Individuals have so many commitments and responsibilities throughout the week that they may find it difficult to prepare a nutritious dinner for the family at the end of the day. Hectic work schedules, school activities, and the general task of taking care of the family can leave them exhausted and unprepared.
Learning how to prepare quick easy meals can give families the chance to sit down and enjoy quality time together.
Planning quick fun meals ahead of time can save both time and money; however, many people find it difficult to plan their meals in advance. When faced with the dilemma of not having anything planned in advance, it is good to know that there are many nutritious meals that can be made with basic items found in the refrigerator and pantry.
For instance, tuna melts can be made with basic ingredients such as canned tuna, sliced or shredded cheese and bread. They can be prepared with low fat mayonnaise and even topped with a fresh tomato. Tuna melts are very versatile and there are many different ingredients that can be added for additional taste and nutrition.
Quesadillas are another versatile food that can be prepared plain or with added items. Add shredded cheese and green chilies to spice it up. Add more protein by using leftover meat from the night before such as chicken or steak and make it even heartier. Pair it with a side of refried beans topped with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes for added fiber and nutrients.
Sautéed vegetables with beef chunks over brown rice is very nutritious and doesn’t take hours in the kitchen. Ingredients for the recipe include:
• 1 onion • 1 bell pepper • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms • 1 medium eggplant • 4 small zucchini squash (green or yellow) • 3 medium tomatoes • 1 lb. beef stew meat • 2 cups brown rice • 2 tsp. olive oil
Begin by cutting the onion into small pieces and add to pan with 2 tsp. of olive oil. Slice the bell pepper into long strips and add to pan. Sauté for one minute over medium heat and add mushrooms. Meanwhile, cut eggplant into ½ inch cubes and add to pan. Cut zucchini into ¼ inch pieces and add to the pan of vegetables. Slice the tomatoes, cut them in half and add to pan. Mix all vegetables together. Brown stew meat in a separate pan for 3 to 4 minutes until browned on all sides. Add to vegetables, cover and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.
Other vegetables such as snap peas, green beans, corn or cabbage can be added for additional flavor and variety. Minute rice can be used in place of traditional rice to ensure a quicker meal. When rice is done and vegetables are at a desired texture, scoop vegetables over the rice and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serving wholesome, quick fun meals for kids can be an easy task as well. Most kids enjoy using their fingers to eat. Nachos make a great fast meal that both parents and children can enjoy together. Top tortilla chips with beans, meat, shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, salsa, sour cream and guacamole. Use low fat versions of cheese and sour cream to cut out some of the saturated fat.
Salads are quick easy meals that are rich in antioxidants and provide numerous health benefits. They can be prepared with many different fruits and vegetables depending upon tastes. Salads can be made exciting by adding sliced olives, cocktail shrimp, cheese slices, boiled eggs, bean sprouts or berries. Use an oil-based dressing to reduce the number of fat and calories that most creamy dressings contain.
Baked fish is easy to make and goes well with any type of side dish. It is low in fat, rich in omega-3 fatty acids and can be spiced according to taste. A baked potato paired with a vegetable makes this a complete, delicious meal. Add a cup of fruit salad to make this an even healthier, tastier meal that is quick and easy to serve.
About the author: Sally Anne Wright is writing her very first recipe book for schools in Manhattan.
Photo Credit: Kaleff