What's for Dinner? Four Tips for Healthy Weeknight Meals

Published Tuesday, March 12, 2013 8:11 PM

Getting a healthy, delicious dinner on the table each night is the Holy Grail of working parents. Our four simple tips help answer the nightly "what's for dinner?" question.

Greatest Hits: Do yourself a favor and commit to a weeknight rotation of four to six basic recipes that can be easily assembled and altered for variety. Roast chicken is simple; dress it up with an array of sides. Ditto grilled lean meats and fish. Chopped salads are also easy; just vary the ingredients for a fresh take. Shop on Saturday, prep foods Sunday (chopping veggies for the week or roasting a chicken for use in weeknight meals) and keep a running grocery list during the week so you can fill pantry holes during next weekend's shop.

Teen Chefs: Turn meal-planning over to your teens once a week. In My Sons, The Sous-Chefs,  NYT reporter Leslie Kaufman recounts how with some prep work (i.e. providing basic kitchen training and guidance on recipe selection) she was able to outsource two meals a week to her teen sons. Even tweens can help pitch in; have them assemble ingredients, defrost meats and prepared foods, make a simple salad and set the table so you save time each night.

Prep Work: Who has time to plan in advance? You do that's who. Take an hour each week to plan meals, grocery shop online and prep the basics (chopping, roasting) over the weekend.  An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of take-out. You will be amazed at how small investments of pre-planning yield delicious meals. For menu ideas read, Easy Weeknight Dinners. 

Fake It: Who says dinner needs to be made from scratch? Savvy weeknight chefs rely on pre-made and store-bought ingredients to get dinner from to-do to done. Read Fake-It, Don't Make it: 25 Recipes to see how simple short-cuts can put dishes like chicken tostadas and fish tacos on your dinner table quickly and easily.



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