Quick and Healthy Back-To-School Dinner Solutions

Oh heavens! Is it that time again? Back-to-school season already? Even though my
children are well past the school years, there is something almost Pavlovian about
the arrival of Labor Day. Suddenly, there’s so much to do – farewell lazy days of

As we all return to our action-packed autumnal routines, it can be a challenge to keep
life on track with everything moving so fast. To slow it down a bit and make time for
yourself and your family during the week, take a little time on the weekend to make
ahead a work-day’s worth of dinners. In addition to saving precious weeknight time, it
will also help keep your gut healthy, which in turn will help boost immunity for the
whole family.

Here are two of my favorite family-friendly recipes that are wonderful, hearty home
cooking options for weeknights, delicious but not fancy or time consuming, so even if
you prefer to cook every night instead of in advance, you’ll still have time leftover to
enjoy with the family:

Turkey Burger Vegetable Soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 8 (11⁄2 cups per serving)
3 cups water
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 carrots, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 14 1⁄2-ounce can diced tomatoes
5 red or purple potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes
2 cups shredded green cabbage
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried parsley ;akes
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Step 1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add 1 cup of the water. Add the
peppers, carrots and fennel and cook for about 5 minutes, until al dente.
Step 2. Add the ground turkey to the vegetables and cook for about 8 minutes, until
the turkey is no longer pink.
Step 3. Add the remaining 2 cups of water, the tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, tomato
paste, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano and cayenne. Stir to combine, then bring to a
Step 4. Reduce the heat to low, then cover the pot and simmer the soup for 15 to 20
minutes, until the potatoes are tender but not mushy.

Lauren’s Lentil Soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8 (11⁄2 cups per serving)
2 cups dried lentils
9 cups water
1 onion, diced
1⁄2 fennel bulb, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 141⁄2-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 cups chopped fresh spinach or 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Step 1. Rinse the lentils under running water and pick through them to remove any
bits of soil or rocks.
Step 2. In an 8-quart stockpot over medium-high heat, add 1 cup of the water.
Add the onion, fennel, carrots and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until the
vegetables are tender.
Step 3. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, oregano and garam masala and cook for 2
Step 4. Stir in remaining 8 cups of water, the lentils and tomatoes and bring to a
boil. Reduce heat to medium and add the vinegar. Simmer for about 35 minutes, or
until the lentils are tender. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Step 5. Add the spinach and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 6. Add a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to tast

Kathie SwiftComment