Solutions For The Busy Cook



Metro Services photo

Rotisserie chicken


Metro Services photo

Chicken Salad

Providing healthy meals for the family is a challenge for today’s busy cooks. Everyone’s on the go and there hardly seems to be enough time to eat well, much less cook nutritious food.

But there are two things you can do to help you get healthy meals on the table fast — stock up and get it to go.

Stocking Up

A well-stocked pantry and freezer goes a long way toward letting you create healthy meals in a jiffy. Keeping nutritious ingredients on hand makes it easy to throw something together in a rush.

Here are some items to stock up on:

• Eggs: great for a quick family omelet or fried rice dinner

• Canned tuna or salmon: whip up a tuna salad and tuck it into a whole wheat pita, or use the salmon to top off a salad or make a quick chowder

• Canned beans, such as garbanzo: great in soups or as part of a meatless meal

• Whole-grain breads: heart-healthy whole grains make great panini sandwiches

• Marinara spaghetti sauce: look for sauces low in sugar and create a delicious pasta dish in no time

• Grated hard cheese, such as cheddar: a good source of calcium and protein, cheese makes everything taste good

• Frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast: lean, healthy chicken is a versatile source of protein

• Frozen or canned fruit and vegetables: toss them into soups or spaghetti sauce, or sauté with some herbs for a tasty side dish

Getting It to Go

Take advantage of ready-made items at your local grocer or warehouse club, like Sam’s Club. There are a lot of nutritious choices available that will make dinner time fast and healthy.

Rotisserie chickens can be a fast, affordable way to get dinner. One rotisserie chicken makes a hearty meal for four to six people.

For two easy meals, pick up two juicy, rotisserie chickens. Pair up the first with a pre-washed salad mix and a quick-cooking grain for one meal. Then use the second bird to make an Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad or a quick Chicken Fried Rice.

Ready-made side dishes

You can often find freshly made side items that are a snap to cook. For example, Sam’s Club offers a creamed spinach that’s full of spinach, artichoke hearts, shiitake and button mushrooms. It’s great as a topper for baked potatoes or chicken, or tossed with fresh pasta. Sam’s Club also has diced sweet potatoes seasoned with a sweet citrus glaze accompanied by Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasonings. Warm them in the microwave and they’re ready to serve alongside rotisserie chicken or a pre-cooked ham.

Some other good-to-go items include:

• Thin-crust cheese pizza topped with veggies

• 100 percent ground turkey breast burgers or prepared veggie burgers

• Flash-frozen seafood

• Healthy, hearty soups

No matter how busy the family is, it’s still possible to feed them well and keep them going with delicious and healthy meals.

For more recipes and meal solutions, visit

Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad

In this takeoff on a Cobb salad, classic Italian flavors make this salad company-ready. Serves 4

2 heads romaine lettuce, torn

1 ounce basil, shredded

Salt and pepper

1/3 cup croutons

1/3 cup Italian vinaigrette dressing

2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded

1 cup bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls)

1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips, drained

1 cup kalamata or Italian olives (pitted)

Toss lettuce with basil, salt, pepper, croutons and most of the dressing in large salad bowl.

Arrange the remaining ingredients across the top of the lettuce in sections. Offer the reserved dressing at the table.

Chicken Fried Rice

With some leftover rice and your rotisserie chicken you can create this healthy Chinese classic in less than 20 minutes from slicing to serving. Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small dried red chili, chopped

1/2 pound bok choy, sliced

1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced

1-1/2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

3 green onions, diced

4 cups cold, cooked rice (long grain white or basmati)

1 beaten egg

1 cup rotisserie chicken meat (light or dark), diced

3 tablespoons chicken stock

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salt and pepper

Whip egg with sesame oil, salt and pepper, and then set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to hot wok or frying pan. When oil starts smoking, add chili and stir briefly. Add bok choy and cook for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and dash of soy sauce. Sauté until mushrooms are tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Add green onions and stir for 1 minute. Remove vegetables from the pan.

Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and crumble rice into the hot pan, stirring to break up. Cook evenly for about 2 minutes.

Clear an area in the middle of the rice and add the beaten egg. Let it set for a minute or so, then flip to cook on other side, then continue to stir fry this into the rice. Add the chicken and chicken stock and sauté for 2 minutes until chicken is warm.

Add vegetables and remaining soy sauce into pan; stir to blend and taste for seasoning.

From Family Features - All materials courtesy of Sam’s Club


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