Dinner Tips for Fast Weeknight Meals (cont.)

I am no Rachael Ray, but here are some of my favorite meals that I whip up in less than 30 minutes:

Quick Meal No. 1: Greek Salad Wrap and Brown Rice Salad

For the Greek Salad Wrap, load up tortillas and then roll them up for a refreshing vegetarian entree. Into your whole-wheat tortillas, place:

  • Fat-free feta cheese
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Hummus
  • Sliced olives

Drizzle with salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and olive oil, then roll and serve.

For the Brown Rice Salad, mix the following ingredients, toss, then chill or serve at room temperature:

  • Small can of Mandarin oranges, drained
  • Uncle Ben's brown ready rice, cooked and cooled
  • Toasted, slivered almonds
  • 1/2 to 1 package of broccoli slaw
  • Ginger salad dressing to taste

Quick Meal No. 2: Chicken Breasts

Your menu for this meal includes:

  • Grilled chicken breasts
  • Baked sweet potatoes (you can make these ahead of time and reheat in the microwave)
  • Mixed salad greens with goat cheese, pears, and toasted pecans with light balsamic vinaigrette
  • Ciabatta rolls with a few teaspoons olive oil for dipping

If you think ahead, defrost the chicken breasts, then lightly pound to tenderize them, and toss them into a Ziploc bag with some light salad dressing or a mixture of citrus juices plus a few herbs.

If you haven't marinated the breasts, baste them with barbeque or grilling sauce before grilling. Slow-roasted sweet potatoes are so sweet and delicious they need nothing more than a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Quick Meal No. 3: Roasted Pecan Salmon

This menu for this healthy meal includes:

  • Roasted pecan salmon
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Steamed new potatoes with parsley and a dollop of fat-free sour cream
  • Mixed greens with avocado, grape tomatoes, black beans, and a light dressing

This is a company-worthy menu, but salmon is so readily available, so healthy, and freezes so well that we eat it at least once a week. Here are some other ideas for salmon or any fish: Top with a salsa, or make a teriyaki or balsamic glaze to pour over the fish after it is cooked.

Quick Meal No. 4: Grilled Port Tenderloin

Here's the menu for this speedy but satisfying meal:

  • Grilled pork tenderloin
  • Sugar snap peas (you can steam or microwave)
  • Couscous with veggies
  • Caesar salad with chopped apples and a light dressing

As with the chicken, you can defrost the pork tenderloin ahead of time and marinate it in a teriyaki or any kind of light salad dressing. Otherwise, baste it with equal parts honey and mustard or a store-bought marinade before you grill.

For the couscous, I saute whatever vegetables I have on hand (mushrooms, red peppers, and squash are a yummy combination) and toss into the couscous when cooked. Voila! Another easy meal.

Quick Meal No. 5: Pasta With Vegetables

This just might be the fastest and easiest option of all:

  • Pasta with veggies and optional meat
  • Broccoli slaw salad with toasted sesame seeds, slivered almonds, scallions, Mandarin oranges, and a light vinaigrette.
  • Whole-wheat rolls

For this weekly empty-the-vegetable-bin dish, I toss a variety of lightly steamed veggies with pasta or Israeli couscous (pearl pasta). Sometimes I also add leftover chicken or fish. Then I top with a little goat, feta, or Parmesan cheese. The sauce is either a simple drizzle of olive oil or a dry-packaged sauce (such as Knorr garlic cream sauce) that I make with skim milk and no any extra fat.

Published February 16, 2006.

©2006 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors