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Quick & Healthy Dinners (And One for Breakfast, too!)

quick healthy dinnersI thought finding fast & healthy meals would be easy and fun. I can always use new recipes. But I quickly discovered what counts as healthy to some, doesn’t exactly fit my definition. So, what is my definition of healthy food?

What is Healthy?

Healthy food is:

• Nutrient dense
• No artificial colors, preservatives, or MSG
• Organic (whenever possible) or free of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics

Whenever possible, I like my food locally sourced and humanely raised.

What is a Quick Meal?

So, what do you consider to be a fast meal?

Is it a meal that’s ready to eat in 15 minutes, or one you can zap in the microwave? Fast to me, is a prep time of 30 minutes or less. The actual cooking time can vary, but I don’t have kids at home, either. If I can get something ready before I head out the door for work and it cooks all day in a crockpot – that still counts as fast in my book.

The recipes for this Roundup don’t involve multiple steps. I considered busy parents with young children in my selection. Keeping children’s hunger curbed before dinner is no easy feat!

I thought it would be great to seek out some budding chefs for this post and what better place than one of my favorite sites RealFoodForager.com. The founder, Jill, is a nutritionist and chiropractor, with some great recipes of her own, but every week she hosts an online “Fat Tuesday” where anyone can post a blog and/or recipe of their own – provided they follow the rules. Recipes may not contain artificial ingredients, soy, artificial sweeteners, or bad fats. Here’s a link to the October Fat Tuesday.

The first meal to catch my eye, was this one-skillet dinner from SimpleLifeMom.com

One Skillet Meat and Potatoes

Not only is this dinner quick – it saves on dishes, too! You’re very likely to have the ingredients in your house as well. Kelly provides her own recipe for dried onion soup mix (which I need to make), but if you’re tight on time, use a french onion soup mix like this from Simply Organic.

Use organic potatoes (no need to peel) and you could use frozen broccoli in a pinch, if you didn’t have fresh. Kelly puts turmeric in hers to jazz it up – that sounds delicious.

Get the full recipe here.

Simple Dinners: Salsa Chicken Thighs

This is a super speedy dinner and nice change from your standard baked chicken.  The recipe hails from a life in balance, and Barbara refers to it as “one of those last minute desperation recipes.”  True! Her site is all about “food, fun, frugality, fitness, and above all, family!” I’m all for that.

Simple Dinners: Salsa Chicken is perfect for a quick weeknight meal.

Most of us have salsa in the house, but if you actually PLAN your meals and shop accordingly, you can follow Barbara’s tip and pick up a mango or pineapple salsa. That would be really tasty. If you’re partial to white meat, I don’t see why you couldn’t use chicken breasts instead of thighs for this recipe.

She served it with rice, which can also be made in a hurry. Choose a quick cooking organic rice. If you remember, in our 7 Flavorful Cranberry Recipes for Health I shared The Dirt on Rice….Literally.

Get the full, easy recipe here.

Fresh Quick Pea Soup Recipe

For our vegetarian or ‘Meatless Monday’ friends, this recipe  from Diana Herrington’s site, Real Food For Life, will serve you well. Seriously, if you have a Vitamix, you can make this in less than 5 minutes! You can adapt the recipe to your tastes (I’d use Pink Salt) instead of the Vege salt or Spike. It doesn’t seem like it makes a lot, so you may need to double or triple the recipe. As a bonus, Diana’s recipe includes 10 Health Benefits of Peas. Your mother was right – you should eat your peas.

Get Diana’s full recipe here.

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake

This one has comfort food written all over it and it only requires 10 minutes of prep time!

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake - An easy weeknight casserole with chicken, artichokes, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes - and all you need is 10 min prep!

Dinner is ready in 30 minutes!  The recipe is from Chungah of Damn Delicious. The recipe calls for canned chicken, but you could easily substitute leftover chicken. I always have artichoke hearts at home because hot artichoke dip is my super-fast, go-to hors d’oeurvre, for any event. You might have to plan ahead for the sun dried tomatoes, but they’re worth the effort.

Since the recipe has spinach and artichokes in it, you could skip a veggie with this meal.  A nice lettuce salad would complete it. This is a casserole I would be proud to bring to a potluck or a friend in need. You can substitute gluten free noodles and a gluten free panko if you’re avoiding gluten. If you aren’t sure what panko is, this video from the Food Network will help.

You can get the full Chicken Florentine Artichoke bake recipe here.

Cheesy Spinach Enchilada, Gluten Free

I docheesy spinach enchiladan’t know why, but I’ve been craving Mexican food lately, so when I  saw this, I knew I had to try it. It’s gluten free and meatless!

You can make this ahead and freeze it, and the ingredients are very adaptable. The recipe is from Jamie at  A Families Love. I like finding websites that have a mission (besides good, healthy food!). Jamie’s family is passionate about adoption of special needs children.

The recipe serves six, and the total time to make the meal is 35 minutes.

The recipe calls for corn tortillas, but if corn doesn’t agree with you, you could swap them out with Rudi’s Spinach Tortillas. You could probably use frozen kale and/or frozen spinach (preferably organic), if you get all the extra moisture out of them.  Spinach is on the Dirty Dozen list, so if you’re wanting to avoid toxins in your food, follow this Environmental Working Group guide.

Some refried beans with green chile and lime would be good with this meal or a side dish of homemade applesauce!

You’ll find Jamie’s full recipe here.

Oven Denver Omelet

Okay, so this isn’Oven Denver Omelet Recipet necessarily a dinner recipe, but who hasn’t had breakfast for dinner? And wouldn’t you like a new quick breakfast idea for a Sunday morning?

This one hails from Taste of Home and what I love about it is you don’t have to do it the night before, it’s not loaded with bread and you can get really creative with it!

How about using a healthy ground sausage or make it meatless and  use fresh  mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes?

This would be great to make for unexpected company. They’ll be impressed!

You can find the full recipe from Taste of Home here.

Do you have some quick and healthy recipes you’d like to share with us?
Please post them in the comments section below.