Easy Meal Ideas

“We’re having chicken…again?” A common phrase that presents like a question, but clearly is meant to be more like a complaint. For home cooks, the challenge of making meals that excite their household without requiring hours in the kitchen is a daily struggle. Despite the abundance of recipes and other resources for home cooks, sometimes we just need basic, simple ideas for creating meals that intrigue without requiring complicated ingredients or too much time in the kitchen.

July: Teriyaki Tofu Salad
Teriyaki Tofu Salad

Chicken They’ll Cheer For

Mostly likely the simple grilled, baked or roasted preparation isn’t creating too much excitement. Enter flavorful, exotic simmer sauces, which allow you to create a meal in about thirty minutes that can rival a takeout dish and is way more exciting than plain grilled chicken. That said, when grilled chicken is on the menu, turn it into something more using one of the many salt-free spice blends on the market that offer bold flavors to create interesting dishes (and leftovers!) that your family will actually eat. For example, Mexican spices can help you quickly bring together fajitas today that can then become a “fiesta” salad tomorrow. Yes, grilled chicken, but with strong flavors that take center stage.

“EGGSellent” Options

Experts believe that the dietary cholesterol found in eggs may not be as harmful for us as previously thought and have shifted the message to emphasize limited saturated fat (and trans fats) instead. This is great news for egg lovers and terrific news for those of us looking for convenient, protein rich meals. Take eggs past breakfast with versatile frittatas, mini quiche muffins, or burritos that are hearty enough to be called dinner when paired with simple sides.

Move Over, Tuna…

While canned tuna is great for a quick meal (especially when used to create this Middle Eastern Tuna Salad), canned salmon is really taking center stage as a convenient way to get the recommended amount of fish, and is especially helpful for a family that is tired of tuna fish. Use it for these simple tostadas, to add protein to this easy macaroni salad, or in place of tuna in several other recipes.

Tofu Tonight

There is no easier, and yet more misunderstood protein than tofu. It is understandable that tofu is intimidating for individuals who have never prepared it, but its convenience and versatility makes it worth getting to know. Try this easy Sesame Crusted Tofu recipe or consider this easy Teriyaki Tofu Salad.

Bean There, Done That

Beans are protein rich and convenient, but no doubt need to be turned into something more to make them a desirable meal. Try this ten minute recipe for protein rich Black Beans Curry with Garbanzo Beans or this Quick Black Bean Mexican Soup that practically comes together on its own.

Creating breakfasts and lunches that excite your family along with delicious dinners every night present a challenge for the home cook. No doubt, having a “tool box” of helpful seasonings, sauces, marinades, simple recipes, and the other tips offered here are sure to make it easier.