Need Dinner Fast? Healthy Chili Mac & More Quick and Easy Meals

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larger chili mac

Today, please welcome Tessa of Tessa Domestic Diva who brings us a Healthy Chili Mac Recipe.  I love Tessa’s selection of healthy, attractive, and special diet friendly recipes (she’s got a beautiful site as well.)  I hope you enjoy this post by Tessa as she shares with us some quick, easy, and healthful options for getting dinner on the table—FAST!  

I can’t tell you how many times people around me have lamented how they wish they had more time to cook and put wholesome dinners down for their family every night.

Regardless of your time constraints: it IS possible.  

The key is pre-planning and picking the right recipes that cook quickly or in a crock-pot while you’re away managing your busy day.

Take a moment to organize yourself!  You will be saving yourself loads of money AND eating more healthy, wholesome foods than the grab and go fare you find in most grocery stores.    Best of all, you get to control what goes into your food.  Let me show you how!  With a little practice, this process of pre-planning should not take more than 30 minutes (unless you’re like me and adore pouring through recipe sources for pleasure!)

Tips for Easy Meals

1.  I have a post on how to menu plan to help you learn how to get the ball rolling.

2.  Check your pantry, fridge, and freezer to take stock of items that need to be used up.

3.  Pick your recipes.
  Avoid recipes that have long cooking times or loads of prep work, save these for weekend cooking when you may have more time.

4.  Make a grocery list
.  Whatever recipes you pick, make a corresponding grocery list to pick up the things you do not already have on hand.  As I mentioned in my above menu-planning post, I keep pre-printed grocery lists on hand for this.  I group the foods I need by type and have them on my list in the order I hit them in my favorite store.

5.  Grocery shop with your list in hand.  STICK TO IT to ensure you are only spending money on items you’ll use. We do this as a family (even with all the “bumps” shopping with kids entails).  You may prefer to do it alone.  An organized list helps you move through the store efficiently, and I give my older kids jobs to help the process.

6. Enjoy your newfound health and freedom!  It feels good to feed your family well, and it is entirely possible and worth it.  Less stress is better for your body too…but I didn’t need to tell you that, did I?!

Here are some quick and easy recipes to get you started.

TIP: Add any additional vegetables to this.  I bet bell peppers, carrots, spinach, or cabbage would all be good! Here are some more quick and easy meals:

Quick & Easy 2 Ingredient Pulled Pork

2-Ingredient Pulled Pork

Fish Amandine

Fish Amandine

Warm Chicken BLT Salad

Warm Chicken BLT Salad

Creamy Ham & Potato Soup

Creamy Ham and Potato Soup

More quick and easy options for those “I Don’t Know What’s For Dinner” moments:

“Clean Out the Fridge Pasta”

Easy Past Dinner

Easy and Yummy Bean Dip

(everyone asks for this recipe)

black bean dip

Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets

These Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets taste like you've spent a lot of time on them, but they're ready lickety-split! And they're allergy-friendly too. Dairy and egg-free with gluten-free option.

Indian Lentils

(ready in as little as 9 minutes)

This lentil recipe is ready in a flash - in as little as 9 minutes! When you don't know what's for dinner, this lentil curry bean dish is a great healthy standby that is a great kid-friendly meal as well.

What is YOUR favorite super quick meal?

Shared at We Are that Family and The Nourishing Gourmet.
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  1. Your Chili Mac sounds delicious! I love your tips on getting organized. I follow similar steps as well and it does save money, time, and especially frustration since I’m usually shopping with little kids. Thanks so much for sharing with the Hearth and Soul!

  2. You’re certainly welcome Elsa!

  3. Great tips for serving your family healthy food. I find the pay off is worth the little bit of extra effort involved in cooking healthy food from scratch and when I cook fast and easy meals like you’ve shared I can do it in less time than it takes to heat a boxed pizza in the oven.

  4. too true Alea! The irony right? I try and explain to that to my husband when he wants to eat out…I can have the food on the table quicker than the time it would take to go to a restaurant or wait for delivery!

  5. Mmm, this sounds yummy. My daughter has celiac disease and we all eat Tinyada pasta. It’s good, huh?! Thanks for posting this recipe. I pinned it on pinterest!

  6. Great guest post Tessa! You know I love all your recipes!! Always winners in our house.

    Hugs,
    –Amber

  7. Just made this for dinner, so good, huge hit! I didn’t have elbow shapes so I broke up the last of 2 boxes of spaghetti noodles and called it chili spaghetti. Thanks for posting it!

  8. Glad you liked it, Lea, a family hit here too! And a mommy hit for being easy!

  9. I switched to eating mostly Paleo for myself this week while still cooking regular real food for my family. I wanted to get the wheat out of my diet to see if that would help with my nasal congestion. It’s working! The nasal congestion is better, and I have more energy. I’m chronicling my changes at my new local food/cooking blog: frugallocalkitchen.com/blog/

    I like that you mentioned the meals that are freezer-friendly. In these busy times of baseball and soccer, while I love cooking, I can’t always cook a full meal. Though, I do need to make a little extra time for the short-cuts to help me save time in the long run.

  10. Your Chili Mac looks awesome. Hope you have a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  11. This chili sound so yummy. I love the tips for creating menus. I don’t do it as often but every so often, I focus in cooking using what’s on the pantry without buying anything else until I use it all, and have come up with some great recipes!

  12. Totally Perfect!!! I’d love to have you share at my party…it JUST opened!!!

    http://www.itsoverflowing.com/2012/04/overflowing-with-creativity-19.html

    XO, Aimee

  13. Great recipe there – sounds healthy and tasty!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success
    http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

  14. Yummie! I just found your blog on Foodie Friday. I’ll host my own party every month called My Sweet Party and I would love you to join. Please visit my blog for mor info.

    http://meandmysweets.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/my-sweet-party-chocolate-cake-love.html

    Have a nice day!

    Johanna

  15. Excellent post, Tessa, with some wonderful hints and tips and links to some very delicious recipes! I really like your Healthy Chili Mac too!

  16. The Chili Mac sounds good, I’m going to put it on my list to try this week.

  17. Recipe looks really yummy and easy! We will have to give this a try soon! I bet it freezes well also!

  18. Love all your recipes Tessa!! This is a great round-up. So helpful!

  19. Im cooking it this minute! Had to test some and it was delicious but my tinkyada fusili needs lots more liquid and longer cooking! So far I’ve had to add 30oz of creamy tomato soup and 2 more cups beef broth. ,

  20. Perhaps I was to cook the pasta before putting it in the chili?
    This is a Brown Rice Fusili and it expanded outrageously big! I’ll try a different pasta next time. Flavor was better before adding the liquid. I also probably should have added more chili powder.

  21. Your link to the warm chicken BLT salad is not working. Would love to have that recipe.

  22. Looks yummy! I am working on menu planning so I will have to go check out your tips!