Cooking quick and easy meals with five ingredients can be good for your health, and you can center them around your family's tastes. Eggs, for example, a breakfast staple, are equally good for a quick lunch or dinner. With only 70 calories each, they give you leeway in choosing the other four ingredients for your family's meal. When you choose lean meats and a variety of vegetables, add some starch in the form of potatoes or whole-grain noodles and still have a healthy meal that's quick to prepare in one dish.
Slow Cooker Meals
Start with skinless, boneless chicken breasts as the basis for healthy, five-ingredient meals. Use a slow cooker to do the work so you can do other things. You don't even need to thaw frozen chicken breasts first. To create a Southwest-style dinner, add black beans, corn and canned diced tomatoes with the liquid to your frozen chicken. About half an hour before the dish is done, set cream cheese on top of the vegetables. Make a healthy chicken soup by adding chicken broth, celery, carrots and peas. Remove the chicken when it's fully cooked, cut it into small pieces and return it to the soup. Another tasty slow-cooker option is shredded barbecued chicken sandwiches. Top the chicken breasts with prepared barbecue sauce. After the chicken has cooked, shred it with a fork and serve it on whole-grain rolls with lettuce and tomato slices.
Prepare a complete meal on the grill beginning with lean hamburger or ground turkey patties, chicken breasts, or lean pork such as boneless loin chops. Rub dry ranch-flavored seasoning mix on the chicken or pork, or mix it into the hamburger or ground turkey patties for a flavorful surprise for your family. When the meat is partially cooked, put sliced white potatoes, frozen hash browns, frozen steak fries or other prepared potatoes on the grill. Cook the potatoes on heavy-duty aluminum foil lightly greased with olive oil. Remove the silk from ears of corn, replace the husks and grill the corn. Serve it with light butter or margarine to round out the meal.
Put a "stupid casserole" together with chunks of tender, boiled eggplant, whole-wheat bread crumbs, skim milk, chopped onion and light cheddar cheese. Make that old standby, macaroni and cheese, with low-calorie cheese, macaroni, 2 percent milk, a little flour for thickening, and a light margarine. Create a healthy lasagna with browned and crumbled ground turkey, whole-wheat noodles, ricotta cheese, fresh spinach, and part-skim Mozzarella cheese. Leave the water on the spinach after washing to add moisture to the casserole.
Whip up a tasty Quiche Lorraine with a refrigerated pie shell, egg substitute or low-cholesterol eggs, light Swiss cheese, fat-free milk or half-and-half, and cooked, crumbled turkey bacon. If your kids enjoy broccoli, try making a quiche with sliced chicken from a purchased rotisserie chicken or chunks of canned chicken breast, a package of thawed and drained broccoli, eggs or egg substitute, and fat-free milk or half-and-half.
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