5 Easy and Healthy Family Dinner Recipes for the New Year


I love the beginning of a new year. I love to set goals and refocus my attention on things I may have let slide toward the end of the previous year. This year I want to simplify dinner time with easy, yet nutritious meals that my whole family will love. I don’t want to spend an hour in the kitchen, only to have one or both of my daughters make ‘that’ face. You guys know the one I mean. The look that says, “Do you really expect me to eat this?”

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Between sports, school clubs, homework, life can get pretty crazy. We have to eat, though. These recipes will spare you the ‘dinner time anxiety’ because they are quick, family approved and hard to mess up. 

Salsa Shredded Chicken Taco Bowls

2-boneless, skinless chicken breasts, approx. 1 pound

Jar of your favorite salsa 

I have an Instant Pot and love it! I throw this in there and cook it on high pressure for 15 minutes. I let the pressure naturally release for 5-10 minutes and then manually release any leftover pressure. You can also throw this in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 and it will be just as delicious. Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan, shred, and add it back to the pan and stir it with the salsa. 

Then, I just either put it on tortillas, over rice, cauliflower rice if you are following a low-carb diet. Add your favorite taco toppings. Mine include chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice and avocado. Yum! 

Any leftover chicken can be stored in the fridge and eaten during the week for lunch! 

Easy Stir Fry

1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

1 pound of lean meat (pork, chicken or beef), sliced thin

Red bell pepper, sliced

1-2 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and chopped in half moon shapes

1/2 cup carrots (I get the shredded ones in the bag)

2 cups of cooked brown rice

2-3 green onions, sliced thin as garnish

sesame seeds for garnish

Stirfry sauce (recipe follows)

Heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil in large skillet until hot but not smoking. Add meat of choice and cook until brown. Meat doesn’t have to be fully cooked as we will add it back to the pan to finish later. Remove meat and add the other 1/2 tbsp of oil. Add veggies and cook 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add meat and sauce to pan. Bring sauce to a boil and cook 2-3 minutes until thick. Serve over brown rice. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. 

stirfry sauce:

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tbsp corn starch

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp sesame seed oil

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced

2 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced

Whisk all ingredients together. This recipe makes 1 1/2 cups. Any leftover sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. 

Beef Stroganoff (recipe adapted from Skinnytaste)

1 lb. lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp. tomato paste

2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce

1/2 cup light sour cream

2 tbsp. all purpose flour

2 tsp. chicken boullion

1/2 tsp. paprika

Whole wheat egg noodles, cooked according to package directions. 

chopped parsley for garnish

Brown ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Add onions and tomato paste and cook for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Add Worcestershire sauce and thyme. Blend water, sour cream, chicken bouillon and paprika together in a small bowl. add to beef mixture and cook until sauce is thickened. Serve over warm noodles. Garnish with parsley.

Sheet Pan Salmon

4 salmon filets, aprox. 4 ounces each

2 lemons

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed

2 tbsp. chopped parsley

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat broiler and place oven rack in the top third of the oven. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray foil with non stick spray. Arrange asparagus along sides of sheet pan and salmon filets in the middle. Spray filets and asparagus with non stick spray. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon juice from one lemon all over. Slice other lemon and place slices on top of salmon. Sprinkle parsley and minced garlic over everything. Broil for 8-10 minutes or until salmon is cooked to your  preference. Serve with quinoa or brown rice (or any other starch you like, I’ll never know!)

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half to make 4 cutlets (or buy thin sliced chicken breasts from grocery store)

1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp. italian seasoning

2 egg whites, beaten

Preheat oven  to 425. Spray sheet pan with non-stick spray. Put egg whites in a shallow plate or dish. Mix together breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and italian seasoning together in another dish. Season chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. Dip them in egg mixture and then in breadcrumbs mixture. Lay them on sheet pan. Once all cutlets are coated, spray again with non-stick spray and bake 15-18 minutes. I like to serve these with a green salad or a simple side of steamed veggies.

Getting our kiddos to eat healthily can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help.

-Let them help-involving them in dinner making can help get them to try new things

-Do ‘build your own” nights-everyone loves a buffet style meal

-Have one thing that you know they will eat (even if its just a couple of bites)-this will ease so many headaches and worrying about whether or not your children (especially picky eaters) are getting enough food. 

Dinner shouldn’t be a struggle, but it doesn’t always have to mean a drive-thru or packaged meal. Time-saving, nutritious meals like these can be part of your New Year’s resolution to spend more time with your family and provide healthy meals. Cheers to a great 2018!