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Quick and Healthy Dinner Recipes
Do you make dinner at home or have take-out more?
Today we live is a very rushed and busy world where we’re accustomed to working long (and sometimes odd) hours and sometimes more than 5 days a week. We’re luck if we even get the time to eat at all, much less eat nutritiously.
Much of our days go in this manner:
a) On the way to work we stop off at Starbucks or Macdonald and grab a breakfast sandwich and a coffee.
b) When it is time for lunch (or break time) we might grab a burrito, or eggs rolls or something from a food truck outside, or we run out for fast food.
c) When we get home, if we didn’t grab some take-out on the way home, we might have a frozen microwaveable meal or something out of a box or a can.
This type of diet is so common today that they make more and more “healthy” version of fast food or frozen dinners. It seems, sometimes, that we completely leave our health and nutrition up to food companies and fast food chains.
Of course, there are always the excuses (or “reasons”; as we like to thinks of it) that we can’t make our own meals: we don’t have the time or energy or knowledge of the kitchen to make our food. And since we can get “healthy” take-out , we’re doing okay.
Well, as true as it Is that we can get healthier food fast these days as compared to the past, there is actually nothing better than a home-cooked meal. Not for the price, flavor, nutrition and especially, if you have a family, for bonding. (Many specialists claim that a family which sits down and eats dinner together is a happier and more functional unit.)
The following recipes are for four (4) quicky, easy and healthy meals that can be made in a very short time (less than an Hour) that are delicous and healthy meals(I've included the calories for the whole meal and each serving). They are also quite inexpensive (I’ve included generalized prices; they obviously will vary depending on where you live, what brands you purchase and if the products are on sale).
1. Tuna and Pasta
This is a very simple meal. It really only takes the cooking time of the pasta (usually about 10 minutes,)to put together. you can choose you favorite pasta sauce for this if you like, but make sure that if you use a white sauce (cream sauce) that it’s low fat. A red sauce (tomato sauce) is actually healthier than the cream sauce. Note: if you have canned chunk Chicken you can substitute that instead of the tuna.
Servings: 8 servings
Total calories: 1942
Single serving calories: 242.75 per serving
Total Price: $5.00
Time: 12-15 minutes
2 5-ounce cans of tuna (100 per serving / 2 servings per can / total: 200 ) $1.00 per can
1 pound (16-ounces) of whole wheat pasta. (174 calories / 8 servings. Total: 1392) $2.00
1 can (24-ounce) pasta sauce (70 calories per / serving 5 servings. Total: 350) $1.00
1. In a large cooking pot boil 4-6 quarts of water (DO NOT add any salt).
2. Add the pasta and cook as directed (about 10 minutes).
3. Drain pasta (pour out the water) and return the pasta to the pot.
4. Add the pasta sauce to the pot and pasta.
5. Open and strain the water from the tuna.
6. Add the tuna to the pasta and stir all ingredients together.
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2. Vegetable Soup
Yes, you can buy this in a can at the store if you like, but we all have a bag of frozen carrots, peas or some kind of vegetable in the freezer (along with a whole bunch of canned vegetables that have been sitting around waiting for Thanksgiving or Christmas that rarely get touched). This recipe is extremely simple and surprisingly very tasty. You basically throw everything into a pot, heat and serve. This recipe is a basic one (just what I’ve had around; your pantry may differ). I’ve included some basic prices just for the information.
Total Calories: 545
Single Serving Calories: 136.25 per serving
Total Price: $4.00
Time: 20-30 minutes
1 can (14.5) of green beans (30 calories 2/3 cup; about 60) $1.00
1 bag (16 oz.) frozen peas and carrots (60 calories 2/3 cup; about 120) $ 1.00
1 bag (16 oz.) frozen corn (60 calories 1 cup; about 120) $1.00
1 can (14.5) black beans or kidney beans (70 calories ½ cup; about 245) $1.00
5 cups water
1. In a large cooking pot add the water.
2. Open and drain the kidney / black beans (especially the black beans) and rinse them under cold water before adding to the pot.
3. Add the green beans with the cans water/liquid.
4. Add the frozen corn, carrots and peas (still frozen is fine).
5. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
6. Let cook for 15-20 minutes until soup is warm / hot to your liking.
7. Season with black pepper if desired.
3. Chicken Salad
This is probably the simplest dish to throw together. There is no cooking time, just preparation time. This can be made anytime and easily made for a lunch or afternoon snack or light dinner. The most important thing to remember is that all fresh produce has a short shelf life once you bring it home. I’ve known many people who buy fresh vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes or whatever) and then let it sit around for weeks before they consider eating it. Bb then, it’s lost all its freshness. So if you decide to have a salad, make sure the produce it fresh. You can use almost any type of pre-cooked chicken for this (there are frozen chicken strips; even shredded deli slices can do). You can make your own vinaigrette dressing if you like (it’s basically just vinegar and olive oil; it is healthier than Thousand Island dressing) but store bought low-fat dressing is just fine.
Total Calories: 255 (with cheese); 145 (no cheese)
Total Price: $10.50 / $8.50 (without cheese)
Time: 5 minutes
2 oz. Lettuce or spinach (by weight; it’s about 1 cup) 10 calories / 7 calories for spinach $1.00
8 ounces cooked Chicken (8 oz. 211 calories) $4.00
Sliced Tomato (optional) (1 medium, 22 calories) .50 cents
¼ cup shredded Cheese (optional) (1 oz. 110 calories) $2.00 per bag
1 ounce Italian dressing (2 tablespoon 16 calories) $3.00 a bottle
1. In a bowl layer salad as follows: lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, dressing.
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4. Turkey Meatloaf
At first, meatloaf might not sound like a healthy meal, but if you use simple and healthy ingredients, then you'll have a nutritious and delicious meal that is both comfort food and health food. This following recipe can vary according to your tastes. I’ve used panko bread crumbs for this one, but you can use oatmeal if you like (the oatmeal has more fiber, but the bread crumbs have less calories; oatmeal:150 / bread crumbs: 120). Also the egg whites are used for binding the turkey together since it is low in fat. 1 whole egg is 65 calories if you want to use one egg instead of using two (it will be an extra 50 calories to the whole loaf, your choice).
Total Calories: 931
Single Serving Calories: 232.75
Time: 55 minutes
2 egg whites (calories 17 calories each) (.16 cents each; 1.99 for a dozen eggs)
1 lb. ground turkey (680 calories) $4.00
1 green or red bell pepper, diced (33 calories) .50 cents
1 yellow onion, diced (64 calories) .50 cents
½ cup bread crumbs (120 calories) ($1.50; $3.00 for 8 oz. box)
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients. (Mix fully with you hands).
3. Press into a loaf pan.
4. Bake for 40 minutes.
5. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.