Most parents and working professionals feel the same: there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Caring for a family, maintaining a job, making time for a hobby, or finding a social life can feel like a herculean task. The trick is not to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of things to do, but to learn how to prioritize and make the most of your time. One way to do that is having some quick and healthy dinner ideas handy, so that you and your family can eat well no matter how hectic your day is.
Being a mother is hard work, and being a working mother is even harder. As the fast-paced world continues to move faster than ever, many women are finding themselves working more than full-time just to keep up with their household duties. There’s often little time to cook nutritious meals, not to mention find the time to take care of themselves.
Caring for a family, maintaining a job, making time for a hobby, or finding a social life can feel like a herculean task. The trick is not to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of things to do, but to learn how to prioritize and make the most of your time. One way to do that is having healthy dinner options that don’t take much time on hand that you can whip up in a snap!
I have collected some of my favorite quick meals as well as some from a few of my favorite friends.
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Tips for using quick and healthy dinner ideas
So the first thing I want to share are some of the tips that I have found that make cooking healthy dinner easier. Being that my work days usually end at or around 6 and I like to have dinner done by 7, having a few things on hand and following some simple hacks makes sure that I am able to provide healthy meals for myself and my family consistently. Here are some things that really help me.
- Stay stocked up on staples
- Be okay with using frozen vegetables
- Make side dishes simple (think a bag of frozen veggies and rice/quinoa)
- Consider one pot meals
- Be okay with leftovers
- Instead of cooking chicken, use rotisserie
- Cut things like onions, pepper, and celery ahead and freeze in baggies for later use
- Keep it simple
- Plan ahead with your grocery shopping or consider frozen pre-marinated meats
The staple Items that I absolutely must have on hand include:
- frozen vegetables
- chicken broth (or buillon)
- cream of chicken/celery/mushroom
- Pre-cut garlic
- Diced tomatoes
- Favorite seasons (Seasoning blends are another great hack)
Rotisserie Chicken Quick and healthy meal ideas
Rotisserie chicken can be a lifesaver for busy moms. I have been known to use rotisserie chicken in all sorts of meals from chilis and stews to tacos! Here are a few quick and healthy rotisserie chicken meals to try:
Chicken and Rice
Rotisserie chicken with rice is the perfect weeknight meal or the perfect meal for a quick lunch. This popular recipe from The Kitchen is my Playground is not only simple but adding some extra veggies just packs on more healthy flavor!
On a cool night, nothing says SUPER YUMMY like a bowl of chili, but sometimes you just don’t have the time for all the simmering. Try this tasty quick and healthy chicken chili for those winter evenings.
This is such an easy option. Chicken salad is great for dinner and lunch and with a million different flavor combinations you can never get bored!
I love this recipe from Gimme Some Oven. Substituting a rotisserie makes it so much easier! Serve with some fresh veggie sticks or toss in a salad on the side for an easy dinner!
Chicken Fried Rice
This is another quick rice and chicken option with a spin. Get fried rice quickly with this simple recipe that gets easier with rotisserie chicken.
Instant Pot and other One Pot Quick Meals
The Instant pot has significantly changed the game on cooking. I for one, took a while to jump on board, but it does literally do nearly everything! These quick and healthy dinner ideas combine the ease of the Instant pot with the flexibility of items you may already have in your home!
More Cool Weather Chicken Chili
Here is another quick chili dish that uses the instant pot! Again, try my rotisserie chicken hack and chop the two rotisserie breasts to make this quick meal even easier.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Who doesn’t love pulled pork! Prior to the instant pot craze, we used to make this in the crockpot and leave it for the day. It was always frustrating tho, when I would forget to put the meat on in the morning because of the busyness! This quick and easy instant pot pulled pork recipe makes all that frustration go away!
Easy Ground Turkey Skillet
Rachael is one of my absolute favorite people, and her recipes are just so yummy and creative! When she first shared this, I literally tried it the next day, and its been in our families rotation ever since! It combines peas, mushrooms and ground turkey for a yummy low carb quick healthy dinner idea your family is sure to love!
Quick and Healthy Dinner Ideas and Recipes from Moms Like you!
So this last section comes from meals from moms like you! Simple items that they throw together to whip up simple meals the whole family will love! These meals mostly are one pot meals!
This quick meal comes together with all of your Italian favorites for a quick and healthy dinner on a hot summer evening. – Lisa S.
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Jar of Pasta Sauce and Olive Oil
Slice mozzarella, roughly chop basil, half cherry tomatoes and finely chop garlic. Mix together with about a tablespoon of olive oil and jar of Pasta sauce of your choice. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Quick and Healthy Brown Rice Pasta
This meal shared by Breeann is filled with all the Good Stuff! Pasta shells and sauce are another staple I keep on hand in my home!
- Brown rice pasta
- Ground turkey (cooked)
- Sauteed Vegetables (You can use a bag of mixed frozen and sautee)
- Pasta sauce
Cook pasta, ground turkey, and sauteed veggies, add pasta sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese.
Spanish Rice Mexican Scrambler
With just 4 ingredients (5 if you add some rotisserie chicken), this meal shared from my friend Carrie is sure to be a family favorite.
- 1 box spanish rice
- 4-6 eggs
- Sour cream
- Optional (rotisserie chicken)
Cook spanish rice, push to side of pan and scramble 4-6 eggs on the empty side. When the eggs are cooked, mix. Add cheese and sour cream to top.
One Pan Chicken Enchilada
This is another one from the super creative Carrie! You can substitute the canned chicken for rotisserie if you’ve jumped on the rotisserie bandwagon!
- 1/2 bag cooked wide egg noodles (cooked)
- 12 oz can chunk chicken (drained)
- 1 can Progresso chicken cheese enchilada soup
- sour cream
Cook chunk chicken and progresso soup to warm, add egg noodles and top with cheese and sour cream. (I like to keep my egg noodles separate and add to each individual plate to mix.)
Simple homemade chicken alfredo
Who doesn’t love alfredo! This is one of my families favorite dishes! I love it because its homemade and EASY! So I don’t worry so much about the additives. Again, its a rotisserie meal so.. YAY!
- 2 breasts from a rotisserie chicken shredded
- 2 cups half and half (or whatever milk you have)
- fettuccine noodles, cooked
- italian cheese blend (2 cups)
- veggies of your choice (I usually use spinach, mushrooms, and onion and broccoli)
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil/butter on medium high and saute the veggies (if you use spinach dont add this until the end). Reduce heat to medium low. Add your shredded chicken and the milk. Allow milk to warm then add cheese. Salt and pepper to taste then add the fettuccine noodles.