The thing about dinner is that, as a parent, you are expected to serve it nightly. Most frequently, what I lack is inspiration. My kids would eat a steady diet of spaghetti with meatballs and tacos, but I need a little more variety. Oh, and it should be easy. Preferably fast and not require a bunch of special ingredients. Also, it should be something that all five of us will eat. Is that too much to ask?

Hopefully these recipes check all those boxes for you and your family.

Skillet chicken with

white beans and green beans

Serves 6


    4 (6-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

    3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

    1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1/4 cup white wine

    3/4 cup lower-sodium chicken broth

    1 (15-oz.) can no-salt-added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

    8 ounces green beans (thinner beans work best in this recipe)

    1 cup cherry tomatoes

    1 tablespoon unsalted butter

    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Pound chicken breasts to an even 3/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Add oil to skillet; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove chicken from skillet.

2. Add wine to skillet; cook over medium-high, scraping skillet to loosen browned bits, until liquid is almost evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth, beans, green beans, tomatoes and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; let mixture come to a boil.

3. Nestle chicken into mixture in skillet. Reduce heat to medium; cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through and haricots verts are crisp-tender, 9 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter, parsley and lemon juice.

Adapted from Health magazine

Chinese beef and vegetable stir-fry

Serves 4


    2 teaspoons cornstarch

    3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

    2 teaspoons rice wine

    4 teaspoons sesame oil

    1 pound sirloin steak trimmed of fat, thinly sliced against the grain

    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

    4 cups chopped vegetables (broccoli, snap peas, carrots sliced on bias, bell peppers are all great options)

    4 medium scallions cut into 1-inch pieces; white and greens separated

    1 tablespoon minced garlic

    1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

    2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

    1 tablespoon oyster sauce (optional)

    Brown rice for serving


1. In a shallow glass container, whisk together the cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, rice wine and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil.

2. Sprinkle the salt over the steak. Add the steak to the marinade, turn to coat and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil and half of the steak. Cook 30 seconds on each side, without stirring as it’s cooking. Transfer to a plate and repeat with another 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil and the rest of the steak.

4. Add the vegetables and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to the skillet. Cover and steam until vegetables are crisp tender. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan.

5. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil and add the white parts of the scallions, garlic and ginger. Cook for 30 seconds.

6. Add the brown sugar, remaining 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce and oyster sauce if using. Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.

7. Add the beef and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the scallion greens.

8. Serve over brown rice.

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