For many busy mothers, it's hard enough to get everyone together at the table for dinner, let alone find the time to prepare a healthy, delicious meal everyone will enjoy.
The best thing about these make ahead meals is the fact that not only are they delicious, they are healthy and use only low-fat ingredients. Bring back dinnertime and start 2012 on the right foot, with healthy food and family time!
Lighter French toast casserole recipe
Who said French toast was just for lazy Saturday mornings? Treat your kids to a sweet, low-fat version of their favorite weekend French toast breakfast recipe any night of the week with this easy, overnight casserole.
For the casserole:
- 1 loaf whole wheat French bread, cut into cubes
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup light cream
- 1 cup 1 percent milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the topping:
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 tablespoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
- 3 tablespoons butter, cold and sliced
- Line a 9 x 11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place the bread into the bottom of the pan, making layers until all of the bread is gone.
- In a large bowl, mix eggs, cream, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and salt with a whisk until fully combined. Carefully pour egg mixture over the bread. Cover dish tightly with foil and chill overnight.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove foil. In another bowl using a pastry cutter, cut butter into the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until a coarse topping forms. Mix in chopped nuts. Sprinkle topping over the casserole evenly to cover the entire top.
- Bake for 45 - 50 minutes and serve with pure maple syrup or on its own!
Italian turkey meatloaf recipe
This comfort food is made even healthier by swapping in turkey for ground beef and using fresh made marinara instead of sugar filled ketchup. Plus, the zesty breadcrumbs, fresh basil and thyme and fresh, melted mozzarella on top of this meatloaf recipe will taste so good, the kids will have no clue it's even good for them!
- 1 pound ground turkey, defrosted
- 2 basil leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup homemade marinara (or low sugar store bought)
- 3 slices fresh mozzarella, cut in half
- Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine turkey, basil, thyme, eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, onion, garlic, salt, red pepper and black pepper until mixed (careful not to over mix). Spoon the meat mixture into the loaf pan. Flatten the top of the meatloaf with the back of a wooden spoon.
- If you aren't baking immediately, chill with foil for up to two days. If baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake meatloaf for 35 minutes.
- Take meatloaf out and pour marinara sauce over it, completely covering the surface. Return to pan and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Place mozzarella slices over the top of the marinara sauce and bake for another five minutes. Let cool in pan and serve with fresh basil!
Low-fat corn chowder recipe
One sure fire way to trick your kids (and husband) into eating their vegetables is to hide them in creamy, rich entrees and sprinkle a little bit of bacon on top. This corn chowder recipe is the perfect dinner for a busy weeknight and is full of antioxidants and disease fighting vegetables!
- 2 slices turkey bacon, lower sodium
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 orange or yellow pepper, chopped
- 2 (16 ounce) packages frozen corn (white and yellow)
- 3/4 cup part skim cheddar cheese
- 2 cups skim or 1 percent milk
- Dashes of salt and pepper
- Cook bacon over medium-high heat in a large pot. Once crispy (about four to six minutes) remove from heat and place on a paper towel. Blot excess grease and let cool. Once cooled, crumble bacon into small pieces.
- In the same pot, cook celery, onion and pepper until soft, about six to seven minutes. Add one package of corn, salt and pepper and reduce heat.
- In a blender, blend second package of corn and 1-1/2 cups of milk until smooth. Pour blended corn mixture into vegetable mixture and add additional 1/2 cup of milk. Pour cheese over soup and let melt. Remove from heat.
- Garnish with bacon and additional cheese. Store in the same pot (with a lid) for up to three days.
Having a hearty and healthy dinner was never so easy, even on those crazy school nights!
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