our everyday life

Ideas for Quick, Easy Meals

by Elizabeth Arnold
You can find ready-made pasta sauces on your grocer's shelves or in the refrigerated section of your local supermarket.

You can find ready-made pasta sauces on your grocer's shelves or in the refrigerated section of your local supermarket.

For the days when you're constantly on the go, quick and easy breakfasts, lunches and dinners are a must. You don't have to sacrifice taste and nutrition for ease of meal preparation, however. With a little creativity and menu planning, you can serve your family delicious, healthy meals in less time than it takes to go to a fast-food restaurant. Many convenient meal options are appropriate for both lunch and dinner.

Breakfast Foods

When you're in a hurry in the morning, you may be tempted to skip breakfast. Doing so will cause you to run on empty, so fuel up with fast and healthy meal options. Make a protein-rich smoothie using yogurt, fresh and frozen fruit and almonds -- and enjoy it with a bagel or muffin. Create a healthier version of your favorite fast-food breakfast sandwich by topping a toasted English muffin with an egg, melted low-fat cheese and either turkey bacon or sausage. Enjoy the sandwich with a piece of fresh fruit.

Soups

Soups can be simple to prepare, especially if you're using canned or leftover ingredients. Make a flavorful Caribbean-inspired soup using canned black beans, chicken or vegetable broth, fresh cilantro and lime juice. If you have leftover chicken or turkey on hand, use it to make a healthy and comforting soup made with prepackaged chicken broth, carrots and celery. For a complete meal, serve the soup alongside a grilled cheese or tuna sandwich, or a large garden salad with creamy dressing and fresh rolls.

Enchiladas

Your family can sit down to a Mexican restaurant-worthy meal in a matter of minutes. To make a one-dish enchilada meal, place leftover chicken or turkey, or refried beans if you desire a vegetarian meal, over flour tortillas. Top the meat or beans with your favorite shredded cheese and chopped green onions, and roll the tortillas to create your enchilada. Give the dish a spicy kick by pouring bottled enchilada sauce over the top before baking.

Pasta

You can whip up a quick and easy pasta dinner using the ingredients you have in your refrigerator and pantry. Boil any type of pasta, such as spaghetti or penne, and combine it with a few basic ingredients as a fast dinner. Toss the hot pasta with pesto sauce made from a mix and bite-size pieces of chicken, or with your favorite bottled marinara sauce, canned tuna and sliced green olives for a protein-packed meal.

Paninis

Paninis are more satisfying than cold sandwiches because they're grilled to toasty perfection. To create the gourmet-tasting sandwiches, simply fill crusty baguettes with your choice of ingredients such as grilled vegetables, tuna, and sliced cheese. Heat the paninis in a grill pan. You can make the sandwiches a day in advance and warm them in the oven for dinner.

About the Author

Elizabeth Arnold has written for a wide variety of publications and websites. Her experience includes writing travel features for "Recommend" magazine and packaging marketing copy for both Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros. consumer products. Recently, Arnold was a staff writer for "Special Events" magazine. Arnold studied English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Photo Credits

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