Time and energy are real obstacles to eating healthy, but if you have the right recipes and prepare just a few things ahead of time, home-cooked meals can actually be easier than prepackaged or takeout options. Defrost a protein, and have a few simple ingredients on hand, and you will be amazed how quickly and easily you can get dinner on the table. Here are three quick recipes that require minimal preparation.
Quick and Healthy Chicken Fried Rice
It can be tempting to grab takeout to save time, but this tasty fried rice is not only healthier, it can be quicker than waiting in line to order Chinese food.
1 pound chicken breast, diced into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
10-16 ounces steamable brown rice
1 cup frozen peas and carrot blend
¼ cup low sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 cup edamame beans
Brown chicken breast in 1 tablespoon oil. While cooking, steam brown rice in the microwave. When chicken is cooked, add frozen veggies to the pan and lower heat to medium. Stir around 3-4 minutes. Move chicken and veggies to the side of the pan and add 1 tablespoon oil to the open space. Crack eggs and whisk them into the pan, over low to medium heat. Scramble eggs for a few seconds, then turn into the rest of the ingredients. Add steamed rice, a drizzle of additional olive oil, and soy sauce. Heat until ingredients are incorporated. Top with edamame and serve.
Lemon and Dill Salmon and Veggies
Want to eat more fish, but don’t want to stink up the kitchen? Parchment paper keeps the “stink” inside the packets. Once the fish is cooked, there is very little smell remaining. Think it takes too much effort? This recipe is simple. You can steam extra veggies or microwave red potatoes as a side while the salmon cooks.
1-1½ pounds salmon fillets, cut into 3- to 4-ounce portions
¼ cup fresh dill, or 2 tablespoons dried
1 large lemon, cut into thin slices
Frozen or fresh veggie blend
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut squares of parchment large enough to wrap up salmon. Place 1 teaspoon olive oil on each square and place fish on top. Sprinkle fish with a pinch of dill, then top with two to four thin slices of lemon. Sprinkle with remaining dill and pepper, if desired. Loosely fold the paper over itself, on top of fish. Bake 20 minutes on baking sheet.
Asian Chicken Salad
Sometimes we think of dinner as meat, starch and veggies, but it isn’t realistic, nor is it the healthiest way to eat. If you have a rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken, this is a cinch to create. If not, chop 8 to 16 ounces of chicken and bake at 400 F for 20 to 25 minutes while you put the salad ingredients together. Dinner is still on in under 30 minutes. And you might have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
One 12- to 16-ounce bag broccoli slaw
1 pound chicken breast or 1½ cups chopped rotisserie chicken
½ cup chopped water chestnuts
1 cup mandarin oranges
Asian Sesame dressing
Asian Sesame dressing ingredients:
1/3 cup peanut oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons low sodium tamari (soy sauce)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup scallions, chopped
ground pepper, to taste
Toss broccoli slaw with water chestnuts, mandarin oranges. Mix in ½ cup of Asian sesame dressing. Top with 1½ cups chopped cooked chicken, ¼ cup slivered almonds and additional chopped scallions, if desired.