Quick Recipes for New Moms

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by Shauna Sharps

What's for dinner?

Whether you're a brand new mom, or busy chasing a crew of toddlers, research shows that family mealtimes can be your best opportunity to develop strong parent-child relationships and family connectedness. Even if you're a young couple bringing home your first little bundle of joy, nothing is more important or satisfying than sitting down together and connecting, after a busy day, over a delicious, healthy meal. They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I say it's more the attention paid to him while it gets there!

There's one thing that's consistent in our lives today - everyone's on the run! Too much to do, and too little time. How do you find the time and energy, without turning to fast food or "noodles in a box" meals? I'm very fortunate, as a Pampered Chef® Consultant, to be able to share easy recipes, tips and tools to turn your family mealtimes from a "dinner- time dilemma" to a rewarding, therapeutic part of your day.

Our "under 30 minute" meals use nine ingredients or less. They're the answer to your busy dinner time needs. Our "Creamy One-Pot Pasta" combines slivered garlic, fresh vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes for a light pasta dish your family will request often. For a small family it becomes a "two-meal wonder", or it's the perfect quick dish to serve to friends and family. Invite the in-laws over - they'll be so impressed! You'll find more delicious, easy recipes in The Pampered Chef's "29 Minutes to Dinner" Cookbook®.

Power Cooking

Our easy, delicious "Power Cooking" recipes allow you the flexibility of preparing a freezer full of meals in about 3 hours, (invite grandma over to spend time with the little one!), or to cook up the basics for 3 meals while dinner's cooking. A great way to plan ahead while waiting for that special delivery! Mexican Chicken is just one of our fabulous "Power Cooking" recipes.

Next time you're wondering "What's for dinner," remember that the most important value comes from more than the food. When I was a teen, I was spending a week with family friends while my parents were out of town. At breakfast and dinner they would hold hands and offer "a moment of gratitude". When I said how much I enjoyed the addition of joining hands, the mother replied, "It grounds us, as a family, and helps us slow down and realize why we're here together". I hope your family meal times do the same for you.

Creamy One-Pot Pasta

(from The Pampered Chef® Season's Best SS'08)

4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 jar (7 oz) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, undrained
3 cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth (5 1/4 cups)
1 lb uncooked penne pasta (we love whole wheat)
1 head broccoli (2 cups small florets)
2 medium carrots, peeled
4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Grated fresh Parmesan cheese and snipped fresh basil (optional)
For a heartier version of this recipe, add grilled turkey Italian sausage or sliced grilled chicken breasts to pasta.

Creamy One-Pot Pasta

Thinly slice garlic using Color Coated Paring Knife. Place garlic and 1 tbsp oil from sun-dried tomatoes into (8-qt.) Stockpot. Cook garlic over medium heat 2-3 minutes or until garlic is golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; add broth. Return to burner; increase heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir in pasta; cover and simmer vigorously 8-10 minutes or until pasta is almost cooked but still firm, stirring occasionally using Mega Scraper.

Meanwhile, cut broccoli into small florets; place into Classic Batter Bowl. Cut carrots in half lengthwise; thinly slice crosswise on a bias using Santoku Knife. Drain sun-dried tomatoes; pat dry with a paper towel. Slice tomatoes into thin strips. Add carrots and tomatoes to batter bowl.

Cut cream cheese into cubes. Add vegetables, cream cheese, salt and black pepper to Stockpot. Stir until cream cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook an additional 2-4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve immediately in Simple Additions& Dots Large Round Bowl. If desired, top with grated fresh Parmesan cheese and snipped fresh basil.

Yield: 6 servings

Mexican Chicken

2 lbs. fresh or frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 jar (16 oz.) mild or medium salsa
1 can (2 oz.) sliced black olives
2 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese


Place chicken into freezer bag and store in freezer while prepping other ingredients. Chop onion using Food Chopper. Press garlic using Garlic Press. Open salsa using Jar Opener. Open can of olives using Smooth-Edge Can Opener and drain using Can Strainer. Add ingredients, except cheese, to a freezer bag or 2, depending on the size of your family). Coat chicken well, squeeze air out of bag and freeze. Chicken will marinate as it defrosts in refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove chicken and sauce from bag and place in Stoneware Rectangular Baker. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 45 minutes (30 minutes for tenderloins). Sprinkle with grated cheese the last 10-15 minutes. Serve with a baked potato or rice. (Chicken is also very tasty wrapped in a warm tortilla)

Yield: 4-6 servings

For more information contact: Shauna Sharpsteen, Ind. Senior Director/New Consultant Trainer for The Pampered Chef® ssharpsteen@msn.com www.pamperedchef.biz/shaunasharpsteen 801-566-4334

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