Solve The Dinner Dilemma

A study at Harvard Medical School showed that children who ate dinner more often with their families had diets of better nutritional quality than those who seldom had family meals. Children who often ate with their families were more likely to eat enough fruits and vegetables and to get more of the vitamins, minerals and fiber they need. Regular family diners were also more likely to eat less saturated fat and trans-fatty acids and less likely to eat fried foods and drink soda.

If you want to teach your children good eating habits, it's simple to make a meal that's nutritious and appealing to their palates. Start with cooked rice, add veggies and stir fry. Then pour on kid-friendly, nutrient-dense eggs and scramble. If you like, you can add soy or teriyaki sauce or even mayo or bottled salad dressing to the eggs and top the scrambled skillet supper with chopped fresh chives. The next time you want a good meal in a hurry, make omelets or a family-sized frittata with your family's favorite flavoring ingredients or even leftovers, perhaps dribs and drabs of deli meats, veggies and cheese.

For another quick-and-easy dinner, Cheesy Pasta, Veggie & Egg Skillet Meal starts with quick-cooking pasta and a medley of colorful vegetables. It's nipped with your choice of tarragon or marjoram and gooey with cottage cheese. For high-quality protein, simply use a spoon to make indentations in the mixture and gently break eggs into the indentations. Cover the skillet and cook until the eggs are done. That's all. Supper's on!

Including foods from the grain, vegetable, milk and meat/meat alternates groups of the Pyramid, this easy-to-assemble combo is high in essential nutrients. You need only cheese and fresh fruit to round out a well-balanced menu starring this hearty meal-in-one.


4 servings

1 package (7 oz.) small shell pasta (conchiglie)

Cooking spray

2 cups low-fat (1 or 2%) cottage cheese

1 teaspoon tarragon or marjoram leaves, crushed

2 cups fresh steamed or thawed frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrot vegetable blend (about 9 oz.)

4 eggs

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain thoroughly. Meanwhile, evenly coat 10-inch non-stick omelet pan or skillet with spray. Add drained pasta. Stir in cheese and tarragon until pasta is evenly coated with cheese. Add steamed or thawed vegetables. Stir until evenly coated with cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through and mixture begins to sizzle, about 5 to 10 minutes. With back of spoon, gently make 4 indentations in pasta mixture. Break and slip an egg into each indentation. Cover and cook until whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Nutrition information for 1 serving of 1/4 recipe using 1% cottage cheese and tarragon: 362 calories, 7 gm total fat, 217 mg cholesterol, 544 mg sodium, 382 mg potassium, 45 gm carbohydrate, 28 gm protein and 10% or more of the RDI for vitamins A, B12 and C, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, dietary fiber.

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About The Author, Ross Martinez
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