School Day Meal Edition…
Summer is over, which means no more leisurely weekday breakfasts, no more lunches that go on until 3 pm. As kids went back to school in the last few weeks, we all had to come up with schedules that the kids could follow and recipes that are healthy, quick, and doable during a rushed day.
My favorite weekday meals are simple to make, can be made ahead and easily frozen so I can make multiples and then use them for a few weeks.
We asked CECPTA members to share their favorite weekday meals, and here is what they shared. These recipes are easy, healthy, and delicious. They make planning and making meals easy during the week.
For a quick school day breakfast, I like to make healthy muffins and serve with fruit and boiled eggs. I make them on the weekend, and they last the whole week. Muffins are also easy to freeze. I just individually wrap in plastic and freeze in gallon ziplock bags. Just pop one in the microwave for 30 sec when you want one, and it’s ready to eat!
HEALTHY BREAKFAST MUFFINS
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 2 ripened mashed bananas
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 cups whole wheat flour (pastry flour is best)
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1.5 cups fresh blueberries or other berries
- Add coconut oil (1/2 cup) and honey (1/4 cup) to a large mixing bowl. If coconut oil is solid, microwave for 15 seconds, until honey and oil are softened.
- Cream together with a mixer on high speed.
- Add eggs (2) and Greek yogurt (1/2 cup). Mix together until very well combined.
- Add the 2 mashed bananas, vanilla (1 teaspoon), cinnamon (1 teaspoon), pinch of nutmeg, baking powder (1 teaspoon), baking soda (1 teaspoon), and salt (1/2 teaspoon). Mix until well combined.
- Add flour and oats.
- Stir until just combined.
- Fold berries (1.5 cups) into mixture.
- Line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners.
- Fill each cup evenly.
- Bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Tip: You can make any muffin recipe healthier by swapping up to ¼ of the flour with oatmeal or whole wheat flour, using coconut oil instead of butter or regular oil, and adding a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds in the batter all without sacrificing the flavor and the kids finding out!
Lunch And Dinner
With the following delicious recipes, you will never run out of ideas for a fast and healthy school day meal.
Khichdi is a South Asian Comfort food. It’s a one pot rice and lentil dish, which is savory, comforting, and nutritious! It doesn’t need a lot of spices and cooks very quickly in a pressure cooker or aninstant pot.
- 1/2 cup split green or yellow mung beans/lentils washed
- 1 cup long grain rice rinsed 2-3 times
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (zeera)
- 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/2 onion small, chopped
- 1 Tomato chopped
- Cilantro to garnish
- 1.5 cup frozen mix veg medley
(peas, corn, carrots, and beans)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (Haldi powder)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or red chili powder (or less if you want less spicy)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Start the instant pot on Sauté mode and heat ghee in it. Add cumin seeds and let them bubble for 30 seconds. Then add onions and ginger. Let them cook for a minute.
- Add all the veggies and spices. Stir them well.
- Add the lentils, rice and water. Stir them well with the veggies.
- Close the instant pot lid and change the setting to manual or pressure cook mode for 8 minutes at high pressure with the vent in sealing position.
- When the instant pot beeps, do a 10 minute NPR. This means release the pressure manually 10 minutes after the instant pot beeps.
- Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot with additional ghee on top.
Tips: You can add more spice with green chilies or by increasing the quantity of cayenne in this khichdi. I kept it mild so that everyone in the family can enjoy it. You can vary the vegetables added to this khichdi.
EASY SPRING VEGETABLE RAGOUT
Kammie Powell is a busy mom of three. Her family enjoys this vegetable ragout. It is delicious and gets kids eating all the veggies… What more can one want!
- 3 medium leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half moons (about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup water
- 6 ounces sugar snap peas, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 8 radishes, quartered
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as chives and tarragon
- Soak leeks in cold water for 5 minutes Lift out and drain. Repeat until no grit remains on bottom of bowl. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and salt. Saute until leeks are tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in asparagus, then water. Simmer covered for 2 minutes. Add snap peas and radishes, cover, and simmer for 2 minutes more.
- Stir in mustard until well combined. Then swirl in butter and herbs. Serve immediately.
Tips: Serve sprinkled with Parmesan and drizzled with oil.
Credit: Martha Stewart.
PESTO TORTELLINI BAKE
Sara Podley is a mom to two young boys and certainly has her hands full. She shared this wonderful Italian bake, which is easy to freeze! Hello double batching!
(freezer-to-oven meal, serves 6)
- 1 pound cheese tortellini, frozen or fresh
- 2 jars alfredo sauce
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (optional for vegetarians)
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 9×13 metal or foil baking pan or (2) 8×8 baking pans
- In a large bowl, combine tortellini, alfredo sauce, chicken if using, pesto, and mozzarella cheese.
- Pour into baking dish. Top with shredded parmesan cheese.
- MAKE IT NOW – Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake, covered with foil for 30 minutes. Remove foil and let bake an additional 10 minutes until golden and bubbly all over. Serve.
- MAKE IT A FREEZER MEAL – Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down to remove as much air as possible, then cover with foil. Label and freeze.
- BAKE FROM FROZEN – Remove plastic and foil, then cover again with foil. Bake covered at 375°F for 50 minutes. Remove foil and let bake an additional 10 minutes until golden and bubbly all over. Serve.
Carrie Thomas is a teacher, CECPTA blogger, and mom of three. She shared one of her family favorites: Carne Guisada, a Mexican stew that can be eaten with tortillas or cornbread and used for burrito stuffing.
- 3 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 medium potatoes, unpeeled and diced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into strips
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
3 cups beef broth
- Combine beef, potatoes, onion, peppers, and garlic in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Toss the beef mixture with the flour mixture until evenly coated. Place the mixture into a slow cooker, and pour in enough beef broth to barely cover the meat. If you don’t have enough, you can fill the rest of the way with water.
- Cook on Low until the beef is tender, 6 to 8 hours.
Credit: Recipe from All Recipes.
About Author: Sabeen Riaz
Sabeen is a mom of two boys, Ari – 5 and Kai – 21 months. She moved to Carrollton in August 2017 from Austin. She has lived in Overland Park, KS, Scottsdale, AZ and Lahore, Pakistan. She joined CECPTA in February 2018, is a part of Yellow and Red groups, and is serving on the Board as the Outreach Chair this year. Before she became a mom, she was a middle school Special Education teacher. Some of her favorite things are cooking, baking cakes, watching Netflix with her husband of 12 years, listening to Bollywood music, drinking Pinot Noir, and traveling.