(Family Features) Turning to easy recipes that require minimal cooking time can help your loved ones take the stress out of busy back-to-school evenings while increasing the opportunities for sharing family moments together.
Skip the long cook times of complicated dishes and instead turn to an option like this Skillet Macaroni and Cheese, a kid-friendly and parent-approved meal to turn hectic school nights into happy time with family.
With a slight twist on the childhood classic, this version calls for chicken to add protein along with spinach and cherry tomatoes for increased veggie intake. Plus, it’s made with milk and cheese as part of an important daily intake of dairy, an irreplaceable part of a balanced diet as a source of essential nutrients.
Visit milkmeansmore.org to find more kid-friendly meals.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Skillet Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe courtesy of Katie Serbinski of “Mom to Mom Nutrition” on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 1 cup dried elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 package (5 ounces) semisoft cheese with garlic and fine herbs
- 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
- Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
- Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, chicken and onion. Cook 6-8 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.
- Reduce heat to medium. Stir in semisoft cheese. Gradually add milk and flour. Continue stirring and cooking until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
- Reduce heat to low. Add hot sauce, cheddar cheese and cooked macaroni. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted. Stir in spinach.
- Top with cherry tomatoes and serve.
Source: United Dairy of Michigan
(Family Features) Macaroni and cheese, the classic American comfort food staple beloved by kids and adults alike, just got easier to prepare. No, not packaged or frozen-from your own stovetop (no baking) in under 30 minutes.
Stovetop Mac & Cheese begins with Dreamfields pasta, a premium pasta made from durum wheat semolina - just like traditional pasta, but with a healthful twist. A one cup serving of Dreamfields not only tastes great, but also has only five grams of digestible carbohydrates and five grams of fiber - which is twice the amount in traditional pasta. The fiber comes from inulin, a 100 percent natural prebiotic fiber (which may help promote healthy digestion) found in common foods like asparagus, raisins and chicory root.
To prepare this one pot, four ingredient, stovetop mac and cheese, simply cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, then add the prepared light Alfredo sauce, shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese and nonfat milk. Stir for a couple of minutes and you'll be rewarded with a creamy, delicious dish.
Many people don't realize how versatile this iconic favorite is. Try different cheeses -Colby, Swiss, goat, Gouda, blue, or a combination. Don't stop there. Vegetables like broccoli florets, green peas and cherry tomatoes make great stir-ins, as do protein choices such as cooked turkey, chicken or ham, even meatballs. It's a deliciously doable winner...one pot, four ingredients, on the table in under 30 minutes.
For this and more amazing recipes, visit www.dreamfieldsfoods.com.
Stovetop Mac & Cheese
Makes 6 servings
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
- 1 box Dreamfields Elbows
- 1 cup prepared light Alfredo sauce
- 2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese or part-skim mozzarella cheese or a combination
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pan; remove from heat.
- Immediately add Alfredo sauce, cheese and milk to pasta; stir constantly until cheese is melted. Add additional milk if necessary for desired consistency. Serve immediately.
Stir-ins: Cooked chicken, turkey, ham cubes, hot dog pieces, meatballs, cooked chicken or turkey sausage, cooked broccoli florets, green peas, chopped tomato or halved cherry tomatoes.
Nutrition information (1/6 of recipe): 385 calories; 20 g protein; 11 g digestible carbohydrates*; 13 g total fat; 7 g saturated fat; 35 mg cholesterol; 570 mg sodium; 6 g total dietary fiber.
NOTE: If traditional pasta is used in this recipe there is a total of 51 g carbohydrate. For more information go to www.dreamfieldsfoods.com.
Source: Dreamfields Foods
(Family Features) School is back in session and so are hectic weeknights with little time to cook dinner. Instead of reaching for ready-made meals or takeout, make a kid-friendly, south-of-the-border casserole. All of the ingredients – from the whole grain elbow macaroni to the ground beef – are cooked in one skillet, meaning minimal cleanup and maximum quality time spent reconnecting around the dinner table.
“This simple three-step recipe is perfect for busy weeknights because it’s quick, family-friendly and just as good re-heated for leftovers,” said McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter. “You don’t need a second pot to cook the pasta; it’s cooked in the skillet along with the ground beef, fresh tomatoes and corn. Season with organic taco seasoning and sprinkle with cheddar cheese and you’re sure to have a meal the kids will beg to add to the dinner rotation.”
Tex-Mex Macaroni Casserole
Makes 8 (1-cup) servings
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 package McCormick Organics Taco Seasoning Mix
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
- 2 cups uncooked whole grain elbow macaroni
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Brown beef and onion in large skillet on medium-high heat. Drain fat.
- Stir in seasoning mix, water, chopped tomatoes and corn. Bring to boil. Add pasta. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Sprinkle with cheese, cover. Let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
(Family Features) If getting your kids to embrace healthy eating habits feels like a constant uphill battle, take heart in knowing you’re not alone. However, modeling smart choices in the kitchen and at the grocery store may be just the nudge your kids need.
One of the biggest hurdles many families face when it comes to healthier eating is getting started. These tips show how subtle changes can make it simple to introduce healthier choices the whole family can enjoy.
- Mornings are a busy time for families, and it can be difficult to make a nutritious breakfast and get out the door. Even so, skip the packaged breakfast foods that are loaded with sodium and calories. Instead, make and freeze your own healthy breakfast foods ahead of time. These breakfast burritos are easy for reheating and eating on the go.
- A common misperception is that eating healthfully takes too long. Set a good example for kids to follow by preparing healthy dinners at home. This one-pot turkey skillet is ready in less than 25 minutes to make dinner and cleanup a breeze.
- When kids are empowered to choose what they eat, they’re more likely to enjoy it. One easy way for kids to identify smart choices in the produce department is by looking for foods with the Produce for Kids logo. Not only are these items an important part of a balanced meal, shoppers who support the products are giving back to local organizations that help children and families.
To find additional tips to encourage your family’s healthy eating and more than 300 registered dietitian-approved recipes, visit produceforkids.com.
Make-Ahead Freezable Breakfast Burritos
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 16 ounces lean turkey breakfast sausage
- 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 small Vidalia onion, finely chopped
- 1 large tomato, finely chopped
- 12 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 14 whole-wheat tortillas (8 inches each)
- In nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add sausage and cook 5-8 minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer to plate and set aside.
- In same skillet, add remaining oil, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes, and cook 3-5 minutes, or until softened. Add tomatoes and cook 2 minutes.
- In large bowl, scramble eggs and pepper. Add to pan and cook, stirring regularly, 3-4 minutes, or until eggs are set. Remove from heat and mix in sausage and cheese. Let cool.
- Fill tortillas with 1/2 cup egg mixture, roll into burrito and lay seam-side down on parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze 1 hour. Transfer to freezer-safe re-sealable bag and return to freezer.
- To reheat burritos, remove from freezer, wrap in paper towel and microwave on high 1-2 minutes.
One-Pot Healthy Turkey Skillet
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 medium green bell pepper
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 3 Roma tomatoes
- 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
- 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add turkey and cook 10 minutes, or until no longer pink.
- In food processor, pulse bell pepper, onion and tomatoes until chunky.
- Add vegetable mixture, noodles, beans, cumin, chili powder and salt to skillet and let simmer 15 minutes.
Source: Produce for Kids
- 5 tablespoons Organic Valley Cultured Unsalted Butter, divided
- 1/2 cup homemade bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup Organic Valley Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 1 pound organic dry pasta in elbow or other small tubular shape
- 4 tablespoons organic flour
- 4 cups Organic Valley Whole Milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 6 cups (24 ounces) grated Organic Valley Sharp and/or Mild Cheddar Cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and combine with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cook pasta per package directions, drain, and return to pot.
- In large heavy saucepan, melt remaining butter over low to medium heat. Add flour and whisk until golden. Add milk; continue whisking and cooking until sauce thickens slightly. Add dry mustard and grated cheese, whisking until cheese melts into sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
- Pour sauce over pasta and stir to combine well. Transfer macaroni to a 4-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes until lightly golden and bubbling.
6 to 8
Source Organic Valley