Stress-Free School- and Sport-Night Suppers
August 27th, 2012

stressfreeThe busy school year means dinner planning often gets pushed aside. Moms and dads alike may find themselves opting for the drive-through instead of the dinner table. But that’s not the only option.

Quick Chili Mac Skillet

Source: Courtesy of Dreamfields Pasta

Ingredients:

  • This recipe was created with busy weeknights in mind. Not only is it quick and easy, it is a family friendly and healthy dinner that you can feel good about serving. A green salad or fruit is a great way to round out the menu.
  • ½ box elbow macaroni
  • 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
  • ½ pound 85-percent lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Directions:

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; return to pan. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brown ground beef and onion 8 to 10 minutes, or until beef is cooked through and onions are tender, breaking beef into large crumbles. Stir in chili powder then tomatoes. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes to blend flavors. Add beans; heat through.
  • Remove skillet from heat. Toss beef mixture with pasta. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Sprinkle with cheese.
  • Ground chicken or turkey breast may be substituted for the ground beef.

Serves 4

Herb Rub Oven-Braised Pulled Pork

Source: Courtesy of National Pork Board

Ingredients:

  • Pulled pork makes a great meal because it demands so little time in the kitchen. One batch of pulled pork is simple to prepare and can easily be repurposed in mouth-watering dishes, such as a topping on fried rice, a hearty filling for tacos or pulled pork risotto. It can be added on top of a big green salad or or served as sandwiches your family can enjoy throughout the week.
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 3-pound boneless pork shoulder or sirloin roast
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 300 F. In a small bowl, combine sage, thyme, salt and rosemary. Rub mixture over all sides of meat, pressing to adhere. If meat is tied together with twine or netting, just rub seasoning right over it.
  • Put the oil in a large Dutch oven or ovenproof skillet with a tight-fitting lid; warm over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate and set aside.
  • Add broth to pan, scraping up any browned bits. Bring broth to a boil; return pork to the pan. Cover and bake until the pork is very tender, 2¼ to 2¾ hours.
  • Transfer meat to a cutting board and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Use two forks to shred meat into bite-sized pieces. Moisten/season with cooking juices.

Serves 8 to 10

Mexican Pizza

Source: Courtesy of Ortega

Ingredients:

Keep busy school nights easy and fun with quick recipes that have a Mexican flair.

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1.25-ounce package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 16-ounce can refried beans
  • 1 package tostada shells
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Shredded lettuce, sliced olives, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, chopped tomatoes and sour cream

Directions:

  • Brown beef; drain. Stir in water and seasoning mix. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 6 minutes, or until mixture is thickened.
  • Spread refried beans on each tostada shell. Top with some meat mixture and cheese. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Garnish with desired toppings.

Serves 10

Mexican Whole Wheat Snack Wraps

Source: Courtesy of Ortega

Ingredients:

Your family will love how good these wraps taste, and you will love how simple they are to prepare.

  • 2 1.25-ounce packets taco seasoning, divided
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 frozen hamburger patties (4 to 6 ounces each), thawed
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 8-inch whole wheat soft tortillas
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • Taco sauce, any variety

Directions:

  • Combine one packet seasoning mix and mayonnaise; mix well. Set aside.
  • Place hamburger patties in a small casserole dish. Combine water and remaining packet of seasoning mix; pour over hamburgers. Cover; marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.
  • Preheat grill until piping hot, about 15 minutes. Remove meat from marinade and discard marinade.
  • Place on grill and cook to desired doneness. Remove from grill and cut hamburgers in half.
  • Spread taco mayonnaise on tortillas. Place half a hamburger on top half of each tortilla. Add tomato, lettuce and cheese. Fold bottom half of tortilla over filling; fold sides toward center, leaving top open. Serve warm with taco sauce.
  • You can substitute turkey, chicken or veggie burgers for hamburgers.

Makes 8 wraps