One of the barriers to eating together as a family is lack of time. We are all busy with work, after school activities and other commitments, so it can be difficult to find the time to plan meals and sit down to eat together.
Utah State University Extension teaches some practical tips you can use to get started:
Choose healthy, quick recipes that are easy to prepare. They’ve given The Place 3 different recipes to get you started.
Take some time to plan at the beginning of the week. Taking 30 minutes to an hour to think through your meal plans eliminates wasted time every day at 5:00 p.m. when you try to figure out what’s for dinner.
Plan for leftovers. Cook once – eat twice.
Chinese Chicken Salad
Recipe Adapted from https://livewellutah.org/2017/06/05/chinese-chicken-salad/
- 1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped (about 6 cups)
- 2 cups purple cabbage, sliced
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 cup celery, sliced
- 1 small cucumber, sliced
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds, (optional to toast)
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
- 1-15 ounce can Mandarin oranges, packed in 100% juice, drained and rinsed
- 1 small can chow mein noodles (1 ½- 2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, lite (lower sodium)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup canola (or other mild flavor) oil
In a 1-pint canning jar, combine all dressing ingredients. Mix by shaking.
In a large bowl, combine lettuce, cabbage, green onions, celery, cucumber, sesame seeds (if using), almonds, oranges, and chicken. Toss.
Just before serving, add chow mein noodles and dressing. Toss again.
How to Toast Almonds (Optional):
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spread almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 3-4 minutes.
- Check almonds, shake pan to stir almonds.
- Check every minute until they are the desired color.
- Remove from oven and immediately pour onto a plate or platter where they can cool in a single layer. If left on the cookie sheet or in a pile, the almonds will continue to brown.
- Once cooled completely, store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. You could safely store them longer, but the flavor will deteriorate.
Marinated Zucchini Salad
- 4-5 small zucchini, chopped
- 1 small (2.25 oz.) can sliced black olives, drained and rinsed
- 1 red or green pepper, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 cup Italian Dressing (light, reduced sodium preferred)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Steam zucchini for 3-5 minutes, chill.
Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Toss to coat. Place in refrigerator for 4-8 hours before serving.
Hearty Veggie Quesadillas
Ingredients: Yield: 2 Servings
- ½ cup canned pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed (low sodium preferred)
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- ½ bell pepper, chopped
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 2 (6-inch) whole-wheat flour tortillas
- 2 tablespoons salsa
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded (reduced-fat preferred)
Combine beans, tomato, pepper, onion, and carrots in a medium bowl. Set aside. Warm a skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in pan and warm one side, then flip tortilla over. Place half of ingredients from bowl on one side of tortilla and fold tortilla in half over the filling. Cook about 3 minutes or until filling is heated through. Transfer quesadilla to a plate and keep warm. Repeat for second quesadilla.
*Use your imagination and add any veggie, bean, or cooked rice that you have on hand to quesadilla.
(Food $ense Recipe from Box)
- 12 eggs
- ½ cup milk (skim or 1% preferred)
- 6 slices ham, chopped (reduced sodium preferred)
- ½ cup green onions, diced
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded (reduced fat preferred)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 12 count muffin pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until light and fluffy. Stir in ham, onions, and salt and pepper. Divide egg mixture into muffin tins and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake about 25-30 minutes or until eggs are set.
*Experiment with different combinations of vegetables you have on hand. Suggested combinations include:
- Spinach, mushrooms, and parmesan cheese, shredded
- Frozen kale, tomatoes, and part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
Fruit Skewers with Blueberry Yogurt Dip
Assorted fruit, such as:
- Strawberries, stem end trimmed
- Canned pineapple chunks, packed in 100% juice, drained and rinsed
- *Wooden skewers, cocktail straws, or coffee stirrers
Blueberry Yogurt Dip:
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt, non-fat
- 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen and thawed slightly
*Cocktail straws or coffee stirrers are more appropriate for young children for safety.
For the skewers: String the fruit on the skewer in any order you choose.
For the dip: Add yogurt and blueberries to a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into small bowls or cups.
Serve each skewer with a small bowl of yogurt dip.
You can find more recipes on the Family Mealtime Cookbook: http://extension.usu.edu/foodsense/ou-files/FamilyMealtimesCookbook-OY-May2017-Online.pdf