What’s for dinner is the most impossible question to answer on our best nights, but during the chaos and rush of back to school it feels nearly hopeless. Adjusting to new schedules and adding extracurriculars to an already crammed-tight calendar and you’ve got a recipe for another drive-through dinner.
This year, don’t sweat it. Put prioritizing dinner on your back to school list. Any of these dinners can be thrown together and in the mouths of your hungry family in 30 minutes or less. They’re also healthier meals you can feel good about serving. And in many cases you can eat them on the run.
We may not change how you see dinner as a necessary evil, but we can certainly take the devil out of the details!
Mexican and Southwest
For meatless Monday or exclusive vegetarians, hearty black beans and mushrooms melted together with cheese is simple and satisfying.
Fire up the grill and you’re only 30 minutes away from the best tacos ever! Buy pre-shredded coleslaw to really save prep time.
Mexican Stuffed Peppers – Barr and Table
These peppers use protein-rich quinoa instead of rice and can be prepped and served in just 30 minutes with on-hand ingredients.
Biggest Loser has a homemade chorizo recipe that tastes and looks like the real deal but is much better for you (just make it in advance).
The kids can practically make these themselves and will love every last comforting bite.
Meatloaf in a Mug – My Recipes
Individual meatloaves are made in minutes in the microwave. Not only are they adorable, but they practically make themselves.
This drive-thru favorite is better than ever when you use panko to get that crispy crunch the kids crave.
It takes only 30 minutes to roast a tenderloin, which you can then shred, toss in your favorite BBQ sauce, and serve!
The sandwich shop has nothing on our effortless meatball subs, made lighter with ground turkey. Serve in hot dog buns for tiny hands.
Chili in 30 minutes is possible. The pumpkin adds delicious nutrition without influencing the flavor much at all.
Mediterranean Chicken, Pear, and Arugula Stuffed Pitas – Fit Bottomed Eats
Our original recipe for FBE starts with a store-bought rotisserie chicken for the ultimate in hand-held, get-out-the-door meals.
We use Applegate Farms ham, turkey, and bacon to craft a cleaner sandwich that’s finished with avocados and veggies.
This grilled panini sandwich presses turkey and cheese together for a super-quick, hot and ready dinner.
It doesn’t get any easier – we fold almond butter with banana slices and sprinkle a few dried cranberries.
Super Sloppy Joes – Meal Makeover Moms
This family favorite is made lighter with ground turkey and always gets two messy thumbs up from the kids.
Meals On a Stick
Maple Ginger Chicken on a Stick – Green Lite Bites
Make the marinade in the morning and dinner is literally minutes away when you get home. Roni says kids will eat anything on a stick!
Shrimp, sausages, and peppers take less than 15 minutes on the grill.
A Jillian Michaels creation that is super family friendly and way better than any frozen fish stick in a box.
Hand-held burgers without the bun are stuffed with gooey cheddar cheese and a bit of jalapeno pepper for big flavor.
Stuffed Almond Butter and Jam French Toast Kabobs – Nibbles by Nic
It’s breakfast for dinner in a whole new way! You could even add bites of ham to the kabobs if you’re looking for more protein.
Pasta and Noodles
An Abra Pappa original that uses less, but higher quality cheese and a butternut squash puree for a kid-approved mac!
Creamy Avocado Pasta – In Good Taste
One of our very favorite 15-minute dinners. Prepare it meatless or top with shrimp.
A super simple homemade soup that easily fills thermoses for feel-good brown bag lunches all week long!
It’s a no-noodle pasta dish and they’ll never know the difference! More nutritious and just as fast as a heap of spaghetti.
Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli – Picky Eater Blog
Turn a package of store-bought ravioli in to a quick and easy feel good dinner the kids will rave about!
Breakfast for Dinner
Prosciutto and Apple Waffle Paninis – HelloGiggles
If you’ve made the waffles in advance, or have frozen available, the prep time on these is dramatically reduced!
Biggest Loser’s Chef Devin Alexanders rolls all-beef hot dogs in buttermilk biscuits.
Cornbread Waffles – Edible Perspective
Prepare these heartier waffles with our oven-baked chicken tenders for a better take on chicken and waffles!
Egg and Kielbasa Sausage Pizza – Kid Friendly Home
The eggs form a breadless crust that holds kielbasa sausage, fresh herbs, and both cheddar and parmesan cheeses.
Carrot Cake Pancakes – Grimmway Farms
We crafted these using Grimmway’s famous baby carrots. Topped with cream cheese and walnuts, they’re quite satisfying.
Our “new year” hummus will bring good luck to your pupils. Serve with warm pita and fresh veggies for an easy, filling dinner.
Another winner of a dinner from Chef Devin, these wontons bake up in minutes and are easily eaten on the go.
Mediterranean Fish Tacos – Food Network
A Rachael Ray original that takes only 30 minutes to prep and serve and offers a lighter, cooler meal for those hot and busy nights.
Chinese Potstickers with Turkey – Super Healthy Kids
If you’ve got about 20 minutes, a food processor, and a pot of boiling water, you’ve got time to make a super lean take-out-inspired meal!
The grilled cheese is all grown up! We make it better with real mozzarella, fresh basil, and juicy tomatoes.
Keep it all organized! Download our FREE meal planner worksheets HERE!
By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America
If I had a dollar for every time Fettuccine Alfredo came up in a nutrition session with a client I would be a very wealthy woman. It seems to be the dish that is the ultimate counterpoint to healthy eating, the sin that must be confessed. That steamy bowl of rich creamy pasta is not sensible – it is evil, ridiculous, void of common sense, and completely and utterly delicious!
Unfortunately, one bowl piles in about a day’s worth of calories and fat. ONE BOWL has approximately 1200 calories and 75 grams of fat!
The original recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo was created nearly 100 years ago by a man named Alfredo di Lelio in Rome. He created the recipe to please his very pregnant wife who struggled with morning sickness. Butter, heavy cream, cheese, and pasta to the rescue!
This morning sickness cure can now be purchased jarred or frozen and is on nearly every Italian restaurant menu across the country. Fettuccine Alfredo is an indulgence that we tend to “indulge” in way too often.
Now you can have your Alfredo and eat it too. Just make it at home. The Abra Pimped way. (more…)
By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America
The idea behind most recipe makeovers is to take out or replace the “naughty” foods with “lighter” versions in order to reduce the big numbers from calories and fat. While reducing numbers is a piece of the health puzzle it doesn’t tell the whole story. Specifically since high fat/high calorie items are frequently replaced with chemically processed or highly processed “lite” versions which leaves a recipe that, quite frankly, can have a negative impact on your overall health.
This recipe makeover, however, is based on a non-reductive food philosophy; one that doesn’t just rely on taking high calorie foods OUT but focuses on adding the right foods IN. Adding in real whole foods, clean foods, foods as close to nature as possible.
So off we go with a new way of re-doing recipes. Pimp That Recipe will take your favorite comfort foods and upgrade them to a new, wholly health supportive, nourishing, satiating, and delicious version. Surely you’re on board with that!
Pimp That Recipe Mission 1: Macaroni and Cheese
I am jumping right out of the gate with a tough one. Macaroni and cheese is delicious. There, I said it. I understand why many of my clients are in love with this rich, creamy indulgence. But, holy cow traditional macaroni and cheese is not a waist-friendly food. It typically weighs in at 600 calories and 30 grams of fat per serving, with very little micro-nutrients to speak of. Additionally, the standard white pasta and heavy dairy will wreak havoc on gut health, blood sugar stabilization, and your body’s ability to effectively burn fat. Let’s turn this yummy delight into a health friendly, (yet delicious) masterpiece. Shall we? (more…)
Kashi has just launched a new product line. Instead of adding a new breakfast cereal or another on-the-go granola bar, they’ve added a whole new line of easy-to-prepare steam meals. The bags come microwave-ready so all you have to do is find it in the freezer aisle, throw it in the microwave, and serve.
These steam meals come in four different flavors, each containing an average of 35 grams of whole grains, 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and only 9 grams of fat. Different flavors vary. Each are the same in that there are no artificial ingredients and they’re all minimally processed. The bags come in a single-serving size making it easy for you to not over indulge, however, multiple bags will need to be bought if you plan on serving the whole family. Listed below are the four different flavors currently available.
This meal contains natural white and grilled chicken, 7 whole grain sesame pilaf, carrots, edamame, red peppers, and roasted green beans. It’s all topped off with a spicy citrus sesame sauce that seems to be not too heavy nor not too light. The nutritional facts are 35 grams of whole grains, 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and 9 grams of fat (guideline is 3.5 grams or less). The meal has 300 calories, which is inline with nutrition guidelines for a meal like this. It does slightly exceed the 600 milligrams or less guidelines for sodium. (more…)
Hearty penne marinara is a staple in my home. About once a week, my husband I start craving this classic Italian dish and get to cooking the best way we know how. But, I can guarantee you it’s nowhere close to ‘classic’ Italian style, since the sauce most often comes from a jar and the noodles come from a box and usually end up overcooked.
But thanks to chefs like Bobby Flay who take the seemingly complicated meals and break them down into totally doable dishes, we’re able to recreate regional favorites right in our own home.
Flay – longtime chef, restaurateur, and Food Network star – recently stopped by The Today Show to dish out his tips on what to do – and what not to do – wen it comes to classic penne marinara.
With his guidance, we can avoid those common cooking mistakes and finally master the process that yields a perfect tomato sauce and the quintessential al dente noodle. Flay even throws in his tips for garlic bread, too. (more…)