Quick, Easy & Healthy Recipes for Time-Starved Families

Source: Norene’s Healthy Kitchen (Whitecap), except variation of Chicken in Parchment which is from Healthy Helpings/MealLeaniyumm

With just a few simple ingredients you can create a variety of easy, healthy and yummy foods for your family. Get the kids involved. If they help prepare the food, they’re more likely to eat it!


Kids and adults agree that this versatile dish deserves two-thumbs up! Try all five flavors and you’ll also give them a high-five rating. These make terrific party appetizers and are excellent as an after-school snack for kids.

11/2 cups Frosted Flakes cereal
1 cup Special K cereal
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp paprika
4 boneless, skinless single chicken breasts
3/4 to 1 cup barbecue sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (we recommend Chefs Select).

2. Combine the cereals, wheat germ, sesame seeds, and seasonings in the processor fitted with the steel blade. Process 6 to 8 seconds to make coarse crumbs. Transfer to a pie plate.

3. Rinse the chicken breasts and trim the excess fat. Cut each breast into 5 long strips. Dip in barbecue sauce, then in crumb mixture. Arrange them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. (Can be prepared in advance and refrigerated up to 24 hours.)

4. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Turn chicken fingers over and bake 6 to 8 minutes longer or until crisp and golden.

Yield: 20 chicken fingers. Keeps for up to 2 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to 3 months.

83 calories each, 7.0 g carbohydrate, 1.0 g fiber, 8 g protein, 2.8 g fat (0.3 g saturated), 15 mg cholesterol, 238 mg sodium, 97 mg potassium, 2 mg iron, 19 mg calcium

A note to non-Canadians:
Kosher certification varies from country to country for the same manufacturer. Special K has a pareve/nondairy designation in Canada but is dairy in the USA, so substitute cornflake crumbs, crushed Fibre One or other nondairy cereal when breading chicken. Always check food labels carefully.


• Instead of chicken, substitute firm fish fillets such as sole or tilapia, or use extra-firm tofu.

• Instead of using barbecue sauce, use any of the following:

· 3/4 cup light mayonnaise plus 1 Tbsp honey mustard
· 1/2 cup Italian or French salad dressing (low-calorie)
· 1/2 cup Vidalia onion salad dressing
· 1/2 cup Asian honey garlic sauce

Nutrition Notes:

• Crumb-y News: Surprisingly, Frosted Flakes cereal is quite GI-friendly, with a glycemic index of 55 and Special K has a glycemic index of 56. Believe it or not, the GI for corn flakes is 77 and the GI for Rice Krispies is 82!

• Saucy Thoughts: When shopping for bottled barbecue sauce, avoid brands that contain trans-fats or partially hydrogenated, palm and/or coconut oil. Watch for hidden sugars such as dextrose, sucrose, or anything ending with “ose.” Avoid sauces that include high-fructose corn syrup in the first 5 ingredients. Otherwise, choose marinara or tomato sauce and boost the flavor with a dash of cayenne pepper, garlic, ground cinnamon, and cloves.


Hoy-sinful! Hoisin sauce, also known as Chinese ketchup, is a thick, reddish-brown sauce with a sweet and spicy taste. It is made from a mixture of soybeans, garlic, chili peppers, and spices. This is delicious over cooked soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles) or rice.

1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp orange marmalade or apricot jam (preferably low-sugar or all-fruit)
2 Tbsp lemon juice (preferably fresh)
1 lb (500 g) boneless, skinless single chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cups bean sprouts
2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp cold water or chicken broth

1. Combine the hoisin sauce, marmalade, and lemon juice in a large glass bowl; mix well.

2. Rinse the chicken well and pat dry. Trim the excess fat. Add the chicken and marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature (or refrigerate for up to 2 days). Drain the chicken, reserving marinade.

3. Heat 1 Tbsp oil on medium high heat in a large nonstick wok. Add the drained chicken, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until the
chicken is no longer pink. Remove from the wok.

4. Heat remaining oil. Stir-fry the onion, red pepper, broccoli, mushrooms, and bean sprouts on high heat for 2 minutes. Add the chicken, reserved
marinade, and cornstarch mixture. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes longer or until bubbly and thickened. This is best served immediately.

Yield: 4 servings. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or a wok, but won’t be as crunchy. Don’t freeze.

361 calories per serving, 35.8 g carbohydrate, 4.7 g fiber, 32 g protein, 11.2 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 68 mg cholesterol, 590 mg sodium, 680 mg
potassium, 3 mg iron, 64 mg calcium

• Substitute lean boneless beef or firm tofu, cut into strips, for the chicken breasts.

• Add 2 cups sliced water chestnuts or bamboo shoots to the wok along with reserved marinade.

• Garnish with 1/2 cup toasted cashews or slivered almonds.

Chef’s Secrets
• It’s a Keeper: Bottled hoisin sauce can be refrigerated for at least a year.

• Saucy Secret: Hoisin sauce adds body to stir-fries, so less cornstarch is needed to thicken the sauce.


Whether you’re cooking for two or a crowd, this dish is true “wrap-ture!” Cooking in parchment paper saves on clean-up. If you don’t have parchment paper, wrap fish in foil. Foiled again!

2 tilapia, sole, or whitefish fillets (about 6 oz/180 g each)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp lemon or lime juice (preferably fresh)
1 clove garlic (about 1 tsp minced)
Salt, freshly ground black pepper, and paprika
2 tsp minced fresh basil, dillweed, or thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut 2 large squares of parchment paper. Place a fish fillet in the center of each piece of parchment.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and lemon juice. Drizzle each fillet with the oil-lemon mixture, then sprinkle with garlic and seasonings, coating the fish on both sides. Seal the parchment-paper packages by folding up the top, bottom, and sides, and crimping the edges closed with your fingers. Place the packages on a baking sheet and let the fillets marinate inside the parchment for 15 minutes.

3. Bake for 10 minutes. (Or microwave the parchment-paper packages on high for 31/2 to 4 minutes.) Place each package on a dinner plate and cut open at the table. Be careful not to scald yourself when the hot steam escapes once the packages are opened. Serve immediately.

Yield: 2 servings. Recipe easily doubles or triples. Keeps for up to 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to 2 months.

209 calories per serving, 1.0 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g fiber, 34 g protein, 7.6 g fat (1.6 g saturated), 85 mg cholesterol, 89 mg sodium, 530 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 21 mg calcium

FISH AND VEGETABLES IN PARCHMENT: Season fillets as directed in Step 2 but, before sealing the packages, top each fillet with: broccoli or cauliflower florets, cherry tomatoes, chopped red pepper, sliced mushrooms, green onions or zucchini. Sprinkle with a little white wine or salsa, then seal. Bake at 400°F for 12 to 15 minutes (or microwave on high for 5 minutes).

CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES IN PARCHMENT: Prepare packets as directed, substituting boneless skinless single chicken breasts for fish fillets. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. (Or microwave 1 breast for 3 minutes on HIGH, 2 breasts for 4 to 4 1/2 minutes, 4 breasts for 6 to 7 minutes (1 to 1 1/4 lbs). Juices from chicken should run clear when done.)

Leftover chicken can be used for stir-fries, wraps, as a topping for chicken salad, ground up and made into chicken patties with addition of egg, crumbs and seasonings, then browning patties in skillet. Add some veggies and sauté them, top with tomato sauce or Oriental sauce (homemade or purchased). The bones can be turned into soup.


My 12-year-old granddaughter Lauren chose her favorite ingredients to create this version of her mother Jodi’s bean salad. Lauren adds feta cheese “because I like it!” You can easily substitute chickpeas or kidney beans for the black beans. For more color and fiber, make Tex-Mex Bean Salad.

1 can (19 oz/540 mL) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Combine the beans, onion, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve immediately.

Yield: About 3 cups (6 servings of 1/2 cup each). Recipe can be doubled. Keeps for up to 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

131 calories per serving, 14.1 g carbohydrate, 4.2 g fiber, 5 g protein, 7.3 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 11 mg cholesterol, 488 mg sodium, 273 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 94 mg calcium

TEX-MEX BEAN SALAD: Omit feta cheese. Add 1 cup drained corn kernels, 1 red pepper, chopped, and 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley. Makes about 4 cups. One serving contains 104 calories, 16.8 g carbohydrate, 4.2 g fiber, 4 g protein, 3.6 g fat (0.5 g saturated), and 349 mg sodium.