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10 Quick, Easy Dinner Recipes, Two Ways
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- Taylor Hengen Newman
Easy Spaghetti Recipes
We're going to let you in on three little secrets. Ready?
1. Homemade red sauce is super simple to prepare. Give this recipe a try, and you'll never look back.
2. Fresh steamed mussels--also super simple to prepare--transform this dinner into something fit for kings, or at least for company. Even if it's just the usual crowd, they add a touch of fine-dining flair for any adults in the house who may not have seen the inside of a fancy restaurant in a while.
3. This dinner keeps your bellies full and your wallets fat; this is about as budget-friendly as it gets, people, so eat up.
Cobb Salad Recipe
Avocado, blue cheese and bacon. Need we say more? Actually, there is more to this classic salad, like teriyaki chicken, hard-boiled eggs and fresh baby greens. Each component of this salad is so good that it's no wonder the combined effect is pure bliss. Serve it up like we have here, and everyone can eat together, mixing and matching the salad's ingredients to their liking.
Hint: A great way to get the kids off of the 24/7 PB&J--and on to the foods you want them to try --is to offer them choices at mealtime. This salad won't leave kids feeling cornered into eating vegetables, but instead will engage them in preparing the plates that appeal to their own tastes. Don''t sweat the initial turned-up nose or two; continue presenting options in this way and watch your kids' palates expand.
Easy Grilled Cheese Recipe
Grilled cheese sandwiches are so fast and easy to prepare that they're perfect for those nights when you really don't feel like cooking at all. Both of our renditions bring a gourmet twist to a classic comfort food. Our kid-friendly recipe features mild cheddar cheese, yellow mustard and sliced tomatoes, making for a mouth-watering flavor combination. You can feel good about the three-for-one deal on the nutrition front, too: whole grains, calcium-rich dairy and even some veggies (though feel free not bring this up while the kiddos chow down).
For the more sophisticated palates at the table, we've got you covered with sharp cheddar, Dijon mustard and roasted red peppers, all melted together between two slices of parmesan and black pepper-crusted bread.
Pineapple Fried Rice Recipe
This dinner's tangy and delicious, and, with the help of your pre-prepped chicken from your earlier California Cobb Salad and some bottled teriyaki sauce, it's also a fast one that won't keep you cooking for long. The best fried rice is made with leftover, chilled rice. Make it a rule of thumb to always prepare more rice than you need, and make this your go-to leftovers recipe.
Adding sliced strip steak to the adults' portions contributes an extra layer of flavor and makes the meal more special. A little goes a long way, too, so you won't break the bank buying huge pieces of meat.
Easy Homemade Pizza Recipe
Everyone loves pizza--and it doesn't have to be a greasy fallback option, either; healthy, homemade pizza is as easy as, er, pie. Get the kids involved in choosing and arranging their own toppings, too, and watch 'em pile on the food groups before your very eyes, no bribing or cajoling necessary.
Our pizza is split down the middle between a very basic tomato-sauce, mushroom and mozzarella blend for the kiddos, and pesto, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella cheese, mushrooms and olives for you.
Hint: Save leftover mozzarella cheese for a frittata later in the week.
Vegetable Lasagna Recipe
As you can see, this lasagna is literally overflowing with flavorful roasted vegetables. It's not a fast dinner to prepare, but it's worth every minute of the time that it takes. We recommend putting this puppy together on Sunday night. Pop it in the oven the next evening and voila: a home-cooked meal with minimal day-of effort.
Some kids may not, shall we say, appreciate the appearance of zucchini and eggplant in their lasagna. No worries; you can either section off a portion of the lasagna as a roasted veg-free zone while you prepare the dish, or puree a portion of the roasted vegetables and mix that in with the sauce that you put on the kids' portion.
Egg Dinner Recipes
Frittatas are scrambled eggs' uptown cousins. This dinner is endlessly flexible and adaptable to your family's tastes. It's also fast to prepare and fun to eat, not to mention nutritious. All you ever wanted from a weeknight meal? Eggs-actly (sorry!).
For the kids, it's your dinner, deconstructed (also known as scrambled eggs and sautéed veggies, rounded out with some good ol' whole grain toast). Yum.
Cheese-filled Burger Recipe
Cheeseburgers get a grown-up upgrade with caramelized onions, avocado and Dijon mustard on top, and gooey blue cheese melted within. Use toasted brioche rolls--which you can find in the supermarket's bakery section--in the place of buns, and knock the delish factor up a notch.
Kids will love these little slider surprises. You can make them right alongside yours, substituting mild cheddar cheese for the blue, and tailoring the toppings any which way.
Hint: The best burgers are made from ground beef or chuck that is no more than 85% lean. Fat, in this case, really is flavor. Heap those healthy toppings on there--we used fresh baby greens and thickly sliced tomatoes--and call it even.
Udon Noodle Soup Recipe
This soup tastes like a lot more work than it is (it's incredibly yummy), and a large serving will fill you up enough to function as a main dish. Get creative with the ingredients, too, adding broccoli, bean sprouts, leftover rice, even fish.
The soup has a strongly flavored broth, but most of that flavor is added toward the end. For kids who prefer a subtler taste, remove their portions before step 5 in the recipe.
Vegetarian Taco Recipe
Warm, soft corn tortillas, whole grains, flavorful beans and a spread of vibrant, fresh toppings--could this be family dinner nirvana? Like our California Cobb Salad, each person can prepare her tacos just the way she likes them. Whether your kids pile on a little bit of everything or stick just to one or two main fillings won't matter; everything they're choosing from is nutrient-rich.
These two prepared tacos feature a little bit of everything, with lime juice squeezed on top.