(Family Features) When busy mornings give way to a hectic workday followed by homework and after-school activities, a fresh, simple meal is often the only option. Before you hit the drive-thru or settle for an equally unhealthy alternative, check out these delicious dishes you can prepare and serve without the hassle.
Find more ideas to make your busy weeknights easy at Culinary.net.
Savory and Scrumptious
Take a nutritious dish to the family table that still brings a flavorful bite. This savory lasagna recipe boasts meaty eggplant, fresh zucchini and lycopene-rich tomatoes. Whole-wheat noodles pack fiber and natural plant compounds, called phytochemicals. Find more better-for-you recipe ideas at AICR.org.
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research.
- 2 eggplants (about 3 pounds), quartered lengthwise
- 6 medium zucchini (about 3 pounds)
- canola oil cooking spray
- 1 pound whole-wheat lasagna noodles
- 15 ounces low-fat ricotta or low-fat cottage cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese
- 4 cups low-sodium tomato sauce, divided
- Heat oven to 450° F. Grease 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan; set aside.
- Slice eggplant and zucchini in 1/2-inch slices. Layer on two baking sheets and coat both sides of vegetables with cooking spray. Roast 20 minutes. Toss vegetables and continue roasting until well browned and soft, about 20 minutes more. Transfer vegetables to large bowl.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375° F.
- Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Separate noodles and let cool slightly.
- In medium bowl, mix together cheese, eggs, Parmesan, nutmeg and garlic powder.
- To assemble: Spread thin layer of sauce over bottom of prepared pan. Cover with layer of pasta (noodle strips slightly overlapping). Spread with one-third of ricotta mixture.
- Sprinkle 1/4 of the mozzarella over ricotta. Spoon 1/3 of roasted vegetables on top. Top with 1/2 cup tomato sauce and continue assembly as directed until there are four layers of pasta and three layers of filling. Spread remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
- Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes more. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Quick, Flavorful Meal Idea
It’s not always easy to make healthy food choices. When time is of the essence, look for delicious recipe ingredients that are convenient and easy to prepare while also offering great taste and health benefits.
In fact, 40 percent of American consumers said shorter cooking times are especially important when buying grocery items such as rice, grains and pasta, according to research from Statista, and 83 percent said taste is an important factor when purchasing food.
Ready in 10 minutes with flavor infused in every grain, Uncle Ben’s Flavor Infusions rice is ideal for those looking for quick and healthy meal options. With its one-step cooking process, it makes it easy for families to cook with their kids and quickly get dinner on the table. The resealable pouches ensure freshness for multiple uses, and any of the five flavors can be combined with fresh vegetables, proteins and herbs for a simple meal that’s ready in less than 20 minutes.
Simple recipe options using Flavor Infusions, such as Easy Thai Chicken Satay and Rice Salad, are quick meals the entire family can enjoy, even when short on time. Find more meal ideas at UncleBens.com.
Easy Thai Chicken Satay and Rice Salad
- 1/4 cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons red curry paste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 cup Uncle Ben’s Flavor Infusions Roasted Chicken
- 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup sliced pea pods
- 1 cup sliced red pepper
- 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
- 4-6 red radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- To make dressing: In small glass bowl, stir together coconut milk, peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, red curry paste, cayenne pepper and hot water; set aside.
- Cook rice according to package instructions. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.
- In center of individual plates, place about 1 cup rice. Arrange chicken, carrots, pea pods, red pepper, avocado, radishes, peanuts and green onions around rice then drizzle with dressing.
Fish with a Twist
Add a little variety to your dinnertime protein with a smart, heart-healthy option like fish. Fillets cook quickly and a slightly sweet white fish like farm-raised catfish has a mild enough flavor to entice picky young eaters. White fish is also quite versatile; it can take on other flavors such as this citrusy topping with ease. Find more family-friendly fish recipes at USCatfish.com.
Catfish Quesadilla with Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream
Recipe courtesy of The Catfish Institute
- 4 U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Fillets, grilled or baked
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- smoked paprika or chili powder
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 3/4 cup whole corn kernels
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 4 flour or wheat tortillas (10 inches each)
- 1 can (16 ounces) refried black beans
- 2 cups grated pepper jack cheese
Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream:
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- lime zest
- salt, to taste
- Lightly brush fish with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika or chili powder. Prepare fish on grill or bake until done. Place in refrigerator to cool. When cool, cut into bite-size pieces.
- In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Saute red pepper and onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add corn, red pepper flakes, cumin and salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to incorporate and saute 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl and add cilantro.
- Heat pan large enough to hold flat tortilla to medium heat. Lightly brush pan with remaining olive oil.
- Spread tortilla on work surface. On half of each tortilla, spread refried beans and vegetables; top with fish.
- Place in heated pan and sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese on other half of tortilla. Heat until cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly crispy. Fold cheese side over vegetable side and remove to plate.
- Using serrated knife, cut each tortilla into four pieces. Serve with Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream.
- To make Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream: In small bowl, mix all ingredients until combined.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Roasted Vegetable Lasagna and Catfish Quesadilla with Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream)
Photo courtesy of Uncle Ben’s (Easy Thai Chicken Satay and Rice Salad)
(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.
(Family Features) In an effort to squeeze in valuable time together, more families are zooming past the drive-thru and heading home to the table for simpler, satisfying and more wholesome dinners.
Busy schedules can make dinnertime a challenge for many families. With sports practices, dance rehearsals and after-school activities galore, many parents are doing well by just getting their little ones to the right place at the right time. These days, with so much time spent outside of the home, the time spent around the dinner table is priceless.
Bring everyone together with an Italian feast
With its savory blend of cheeses, sweet garlic and rich sauces, it’s hard to deny the delicious flavors of Italian cuisine. By combining a few simple, scrumptious elements, you’ll find it’s quite easy to bring the taste of Italy into your own home. Gather the family together with the many flavorful options available at your local grocery store, such as Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods, which offers prepared Italian meals boasting homemade flavor without the fuss.
Here are a few authentic Italian meal ideas to incorporate into your next weeknight routine, so you can deliver a dinner that satisfies every family member.
Serve up a salad
A crispy, crunchy salad is the perfect starter for an Italian meal and can be tossed together in a matter of minutes. For a simple take on salad, just combine fresh greens – such as chopped romaine hearts – thinly sliced red onions and croutons. To add more flavor and texture, throw in fresh mozzarella, chopped radicchio, cherry tomatoes and pepperoncini. Don’t forget to finish with a generous splash of savory Italian dressing.
There’s nothing more comforting than a warm dish of flavorful pasta at the end of a long day. When such flavorful dishes can be created with the touch of a button, everyone wins. Serve up the delicious combination of vine-ripened tomatoes, sautéed onions, 100 percent semolina lasagna pasta, ground beef and premium cheeses in Michael Angelo’s Meat Lasagna. Or, try their Eggplant Parmesan, made with farm-fresh eggplant, imported olive oil, Italian spices and a blend of imported Pecorino and Parmesan cheeses.
Warm, garlic goodness
A plate of hearty, wholesome Italian food would not be complete without a side of fragrant, warm garlic bread. Heat up an easy, pre-made variety in the oven, or make your own by simply topping your favorite variety of sliced bread with butter, garlic, Parmesan cheese and oregano.
Fill your kitchen with ingredients and products that allow you to fix easy meals that bring the whole family together. They’re the perfect dinnertime solution for busy parents who want to serve a wholesome, better-for-you meal to their family, but don’t always have the time or skills to cook from scratch.
For more information and meal ideas, visit www.michaelangelos.com.
Source: Michael Angelo's Gourmet Foods
(Family Features) You don’t have to be a master chef to create great meals that your family will love. Simple yet flavorful and warming dishes are the perfect solution for busy cooks with hungry families to feed.
Using high-quality ingredients helps guarantee you’re serving meals you can be proud of, even when you’re short on time. For delicious dinners, look for ingredients such as Hunt’s® tomatoes and KRAFT® Parmesan cheese. Hunt’s diced, stewed and whole tomatoes are peeled using only steam and their sauce is 100 percent natural with no preservatives.
Ranging from a Latin-inspired Chorizo Bolognese to easy Italian lasagna in a skillet, these recipes combine carefully chosen ingredients, so you can serve meals rich with flavor and quality.
Look for more great recipe ideas at Hunts.com.
Easy Chicken Parmesan
- 1 can (15 ounces) Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, undrained
- 6 tablespoons KRAFT® Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
- 6 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (6 breasts = 1 1/2 pounds)
- 3/4 pound spaghetti, uncooked
- 1 1/2 cups KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Heat oven to 375°F.
- Pour tomato sauce and undrained tomatoes into 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish. Stir in 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) Parmesan. Add chicken; turn to coat evenly both sides of each breast with sauce. Cover.
- Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is done (165°F). Meanwhile, cook spaghetti as directed on package, omitting salt.
- Top chicken with remaining cheeses; bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until mozzarella is melted.
- Drain spaghetti. Serve topped with chicken and sauce.
Classic Spaghetti and Parmesan Meatballs
- 1 pound ground round beef (85 percent lean)
- 3/4 cup KRAFT® Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes, undrained
- 2 cups Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 12 ounces dry spaghetti, uncooked
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Combine beef, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, egg, 1 teaspoon garlic and salt in medium bowl. Divide mixture into 12 portions; shape into meatballs and place on aluminum foil-lined shallow baking pan. Bake 15 minutes or until done (160°F).
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 2 teaspoons garlic, cook 1 minute more or until fragrant. Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, basil and sugar. Bring to a boil.
- Add meatballs to sauce; gently stir to coat. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain spaghetti; top with sauce and meatballs. Top with extra KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese, if desired.
- 8 ounces dry fettuccine pasta, uncooked
- 1/2 pound ground chuck beef (80 percent lean)
- 6 ounces fresh pork chorizo (Mexican-style)
- 1/4 teaspoon adobo seasoning blend
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/4 cup sliced stuffed green olives
- 1 can (15 ounces) Hunt’s® Tomato Sauce KRAFT® Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt.
- Meanwhile, heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, chorizo, adobo seasoning and pepper to skillet; cook 3 minutes or until meat begins to brown, stirring once.
- Add onion and olives; cook 2–3 minutes more or until meat is crumbled and no longer pink. Drain.
- Stir in tomato sauce; reduce heat and simmer 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve sauce over pasta.
- Sprinkle with KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese, if desired.
Classic Skillet Lasagna
- 8 ounces dry bowtie (farfalle) pasta, uncooked
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup KRAFT® Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 12 ounces Italian pork sausage
- 1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) or 1 can (28 ounces) Hunt’s® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic and Oregano, undrained
- 1 can (6 ounces) Hunt’s Tomato Paste
- 1 1/2 cups shredded part- skim mozzarella cheese, divided.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt.
- Meanwhile, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, water and pepper in small bowl; set aside.
- Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and onion; cook 3–5 minutes or until sausage is crumbled and onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Drain.
- Add tomatoes (undrained), tomato paste, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and cooked pasta to skillet; stir to combine.
- Dollop spoonfuls of ricotta mixture on top of pasta mixture. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 2–3 minutes or until ricotta mixture is hot and mozzarella cheese melts.