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Kaylor: Quick, healthful meals for dinner

August 10, 2014
Carolee Kaylor , Pierce County Tribune

Sometimes after a busy day, preparing a meal may seem like too much work. However, eating out can put a dent in your budget. These easy tips can help you put a meal on the table in minutes and save you money, too.

For a quick meal on the go, make a stuffed pita pocket or tortilla wrap. Simply stuff a pita or roll up a tortilla with veggies, meat and/or cheese, and be on your way.

To boil water faster for cooking pasta, start with hot water and cover the saucepan with a lid.

Hard cook several eggs for a quick and easy addition of protein to any meal. Add sliced eggs to a chef's salad made with a variety of leafy greens and other vegetables, or make egg salad sandwiches. Use hard-cooked eggs within one week.

If you have leftover cooked or grilled chicken, cut it up, place recipe- or meal-sized amounts

in freezer bags and freeze for up to four months. Or make a quick stir-fry with frozen vegetables and serve it on a bed of rice the next day.

Cook extra pasta or rice. Drain and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking. Place the desired amount in storage bags and either store in the fridge for up to five days or freeze for up to six months.

Make your own frozen veggies. Chop, slice or dice fresh vegetables such as onions and bell peppers. Arrange in a single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet, freeze until firm, place the desired amount into freezer bags and freeze for up to one month. They will be ready to use in your favorite recipes.

Check the numbers of servings a recipe makes. For do-it-yourself frozen dinners, double the recipe and freeze half in meal-sized portions. For a quick meal, put the "frozen dinners" in the refrigerator to thaw before leaving for the day, then microwave when you return.

(Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, Food & Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension FoodWise Newsletter)



6 ounces dry penne pasta

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 cups fresh broccoli florets

3 green onions, sliced

2 tablespoons canola oil

Lemon pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, add broccoli a few minutes before pasta is done, drain.

Cook the chicken in a pan, seasoning with lemon pepper as it cooks. When the chicken is no longer pink inside, cut into small pieces. Combine chicken to pasta-broccoli mixture. Stir in oil and sliced green onion and add lemon pepper to taste.



2 large tomatoes, diced

1 large cucumber, quartered

cup sour cream, or to taste

2 teaspoons balsamic vinaigrette dressing

1 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill

4 pinches garlic salt with parsley

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl. Add sour cream, balsamic vinaigrette, lemon juice, dill, and garlic salt; stir. Season with salt and ground pepper.



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