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Healthy and Delicious - the struggle is real!

It’s hard to believe that we are more than halfway through the month of August already.  For those with kids, August is a month of transition – summer is wrapping up and school will begin soon (if it hasn’t already).  This means a change in schedule; if your children are involved in extra-curricular activities life is about to get hectic between practice schedules, games, concerts and every day events.  Even if your kids haven’t quite reached the stage where they have something (what feels like) every evening, the beginning of school probably means a return to more structured (and quite possibly earlier) bed times, and routines that now involved that “h” word that is dreaded by parents and kids alike – homework!
 
With all of this, it can be difficult to find the time to fix a healthy, and tasty, dinner every evening.  I struggle with this, and my kids are not even in school yet.  I have told myself time and time again that I am going to start planning our menus weekly, so that I can do all of my grocery shopping during the weekend when I have slightly more time, and then do as much prep work as possible to cut down on the time needed during the week.  And I manage this, most of the time.  But even with planning ahead, I find myself struggling with what to fix…I want something that is healthy, but by the time I get home and fix dinner in the evenings I also want something that tastes good and that my kids will eat without a fuss, because honestly, by the end of the day if I can manage to avoid a fight over what they will and won’t eat, I’m all in.
 
This balancing act has sent me searching high and low for recipes that are quick (preferably 30 minutes or less unless I get to use my trusty crockpot, which gets A LOT of use, even in the summer), healthy, and appealing to both the adults and the kiddos in my house.  Sometimes I really think that finding a unicorn would be easier.  I have managed to find some that are a hit, but the search continues, so we don’t have to eat the same handful of meals over and over.
 
How about you?  Do you have some go to recipes for those busy nights?  I’m sure most of us would love to have a few more recipes to add to our book; so I have shared two of my family’s favorites below – and would love it if you would share too!
 
Pesto Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower
6 thin sliced chicken breasts
1 small jar of pesto (or make your own!)
1 head of cauliflower
garlic powder
salt
pepper
 
Preheat oven to 425.  Coat a baking dish with cooking spray and lay place the chicken breasts in the dish.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of pesto over each chicken breast and then bake for 15-20 minutes (I usually bake covered for the first 10 minutes, then uncovered after that until they are done.).
For cauliflower – cut into florets and place on a baking sheet.  Spray with cooking oil and then sprinkle garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Bake for 20 minutes. (Bonus – the chicken and the cauliflower can bake together – saves time!)
If you want to add a starch to the meal, cook some thin spaghetti noodles and toss with some olive oil and some of the pesto – you can serve the chicken on top of the noodles!
 
Fish Tacos (and Quesadillas) with Guacamole and Fresh Fruit
1 lb. of white fish (tilapia, cod, mahi-mahi, etc.)
Shredded cabbage (I cheat and buy the pre-shredded stuff on nights when I am running short on time)
8 oz light sour cream
1 small can of red enchilada sauce
Chipotle powder and/or smoked paprika
Pico de gallo
Small Corn Tortillas
Shredded reduced fat Colby Jack cheese
Pre-made guacamole (or you can make your own – I find it is easier to just go ahead and buy the premade stuff)
Corn tortilla chips
Your choice of fresh fruit (I love this time of year because watermelon is everywhere – so for us I usually get watermelon and strawberries, which my kids love)
 
Spray both sides of the fish with cooking spray, and then sprinkle with salt, pepper and chipotle or paprika to taste (my kids don’t like spicy, so I usually do paprika for them and chipotle for us).  Cook fish in a skillet over medium high heat a couple of minutes on both sides, until it flakes.  Set aside.  Mix sour cream, chipotle powder and red enchilada sauce to make a “spicy” cream sauce (you can add as much or as little of each to the sour cream depending on how spicy you want it).  Heat the corn tortillas in a small skillet on the stove, or wrap them in a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave.  Place some of the fish in the middle of the tortilla and then add some of the spicy cream, cabbage and pico de gallo.
Our kids are not huge fish taco fans, so when we have fish tacos I usually make cheese quesadillas for them – just place a corn tortilla in a skillet lightly coated with cooking spray (on medium high heat), add some shredded cheese and place another tortilla on top.  When the cheese starts to melt flip the quesadilla over for a few minutes.
Serve the tacos and quesadillas with the guacamole and chips and fresh fruit.
 
Monday, August 22, 2016
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