Simple solutions for quick and easy family dinners

Published 11:25 am Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Today, less than half of American families eat dinner together every day according to a 2011-12 National Survey of Children’s Health. One secret to dinner on busy weeknights is keeping the ingredients for your favorite meals within easy reach.

These solutions cut out dinner prep time to help families get meals on the table fast, any night of the week:

• Keep your freezer organized for quick meal planning. Buy extra frozen or fresh poultry, beef and pork when they go on sale. If fresh, freeze them in family dinner portions. Then, stock up on pre-cut vegetables, like Birds Eye’s new Recipe Ready line of pre-cut, sliced and diced vegetable varieties that help complete a meal.

• Spend less time searching for recipes. Pick one day a week to sketch out a menu filled with fast and easy home-cooked family favorites. It’s easier to save time during the week if you already have a plan. With more than 20 varieties, Recipe Ready vegetables have recipes right on the package for everyone’s favorites, such as stir-fries, fajitas, tacos, chicken and pasta, hamburgers and more.

• Take advantage of cooking short cuts. Using pre-cut, high quality vegetable varieties not only saves money on wasted produce, but also on shopping and prep time without sacrificing the quality and taste of the meal. Plus, since the ingredients are already chopped, the only thing you have to open is the bag. Goodbye cutting board, hello Recipe Ready!

• Enlist helpers. Having the kids help with some of the cooking makes the process more fun, plus kids are more likely to eat what they create. Have kids mix ingredients, top dishes with garnishes and help put dinner on the table.

“At Birds Eye, we’re dedicated to creating simple solutions for dinnertime,” said Birds Eye Chef Michael Christiansen. “One of my favorite dishes to make during the colder months is Easiest Ever Chili using Recipe Ready Chopped Green Peppers & Onions — it’s hearty, delicious and perfect for chilly weather.

Recipe Ready vegetables provide a nutritious and time-saving solution for busy families. Fill your freezer with all the varieties to ensure delightful meals every night of the week.

Find more recipes and ideas at

Easiest Ever Chili

Prep: 5 min. Cooking: 25 min.

Servings: 4

1 pound lean ground beef

1 bag (8 ounces) Birds Eye® Recipe Ready Chopped Green Peppers & Onions

1 can (15.5 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)

Brown ground beef with Recipe Ready Chopped Green Peppers & Onions in medium saucepot.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered, 20 minutes.

Serve, if desired, with reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese and light sour cream.

(Family Features)