Thursday, January 13, 2011

What are some easy, healthy, quick dinners I can make for my family? (Read details!)?

My mom is a fabulous cook who has raised us to eat vegetables with almost every meal (french fries don't count!)...but she left the family. Now I am the only woman in the house. I am seventeen years old, living with my dad and my sixteen year old brother. I did not inherit my mom's culinary skills at all. I burn macaroni and cheese for crying out loud, and my cornbread is so hard it bounces off the floor...anyway, I'm going crazy. Dad can't cook anything but sausage and biscuits. Little brother loves to cook (he has already taken culinary classes) but he only wants to cook for himself. So Dad went to Wal-Mart and bought a cart full of "groceries"--frozen pizzas, frozen chicken nuggets, frozen french fries, hot dogs, Fudgesicles, Hot Pockets, sandwich stuff, and vienna sausages. Which is fine for every once in a while. But a frozen pizza once a day? I can't take it. I need my vegetables--peas, beans, greens, everything--and I need my protein. I literally feel sluggish because I haven't had a green vegetable in a couple of weeks.

I'm the only one who is willing to cook...except I can't cook! I've attempted, and nothing works. I have tried pasta, and had moderate success, but my dad doesn't like pasta. I have tried burgers (a turkey burger for myself because I don't eat beef) but I really have issues with handling raw meat. I was gagging the whole time I handled the ground beef, and while they were cooking, my patties all fell apart so my dad and brother had to eat sloppy joes without the sauce. I've also done Hamburger Helper, but once again, the meat is an issue. So--do you have any ideas for easy, healthy, quick dinners that anyone can cook? I need to make sure we're all getting our nutrients, and I'm in all AP classes so I don't have time to make something elaborate like meat loaf because I have so much studying to do.

My family really likes:
Chicken
Pork
Mexican and Asian cuisine
Vegetables...lots and lots of vegetables
Casseroles
Southern foods--fried chicken, chicken pot pie, black eyed peas and ham, red beans and rice, etc.

We're not picky eaters--I don't like beef or fish and Dad doesn't like pasta. That's it.

Also, do you have any tips on how to get over a fear of handling raw meat?

Thanks for helping us get off the "frat boy diet"!

Answer on What are some easy, healthy, quick dinners I can make for my family? (Read details!)?

Crock pot meals don't require a lot of your time...And you can have your meat and vegetables...

Crock Pot Chicken, Rice and Broccoli

2 pounds chicken tenders or boneless chicken breasts cut in strips or cubes
1 1/4 cups uncooked converted rice
1 package Knorr’s Cream of Broccoli Soup Mix
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
pepper, to taste and parsely for color
Broccoli, carrots or cauliflower

Place rice in a lightly greased slow cooker. Sprinkle with parsley and pepper. Top with chicken pieces. Mix together the soup, mix and broth. Pour over chicken and rice. You can add vegetables now or wait until about 1 hour before serving if you like them firmer. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. I don’t recommend cooking this for a shorter time on high...

Crockpot Pork Chops and Mustard Sauced Potatoes

6 pork loin chops, cut 3/4 inch thick
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1/2 cup Dijon style mustard
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp pepper
6 medium potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 medium onion, sliced

In a large skillet, brown pork chops on both sides, in hot oil. Drain off fat.

In a large mixing bowl combine soup, wine, mustard, thyme, garlic, and pepper. Add potatoes and onion, stirring to coat. Transfer to crock pot.

Place browned chops on top of potatoes. Cover; cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high 3 1/2 to 4 hours...

Vegetable Stir Fry

Mixed vegetables, chopped thin - 3 cups
Ginger finely chopped or paste - 1 tsp
Garlic finely chopped - 1 tsp
Corn starch or arrowroot powder - 1 tbsp
Soy sauce - 1 tbsp
Vinegar - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp or according to taste.
Water or vegetable stock -2 tbsp
Chili sauce - 1 tbsp
Pepper to taste

Mix arrowroot powder(or corn starch) in a little water or vegetable stock in a small bowl. Add soy and chili sauce and vinegar, salt to taste. Mix, Keep aside.
Heat oil in a wok or skillet. Keep the flame medium. Add onions. Stir for 2 minutes.
Add ginger and garlic. Stir. Add cabbage, carrots.. Start by adding the vegetables that take longer to cook. Add a tablespoon of water if you want to cook the vegetables soft.
When the vegetables are almost cooked, Add the arrowroot mixture. Mix well to coat all the vegetables. The sauce will thicken as it cooks so stir briskly...

You might check out some cook books..try to get ones that have step by step pictures..


Hope this helps !!!