Quick dishes for crazy nights

Nine meals, table-ready in a New York minute.

Quick dishes for crazy nights
Behold the egg, avocado, tomato and turkey bacon sandwich—fast, easy, healthy and delicious. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

We’ve all had those nights: You’re home late from work. Picking up the kids from various activities has thrown your schedule way back.

Or maybe you’re just all cooped up and you’re looking for a simple, creative meal that everyone will love.

Your stomach is growling. The kids are hangry.

The temptation is strong to swing by a fast food drive-through for a quick fix.

But deep inside, you know that’s not the best nutritional solution—and you’ll regret your decision as soon as the soda gurgles at the bottom of that paper cup.

While I generally encourage home-cooked meals, I understand the reality that our busy lives sometimes make this ideal difficult to achieve.

Here are some handy recipes you can throw together in a pinch to get a healthful meal on the table in no time.

My nine favorites:

1. Black bean quesadillas

Simply add a can of no-salt-added black beans to a whole grain tortilla with shredded cheese and a handful of baby spinach, then cook on a heated pan until the cheese is melted.

If your kids are food detectives, mash up white beans and spread in a thin layer on the tortilla before adding toppings. That adds some hidden nutrition.

2. Chicken or tofu stir-fry

As time does not allow for much produce prep on these evenings, I opt for frozen stir-fry vegetables and a quick homemade teriyaki sauce of honey and tamari or soy sauce.

Serve alongside brown rice—keep some ready to go in the freezer, refrigerator, or opt for a bag of microwavable rice. If you’re lucky, you may even have leftover chicken on hand that you can slice up. If not, quickly squeeze the moisture from firm tofu, dice and stir-fry away!

3. Tortellini pasta

I try to keep a well-stocked kitchen, complete with pantry staples for Plan B nights. A few of the staples? Whole grain tortellini, spinach and marinara sauce.

When you get home, begin simmering the marinara in a medium saucepan on the stove. In a separate skillet over medium, toss your fresh spinach or slowly heat your frozen spinach. Add the cooked tortellini to the spinach—or keep separated for little ones still learning to enjoy these flavors together—and top with the marinara. If you have any leftover chicken, turkey or beef, you could certainly serve this in or alongside this dish.

4. Corny salmon cakes

These are amazing and perfect finger foods for little ones. You can find the recipe here from the Meal Makeover Moms.

5. Black bean burgers

I often make my own and freeze an extra six or so, however you can also stock up on your favorite veggie burger as a quick and easy backup. My favorite recipe can be found here from the Six O’Clock Scramble.

6. Egg sandwiches

All you need is whole grain bread, eggs, cheese and, if you prefer, fresh spinach leaves and sliced tomatoes. If you want to take things up a notch, add sliced avocado.

Serve sunny-side up alongside a dish of fresh fruit for a complete—and completely simple—supper.

7. Pizza-dia

Think pizza on a tortilla. In all honesty, we have even made these using whole grain bread or portabella mushrooms. All you need is mozzarella, tomato sauce and the toppings of your choice.

8. Super sloppy joes

Another winner is this healthy sloppy Joe recipe made from ground meat (consider lean turkey), whole grain buns and the veggies of your choice. Done and done.

9. Taco or wrap night

This meal can be served in a variety of ways. Whether you choose to go with traditional beef or bean tacos in a hard corn tortilla, or you choose to mix things up, the goal is to have a self-serve meal to save a bit of effort on your end.

My family loves these fish tacos from Real Mom Nutrition.

Source : Health Beat More   

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‘There are no safe fireworks’

Burn center experts worry the cancellation of professional fireworks events may lead to an increase in backyard bonfire and explosion injuries.

‘There are no safe fireworks’
Consider a firework-free Fourth of July weekend, with other patriotic festivities and fun. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Fireworks are flying off store shelves and plans are percolating for backyard bonfires.

Health officials, meanwhile, are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best as the July 4 weekend quickly approaches.

With COVID-19 concerns canceling most municipal fireworks events and many people gearing up for their own backyard shows, experts worry there could be a spike in burn and explosion injuries.

In 2019, 21% of burn center patients requiring admission to the Spectrum Health Regional Burn Center had summertime related injuries.

That includes firework injuries, bonfire injuries, brush fire burns and injuries from gasoline fires, often when lighting bonfires.

So far in 2020, that percentage stands at 18%.

“These types of burns are common every summer and I’m worried we’ll see more this year,” said Amy Spencer, MD, medical director of the burn center. “This year is different. We usually tell people to attend professional shows instead of using their own fireworks. But COVID-19 precautions have canceled most of them.”

Dr. Spencer has been watching the retail sales reports, and it’s looking like there will be quite a few fireworks parties this year.

“Fireworks are dangerous, and I’m worried there will be lots of inexperienced and careless users out there around the Fourth of July,” she said. “Not many people know that a sparkler burns at 1200 degrees. That’s five times hotter than boiling water and can melt glass. People need to know that there are no safe fireworks.”

Many fireworks parties are accompanied by bonfires and, with state park campgrounds reopening, there will be a lot of people enjoying campfires. Both can be dangerous.

“Campfires can be enjoyable, but you have to be cautious and vigilant, especially with children around,” Dr. Spencer said. “You must use caution when lighting them and be aware that the fire pit can contain very hot coals hidden by ash the next morning.”

First and foremost, she and her colleagues at the burn center ask that people consider a fun Fourth without fireworks.

Some alternatives could be:

  • Using glow sticks as they glow in the dark and are a safe alternative to a sparkler. Confetti poppers or colored streamers are also fun.
  • Making some noise. Noisemakers are sure to make a statement. They may be found at local party supply stores or you could make your own.
  • Enjoying an outdoor movie night. Set up a screen and projector. Just don’t forget the bug spray.
  • Spraying some red, white and blue silly string.
  • Making a patriotic craft with the whole family.

If you still plan to light off some pyrotechnics, here are some pointers:

  • Do observe your local and state laws.
  • Do have a designated, sober adult light all legal fireworks.
  • Do light one firework at a time and move away quickly.
  • Do keep children and other observers at a safe distance behind a protective barrier.
  • Do store fireworks out of children’s reach.
  • Do keep a bucket of water close for disposal of fireworks.
  • Don’t allow children to use fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Don’t attempt to alter, modify or re-light fireworks.
  • Don’t point or throw lit fireworks at anyone.
  • Don’t allow children to pick up the spent fireworks as some may still be active.
  • Don’t hold lit fireworks in your hand.
  • Don’t consume alcohol or drugs when lighting fireworks.
  • Don’t forget you can be held legally and financially liable for injuries caused by using fireworks.

If someone does experience a burn during holiday festivities, here is some basic first aid to know:

  1. Cool the burn with cool (not cold) water to stop the burning process.
  2. Remove all clothing and jewelry from the injured area.
  3. Cover the area with a dry clean sheet or loose bandages.
  4. Seek medical attention.
Source : Health Beat More   

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