Healthy Ideas for Easy Family Meals
When using antipasto bar ingredients, Brennan begins with what she likes. Paired with the basic cooking techniques most know (grilling a steak, roasting chicken, making pasta), and a bit of creativity, there are an endless number of meals you can serve the family. (Photo courtesy of Joshua Shaub)
• Quesadillas: Chop up two scoops of vegetables, like roasted tomatoes and kalamata olives. Use these along with Cheddar cheese for delicious quesadillas that are good for lunch or a light dinner.
• Salads: Toss roasted peppers and mixed olives together with a box of washed greens for an instant salad you can serve with dinner. Add chunks of your favorite cheese, if desired, for something a bit heartier.
• Pizza: With a ball of pre-made pizza dough, a make-your-own pizza night once a week is easy. Simply top the rolled out dough with bruschetta topping, and cheese or other garnishes as you wish, and bake at 450 degrees for about 12-15 minutes.
• Pasta: The options are limitless. Toss cooked pasta in a sauté pan with roasted red peppers and roasted tomatoes, or use the roasted garlic along with just-browned bacon and grated cheese for an alternative to classic pasta carbonara.
• Chicken: Instead of chopping vegetables for a roast chicken, combine some cipollini onions with marinated mushrooms and mushroom bruschetta topping and use the mixture both to stuff the bird and as a seasoning to scatter around the pan. Then roast as usual.
The same ingredients that are good for last-minute homemade meals are great for low-prep party appetizers. “I don’t have enough time” isn't an excuse for not having friends over at the end of the week. Here are four ways to turn the cool veggies into hot, tasty appetizers.
• Roasted Red Tomatoes: Warm these up in a pan, and then place on top of toasted bread. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on top, then a curl of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
• Red Peppers Stuffed with Feta: Drop these on a grill for five minutes, until the cheese starts to melt. Pop in mouth, close eyes, and sip champagne.
• Pitted Olives: Chop mixed olives into small pieces then warm in a pan. Place mixture onto a flat pizza crust (like Boboli) and top with a hard Italian cheese, like asiago. Bake for a few minutes then feast!
• Long Stem Artichokes: Cover with breadcrumbs and place baking dish in a piping hot oven for eight minutes. Splash with lemon and serve with toothpicks.