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10 Organic Quick Meal Ideas
If you have already been homeschooling you probably know how quickly mealtime sneaks up on you on school days. Many times I find myself looking at the clock and surprise surprise, it’s past 12 o’clock! 🕧😭 At that point panic sets in, thinking what in the world can I possibly get ready before we all reach starvation status?!😱
My favorite meals are the ones my mother or mother-in-law cook and bring over.😇 I find them the easiest and fastest to prepare and eat, don’t you?😉 All jokes aside, after 4 years of homeschooling I had to come to the realization quick, easy but still healthy will have to be the key until my kids are old enough to do their work independently, which it means once they move out for college. 😜
You will notice that broccoli is our to go vegetable on some of these recipes but don’t be fooled, we have another trick for a quick and fresh daily veggie intake. We are proud owners of a Vitamix Blender which has been an absolute God sent for us. It will blend anything frozen into the consistency of an $8.00 Wholefoods smoothie cup with the difference, instead of paying only to get 1 cup, we spend that same amount to buy our Kale and Spinach for the week!🙌 I’ve included in my list a kid’s friendly smoothies recipe but keep in mind if you don’t have a Vitamix Blender the veggies don’t blend well. I’ve tried many times to use my Ninja and other blenders years ago without success. Now let’s get cooking, shall we?
1. Naan or English muffin pizzas.
These cute little pizzas are not only delicious but also easy! My favorite between the 2 is the English muffins pizzas. Both use the same ingredients but the Naan ones are even faster to prepare. Between prep time and cooking, it will take less than 30 min. We keep ours very simple because of my 3 picky eaters but feel free to add any toppings of your liking. We find most of our ingredients at Wholefoods.
Whole Wheat Naan;
Organic Simple Crushed Tomatoes;
McCormick Italian Seasoning grinder;
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt, Oregano;
Organic shredded mozzarella.
Heat oven at 350F. Place Naans on cookie sheets (dark are best), drizzle olive oil on them and then grind the Italian seasoning. (go light with the oil or they will become soggy). Place a couple of spoonfuls of crushed tomatoes on each Naan spreading it with the back of the spoon then lightly salt and grind just a tad more of the Italian seasoning. Sprinkle some oregano. Lastly spread the Shredded mozzarella on top (too much mozzarella = soggy). Place on the bottom oven rack. Bake between 12-15 min depending on how golden you like your cheese and then, Buon Appetito!🍕😍
2. Pasta or Ravioli with Homemade Sauce. (YES, this can be QUICK!)
Somewhere, someone made everyone in the United States believe making good homemade tomato sauce should take countless hours of cooking over a low temp stove. Sure there are some sauces out there that require a long cooking time (Ragu’ sauce For example), but I’m certainly not telling you to make a ragu’ sauce in the middle of your homeschool day👩🍳 As an almost fresh off the boat Italian, I can tell you that a quick, simple tasty sauce can be made in about less than 30 minutes. Yes, this is absolutely true, give it a whirl!
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil;
1/4 of a fresh yellow onion or a few cloves of garlic;
McCormick Italian Grinding Seasoning;
2 bottles of simply crushed tomatoes or a can and a half (too much sauce will take longer to cook);
Fresh Basil leaves and Parmesan cheese.
Cover the bottom of a pan (not pot) with just enough oil to saute’ some finely chopped Onion OR garlic pressed with the back of your fork just enough to crack each clove. Continue sauteing on Medium heat until golden (do not burn it) and grind some McCormick Italian seasoning on it. Add the crushed tomatoes and salt to taste (don’t salt too much and don’t salt too little. Taste, taste, taste!)
Bring the tomato sauce to a nice happy boil (I usually have mine cook on Med at around the 6-7 setting. Stir to check the bottom isn’t sticking, if it is lower a notch but not too much to lose its “happy boil”😊). *TIP: Always move the saucepan away from the hot stove before taking the lid off to stir! Hot sauce will splatter all over if taking the lid off while boiling and burn your skin. While the sauce is doing its “happy boil”, cook your favorite Whole Wheat Pasta or Ravioli. When the pasta is ready turn off the stove for the sauce (remember to move it away from the hot stove before taking the lid off), add the fresh basil leaves and tossed together with your favorite pasta topping with a good sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Congratulations, you now have a Healthy Homecooked meal in about 30 minutes. Now “That’s Amore”!💘😍
3. Made from Scratch Mac & Cheese. (Hello Instant Pot)
Growing up I always loved boxed Mac & Cheese. I remember asking my sister to put some in the yearly Christmas box she would mail us in Italy. Oh, how that taste reminded me of being a kid living in the U.S. Nowadays our foods are more processed than ever. Potential harmful chemicals (phthalates) were found even in Organic brands of boxed Mac & Cheese and about a year ago I completely took it off as an option for a meal, no matter in how much of a desperate time pinch I was. Wholefoods does sell trays of ready to bake Mac & Cheese, however, it takes 30-45 minutes to bake when I can prepare my own using mostly Organic ingredients and in less time than that! I tried different Instant pot recipes to make an easy and creamy Mac & Cheese. After several failed attempts, I was able to reach the consistency and taste of our liking. Thank God for the Instant Pot (see here for Amazon price). I buy blocks of cheese and shred it myself but you can find organic shredded Cheddar at Wholefood or your local supermarket (not sure about finding shredded fontina cheese). Follow my recipe or use it as a baseline to tweak it to your liking.
16 oz Organic whole wheat elbow pasta with 4 cups of water.
3 TBSP butter
2 tsp salt
1 cup Organic Heavy Cream (could substitute with milk)
a minimum of 2 1/2 cups of shredded extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese.
1 cup of shredded Fontina cheese (optional)
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Place pasta with water, salt butter in the pot. Set timer on 4min on high pressure. When done, shut off and release steam. Take the cover off. (If you don’t do this your pasta will overcook and become ginormous).Turn on the Medium saute’ option and immediately add the heavy cream a bit at a time continually stirring. Once all Heavy cream has been added start adding one handful of cheese at a time continually stirring until melted and then add the ground mustard and smoked paprika. Shut the pot off, serve and enjoy in less than 30minutes!
4. Quick Oven Frittata.
How quick, easy and nutritional eggs are! We love our eggs. Whenever we can we buy them fresh from our neighbor (what a difference in taste from store bought), but during South Florida’s hot summer those hens don’t like to cooperate and we have to get our Organic Eggs at Wholefoods. This Frittata is an easy quick recipe to make but keep in mind it requires about 40min to cook, with prep time that would be one hour from beginning to end. Warning: it’s Delicious!🤤
12 large Organic Eggs
1 cup Organic Milk
3 cups frozen Organic wedge-cut potato oven fries*
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese**
4-6 slices Organic bacon cut into small pieces
2 TBSP Organic Olive Oil
4 green onions, finely sliced
1 1-2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/2 tsp fresh ground peppercorn medley
McCormick Italian Seasoning grinder
Step1: On medium heat, cook bacon on a large skillet until crispy, when ready roughly chop into pieces of about 1/2 inc.
Step2: On medium heat using an ovenproof skillet, warm up olive oil and saute’ the sliced green onion until golden color, do not burn and then set aside.
Step3: In a large bowl beat the eggs with the milk and then mix in the Parmesan cheese, frozen potatoes, salt, paprika, pepper, and a nice generous grind of the Italian Peppercorn medley. Pour this mixture in your ovenproof large skillet and sprinkle the pieces of bacon on top.
Cooking instructions: Bake for 40 minutes @ 350F or until all eggs are set and firm with a nice golden color on top. (Sometimes I need an additional 5min). Let sit for 5 minutes and then cut into slices. Buon Appetito!
*I prefer to use diced frozen potatoes but I haven’t been able to find them Organic. If you can find diced organic potatoes go for it!
**Parmesan can be substituted with any shredded cheese of your liking.
5. Pasta and Broccoli.
Broccoli, broccoli.🥦Some love ’em and some hate ’em but they are oh so good for you and so easy to cook too! We use a steam basket to steam our broccoli no more than 10 minutes. A good indicator is when they start losing their bright green appearance, this way we save as many nutrients as possible but not feel like we are chewing on a still live tree.😁 Our kids eat broccoli quite often as a side dish their Organic Chicken fingers or Fish, but Pasta and broccoli is a winner in this household.
16 oz Organic Whole Wheat pasta;
1 to 1-1/2 lbs of frozen Organic Broccoli Florets.
3 TBSP Butter;
salt, freshly ground peppercorn medley, and Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil as desired.
Top with Parmesan Cheese.
In a Large pot with lid pour 1 – 1-1/2 inch of water on the bottom. Inside place steam basket and fill with frozen Organic Broccoli Florets up to the top and place over lid making sure it’s nice and tight. Turn stove on Medium-High (around 8 for us) and let the broccoli steam without disturbing the lid or steam will escape and make the process longer. It takes around 10min for the broccoli to become tender but not mushy and a good indicator is when they start losing their bright green color. If you prefer a softer consistency you can adjust your timing. Once the broccoli are steamed sprinkle some salt on them and put aside. Now in another large pot, cook your favorite Whole Wheat Pasta and once cooked, drain and mix in the broccoli adding more salt if needed, butter (about 3 TBSP) and a generous amount of Extra Virgine Olive oil. Before serving grind some fresh pepper and top with grated Parmesan Cheese. Lunch is Served! Once again lunch takes about 30min beginning to end.
6. Parboiled Rice and Beans.
Yup, rice beans can be fast as long as you buy canned beans. Well, I don’t buy canned because even if the cans lining now claim to be BPA free, something tells me it’s only a matter of time until they come out and say that’s toxic too, so I just buy them boxed and call it a day. In order for this to be a quick and easy meal your peppers, culantro, and cilantro should be already chopped in the freezer ready to hit the pan whenever needed. Wholefoods sells a mix of frozen already chopped bell peppers for less than $3.00 and it lasts for a while. Culantro and cilantro I find them in clear plastic boxes at Target, Walmart or Publix.
5 boxes of Organic black beans;
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil;
3-4 minced cloves of garlic;
1/3 cup green/red/yellow frozen already chopped bell peppers;
1 leaf of culantro, a few of cilantro finely chopped;
8oz jar of tomato paste or Spanish style sauce;
1 pkg Sazon (I don’t use sazon but make my own organic version and use a TBSP of it) and a sprinkle of Adobo.
2 cups of Parboiled rice cooked with 4 cups of water and 2 tsp of salt.
In a large Pan saute’ your minced garlic, when it reaches a golden color add your peppers, culantro, and cilantro and let saute’ at med-low temp. Add Sazon and let cook for a couple of more minutes. Add the tomato paste or sauce and let cook for 5 min or a few more. Now that your base is nice and sauteed, add the beans and sprinkle over some Adobo powder. Stir everything together and let cook uncovered on med heat stirring often to avoid the bottom sticking to the pan. While the beans cook place the water, rice, and salt in a pot and bring to a boil on high. As soon as rice boils lower to low heat and put a timer for 20 min. When the timer is done turn both stoves off and your lunch is ready!!! Buon Appetito! 🍽
7. Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich. (aka Caprese sandwich here in the U.S.)
This is my eldest son’s favorite thing to eat and interesting enough it used to be mine while I was pregnant with him. The most labor intensive thing about getting this meal ready is slicing your tomatoes and seasoning them, no cooking required. I am not a fan of greenhouse-grown tomatoes, I find them lacking in taste. Now let’s sharpen those knives and get started.
Fresh Firm Organic Tomatoes (Roma or Slicing as long as they are firm, not mushy overly riped 🤢);
Salt, fresh ground peppercorn medley, freshly ground McCormick’s Italian seasoning, Oregano;
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil;
Fresh basil leaves;
Fresh Mozzarella (whether is a mozzarella ball or log as long as it’s fresh);
Fresh whole wheat baguette.
Open the baguette in half and drizzle some Olive oil, salt, and grind some Italian seasoning on it. Slice the tomatoes thin but not paper thin and place on the baguette. Season tomatoes with more salt, Freshly ground pepper and Italian seasoning and do not forget Oregano! Drizzle Olive Oil over it and place some fresh Basil leaves (don’t cut them with a knife, break the leaves with your hands🖐). Place the Fresh mozzarella slices on top and then another layer of seasoned tomatoes. Close the baguette and cut into the desired “panino” pieces and now, yup it’s coming…Buon Appetito!😊
8. Loaded Nachos!
I only discovered this past summer I can make nachos and better than the soggy restaurant ones and my family couldn’t be any more delighted. Comes to find out that on a day with not a lot of time left to cook they are a great fast, easy, delicious meal and not unhealthy.
Organic thin and crispy Tortilla chips;
Organic shredded cheese (we use a mix of Mild cheddar & Monterey jack);
Organic Black beans (drained);
Jalapeno peppers sliced (optional);
Line a dark cookie sheet with the tortilla chips and cover with shredded cheese. spread beans across without overloading any spot. Add as many jalapeno peppers as desired. Pre-heat oven at 350F and cook nachos for 10-15 minutes.
***If ground beef is desired as a topping it only takes 20-30 min to cook. Saute’ ground beef with a few pressed garlic cloves, add seasoning of your liking (I use the Organic sazon mix I made). Add some drops of taco sauce while everything is sauteing and then for every lb of ground beef use no more than 8oz of Spanish sauce. Let everything simmer for 20 minutes on medium heat covered with a lid. There are many Spanish condiments out there you could add however I try to stay away from soy and food colorants as much as I can, and many have those in it so I forgo using any and everything is still very tasty.
Fresh salsa, Guacamole, Sour cream, Ground beef.
I do not place the toppings on the Nachos to avoid making them soggy. We all add our own toppings as we eat. Enjoy and Buen Apetito.
9. Pasta and Pesto.
I am Blessed to have a Mom that makes the yummiest Pesto I’ve ever had. For those who don’t know what pesto is, it’s made of Basil leaves with Oil, Butter, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. You can probably find many variations but I like it nice and simple. It doesn’t require any cooking time, it’s all done in a blender and then kept in the fridge ready to be tossed in the pasta once cooked. Although my mom can’t ship jars of pesto all over the world,🌎 many stores do sell pesto now and you can find it in their fridge section usually next to the Alfredo sauce containers. Some pestos are better than others but none will ever be as good as my moms, sorry.😜 Truly, pesto is a great nutritional sauce made of a dark leafy green rich in Iron and with a base of a healthy fat of the Olive Oil together with the pine nuts. If you haven’t tried it yet I would grab a jar and one day when school runs straight into lunch time, just cook your pasta and toss it in, it’s as simple as that. But please don’t forget to top it with plenty of parmesan cheese!
10. Green Smoothie. (it’s a Vitamix thing😉) 🍍🍃
My kids’ pediatrician mentioned how broccoli, kale and spinach are very important veggies kids should eat. I honestly don’t know how anyone without a Vitamix (you can find it on Amazon here) is able to feed kale and spinach to their kids. I feel whether you homeschool or not that’s a very hard task and if you do, then my hat’s off to you!
I found that when I make a meal that’s already a miracle itself and I really don’t have time left to make a side of pretty much anything, that’s when the Vitamix comes in super handy. If our meal lacks greens then I whip up a green yummy smoothie and just like that the guilt and pressure are off from not having time to cook any vegetables. Thanks to our Vitamix blender we are able to eat veggies I wouldn’t even attempt on cooking, one of them being raw beets and ginger. Now we get to have beets, raw and they taste delicious too, does that make any type of sense? 😵 Here is a basic recipe you can try and from there you can add, switch or change it all, your call!
1-1/2 cup of coconut water;
1/4 fresh peeled lemon (no pits);
1 handful of fresh cleaned baby spinach;
1 handful of fresh clean cut kale leaves;
1-inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled);
1lb Frozen pineapple.
Cover Vitamix jar and turn Variable 1 bringing the speed up to the max in a few seconds. let blend until smooth (maybe a minute or less) and your work is done. Happy Healthy Living!
Now back to homeschooling everyone!! 🤓
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Hope you enjoy all or one of these meals,