Fixing the perfect family meal that suits the adults while satisfying the kids doesn’t have to mean extra time in the kitchen. In fact, creating delicious dishes with universal family intrigue can be a quick and easy endeavor. Simple kitchen staples like puff pastry, pasta and even corn flakes can become a delectable array of dinner recipes that are fast, fuss-free and scrumptiously kid-friendly. Try the following quick and easy dinner recipes then give the tasty variations a bite.
Mango, Bean and Cheese Turnovers
Puff pastry is a fast, delicious alternative to a homemade pastry crust. Though you buy it frozen, it will thaw in the refrigerator in a couple of hours or at room temperature in 30 to 40 minutes. Your best bet is to keep it refrigerated and use it within two days. These delectable savory turnovers are easy to assemble and hot out of the oven in less than 20 minutes. Your kids can even help you mix the filling and fold the turnovers before baking.
1 (17.3-ounce) package puff pastry sheets (2 sheets), thawed
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 mango, peeled, pitted, finely diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-1/2 cups shredded jack cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Beat the egg in a small bowl and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine onion, mango, black beans, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Unfold 1 pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll it into a 13-1/2×9-inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut sheet into 6 evenly-sized squares. Prick pastry squares with fork. Repeat with remaining pastry sheet.
4. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of mango bean mixture onto the center of each square. Fold each square in half to form a triangle. Press edges to seal. Transfer to a large baking sheet.
5. Brush turnovers with the beaten egg. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Serve warm.
For a change, give the following fast fillings a try:
- Smoked salmon, cream cheese and fresh dill
- Shredded rotisserie chicken, grapes and feta
- Leftover mashed or roasted sweet potatoes, chopped steak, and gorgonzola
- Shredded pork, pineapple chunks, and sweet and sour sauce
- Crab, potatoes and corn
- Apples, pecans and brie cheese
- Beets, walnuts, parsley and goat cheese
One-Pot Pasta Primavera
One pot pasta means a quick to the table meal that requires very little clean up. Though this is a nutritious vegetarian dish, if you have leftover chicken, salmon, or beef, chop it up and add it to the mix before serving.
12 ounces spiral shaped pasta
2 cups broccoli and cauliflower florets
1 carrot, sliced on a diagonal
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can diced roasted tomatoes
1/3 cup prepared basil pesto
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and stir. Cook for 4 minutes. Stir in broccoli, cauliflower and carrot. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
2. Drain pasta and vegetables in a colander and return them to the pot. Stir in chickpeas, Italian seasoning, broth, tomatoes, pesto and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.
Variations: Substitute spiral shaped pasta for another fun-shaped pasta. Replace chickpeas with kidney beans, lima beans or edamame (fresh soy beans). Toss in any vegetable you have on hand. Try sun-dried tomato pesto or even prepared hummus instead of basil pesto.
Oven-Baked Fish and Chips
A fast favorite for kids, these oven-baked breaded fish fillets and fries are not only healthier than the traditional fried fish and chips, they also make less of a greasy mess.
4 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into large wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup crushed corn or bran flakes
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1-1/4 pounds skinless, boneless cod or haddock fillets, cut into 12 evenly-sized pieces
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Place potatoes on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place breadcrumbs and cereal in a large zip lock bag. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and mustard. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Dip the fish in the egg mixture, coating both sides then place in the zip lock bag, tossing to coat.
3. Use a spatula and push fries to one side of the baking sheet. Remove fish from bag and gently shake off excess coating. Transfer fish to the baking sheet, arranging pieces in one layer. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the fish is crisp on the outside and cooked through. Fries should be tender on the inside and crisped on the outside.
4. Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.
Variations: Toss fries with dried herbs and spices. Substitute russet potatoes with sweet potatoes. Add shredded coconut to the breadcrumb coating or use a different type of whole grain cereal for the flakes. Replace fish with chicken.?
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