It’s too hot to cook. I just want to be outside. Can’t we just have cold cereal? These are the thoughts running through my head lately when it comes to dinnertime. Cooking is the last thing I want to do during the summer months. I would rather be outside soaking up every last ray of sunshine before winter comes. The problem is that my family still needs to eat!
I’d prefer they have a healthy meal so with a little quick planning and prep I can cook as little as possible. At the beginning of the week, I make a trip to the grocery store to stock up on fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and veggies. I also like to cook a batch of rice and bake a few potatoes to have on hand. With a few other ingredients added to my shopping list, I am set for dinner time. Here are my five go to recipes to shorten time in the kitchen:
(Click on each recipe card for a printable version.)
- Pork Ribs with Garlic Potatoes – Spend a few minutes early on in the day placing the ribs in your slow cooker, and you will have something delicious ready for dinnertime. I like to serve the ribs with garlic potatoes along with a large green salad or a bowl of peaches and pears.
- Tinfoil Dinner – This recipe is perfect for cooking on the grill and keeping the kitchen cool. With the potatoes, carrots, and onions, you already have plenty of veggies on your plate. Make a fruit bowl with watermelon, cantaloup, pineapple, and grapes to serve on the side.
- Ham Fried Rice – If you cooked rice at the beginning of the week, it’s ready to go. Add in ham, eggs, veggies, and seasoning, and you’ve got a tasty Asian inspired dish to serve.
- Shredded Chicken – Here is another great slow cooker recipe. A few minutes of prep in the morning and you are ready to go for dinner time. Serve the chicken on top of a bed of rice, or rolled with rice in a tortilla as a burrito.
- Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes – You can never go wrong with breakfast for dinner. I keep a large batch of the Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancake Mix in my pantry. That way, the pancakes are ready to cook as soon as you add the wet ingredients. Serve the pancakes with scrambled eggs or an omelet and a large bowl of fruit.
No matter which recipe you choose, remember to serve it with plenty of the fruits and veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy to make it a MyPlate Meal. Enjoy!
Certified Nutrition Education Assistant