Whether it's handling work, raising kids or both, busy moms can still make easy three-course meals for their family or friends. The three courses you choose to serve remain up to you, but quick and easy options, including dessert, offer healthy alternatives. Multiple ready-made ingredients found at the supermarket provide health-conscious benefits as well.
Cold appetizers make an easy first-course selection and provide a refreshing treat, particularly on a warm evening. Avoid using your oven by stuffing bite-size cherry tomatoes with salads from your local deli, including broccoli, crab or tuna salads. You can also use a low-fat cream cheese spread seasoned dried dressing mix. Use rice paper for Asian-style spring rolls and fill them with a wide array of fresh veggies. For added flavor, provide creamy dressing on the side as dipping sauce.
Decide on a refreshing salad as one of your courses. Top a bowl of cold whole wheat spaghetti with garden vegetable salad dressing, tomatoes and olives. Make the pasta a day ahead of time to help save time. Serve up a unique mixture of watermelon chunks, olive oil and vinegar for a sweet and tangy taste. Use a melon baller for cutting out fun and easy fruit shapes.
Set up a pizza-making station for friends and family to enjoy. Provide each person with her own round of ready-made whole-wheat dough and let her choose from a wide array of toppings like fresh vegetables and various cheeses, including soy. For those who own a sandwich grill, offer a host of different ingredients, including cheeses, thinly sliced meats, flavorful dressings and complementary fruits like pears and apples, allowing guests the opportunity to design their own specially crafted paninis.
You can follow your savory selection with a sweet treat that won't dominate your daily caloric intake and, with primarily store-bought ingredients, is simple to prepare. For instance, top a slice of angel food cake with a medley of fresh berries and a dollop of light whipped cream. You may also consider serving a parfait featuring plain non-fat yogurt, and topped with a mixture of berries and a sprinkling of crumbled granola.