Back to school is an extremely busy time for parents, students and teachers. After the end of a long day of classes, homework and extra curricular activities, the last thing you want to do is spend a long time making a big meal. However, no one wants to have a week full of fast-food dinners either. These three recipes are quick and nutritious dinners that can be made in a hurry, that the kids will enjoy and that the parents won’t mind making.
Deliciously Nutritious Mac and Cheese
- 8 oz. box of whole-wheat macaroni noodles
- 1 cup low-fat or fat-free milk
- 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups 2% shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (can be omitted if you don't like spice)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1. Cook pasta according to directions and drain.
2. Combine the milk and flour in a medium saucepan while stirring with a whisk. Cook over medium heat for two minutes until mixture is thick while constantly whisking.
3. Add cheese, pepper, cayenne, garlic and onion powder and whisk until smooth.
4. Add pasta and toss to coat.
** This meal takes about 20 minutes.
Veggie Packed Tacos
Tacos are versatile because you can throw into them whatever you have on hand. Don’t have ground beef or turkey defrosted? Use any leftover meat or make them vegetarian with black or pinto beans. There is always something in the refrigerator that will work!
For meat mixture
- 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
- 1 large green pepper, diced
- ½ small onion, diced
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- Whole-wheat tortillas
- Shredded 2% cheese
- 1 diced tomato
- ½ small onion, diced
- 1 cup chopped lettuce
- Salsa and low-fat sour cream
- Cook ground beef until it is nearly done. Add diced green pepper and diced onion to pan and cook until onion is translucent. Add spices to meat and veggie mixture.
- Fill a whole-wheat tortilla with meat mixture; sprinkle cheese, tomato, onion, lettuce and a bit of salsa and sour cream.
**This meal should take about 20 minutes or less.
Easy Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry
If you do not have these particular vegetables on hand, feel free to use whatever vegetables you have based on your preferences. This recipe is versatile because you can use whatever kind of sauce you want as well.
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 2 small yellow squash, diced
- 1-2 cups bean sprouts
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup green beans, chopped
- 1-11/2cups prepared low-sodium sauce (sweet and sour, curry or stir-fry sauce)
- Instant brown rice
1. Add chicken to hot nonstick pan. Cook until browned on both sides.
2. Remove chicken from pan and add all raw vegetables. Stir fry for 3-5 minutes until partially cooked through.
3. Add chicken to cooked vegetables and add curry sauce.
4. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
5. Prepare brown rice according to directions.
6. Serve stir-fry over brown rice.
** This meal should take about 25-30 minutes.
Cooking during the school week does not need to be difficult. Plan your meals and ingredients on the weekend to save time and energy during the week. You can also make these meals in larger quantities if you like leftovers for the next day. Check out more recipes from the Balance Bar® blog here !