(Family Features) Dinner can be a daunting task for any family with multiple mouths to feed. Factor in complex schedules and individual tastes, and a family meal can become a stressful thought for home cooks.
However, with proper meal planning and preparation, those stressful evenings can become a thing of the past. Consider these steps to becoming a better meal prepper:
If you’re new to meal prepping, don’t bog yourself down trying to come up with ideas and ingredients multiple days in advance. Start by planning just one or two days ahead then consider lengthening your prep phases as you get more comfortable.
Avoid overbuying by heading to the grocery store with a plan in mind or, even better, a specific list. While perusing the aisles, look for the Produce for Kids logo next to healthy, family-friendly items to help make nutritionally sound choices.
Go with What You Know
Rather than teaching yourself to meal prep while trying to learn new recipes at the same time, stick to the basics. Create dishes you’ve made in the past while you get into the habit of meal prepping.
Make It a Family Event
Recruit some help from your kids by enlisting them with some easier kitchen tasks. It can be a learning and bonding experience to make recipes like Easy One-Dish Chicken and Veggie Bake or Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadilla.
Plan for In-Season Produce
Certain fruits and veggies are stocked (and taste better) at certain times of year. Be sure to create shopping lists with these timeframes in mind.
To find family meal tips and more than 400 registered dietitian- and family-approved recipes, visit produceforkids.com.
Easy One-Dish Chicken and Veggie Bake
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut in fourths
- 12 small red potatoes, quartered
- 12 ounces green beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Place chicken, potatoes and green beans in rows in 13-by-9-inch baking dish with chicken in middle. Drizzle with olive oil and season with garlic, herbs de Provence, salt and pepper.
- Bake 50 minutes, or until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 F and potatoes are tender.
Nutritional information per serving: 554 calories; 8 g fat; 65 mg cholesterol; 87 g carbohydrates; 11 g fiber; 37 g protein; 9 g sugar; 82 mg calcium; 5 mg iron; 282 mg sodium.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadilla
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium taco seasoning
- 8 whole-wheat tortillas
- 1 cup low-fat shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Use fork to prick sweet potato. Microwave 5 minutes on high. Let cool slightly.
- Cut potato in half lengthwise and scoop flesh into large bowl. Mash until smooth.
- Combine beans, cilantro and seasoning with sweet potato; mix well.
- Heat skillet over medium heat. Spread sweet potato mixture evenly on one side of tortilla, sprinkle with cheese and place second tortilla on top. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes more.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas and mixture. Cut each into quarters.
Nutritional information per serving: 293 calories; 9.34 g total fat; 34.82 g carbohydrates; 10.39 g fiber; 17.04 g protein; 2.33 g total sugars; 237 mg calcium; 2.65 mg iron; 146 mg sodium.
Source: Produce for Kids
(Family Features) Keep warm with hearty dishes that satisfy appetites and comfort food cravings. From russets to reds, fingerlings to purples, the hearty potato comes in many beautiful varieties that add color and texture to beloved comfort dishes. Bring out the flavors of your down-home creation by pairing it with a perfectly suited wine.
A spicy red with raspberry and peppery flavors, Zinfandel pairs particularly well with the flavors of winter — the season where comfort food is king. When searching for the perfect complement to your hearty, comfort fare, go for wines that deliver on quality at a fair price.
Discover Amador County, an up-and-coming wine region nestled in the rolling Sierra Foothills of California, through the wines of Renwood Winery. The winery runs under the direction of Joe Shebl, a talented winemaker whose artistic vision and passion for both Zinfandel and Amador County shows in every bottle.
For more information, visit www.renwood.com.
One Healthy Spud
Beyond their appearance in some of the most beloved dishes, potatoes also boast many benefits to your diet. Here are few reasons to add this versatile vegetable into meals:
Potassium — Potatoes are a great source of potassium, which may help lower high blood pressure, making them a heart-healthy choice. In fact, potatoes contain more potassium than a banana or spinach.
Vitamins — A spud a day may keep the cold germs away. One medium-sized spud has nearly half the recommended daily value of vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin B6.
Dietary fiber — Potatoes are also a source of dietary fiber, a complex carbohydrate, which is known to increase satiety and help with weight loss.
Gluten free — Potatoes are a naturally gluten-free food, so those with gluten sensitivity can enjoy this flavorful vegetable.
For more on potatoes and healthy recipe ideas, visit www.eatwisconsinpotatoes.com.
Pair with Renwood Zinfandel, California
Yield: 6 servings
- 5 pounds bone-in short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/3 cups Renwood Zinfandel
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 beef bouillon cubes
- 6 large Wisconsin potatoes, washed, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 pound small fresh mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen whole green beans
- 1 can (16 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes, undrained
- Dredge ribs in flour to coat; reserve leftover flour.
- Heat oil in 8-quart Dutch oven on moderate heat.
- Add half of ribs and brown on all sides. Once browned, remove ribs. Repeat instructions for remaining ribs.
- Stir in the reserved flour. While stirring, add 1 cup water and wine and stir until thickened.
- Return ribs to the pan.
- Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and bouillon and bring to a boil.
- Cover and lower heat to simmer for about 1 hour, or until ribs are tender.
- Remove ribs with slotted spoon and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Add potatoes, mushrooms and beans. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- Add ribs and tomatoes with liquid, and heat through.
- Use slotted spoon to remove meat and vegetables to large serving platter.
- Remove gravy to serving container and serve with ribs.
Healthy Potato Lasagna
Pair with Renwood Premier Old Vine Zinfandel, Amador County
Yield: 4 servings
- 2 links Italian turkey sausage (3 1/2 ounces each)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried basil or Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 egg white
- 2 cups marinara sauce, divided
- 1 1/4 pounds Wisconsin Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced, divided
- 1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- Remove sausage from casing and crumble into medium skillet with onion.
- Cook for 10 minutes or until both are browned, breaking up sausage with back of spoon.
- Stir together ricotta, basil, garlic powder and egg white in small bowl.
- Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in bottom of 9-inch square baking dish.
- Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the dish, forming solid layer with no gaps.
- Drop 1/2 ricotta mixture in spoonfuls over top and spread out just a little.
- Sprinkle with 1/3 of mozzarella and 1/2 sausage mixture.
- Add 1/2 cup more sauce then repeat potato, cheese and meat layers.
- Top with last layer of potatoes, remaining sauce and mozzarella.
- Cover with plastic wrap and make small slit to vent.
- Microwave on high for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Quick & Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken & Potatoes
Pair with Renwood Zinfandel, Fiddletown
- 2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence (or combination of dried thyme, fennel, basil and savory)
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 4 small (2 pounds) bone-in-chicken breasts, skin removed
- 1 1/4 pounds small Wisconsin red potatoes
- 3/4 cup frozen, thawed pearl onions
- 1 cup small baby carrots
- 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 8 ounces small baby bella or white mushrooms
- Chopped fresh thyme (optional)
- Combine Herbs de Provence, garlic salt, and pepper on a dinner plate.
- Spoon flour onto a second dinner plate.
- Coat each chicken breast with herb mixture; then dredge in flour.
- Heat oil in a large skillet.
- Add chicken and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is golden brown on both sides (approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side). If necessary, cook chicken in two batches so as not to crowd the pan.
- Once browned, place chicken in large slow cooker and add all remaining ingredients, except fresh thyme.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
- Sprinkle with fresh thyme before serving, if desired.