs, boned and cooked for 5 minutes (about 2 cups of grains) salt and pepper, to taste Cut the corn kernels from the cobs; reserve ears. Heat chicken broth, reserved corn cobs, bay leaf, and thyme in large saucepan. Simmer while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Remove the ears before using the broth. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add celery, onion, potatoes, red pepper, garlic, and smoked paprika. Sauté until vegetables are soft. Add flour and cook 2-3 minutes. Add ½ cup broth to the vegetables, loosening the vegetables from the bottom of the pot. Gradually add the remaining hot stock to the vegetables; add milk and corn kernels. Remove the thyme sprig. Spice with salt and pepper.



  • 14 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • chopped parsley for garnish


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, broth, honey and tomato paste to a boil, stirring well. Simmer the vinegar sauce until it reduces to ½ cup, about 8 minutes.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy skillet. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper; add half of them to the pan. Cook over medium heat, turning once, until golden brown. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining breasts.

  3. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add garlic and shallots and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the wine; boil until reduced to ¼ cup. Add the vinegar sauce and simmer.

  4. Return the chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes; turn and cook another 10 minutes. Transfer to serving plates and top with sauce.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Food and Wine’s Chicken in Red Wine Vinegar recipe; Here, I made the lightest dish using olive oil and boneless chicken breast, and skipping the fresh cream. Fig balsamic vinegar gives this dish a fruity, tangy flavor and rich dark color.


Cooking time 1 hour 10 minutes Total time 1 hour 25 minutes


Porcini Polenta Bolognese Mushrooms Gratin

  • 2 tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound clean mixed wild mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of tamari
  • 3/4 cup porcini soaking liquid
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar


  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup non-instant polenta
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated reggiano parmesan cheese


Porcini Bolognese mushrooms

  1. To rehydrate porcini mushrooms, place them in a small bowl and add 3/4 cup of boiling water. Soak for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the soaking liquid.

  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery; Spice with salt and pepper; Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add fresh mushrooms, rehydrated porcini mushrooms, and thyme sprigs; Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are almost tender, about 3 minutes. Add tomato and tamari, and cook, about 2 more minutes.

  4. Add the porcini mushroom soaking liquid and wine. Simmer until thick, about 20-25 minutes (NOTE: Prepare polenta while mushrooms simmer). Add balsamic vinegar and cut another 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside the Bolognese mushroom to cool.


  1. Boil 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add a pinch of salt to the boiling water and slowly add the polenta. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and immediately reduce to low heat. Cook polenta, stirring occasionally, until no longer grainy, about 30 minutes. Away from heat; add olive oil and season with salt.

Assemble Gratin

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spoon half of polenta into 8 "square pan or deep cake pan. Cover with half of the Bolognese mushroom. Top with remaining polenta and another layer of mushroom bolognese. Sprinkle the top with cheese.

    Bake until the surface is golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.


You can substitute any green leafy vegetable. Try kale or kale.

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  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch of chard washed well, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 leek thoroughly washed, chopped white part
  • 2-3 tablespoons of water or vegetable broth
  • splash the Ume plum vinegar or your favorite vinegar


  1. Heat the olive oil in the pan and sauté the leek for 3 to 4 minutes. Mix the chard. Add a few tablespoons of water or vegetable stock and cover the pan. Cook until tender, but still brightly colored, about 4-5 minutes. Do not overcook. Add a little vinegar and serve.


Total time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium leek, trimmed, washed thoroughly, tender parts quartered lengthwise and cut to 2 "lengths
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion cut in half, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces thawed frozen artichoke hearts
  • 1 small fennel coreless bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 sprigs of tarragon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • half bunch of thin pencil asparagus
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped waxed and mixed green beans
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, chives, or basil


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet. Add leeks, celery, onion, and carrot and simmer, stirring frequently, until softened but not golden brown, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  2. Add frozen artichokes, sliced ​​fennel bulb, lemon juice, thyme, tarragon, and bay leaves; Spice with salt and pepper. Add wine and broth, partially cover and cook over moderately low heat until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add the peas and cook 2 more minutes. Discard the herbs.

  3. Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus and beans separately in boiling salted water until tender and crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking and preserve the bright colors.

  4. Place the asparagus and beans in soup bowls and place a spoonful of braised artichokes and fennel on top. Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes and fresh herbs.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Tom Colicchio's recipe as seen in Food & Wine, June 1999. To lighten the plate, I reduced the amount of olive oil. To simplify the recipe, I used frozen artichoke hearts. I also decided to braise the fennel along with the artichokes.



  • 14 ounces canned coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mango
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lime juice
  • 3 cups strawberries, peeled in half
  • fresh mint to decorate


  1. Put the coconut milk in a saucepan and stir until smooth. Add mango and salt and simmer, covered, over medium-low heat until mango is smooth, 15-20 minutes.

  2. Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor. Add the agave nectar and lime juice, and blend until smooth. Spoon in fresh organic strawberries and serve garnished with mint if desired.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Rebecca Katz Cancer Fighting Kitchen cookbook

More stewed chicken recipes:Food Floozie's Cider Stew ChickenTrade Recipe East African Stewed Chicken Eye for a Roman-style chicken recipeAnti-cancer ingredients: mushrooms, tomatoes, chard, carrots, celery, artichoke hearts, fennel, asparagus, garlic, onion, leek, mango

Porcini Polenta Bolognese Mushrooms Gratin
Sauteed Chard
Stewed Artichokes in Olive Oil and White Wine
Fresh strawberries with mango and coconut "Sabayon"


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