Quick, nutritious dinners provide your family with a better-quality diet that has fewer calories than common convenience foods, but can be put on the table in about the same amount of time. Meals that take under an hour from stove to table may require a little more preparation, but the payoff is a healthier family.
Stir-fry dinners are quick and easy, they don't require much cleanup, and you can tailor the ingredients to suit your family's taste. Do all of your preparation work ahead of time. Cut vegetables into similar sizes and shapes, and cut meat into thin bite-sized pieces. Heat your wok or a skillet, and add a little peanut or canola oil with some garlic, ginger or other aromatics. Next add the meat, stirring and tossing it until it's cooked, which shouldn't be more than a couple of minutes. Take the meat out, then add the vegetables and cook them the same way. Put the meat back into the pan and heat everything through. Add sauce at the end.
Roasting meat, fish or poultry doesn't add any fats. Small cuts, such as turkey breasts or fish fillets, cook in less than 45 minutes. While the meat is roasting, mix carrots and potatoes in a shallow roasting pan, drizzle them with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Put them in the oven until they're tender. Olive oil is heart-healthy and adds flavor. Just before the meat finishes, slice a baguette and lay tomato slices on the cut sides. If your family enjoys bold flavors, put a teaspoon of feta cheese on top of the tomatoes. Put the bread in the oven to heat through.
A pressure cooker is a real time saver. Even tough beef cuts cook in about 20 minutes. Chicken and pork take less time, and you can cook the vegetables along with the meat. Brown the meat in the pressure cooker then remove it. Add a couple of inches of water, broth or wine — the exact amount depends on your model of cooker and its size — along with your herbs and aromatics like garlic and onion. Bring the liquid to a boil, add the other ingredients, close the top securely, and bring the cooker to pressure. Never take the top off until all of the pressure in the cooker is released. If you need to hurry the cooling process, set the cooker in a sink full of cold water, or run cold water over the cooker.
A bowl of soup, a piece of crusty bread, and a garden salad with a creamy dressing is a comforting menu for a chilly night. Making soup is a quick and easy method for using up leftovers or introducing new vegetables to your family's diet. Keep low-sodium beef, vegetable or chicken stock in the pantry, or make your own. Add cut-up vegetables, cubed meat and seasonings. Adding broad egg noodles and cubed chicken makes a hearty chicken noodle soup. Float dumplings on top of beef vegetable soup, or add store-bought gnocchi to a vegetarian version.
Like This Article? Let Us Know!
- Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images