On March 13, in NOT SO HEALTHY CHOICES, I wrote about the difficulties working parents have getting a healthy dinner on the table. I got a great comment from Laura, the self described
Cathy Arnst

On March 13, in NOT SO HEALTHY CHOICES, I wrote about the difficulties working parents have getting a healthy dinner on the table. I got a great comment from Laura, the self described "queen of 30 minute recipes." Laura has started a list serve for working mothers in her town (perhaps she will also share ideas on how to do that), and one of their activities is a 30-minute recipe swap. She was kind enough to share some of the results with us.

Laura's tips:

I never learned how to cook the nonlazy way; shortcut cooking is all I know. I buy everything peeled and chopped. I mean, occasionally, I'll chop garlic cloves or grate ginger, but that's about the extent of it. I've even hosted a recipe swap - just for 30 minute or less recipes. I do lots of grilling and stir fry.
But I do cook, in the shortcut sense, every night. And my kids eat
very healthy. Nothing's processed. They've never had fast food. When we eat out, my toddler eats a salad with his kiddie meal, and I swap out the fries for salad. You CAN be lazy and cook healthy food every night.

Keep reading for a batch of recipes from her recipe swap. If anyone else has some 30 minute recipes, please share. And if you are skeptical that any recipe can really take 30 minutes, then you'll appreciate this amusing entry from the blog Taking The House By Storm, brought to my attention by the talented Laura.

Quick and Easy Italian Sausage Pasta

1. Saute 6 sweet or spicy Italian sausages and then slice them into pieces
2. Add 1 tbsp chopped garlic and saute until slightly browned
3. In sauce pan, add 2 tbsps capers and a dash of pepper
4. Add 1 8 oz can diced tomatoes (or 16 oz if you want)
5. Add in 3/4 lb cooked penne

Sweet and Sour Chicken
(also works with leftover pork or turkey)

1 red pepper, cut into chunks
1 20 oz can pineappple chunks in juice, drained
1-1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup duck sauce
2 tbsps quick cooking tapioca
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 cups cooked chicken
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 package instant or ready-to-serve brown rice

1. In a large saucepan combine pepper, pineapple, chicken broth, duck sauce, tapioca and soy sauce.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

2. Stir in chicken and vinegar, cook for 5 minutes to heat through. Serve over rice.

Lime Broiled Catfish
(this is 2 servings, double for 4)

1 tbsp butter or margerine
2 tbsps lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 catfish fillets (6 oz each)
lime wedges and parsely, optional

1. Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in lime juice, salt, pepper and garlic powerder; mix well. remove from heat and set aside
2. Place fillets in a shallow baking dish. Brush each fillet generously with lime butter sauce. Broil for 5-8 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork.
3. Remove to a warm serving dish, spoon pan juices over each filet. Garnish with lime and parsley and serve.

Cheryl's Risotto
(I think this sounds more complicated than it is. I'd recommend using frozen artichoke hearts)

6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups packed spinach leaves, chopped
2 tbsps margerine
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
dash pepper
3 cups artichoke hearts
3 chopped garlic cloves
2/3 tsp thyme
1-1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup seeded chopped tomatoes
1-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsps parsley

1) boil vegetable stock and keep warm on low
2) heat margine and oil in skillet
3) add onion and dash pepper, saute over medium heat 2-3 minutes.
4) add artichokes, garlic and thyme, saute until artichokes are tender (7-8 minutes)
5) add rice, saute over medium heat 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add stock, one cup at a time. When 4 cups are absorbed, add wine.
6) add 5th cup of stock, tomatoes, spinace, then last cup of stock.
7) add 3/4 cup parmesan, mix, then top with the remaining cheese
8) stir in more thyme (optional) and serve

Grandma McKamey's Chile

1. Buy the following ingredients at your local grocery store:
*Wick Fowler's 2 alarm chili kit
*2 lbs ground beef, turkey or meat substitute
*1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 can pinto or navy beans (optional)

2. Follow directions on the back of the chili kit box
3. Enjoy!

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