This week's menu is all about lightening up! I'm feeling sluggish after a long holiday season filled with too many Christmas cookies and cocktails. The best way to feel lighter is to enjoy foods with real, wholesome ingredients. Three out of the four meals featured here are vegetarian and none of these meals contain meat (only shrimp). Plus all of these meals are incredibly simple and can be prepared totally last minute. I love the corn, edamame, and quinoa salad as leftovers for an easy weekday lunch, or even rolled up in a tortilla for a quick wrap on the go. These meals will fill you up without weighing you down and get you started on the right foot for the new decade!

Grocery list:
3 sweet potatoes or garnet yams
1 can light coconut milk
Garam masala (This spice mixture is a staple in India and a great addition to get more flavor for fewer calories. Find it in the ethnic foods section.)
Sea salt
Cayenne pepper
Frozen sweet corn
Shelled frozen edamame
Sesame oil
Green onions
1 lb. package extra firm tofu, drained and roughly crumbled (I love Sprouted Tofu or Trader Joe's brand)
Frozen sliced bell peppers
Parmesan cheese
1 yellow onion
Whole-wheat egg noodles
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 huge garlic cloves
1 shallot
1 lemon
Dry white wine

Spicy Shrimp With Egg Noodles
Serves 4

8 ounces whole-wheat egg noodles
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
4 huge garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp minced shallot
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 lemon
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 tbsp parmesan cheese

1. Cook the egg noodles in boiling salted water. Drain and set aside.

2. In a cast-iron or regular nonstick skillet, heat the oil and butter together. When hot, add the shallot and sauté for 2 minutes or until soft.

3. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds.

4. Add the shrimp, wine, and lemon juice and cook for 1 minute until the shrimp are pink and curled.

5. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste, and then add the hot egg noodles. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top.

Enlightened Sweet Potato Soup
Serves 4

3 sweet potatoes or garnet yams
1 can light coconut milk
1 tsp (or to taste) garam masala
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake sweet potatoes for 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool.

2. Once the potatoes are cool, peel and blend in a Vita Mix or high-speed blender with remaining ingredients, adding a little coconut milk at a time until desired consistency is met.

3. Season to taste and serve with a green salad or warm pita bread on the side.

Corn, Edamame, and Quinoa Salad
Serves 3 to 4

2 cups frozen sweet corn
1 1/2 cups shelled frozen edamame
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp tamari
Pinch sea salt
3 tbsp thinly sliced green onions

1. In a large pot on medium heat, boil water and add corn and edamame, cooking for only about 4 minutes or until heated through and tender. Be careful not to overcook! Remove from stove and drain, pouring corn/edamame mixture into a large bowl to let cool.

2. While cooling, prepare the quinoa according to package directions. When done, fluff with a fork and add to corn and edamame, along with remaining ingredients. Place salad in the fridge and let cool and settle for about two hours so the flavors can intensify.

Tofu Scramble
Serves 4

1 lb. package extra firm tofu (I love Sprouted Tofu or Trader Joe's brand), drained and roughly crumbled
1 1/2 tsp tumeric
2 cups frozen sliced bell peppers
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced vertically
Dash of curry powder to taste
2 tsp coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil

1. In a large skillet set at medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and saute for about 6 to 7 minutes, or until soft and beginning to caramelize. Add the frozen bell pepper strips and cook until heated through. Add the tofu, tumeric, salt, and curry powder and toss all together. Cook on medium for another 5 to 6 minutes and then add cheese and serve.