Quick Dinner Recipes for Busy Families
Quinoa Veggie Burger
Even meat-lovers will crave this vegetarian burger: toasted pecans, mushrooms, Cheddar cheese, fresh herbs and red quinoa pack this recipe full of delicious flavor. Red quinoa gives the burgers the perfect color, but white quinoa is fine too. These quinoa veggie burger patties hold together well for freezing, making for a quick and easy meal. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before cooking. Serve with your favorite burger garnishes. (Adapted from “Quinoa Revolution” by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming; Pintail Books, 2012.)
Cheddar-Stuffed Mini Meatloaves with Chipotle Glaze
Individual meatloaves not only take the guesswork out of portion size, they cook quicker than a large loaf. Look for ground chipotle in the spice section of the market--it gives the glaze a hit of smoke and spice. Serve with roasted broccoli and brown rice tossed with cilantro.
Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon
A sweet, tangy and salty mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar and honey does double-duty as marinade and sauce. Toasted sesame seeds provide a nutty and attractive accent. Make it a meal: Serve with brown rice and sautéed red peppers and zucchini slices.
BBQ Baked Beans & Sausage
Here we turn baked beans into an easy main dish by adding chicken sausage and collard greens. Serve with: Coleslaw and cornbread.
General Tso's Chicken
In this healthy version of a General Tso's Chicken recipe, we cut the fat and sodium in half from the original version by not frying the chicken and by using half as much soy sauce in this Chinese-takeout favorite. Serve with steamed baby bok choy or sautéed spinach and steamed brown rice.
This satisfying remake of broccoli chowder benefits from the creamy texture of cooked potatoes and smooth, tangy reduced-fat sour cream instead of getting its richness from as much as a cup each of cream and cheese. Not only is the flavor vibrant, but a single serving gives you over half of the daily recommendation for vitamin C.
Smoked Turkey & Farro Salad
This whole-grain farro salad recipe is studded with lean turkey, plenty of crunchy bell pepper, celery, smoked cheese and avocado--a perfect summer salad recipe to serve on a hot summer night. Look for farro--a quick-cooking high-fiber whole grain--in the bulk section or near other grains in natural-foods stores. Or skip Step 1 and add cooked barley as a substitute for the farro in Step 2. Serve with baby spinach salad with toasted almonds and creamy garlic dressing.
Apple, Sauerkraut & Cheddar Quesadillas
This combination may seem unusual--until you try it. The sweet-tartness of the apple, creaminess of the cheese and bite of the sauerkraut work together beautifully in this easy hot sandwich. Serve with oven-roasted potatoes or a green salad.
Shrimp Fried Rice
This healthy shrimp fried rice recipe is packed with vegetables and makes 4 generous servings, so you'll need to use a large skillet that is at least 12 inches wide. A large wok also works well. If you have cooked rice on hand, omit Step 1 and add 2 1/2 cups cooked rice to the pan in Step 5.
This truly tasty half-hour vegetarian chili is made possible by using convenient canned beans and tomatoes (no pantry should be without them). Whole-grain bulgur adds another layer of toothsome texture and nutritional heft. This chili is relatively mild, so it's a good crowd-pleaser. If you like it spicy, add extra chili powder or serve with hot sauce.
Nonna's Spaghetti & Meatballs
The meatballs and sauce are cooked in the slow cooker for this traditional Italian spaghetti and meatballs recipe. You could also serve the meatballs over creamy polenta or on a sandwich with melted provolone.
Sweet Potatoes with Warm Black Bean Salad
For a satisfying last-minute supper, it's hard to beat a sweet potato zapped in the microwave. The fragrant filling of beans and tomatoes adds protein. Be sure to eat the skin, which is full of fiber, as well.
Easy Miso-Chicken Ramen
Warm up a chilly evening with this healthy chicken-and-vegetable ramen noodle bowl recipe. For a little spice, top with hot sauce, such as Sriracha. Look for dried curly Chinese-style noodles near other Asian ingredients in most well-stocked supermarkets. For a substitute, try whole-wheat angel hair pasta and cook for a few minutes longer.
Sugar Snap Pea & Shrimp Curry
This dish is best done at the last minute so the snap peas keep their crisp texture. The pink of the shrimp and the green peas make it as pretty as it is tasty.
Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Tenders
Crispy, Parmesan-flecked chicken tenders dipped in marinara sauce is an easy dinner the whole family will love. Dipping them in a mixture of plain yogurt with chopped fresh basil would be tasty too. Serve with sautéed green beans and roasted sweet potato wedges.
This creamy tortellini and vegetable pasta is a real crowd pleaser. To make it even quicker, use frozen chopped vegetables instead of fresh. Serve with: A green salad and whole-grain baguette.
Green Eggs & Ham Frittata
Our version of green eggs and ham is full of spinach, leeks and dill, along with ham and havarti cheese. Serve with: Roasted red potatoes or hash browns.
Sweet & Sour Tofu
This Chinese-restaurant standard is a simple dish to prepare at home. If you like, add a pinch of crushed red pepper or chile-garlic sauce to give the sauce a little heat.
Garlic Roasted Salmon & Brussels Sprouts
Roasting salmon on top of Brussels sprouts and garlic, flavored with wine and fresh oregano, is simple enough for a weeknight meal yet sophisticated enough to serve to company. Serve with whole-wheat couscous.
Maple-Chili Glazed Pork Medallions
Pork medallions are quick and easy to prepare, and are particularly tasty with a maple-chili glaze.