healthy summer dinners: enchiladas, zucchini galettes, sweet potato hash, pasta primaveraAs we transition into Autumn, I’m focusing on a mix of Healthy Family Dinner ideas, some of which include and others that exclude meat. I try to balance out our weekly dinners with a few meat-free meals.  Not all our vegetarian meals are light, but taking a break from meat in lieu of plant-based proteins definitely has us feeling like we’re eating a little healthier.

One dish I’m excited to share with you is a Sweet Potato & Corn Hash with Fresh Tomatoes and Bell Peppers. I am often surprised at the versatility of sweet potatoes and this dish was one of those that emerged, not from an existing recipe, but simply from what we had on hand at the end of the week.  And boy was this one a keeper! We enjoyed this as a side, but I would have been completely happy eating a giant bowl of it as my main course.  Honestly, as good as sweet potatoes are with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, my family enjoys them much more as a savory dish.  If you’re ready for a different take on sweet potatoes, give this savory sweet potato recipe a try.

Healthy Family Dinner Ideas for Fall:

  1. Creamy Chicken Enchiladas Verdes, Spanish Rice, Tomato/Avocado Salad
  2. Lemony Zucchini & Ricotta Galettes with an Arugula & Cherry Tomato Salad
  3. Grilled Chicken & Avocados (see idea below), Savory Sweet Potato & Corn Hash with Fresh Tomatoes & Bell Peppers.
  4. Pasta Primavera (I add broccoli and green beans to this!), Spring Salad, Garlic Bread

southwest chicken rubAlong with the sweet potato and corn hash, we enjoyed grilled chicken seasoned with a wet rub and avocado. For a super quick weeknight dinner, you can’t get more basic than grilled, seasoned chicken. I’m not going to publish this as a recipe, perse because it’s just too simple. It’s just 3 things: Chicken, Olive Oil, and Spice Rub.

To keep cooking time and portion size down, try trimming your chicken breasts down into smaller pieces.  I cut off the tenderloin first, and with the remaining meat, cut portions similar to the tenderloin.

Combine equal amounts of your favorite dry rub and olive oil in a gallon sized ziploc bag (example 2 tbsp. of rub with 2 tbsp. of oil).  I really like Char Crust’s Smoky, Spicy, Southwest Rub. Add the chicken to the bag, seal, and shake or turn the bag until the chicken is thoroughly coated with your spice mixture.  Cook on a pre-heated grill (medium high heat) for 4-5 minutes per side, for a total of approx. 10 minutes.

Char Crust has a variety of flavored rubs, so if you want to mix it up and avoid having the same grilled chicken week after week, it can be as easy as trying different flavors and pairing the chicken with different side dishes. They have a ginger teryaki rub that would probably be great on top of a ramen noodle dish or vegetable fried rice.

grilled avocadosCheck out this super healthy grilled avocado recipe   We grill ours in the half shell, remove from the skin, smash with a little lime juice and cilantro and place grilled chicken directly on top.

That’s it for this menu! Stay tuned for our next summer menu edition that will include a review of the popular dinner service, Blue Apron!

Photo Credits: Zucchini Galettes (Epicurious), Pasta Primavera (Food Network), Grilled Avocados (California Avocado). See links in recipes above.