The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “quick”

Finding a Quick and Easy Dinner for Two

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This Week’s Recipe

I was talking to my parents last night on the phone, both of whom are retired and live in Florida, and they were talking about what to have for dinner. Ever since I was a child my mom has not enjoyed cooking and did not look forward to making dinner each night. But every night when my dad would get home from work there was a hot home cooked meal prepared by her on the table to enjoy. Last night was pretty typical as they were trying to decide what they were going to have for dinner and they didn’t want chicken breasts again. Since they are living in a 55 and older community often they are busy with church, volunteer work, social events and activities, but last night they were staying in.

We may know a home cooked meal is a healthier option than eating out, but that doesn’t mean we all enjoy cooking. Sometimes it seems like it is hard to think of a meal that I haven’t cooked over and over (like my mom and chicken breasts!). The internet can be a life saver for finding quick and easy recipes. Put a shout out to Facebook friends for their favorite recipes or hop on Pinterest. I told my mom about some new recipes I had pinned on Pinterest and that she should check them out and try them with my dad. One of them was a shrimp stir fry that was really tasty and easy to make for just two people. I look forward to hearing if they enjoyed it and I hope you give it a try too. Let us know if you enjoyed the recipe!

BethanyClapper_2012

Bethany Clapper, Director of Development & Marketing and Mother of Two

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Soup for One

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This Week’s Recipe

If I am not cooking a full meal for my family of four, I struggle with what to prepare. I am sure many of you can relate. Packing my lunch for work each day is the most difficult. Often I keep crackers and peanut butter or an instant cup of soup in my desk and eat that for lunch. When I see co-workers eating delicious lunches made at home, I wish I could plan and prepare better to do that as well. Not only are my lunches often not very appetizing or filling, but the soup especially, is lacking in nutritional value and has extremely high sodium, with more than half of what an adult is recommended to intake daily in just that one cup of soup.

Now that it is winter time and it has been pretty cold, I have wanted to eat soup more than ever at meal time. Instead of grabbing an instant cup of soup I decided to try some new recipes for homemade soup. One of those is a make your own instant noodle soup and store in a mason jar for freezing or easy transportation to work in a single serving.  I have also tried making a large pot at home and splitting it into several mason jars for freezing and use at a later date.  By making my own soups for lunch I am able to add more vegetables and less sodium for a healthier meal.

BethanyClapper_2012

Bethany Clapper, Director of Development & Marketing and Mother of Two

Four Tips for Working Parents to Get Dinner on the Table

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This Week’s Recipe

A new study found home cooking is a major ingredient in a healthy diet.  People who cook at home more often eat fewer calories and their meals have fewer carbohydrates and fat than those who eat out more frequently.  This makes sense – it’s nearly impossible to make a meal at home that is as unhealthy as most restaurant meals!  However, the study found one of the main barriers to home cooking was working more than 35 hours a week outside of the home.

I fall into that category of working full-time and I agree – it makes getting dinner on the table every night more difficult.  Over the years I have found a few tips to make it easier to feed my family healthy home cooked meals after a long day at work:

  1. Keep it simple – a healthy dinner doesn’t need to be a major production. Sauté some chicken breasts in olive oil and serve with a side of veggies.  Dinner is on the table in 20 minutes and it is healthy and delicious.  I may melt some cheese on the chicken breasts or season them differently to mix things up.
  2. Dust off your crock pot – there are a million easy crock pot recipes and nothing is better than walking in the door to a dinner that is ready to go. I have the really big crock pot so I double the recipe and I will serve the crockpot meal at least twice during the week.  I assemble the meal the night before, put it in the fridge and then it’s in the crockpot and cooking before I leave for work.
  3. Take advantage of the weekends to do your prep work so you can get right to cooking and don’t waste time cutting veggies or mixing sauces after work. I don’t plan for more than 30 minutes from the time I walk in the door until dinner is on the table and having the prep work done in advance not only saves time, but it keeps my kitchen cleaner during the week.
  4. Make double or triple portions and freeze the leftovers for future dinners. I tend to make huge dinners on the weekends and the leftovers become healthy freezer meals.  I will pull a meal out to thaw before I leave for work and then pop it into the oven for 20 or 30 minutes to warm for dinner.

Holli-Seabury-2012

Holli Seabury
CEO and Mother of Seven

Casseroles are quick and easy!

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Recipe of the Week

Casseroles are easy to make and can use up whatever foods you have may have available in your pantry. Use this quick list as you look at your pantry, it may even be a big help as you think of something fast to feed the kids before heading out to trick or treat or other nightly activities.

  1. Look for a grain – preferably whole grain like rice or pasta and cook it. One cup uncooked rice or pasta will give you about 2 cups cooked.
  2. Add 1 to 2 cups of leftover vegetables (or frozen or canned) like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage.
  3. Add 1-2 cups of leftover or cooked or canned meat (browned hamburger, cooked chicken/turkey, tuna) or canned /cooked beans (kidney, chili beans, pinto, black), or even tofu.
  4. Mix in 1 -2 cups of cheese (shredded or sliced), maybe even stir in a can of your favorite creamed soup for the salt and added creaminess.

Heat this all together in a pan and you have supper. You can add a salad and some fruit on the side with a glass of milk and you have an incredibly easy, fast way to get supper on the table with all the food groups included. This recipe would be enough food for four nice size servings. If you have more mouths to feed, then increase the quantities. The great thing about casseroles is that if it turns out delicious, then write down the ingredients you used and you have now made your own recipe! If it is not your favorite, eat it and don’t use that combination again. If you have your kids help with cutting up vegetables or adding the other ingredients, you are encouraging them to be confident enough to try their own ideas. You or your kids may be the next great chef!

Linda Hathaway
Director of Curriculum & Education and Mother of Six

Grilling as Easy as 1, 2, 3!

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Recipe of the Week

Labor Day is right around the corner and is the second largest grilling day in America. I will be joining that group and will be getting the grill out for what might be one of the last big grilling days before the start of fall.

In my home I like to use a charcoal grill. I find charcoal to be very easy to use and the flavor it adds to meats and vegetables is one of the advantages over propane gas grilling. To set up your grill using my method: add charcoal to the grill (stacked in the shape of a pyramid), add lighter fluid, wait approximately five minutes, add some additional lighter fluid, then light the charcoal. After most of the charcoal has turned white, spread the coals evenly across the bottom of the grill, and place your grill rack on. You are now ready to grill!

My family loves to grill vegetable like yellow potatoes, asparagus, scallions, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini. One of the easiest ways I have found to cook those vegetables is to take a sheet of aluminum foil, add your vegetables and butter, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, then seal the foil closed and place on the grill. In 10 to 15 minutes your veggies will be soft and tender and ready to eat.

Our favorite meat to grill is Korean BBQ chicken – which is easy to make too! Take five pounds of chicken strips and place into a bowl. Add half a jar of Korean BBQ Sauce (my family’s favorite is CJ Korean BBQ Bulgogi marinade), place a lid on the bowl and shake the chicken around until it is evenly coated with the marinade. Refrigerate overnight. Grilling time the next day is 8-15 minutes.

Another benefit to grilling is the extra time spent with my family. My family likes to come out and help me grill or just hang out outside. On nice days we will enjoy our meal together in the backyard.

Have a great Labor Day and enjoy the long weekend with your family!

Damian Roach Technology & Facility Manager and father of one

Damian Roach
Technology & Facility Manager and Father of One

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