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If you don’t like to be stuck in the kitchen during the summer months but still want your family to eat healthy and delicious meals, here’s your answer. If you use your creativity and plan ahead, you can cut the time and the work that you spend preparing meals for your family. Think of one main ingredient that you can pre-cook and use in different dishes throughout the week. You can actually cook one or two days per week and the rest can be easy recipes that you create using this main ingredient. Try the following ideas and recipes, and you’ll see how easy it can be.

Roast two whole chickens, which you will use throughout the week as your main ingredient.

Easy Healthy Chicken Stir Fry

You can use fresh vegetables but if you want to save yourself the trouble of washing, chopping, and dicing, you can get a bag of frozen veggies. Remember you can always substitute with your favorite vegetables.

1 cup green snap beans, whole or cut in halves
1 cup water chestnuts sliced
1 cup carrots cut in thin strips
1 cup mushrooms sliced
1 1/2 cup precooked chicken, cut into small pieces or shredded

In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Place vegetables in skillet and stir frequently for approximately ten minutes; the veggies should be tender but firm and crisp. After the first five minutes of cooking, add soy sauce, honey sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or your favorite cooking sauce. Add chicken and continue cooking for another five minutes. If you add the sauce during the first five minutes of cooking, your vegetables may not turn out crisp and tender.

To complement this stir fry you can purchase a package of pre-cooked rice bags, which only takes approximately five minutes to cook, or Chinese noodles, which are very good and fast to cook. This is a delicious dinner for four, which only takes twenty minutes to prepare.

Fresh Homemade Tacos

1 pack of soft taco shells
2 yomatoes, diced
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup lettuce, shredded
1 1/2 cups chicken, shredded
any type of mild salsa

You don't even have to warm up the chicken ahead of time. Put all the ingredients in the taco shells, wrap, and place in the broiler at 300 degrees for 5 minutes. If you don’t have a broiler, you can use the microwave, but wrap each taco individually in a wet paper towel so that the shells won’t dry out; microwave approximately one minute per taco. It can’t get any easier than this. Both children and adults love to eat tacos, but these are healthy, homemade tacos without all the unnecessary ingredients and oils.

Another great main ingredient is ground turkey. You can pre-cook this and use it throughout the week in easy recipes. Think of all the things that you can make with ground turkey. Add Sloppy Joe seasoning for sandwiches. Add sauteed onions, peppers, and Italian seasoning; put in two halves of Italian bread or hero; and add a slice of your favorite cheese. Warm in broiler or microwave until cheese is melted and turkey is warm, easy, simple, and very satisfying. These ideas can cut your cooking time in half and allow you to stay cool and enjoy the summer.