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Here are six easy and healthy recipes for dinner – for those days when you’ve had a long day at work or don’t feel like cooking an elaborate meal.
“There is no love sincerer than the love of food,” George Bernard Shaw
What is the one thing that everybody needs after returning home from work or school? Coming home at the end of the day, we all feel the need to unwind, relax and eat sumptuous food to fill our bellies and satisfy our cravings.
Preparing elaborate dinners at this time of the day becomes tedious, especially for women, who end up doing the majority of chopping, cooking, feeding, and cleaning.
Healthy and easy dinner recipes can be whipped up in less than half an hour with a little bit of planning and imagination. And dinners can become a family activity where everyone pitches in and sits down to enjoy the food they’ve cooked.
Here are six easy recipes for dinner that can be made with less hassle, more variety and are packed with loads of nutrition.
Barley belongs to the millet food group which is a locally available nutritional grain in India. Barley idli is a modified version of the traditional idli where we also soak barley along with urad dal, rice, and fenugreek seeds.
It is a healthy addition to one’s diet as it is low in carbohydrate and high in fibre content. It has a low glycemic index which means that it does not spike our blood sugar levels and regulates the body’s glucose and cholesterol levels. It is easily digested, making it a good choice for young children as well.
Barley idli can be made with other vitamins and mineral-laden vegetables mixed into the batter. I especially liked Tarla Dalal’s recipe for barley idli where she shows how easy it is to prepare this dish with zero oil. And how it can be enjoyed with a side of piping hot sambhar.
Scrambled eggs sautéed with rice make for a tasty and appetising meal. It can be prepared with leftover rice as well. This dish with a side of tomato soup and cucumber salad is nutritious and just easy to cook. It is low in calorie and fat content but high in fibre and flavour. The tomato soup is quick to cook, delicious to the palate, and great comfort food for the whole family.
There are quite a few versions of making this Indo Chinese dish but Padhu’s kitchen has a very simple, no frills recipe for egg fried rice and tomato soup. The recipe keeps the nutritional content of the dish intact and can serve as an easy but satisfying weeknight dinner.
Khichdi is a quintessential Indian dish, wholesome, flavourful, simple and quick to fix. You can cook khichdi with the yellow moong dal, green whole moong, toor dal or even chana dal, depending upon your preference.
Loaded with vegetables and lentils, it is rich in protein and a great meal for kids. A hot plate of khichdi can be enjoyed with yogurt, mashed potatoes or eggplants bhajji.
In his version of this homely yet elegant dish, chef Harpal Singh shows a simple one pot way of preparing khichadi by adding ghee, spices, and vegetables along with soaked rice and dal in a pressure cooker. Just sauté, mix, let the pressure cooker give a couple of whistles and dinner is ready!
For non-vegetarian food lovers, like my family, having chicken once a week is a must or it seems like something is missing. So, most Friday night dinners at our home is a delicious chicken penne pasta dish. It’s an Italian dish with spicy tomato sauce, chicken strips, herbs, penne pasta and lots of cheese.
I put my own variation by adding lots of bell peppers, broccoli, and chopped carrots and going a little easy on the cheese bit. You can customise it according to your taste, leave the chicken out altogether and just make it with lots of vegetables. Either way, it is simple to cook, very delicious and nutritious meal.
You can refer to a simple and easy to cook version of this dish here where the food blogger just makes a basic chicken masala gravy and tosses in boiled pasta along with some vegetables. With both vegetables and chicken in a flavourful tomato sauce, it’s a win-win for everybody!
Oats are one of the most nutrient rich foods you can eat. It has important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help improve blood sugar levels and lower bad cholesterol.
It is very filling and, along with delicious spinach and paneer stuffing, can serve as a wholesome weeknight dinner. If time is short, I have even enjoyed plain oats cheela with just grated paneer sprinkled on it along with a side of coriander chutney. It tastes superb.
I particularly liked a very simple and easy to make version of this wholesome recipe on Archana’s Kitchen.
Vegan, pressure cooked and protein-rich, chickpeas can be eaten in a number of delicious mouth-watering ways. This dish can be cooked in an instant pot or a pressure cooker and makes for a delicious hassle-free one-pot meal for busy weekday nights. It can be consumed with brown rice or with potato cutlets as an all-time favourite chaat. While making potato cutlets, instead of frying them, you can shallow fry them on a nonstick pan. It tastes equally great and cooks well.
There is a mouthwatering version of this dish called the Punjabi chole recipe. Manjula’s Kitchen also shows a very simple and appetising way of making potato cutlets which is not only delicious but easy to cook as well.
When we cook, we create something. It involves clutter, mess, and takes time. But family dinners are an important part of a daily schedule. Everyone is back home after a tiring day out and we share our stories and bond together over meals.
Throw in salads, soups and lots of vegetables in the mix to make healthy and easy dinners which are also light and nutritious. We should try to finish dinner time at least two to three hours before we go to bed as it is good for our body and also reduces everyone’s workload at the end of the day.
All image credits: Pexels
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I have worked in the financial sector as a banking executive and in the field
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