Healthy EASY Quick Dinners

Updated on March 31, 2008
M.T. asks from Bordentown, NJ
36 answers

Hi Everyone,
I was wondering if anyone has recipes for dinner....but I am the worlds worst cook..so I need them to be easy. The second thing is I need them to be healthy. I am going through a really bitter divorce and DYFS has been sent to my house twice with one of the complaints being that my daughter is overweight. She is 4 1 and 89 lbs. She has a belly on her, and I have been trying to focus on us getting "healthy" not "skinny".

So back to my question...does anyone have easy to make healthy dinner recipes?

Thanks so much!

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M.E.

answers from Philadelphia on

HI
I really like to go onto www.kraftfoods.com/kf, they have great recipes. And they have a healthy living section on there that may have some things you are looking for.

Best of luck

2 moms found this helpful
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J.H.

answers from Erie on

Make the crock pot your best friend! Try this recipe for chili:
Brown 1 lb ground turkey breast (99% fat free)
2 cans diced tomatoes approx 8 oz each
1 can kidney beans approx 8 oz
1 chopped green pepper
Combine in crock pot with 1 package of McCormick chili seasoning and cook on low for 8 hours!

1 mom found this helpful
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C.H.

answers from New York on

M.,
I am really sorry to hear about your situation. I have three children. The baby is only 8 months, but my other two kids are 7 and 5. they are pretty healthy eaters!! I have found that feeding them simple foods is a lot easier. A few favorites are chicken or pork chope baked with BBQ sauce. no need to grill it, it is the taste not the crispyness that the kids like. They will eat most veggies, including asparagus, spinach, broccoli, corn, carrots and lettuce. I think the real trick to getting them to eat most of their veggies is letting them dip them in something. My kids right now are on a Ranch dressing kick. I get the low or fat free and let them dip anything they want. they went through a tartar sauce phase and a french dressing phase, both of which can be made at home using low or fat free ingredients. Also cheese sauce is a big hit on the veggies. Out typical dinner is a meat, vaggie and starch. I think the key to eating healthyis trying to cut back on salt an sugar intake and increase water intake. The one down fall to eating healthy is that it is a lilttle more expensive. It rare to find store brand produces low in sugar or sodium, but your health and the health of your daughter is worth the little bit of extra money. I could go on for paragraphs with all kids of tips and suggestions. Both of my older kids have unusual food allergies, so you would really be surprised at what cutting out or limiting little things in a childs diet do fot their overall well being. If you would like more advice, please feel free to email me [email protected]____.com Rachael Ray has a lot of great recipes and a great cookbook for kids of all ages. Maybe if you let you daughter help you cook healthy she will be more willing to eat it.

Hope this helps!! - C.

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A.L.

answers from Allentown on

Hi M.,
I get weekly blogs from a site called "raising little souls." This week they had a site www.myonlinemeals.com listed. For about $5/month they send you recipes weekly and the store lists for purchasing. You can select healthy recipes to be sent as well as kid friendly. It may be worth it to check it out.

My other response would be to invest in a slow cooker if you don't already have one. It is very easy to throw chicken breasts in a slow cooker with a can of healthy recipe cream soup and some milk mixed together and let the slow cooker do the work. Serve it with some steamed veggies(which can be bought in the freezer aisle and fresh produce sections now) and a baked potato. The potatoes go in the microwave.

Good luck!
A. L

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A.R.

answers from Philadelphia on

This is one of my kids' FAVORITE dinners...in fact they request it for their birthday dinner! It's originally from a Weight Watchers cookbook, so it's definitely healthy, and has good "stuff" in it that they otherwise wouldn't eat. Not many ingredients, not much prep, very easy to make.

My kids call it "Spinach, Noodles & Sausage" although I'm sure Weight Watchers had a more "fancy" name for it.

1 box corkscrew pasta (fusilli, gemelli, rotini, etc), cooked
16 oz italian style turkey sausage, casings (skin)removed
12oz jar roasted red peppers, drained & diced/chopped
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Brown the sausage, using a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces as it cooks. Drain well. Add remaining ingredients, except the noodles, and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes so all of the flavors blend together.
Pour over noodles and mix everything together well. Serve with a salad. It's delicious, and colorful!

FYI - the spinach and peppers are something my kids would never touch - and still won't, unless it is in this dish.

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A.C.

answers from Allentown on

I saw a book called The One-Armed Cook: Quick and Easy Recipes, Smart Meal Plans, and Savvy Advice for New (and Not-So-New) Moms by Cynthia Stevens Graubart. I have been wanting one myself but haven't gotten it yet. The review on it are great. How about including your daughter in on the cooking. Find a quick and healthy recipe and prepare it together. Then you both will benefit... from the time spent together and the healthy meal you prepare!

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S.W.

answers from Philadelphia on

ok, first of all, you're daughter does not sound overweight, but being healthy is always a good thing. Boneless skinless chicken breasts are amazing. I have just discovered that I can bake them in the oven from straight out of the freezer. I wrap each breast individually before freezing and take out as many as necessary. Place foil on a baking sheet and fold up the edgees slightly, drizzle a little olive oil and place the frozen(unwrapped) breasts on the sheet, sprinkle with your desired spices. I tend to use just some sea salt, black pepper, paprika and garlic. Bake in the oven at 350 for about a half hour. This gives you time to steam your vegetables. Always buy frozen or fresh. The canned vegetables have way too much sodium in them. I don't usually have time to do anything fancy, so a little bit of butter over the steamed vegetables is all the flavoring they get, and since I have boys, I throw in carbs as I can. Take any potatoes and stab them a few times with a fork, place them in a paper bag and microwave for several minutes depending on the size of potatoes. When they are soft, they're done. My kids love 'baked' sweet potatoes this way. I have 4 stepsons, an almost 2 year old daughter and another on the way. Dinner doesn't take more than 30-40 minutes to make each evening. We eat a lot of chicken and fish, all baked or grilled to minimize the fat. Use healthy oils like Olive Oil, or, if you can afford it, coconut oil is great for cooking with and great for you metabolism, not to mention it can double as a skin care product. Only buy whole grains.

Another thing I have started doing is serving 'dessert' which always incorporates a fruit. In fact, most times, we just each grab from apples slices or grapes or bananas. The sweetness finishes the meal off nicely, and I've had no complaints from the kids yet. . . .

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J.R.

answers from Philadelphia on

The easiest way for us to eat healthy is to keep it simple - we do either a grilled (in a pan w/ a little olive oil and spices) chicken breast, or a grilled, baked or steamed piece of fish (salmon and tilapia are favorites). Then do a side of steamed veggies - you can even do the ones that come in a bag ready to be microwaved! Finally, a side of whole grain pasta, rice, or bread. Near East makes some easy, healthy flavored rices. If your daughter turns up her nose, tell her she has to try at least two bites of everything, and then if she's still not interested, her other option is something simple and healthy that you have, like a banana w/ peanut butter, or whole grain bread w/ PB&J.

Good luck - remember that it is a lifestyle choice, not a diet! I constantly remind my kids that you are what you eat, and teach them how to read food labels, knowing what is "bad" and "good".

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T.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi M.,
I have struggled with weight all of my life. I have a beautiful daughter also, and although she is a good, healthy weight, I worry more about her eating than I do about my son, crazy but true, and I hate myself for admitting it.
First, join Your local YMCA if you can, they have some great, inexpensive programs for kids.
Get yourself a nice 4-5 quart crock pot. A great book is the fix it and forget it cookbook-five ingredient favorites, available at Barnes and Noble and other bookstores, quick and easy stuff. Also, check out weight watchers.com, they provide some easy, healthy suggestions and menu ideas.
Also, make changes slowly so that she is unaware of them. Buy whole wheat pasta instead of white, etc etc.
I wish you the best and will pray that you get through your struggles with some peace. Hope this helps!! Good luck

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L.T.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I am sorry for what you are going through. I don't have any recipes, but rather some simple healthy eating ideas:

Serve veggies and fruit at every meal.

Avoid frying foods.

Serve a meal-sized salad topped with steak, chicken, turkey or ham. The leaner meats are obviously better for you, but if used sparingly, the fatter meats shouldn't cause a big problem.

Switch to whole grain pastas, breads, crackers.

Serve yogurt, fruit, or smoothies for dessert.

I have found that if I wash (and cut, if neccessary) fruits and veggies as soon as I get home from the grocery store we are more likely to eat them.

I've gotten some good recipes from About.com. Look for their low-fat section. They aren't neccessarily all quick and easy recipes, but you can search for what you are looking for.

Good luck to you!

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R.N.

answers from New York on

I have a family cook book from jerry seinfelds wife. It's great because it camoflages all veggies into nutritious meals for children of all ages. If your daughter is picky they have great meals like mac n cheese where they also include veggies that are cooked and pureed before hand and added in. Also brownies that have really good veggies added as well. I am at work when I get home I will e-mail a couple of easy receipes to you I think any child will love. Keep your chin up my husband also went through something similar with his ex wife and Dyfus. It can be very hard. R. Nielsen Ok I just tried this receipe, its very easy. 3 medium potatoes boil and mash. 2 cans of salmon found in your tuna isle pink is best. Parsley and plain or seasoned bread crumbs. Mash 8tblsp of butter with warm drained potatoes add your chopped parsley and then add salmon (watch for bones) Use the bread crumbs until the texture is firm enough to make patties. Heat a skillet use pam or some other healthy spray and brown. They came out great and the taste was superb. Your daughter won't realize there fish if she doesn't like them.

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Y.H.

answers from Harrisburg on

Hi M. - Someone already gave you the suggestion i was going to pass on, www.kraftfoods.com. I registered with them and they send you newsletters and recipes all the time. Healthy snacks, qiuck AND easy meals. I can cook but don't have time. I too am a single mom of 1 and found myself stopping more often at "the Drive Through". The website helps me alot!

One other suggestion - I work for the Girl Scouts and know that the girls are much more interested in stuff they can help with. Try looking at the food pyramid with your daughter and then making a "what I ate today" journal and start comparing what you ate vs. whats on the pyramid. Doing it together is fun!

Good Luck and Happy Cooking

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A.H.

answers from York on

My family and I went healthy eating about 2 years ago .It's all about the planning ,if you plan out your meals ahead of time it takes some pressure off. Also we took all fastfood and sugar out of our diets we use splenda or naturals sugars ( agave & steveia ). There are alot of great cook books to help you shop & cook healthy . Start taking steps towards your goal ,don't try to do it all in one day .

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V.M.

answers from Allentown on

Can you pass these recipes on to me too? Trying to shed some pounds and of course want to teach my 2 year old the right way to eat.

Thanks,

V.

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J.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi M.
I think dinner time is one of things Moms have the most difficult time planning. We tend to get into a rut & make the same thing over & over. My advice isn't just a new recipe because you've already received so many great links & recipes. My suggestion is to have your daughter choose recipes with you & then go to the store together & shop. Let her choose the fruits & vegetables & plan to the meals. Children enjoy it more when they help select & prepare. Make a goal to try something new every week & let her choose a new fruit or vegetable. Get her involved in helping to make the salad too. She can snack while dinner is cooking but she's snacking on carrots, celery, etc. Also try some variations in the way you prepare the food - crinkle cutting vegetables is a fun way to make it more appealing too. My kids love "treats" but I limit the treat to healthy choices during the week & something special on the weekends (ice cream is a big hit).
Power Cooking is a great way to make mealtime simpler too. Cook once & make variations out of the main item (lean ground beef or turkey for example) for another night. I would be happy to share Power Cooking with you if you need more ideas.
Good luck!

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L.K.

answers from Johnstown on

This is the absolute BEST place to get EASY recipes!!

http://www.kraftfoods.com/kf (you will probably have to paste this link into your browser) But you will find tons of recipes that are super easy and even healthy!! As a working mom of 4 boys (yes all boys) ages 13, 11, 7, and 2, and volunteer for the Boy/Cub Scouts and the local 4H club, as well as other stuff that I do, this is a lifesaver!!

Also, Cooks.com is another great place to find easy recipes--Good Luck!!

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J.G.

answers from New York on

Try this site

[email protected]____.com

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E.S.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi there! I have 2 recipes that are pretty easy and don't have a lot of "unhealthy" ingredients. The first is my chuck roast. Buy a 2-pound chuck roast, put into a 13 x 9 pan. Cover it with uncooked baby carrots (1 bag), 4 potatoes that you scrubbed and cut into pieces, and 3 onions that you peeled and cut into pieces. Cover that with 1 packet of Lipton Onion and Mushroom soup mix and 1/4 cup of water. Cover the pan with a large sheet of aluminum foil and bake it at 350 degrees for 3 hours. Serve it with a slice of good bread to sop up the gravy.
The next recipe is to buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts and slice them into "fingers". Dip the fingers into beaten egg whites or skim milk and then shake them in a bag filled with seasoned bread crumbs. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and lay the fingers out. Bake them at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, then gently turn them for another 10 minutes. Great with corn, broccoli or mixed vegetables (I just microwave frozen stuff) and noodles with a little bit of butter on them. Good luck, and hang in there.

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V.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

One place you can go to is www.savingdinner.com the site owner is a nutritionist .. Leanne Ely .. she also has a cookbook written for kids and a workbook that you can use to teach your kids nutrition. There is a small fee to have the recipes mailed to you .. but it includes a shopping list, which makes your life so much easier!

All her recipes are easy .. and the ingredients are easily found in local grocery stores.

Good luck!

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A.G.

answers from Philadelphia on

I LOVE the Weight Watchers cookbook, "Meals in Minutes" It gives recipes for breakfast, lunch & dinner that take 15, 20 or 30 minutes to make. I have made at least 15 meals from this book and it all tastes great! I highly recommend this one.

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H.A.

answers from Allentown on

well, i would talk to the dr first they normally have info on that, also u have to cut back on the easy pasta i do it myself, fruits, dried fruits , jello , my kids love salad with chicken on it, also i think the ymca holds a class for kids with the same problems. also just do a search online, my girlfriend is having a prblem with her son, and called the y, even swimming helps. make it fun

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H.C.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hello,

I read your post and was appalled that DYFS has been sent to your home about your daughters weight - simply horrifying. My son was about the same height and weight at one point and his pediatrician told me kids go thru stages sometimes they grow wider before they hit a growth spurt and get taller and slim down.

Now as for food - I am also not such a great cook and my daughter is the worlds pickiest eater - no veggies no fruit just chix cheese pizza and hotdogs - a total nightmare! I learned to keep it all simple and they eat better. I have limited the number of pasta/rice dishes each week and my son dropped weight almost overnight - also soda and juice are a huge issue. I replaced with flavored "fizzy" waters and they don't miss it.

I buy a few issues of a magazine called Tastefully Simple - the key is simple. They have great recepies using everyday food and there is a picture of everything (key for me). I also love the rotiessere chickens in the grocery store - go to a Sams Club or Walmart and they are on;y about $4.50 add veggies and a salad and you can have dinner for 4 for under $8.00.

Henri

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S.P.

answers from Scranton on

lots of good recipes on this site. http://www.vegcooking.com/

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D.S.

answers from Allentown on

Easy dinners happen when a bit of planning is done. Here's a quick list of things that I make that I know my kids like and are healthy:

refried beans (canned or cooked beans mashed with sauteed onion, garlic, and cumin), brown rice, cheese with salsa and guacamole

salmon patties from canned wild Alaskan salmon (avoid farmed salmon because of the mercury content in them), cracker crumbs, and enough liquid from the can to form patties - pan fry. Salad for a vegetable side and lentils or millet for nutritious grain.

shepherd's pie with browned lean ground meat, chopped carrots, peas, mashed potato topping. put a bit of flour in with the meat and a dash of Worcestershire sauce along with salt and pepper. Add vegetables and mix together. Top with potatoes.

Hope these help out.

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T.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

This is easy and also healthy. It's chicken and penne with broccoli and asiago cheese. Boil water for penne while cooking chicken in a skillet with water instead of oil. After penne is almost done, throw some broccoli right in the water with it. When done, drain and combine with chicken cut into bite sized pieces. Add some asiago or mozzarella cheese. Go easy on the cheese if you are counting calories. My favorite low calorie dessert is sugar free Jello and Cool Whip free with fruit. You can have a lot of it since it's so low cal.

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D.F.

answers from Pittsburgh on

M., I do have ideas but no time to write right now---I did a blog on this not too long ago. Please go to my website www.dianafletcher.com, then to writings, then to blog. Hope it helps! D.

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J.H.

answers from Philadelphia on

Have you tried slow cooker cooking? It's super easy because all you do is throw in the ingredients, turn it on, and forget about it. When you get home from work, it's ready to eat plus you're coming home to a delicious smelling home. There are plenty of slow cooker cook books out there with great healthy recipes. My favorite is beef stew. Just throw beef cubes, cubed potatoes, chopped carrots and celery into the slow cooker (veggies on the bottom so they cook better). Then pour enough chicken broth in to cover (or water and a couple of boullion cubes). Season with some salt, pepper, and parsley. I actually just made it yesterday for dinner. The great thing about cooking in a slow cooker is you can make a large batch with little effort and either eat leftovers or freeze the extra. Good Luck!

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A.S.

answers from Philadelphia on

I have several ideas. We eat alot of chicken. I have alot of low fat recipes too. My 4 year old daughter LOVES this one... I take boneless (skinless)chicken breasts cut them up to like nugget size, season to your taste. I crush up corn flakes, YES corn flakes. (They're fat free) I dip the seasoned chicken in the corn flakes pop them in the toaster oven until done (about 15 minutes). BUT you can cook them in the regular oven. Only my daughter and I are home for dinner so I don't cook alot. I buy the frozen ORGANIC corn and green beans (store brand) from Shop Rite. Pop 2 servings of either one those in mircowave with 4 sprays of I Can't Believe it's not butter and a dash of seasonings. VOILA! A virtually fat free meal that my diaghter and niece love. Here's the best part, at least my husband thinks - the leftove chicken can be reheated in the microwave b/c it wasn't fried in oil. I have plenty of other recipes... email me if you'd like, I'm more than happy to offer ideas. You can also go to

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/lf_hl_low_fat/0,2661,FOOD...

They have good ideas too... http://www.ahealthyme.com/topic/topic13914

Ok, you can email me too at [email protected]____.com
Good LUCK

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K.D.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hey M.,

Sorry to hear you are going through a rough divorce. Hang in there - you are doing the right thing - focus your attention on your daughter. She needs you.
Regarding the healthy meals - I, too, am not a gourmet cook...but I am getting better with practice. Cut back on the pasta...and when you do cook pasta - use the whole wheat/multigrain/high protein variety. Stock your freezer with skinless chicken breast. Limit any creamy sauces when cooking (i.e. avoid cooking with campbell soup all the time). Perdue has already marinated chicken breasts - low fat. Makes an easy meal. Try to incorporate more fish fillets too. Watch the side dishes. A lot of side dishes have high fat/calorie contents. Make it easier on yourself - use fresh fruit and veggies as your side dishes. They are very healthy - and most kids like eating fresh fruit and raw veggies (carrot sticks, pea pods). Honestly - that is the only way I can get my kids to eat their veggies :)

I'm sure you are already doing this - but incorporate a workout session with the two of you. A walk around town - a jog at the local college track. I do this with my kids and it is a lot of fun (not to mention they go to sleep easier at night).

Best of luck to you!
K.

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T.K.

answers from Harrisburg on

check out www.tk.mywildtree.com full flavor seasonings that healthy, quick and sure to please even the pickiest. I got my son to eat salad after 5 years of no veggies by using their salad dressing. He now will eat anything that has a Wildtree item in it. Wi;dtree was founded by a Mother who's children have food sensitivites. Her one child is juvenile diabetic so her products had to be healthy and nutritious. They are delicious and very easy to prepare. Have a blessed day!

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M.K.

answers from Philadelphia on

I hope that this post helps - I have a few ideas for you that we use in my family. First of all, I changed the way I create meals. Instead of thinking meat first, I figure out vegetable or fruit first, and that takes up half of the plate. Then, figure out what "meat" and then your starch (rice, potato, pasta...). Another great thing is to incorporate more fish/seafood into your diet, the fats found in most fish are good for you, and it is easy to prepare. Fish can be sauteed, baked, broiled, fried...
If you have any more specific questions you can email me at [email protected]____.com I would be willing to give you some ideas based on what you guys normally eat.

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C.

answers from Philadelphia on

Healthy eating is always a challenge for us as well. The crock pot is a great way to make pretty much anything and is easy. Most recipes just tell you to throw all the ingredients in the pot and turn it on! (My kind of cooking!) We put any meats (pork, chicken, beef) in with some liquid(chicken broth or just water or beer. First put some potatoes, carrots, onions (whatever kind of veggie) on the bottm so the meat does not stick. Season meat and cook. I put it on low when i leave for work and it is done by dinner. There are plenty of good crock pot cookbooks. Also stir fry is a good way to have protein and veggies all in one. It is especially easy with the precooked meats that just need to be heated. You can use anyveggies you like and decide on the sauce flavor. I cook the veggies in some olive oil and then add the meat and sauce. You can serve it over brown rice instead of white. We sometimes don't even use rice.... I hope this is a bit helpful. I am definately not the chef of the family!!!! cls

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K.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

I am also a single mother. My daughter is almost 5. I like to go to BJ's and buy a big bag of boneless skinless chicken breasts that are individually frozen. Chicken breast tenderloins are also good, and they're smaller for my daughter. They are easy to take out and thaw, and you don't have to thaw a whole pound of chicken. There's a million ways to make easy chicken dishes. We love cooking the chicken in a pan then putting a little salsa and cheese on top for "mexican chicken" or tomato sauce and a little mozzerella for "italian chicken." You can also add a little bbq sauce for bbq chicken. Then we make some rice or noodles and a vegetable .. quick and easy dinner .. voila!

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M.M.

answers from Pittsburgh on

very easy, and healthy
boneless, skinless chicken breast (however many you want to make)I uusally slice mine in half, I like the thinner and they cook faster.

jar salsa (which ever you prefer....could be spicy or mild)
rice (white or brown)
shredded cheddar cheese

put you chicken in a baking dish (the smallest you can use for the amount of chicken you are making).

cover the chicken with the salsa, plus pour all around the chicken.

bake at 350 for 20 minutes (if you have thicker chicken, it may be longer)

sprinkle the cheese on and put back in the over till the cheese melts.

serve over the rice.

Delicious, easy and healthy

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M.L.

answers from State College on

There are lots of things you can do to get healthy. One thing we did was ditch the candy drawer. Ya know the place where you stick all the treats your child brings home from the school parties and haloween and everywhere else it sneaks in the door. Also, stop buying the junk food. If it's not in the house you won't eat it. Stick to fruits and veges. Keep a fruit bowl on the table at all times and fresh veges in the fridge that you can pull out for snacks before supper while you are preparing the meal. Like cucmbers or carrots or celery. Dress up the veges while you eat them to look like things to have fun.
As far as meals, crock pot cooking is very simple and easy, you can do chickens, roasts, barbecue ham, ham, all kinds of meats and then you can do a side vege and carb to complete the meal when it's just about done. Your options are endless it it cooks for you throughout the day so you don't feel tied to the stove. There are so many website recipies avaliable to you online the possibilities are endless. www.kraftfoods.com or www.ompleterecipies.com are a couple of my favs. Just check them out or do some searching around. Also take time to educate your daughter about why you are doing this. You can also get some free information from www.volition.com if you search through their directory. Their are sites through the department of education who will send you free dvd's to watch with your child about diet and nutrition. They are very helpful.
Hope this helps!
M.

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S.S.

answers from Philadelphia on

Have you heard of My Girlfriends Kitchen or Super Suppers? I am a full time working mom and go there to prepare meals. All ingredients are fresh, cleaned, and chopped, etc. and all you do is assemble and put in a pan that can be frozen or kept fresh and put in the oven at home when you are ready.

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