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5-Minute Meals

The last thing you want to do when you're operating on 3 hours and 38 minutes of sleep is chop onions and tenderize meat. But you don't want to eat cereal for dinner again, either. Here are three healthy meals that you can make in minutes  -- literally!

First, some ground rules: The five minutes includes active prep time only  -- the time it takes to gather ingredients and assemble the dish. If water has to come to a boil or if something has to bake in the oven, we don't count that time because, after all, you could be snuggling with your baby, returning a phone call, or collapsing in a heap on the couch during those precious minutes.

Cheesy Beany Roll Ups
Makes 1 serving

A jar of black-bean dip comes in handy for this easy-to-fix wrap. The dip also goes great with baked tortilla chips when you're rummaging through your kitchen for an afternoon snack.
Tip: To make this more of a hearty meal, serve with lowfat sour cream and prepared guacamole on the side.

  • One 8-inch whole-wheat flour tortilla
  • 2 to 3 Tbs mild black-bean dip
  • ¼ cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 to 2 Tbs salsa
  • ¼ cup preshredded, reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Spread the bean dip, corn, salsa, and cheese evenly over the tortilla.

Microwave on high until heated through, 45 to 60 seconds.

Roll up, slice in half, and serve.

Nutritional information per serving: 270 calories, 8g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 590mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 15g protein, 25% daily value (DV) calcium

Pronto Pumpkin Soup

Makes 3 servings

Vitamin A, important for good vision, is also an immune booster  -- something every sleep-deprived mom needs to help her stay healthy and strong. You'll get well over a day's worth of this vital vitamin in our pumpkin soup.
Tip: To add more protein and good-for-you fats to this soup, top with chopped walnuts.

  • One 15-oz can pure pumpkin
  • 2 cups all-natural chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup lowfat sour cream
  • 1 cup whole-wheat seasoned croutons
  • 1/3 cup preshredded, reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Whisk together the pumpkin, chicken broth, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, garlic powder, and salt in a medium saucepan.

Place over high heat until the mixture comes to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the sour cream until well blended.

Place in individual bowls and top with the croutons and cheese.

Nutritional information per serving: 180 calories, 5g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 540mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 7g protein, 450% DV vitamin A, 15% DV vitamin C, 15% DV iron, 15% DV calcium

Sweet & Hearty Beef Stew

Makes 6 servings

Slow cooker recipe may take all day to cook but the prep time can be just minutes. This savory beef stew is a snap.
Tip: Take your peas out of the freezer when you start your slow cooker and allow them to thaw on the counter until you're ready to add them to the stew.

  • 8 oz presliced mushrooms
  • 2 lbs lean stew meat
  • One 16-oz bag baby carrots
  • One 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 Tbs cornstarch
  • 3 Tbs cold water
  • 6 whole-wheat rolls

Place the mushrooms in the bottom of a slow cooker. Top with the stew meat and carrots.

Pour the tomato sauce, maple syrup, and vinegar over the top and sprinkle with the salt.

Cover and cook for 6 to 7 hours on low. When done, whisk the cornstarch and water together in a bowl until well blended and then stir into the beef mixture along with the peas.

Allow the mixture to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with whole-wheat rolls.

Nutritional information per serving: 340 calories, 11g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 520mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 32g protein, 220% DV vitamin A, 20% DV vitamin C, 30% DV iron

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