Small sweet pepper slice with nachos

The hustle and bustle of the back-to-school season can cause chaos in families. Class time, field trips, and homework often rule each day, which can make sitting down to a meal seem like a pipe dream. One easy way to save time is to simplify family recipes and prioritize meal planning.

Consider these meal planning tips from the experts at the Healthy Family Project, whose partners are donating $16,000 to the Fresh Produce Foundation to support children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Choose meals I was planning to make for this week. Minimize prep time by planning dishes with overlapping ingredients and then writing a grocery list to avoid overbuying. Recipes like Southwest Quiche Muffins Bento Box that include a short list of widely used ingredients can help you avoid purchasing items you may only use once.

Stock the kitchen With ingredients your family uses most often. Make sure you have seasonings, condiments, sauces and canned foods to prepare your favorite meals at a moment’s notice.

time saving By washing and preparing products once every week. For example, if you use bell peppers in a tray of mini bell pepper nachos and again in another meal that week, prepare them all at once so they’ll be ready when it’s time to cook — just be sure to store them in an airtight container.

Provide quick snacks This Won’t Ruin Dinner Kids often need a little fuel for their homework, but complex snacks can detract from their already busy schedules. Keep ingredients on hand for simple options like trail mix, fruit parfait, and meat and cheese rolls.

Use of kitchen utensils Which speeds up the process. Pressure cookers and air fryers can help you put nutritious meals on the table faster, while slow cookers let you get ready in the morning and come home to a hot, delicious dinner.

Visit to find more back-to-school recipes.

Small sweet pepper slice with nachos

Recipe courtesy of the Healthy Family Project

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Meals: 4

8 ounces Peruvian Family Farms baby sweet peppers, sliced

7 oz tortilla chips

1/2 cup sweet or red onion, cut into cubes.

Half a cup of canned or fresh corn

1/2 cup queso fresco cheese

1/4 cup black olives

1/4 cup fresh jalapeno pepper, cut into slices

A quarter cup of coriander leaves, for garnish

1 lemon, cut into thin slices, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place peppers and tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Layer of onions, corn, cheese, black olives and jalapeno peppers. Bake it for 3-5 minutes.

Garnish with coriander and lemon slices.

Southwest Quiche Pies Bento Box

Recipe courtesy of the Healthy Family Project

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Meals: 12

8 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

Non-stick cooking spray

3/4 cup black beans, drained and washed

1/2 cup Nature Fresh Farms Tom’s tomatoes, chopped

1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/4 small sweet onion, chopped

1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

1/4 cup granola

1/2 Zespri Sun Gold kiwi, chopped

1 sweet citrus mandarin, peeled and cut into slices

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk.

Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or use silicone muffin liners. Divide the beans, tomatoes, cheese, and onions evenly among the cups. Pour the eggs on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the eggs are set and lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 2-3 minutes. Use a knife to loosen and remove edges.

In a cup or bowl, mix yogurt, granola and kiwi.

Assemble a bento box with two quiches, a kiwi parfait, and mandarin slices.

    (tags for translation) Willapa Harbor Herald 

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