(Family Features) As the fall season begins, kids go back to school and schedules once again book up with activities.
Between work, the carpool line and shuttling kids to extracurriculars, the increase in family commitments often leaves little time in the kitchen or at the dining table. Although the drive-thru is an easy solution, healthier options can be scarce and the cost of takeout piles up. Instead, add some quick family meals to your arsenal.
Southwestern Bean Mexican Pizza made with READ Southwestern Bean Salad is a fun twist on the Italian favorite that pairs perfectly with fruit, carrot sticks or a salad for a complete, family-friendly meal.
For an easy make-ahead option, grab a jar of Aunt Nellie's Beets and make Beef, Beet and Horseradish Wraps. Both recipes can help you have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less.
Southwestern Bean Mexican Pizza
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) READ Southwestern Bean Salad
- 1 pre-baked pizza crust (10-12-inch diameter)
- 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (about 1/4 cup crumbled)
- 1/2-3/4 cup thin bell pepper strips (1/4-inch thick), any color or combination
- 3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- chopped avocado (optional)
- sour cream (optional)
- Drain bean salads. Place half of beans in bowl of food processor; process until pureed but chunky.
- Spread puree evenly over pizza crust. Spoon remaining drained beans over puree. Sprinkle with bacon, bell pepper and cheese.
- Bake as directed on pizza crust package until heated through and cheese is melted, about 10-12 minutes.
- Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve with avocado and sour cream, if desired.
Nutritional information per serving: 276 calories; 11 g protein; 35 g carbohydrates; 10 g fat; 648 mg sodium; 14 mg cholesterol; 5 g dietary fiber; 11 mg iron; .02 mg thiamin; 575 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C.
Beef, Beet and Horseradish Wraps
Prep time: 30 minutes
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie's Sliced Pickled Beets
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1/2 cup spreadable cheese (such as goat cheese or herb soft cheese)
- 2 large soft flour tortillas (about 10-12-inch diameter)
- 10 green onions (green parts only)
- 10 thin slices deli roast beef
- Drain beets; chop. Discard beet liquid. In medium bowl, combine beets, carrots and horseradish.
- Spread 1/4 cup cheese evenly over each tortilla, leaving 1-inch border. Arrange five green onions (do not chop) on each; press lightly into cheese. Place five slices roast beef on each tortilla to cover green onions then sprinkle beet mixture evenly over beef.
- Roll up tortillas in parallel direction of green onions. Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to 4 hours.
- To serve, remove plastic wrap; cut each tortilla into two pieces.
Substitution: If horseradish is too pungent, omit or replace with diced jarred roasted red peppers or Dijon mustard.
Nutrition information per serving: 300 calories; 17 g protein; 34 g carbohydrates; 10 g fat; 520 mg sodium; 35 mg cholesterol; 2 g fiber; 3.18 mg iron; .26 mg thiamin; 2963.87 IU vitamin A; 8.79 mg vitamin C.
(Family Features) Some of the first foods that come to mind when considering dining outdoors are greasy, messy meals. Instead, opt for a nutritious outdoor experience with a turkey wrap, grain bowl or chicken salad for a backyard bite that doesn’t go overboard.
Find more nutritious recipes for outdoor dining at culinary.net.
Lunch On the Go
A healthy combination of plant-based foods and turkey easily turns into a quick lunch. This wrap brings together a variety of textures with crunchiness from the apples and spinach, substance from the turkey and creamy, simple dressing. Find more quick, healthy recipes at aicr.org.
Turkey, Spinach and Apple Wrap
Recipe reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
- 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons honey mustard
- 2 whole-wheat lavash wraps or flour tortillas (8 inches each)
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves, loosely packed, washed and dried
- 4 thin slices turkey breast
- 1/4 Granny Smith apple, sliced paper-thin
- Combine mayonnaise and mustard. Lay out both wraps. Spread edges of each with mayonnaise mixture.
- Leaving space on one side of wraps, arrange layer of greens on top of wraps. Top each layer with two slices of turkey. Evenly divide apple slices and lay lengthwise across turkey. Fold over one end of wrap then both sides. Roll wrap as tightly as possible toward opposite side.
- Cover each wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate seam-side down, up to 4 hours, before serving. To serve, remove plastic wrap and cut each wrap in half at an angle.
Substitution: Two large leaves of soft, leafy green lettuce can be used in place of baby spinach leaves.
Greens and Grains
Dedicating more of your plate to fresh-from-the-garden produce as well as rice and grains can lead to a healthier lifestyle, according to Cheryl Forberg, registered dietitian and award-winning chef and nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser.”
To start living healthier and greener lives, Forberg recommends starting a garden. This hands-on approach is a fun way to learn about nutrition and where food comes from. Following produce from seed to plate can compel you to eat more healthfully.
Forberg furthers her personal dedication to the seed- to-plate journey through her involvement with Seeds of Change, which invests in healthier and greener communities by offering both organic seeds and foods, and delivers an annual grant program that benefits school and community gardening as well as farming programs. This year, the grant program will award $310,000 to participants who plan to help their communities and teach people about sustainability and where fresh food comes from.
Learn more about starting a community garden and living a greener, healthier life at seedsofchangegrant.com.
Warm Grain Bowl with Wild Salmon, Almonds and Salsa Verde
Total time: 20-25 minutes
- 8 wild salmon fillets (3 ounces each)
- sea salt, to taste
- fresh pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup shitake mushroom caps, sliced
- 1 package Seeds of Change Quinoa, Brown & Red Rice with Flaxseeds
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
Salsa Verde (optional):
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In oven-proof pan, season salmon with salt and pepper, and drizzle each fillet with olive oil. Bake 12-15 minutes, until cooked through.
- In blender or food processor, combine all Salsa Verde ingredients and pulse until fully incorporated but still rustic and chunky. Set aside.
- In medium saute pan over medium-high heat, heat remaining olive oil. Add mushrooms and asparagus and saute vigorously 3-5 minutes. Add grains and slivered almonds, and continue to saute until heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide grains among eight plates, place a piece of salmon on each plate then finish with dollop of Salsa Verde, if desired, and serve.
Substitution: Shitake mushroom caps may be substituted with button mushrooms or other wild mushrooms.
Even when you plan to take dining outdoors, a tasty salad still makes for an ideally nutritious meal. This salad brings together an assortment of veggies for a Tomato-Cucumber Salsa to top succulent baked chicken and greens. Find more recipes perfect for dining al fresco at chickenroost.com.
Baked Greek Chicken Salad
Recipe courtesy of the National Chicken Council
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 green pepper, julienned
- 1/4 purple onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon basil
- 1/8 teaspoon oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon Greek seasoning
- 1/8 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
- 1 package mixed Italian salad greens
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- black olives
- pepperoncini peppers
- To make Tomato-Cucumber Salsa: In medium bowl, mix together tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, purple onion, red wine vinegar, olive oil, vegetable oil, pepper, salt, basil, oregano, Greek seasoning, sugar and dry mustard. Chill until ready to serve.
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Place chicken in baking dish. In medium bowl, mix together butter, lemon juice, pepper, garlic powder, oregano and Greek seasoning; pour over chicken. Bake about 50 minutes, uncovered, basting occasionally.
- Place salad greens in large serving bowl. Top with Tomato-Cucumber Salsa. Slice chicken in thin strips and arrange on top of salad. Sprinkle with feta cheese and garnish with olives and pepper.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images