Family Meals that Make Busy Weeknights a Breeze

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(Family Features) After a long day in the classroom or at the office, it’s tough to top bringing the family together with a home-cooked meal. When evenings are busy with homework and activities, however, there might be little time left for complicated dishes.

Take those schedules on with a menu of delicious recipes that require 30 minutes or less so you can focus on celebrating the day’s accomplishments with loved ones. These simple yet flavorful ideas from Milk Means More call for limited instructions, less equipment and shorter ingredients lists fueled by dairy favorites that provide much-needed nutrients to recharge the entire family.

Pork Chops in Creamy Mustard-Peppercorn Sauce feature the sharp yet balanced taste of mustard and cracked black peppercorns as an easy way to dress up pork chops. When pasta night comes around, Pasta with Yogurt Sauce provides a quick, creamy Middle Eastern solution.

This Chicken with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce recipe gets its robust flavor from sauce made with sun-dried tomatoes and enhanced with luscious half-and-half. For a tasty twist on Taco Tuesday, you can play “beat the clock” with Roasted Chicken and Zucchini Tostadas by crisping corn tortillas under the broiler then topping them with a tangy yogurt spread, cumin-seasoned chicken, veggies and shredded cheese.

Turn your hectic weeknights into cause for celebration with more quick and easy recipe ideas at MilkMeansMore.org.

Pork Chops in Creamy Mustard-Peppercorn Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN, Culinary Dietitian, on behalf of Milk Means More
Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 3/4 cup evaporated 2% milk
  • 3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard or Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (1 1/4 pounds), cut 3/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • cooked noodles or rice (optional)
  • chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  1. In bowl, whisk milk, mustard, peppercorns and flour. Set aside.
  2. Pat pork chops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of chops with salt.
  3. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook pork chops 3-4 minutes, or until browned. Turn and cook 3-4 minutes, or until thermometer inserted in thickest part of chops reads 145 F. Transfer chops to serving platter. Loosely cover with foil to keep warm.
  4. Add garlic to drippings in skillet. Cook 15 seconds. Stir in broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until most liquid evaporates. Stir in milk mixture and any accumulated juices from cooked pork. Cook and stir until just boiling. Immediately remove from heat and spoon sauce over chops.
  5. Serve with noodles or rice, if desired. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Pasta with Yogurt Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Enas Malik, RDN, on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • Salted water
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 small white onion, minced
  • 8 ounces ground beef or lamb
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint or 1 teaspoon dried mint
  1. In medium pan, bring salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Strain pasta and reserve about 1/2 cup water.
  2. In medium saute pan over medium heat, heat 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add minced onions. Cook until translucent and aromatic, 2-3 minutes. Add ground meat and season with salt and black pepper. Cook until meat is browned through, 8-10 minutes. Drain fat. Transfer cooked meat to bowl and set aside.
  3. In small pan over medium heat, cook yogurt, white pepper, cumin and garlic powder until mixture comes to soft boil and thickens. Remove pan from heat. Add pasta water to reach desired consistency.
  4. In same saute pan used to cook meat over medium heat, add remaining vegetable oil and saute garlic until golden in color. Add mint. Remove from heat and pour over yogurt mixture.
  5. Mix pasta, meat and yogurt sauce; serve.

Chicken with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN, Culinary Dietitian, on behalf of Milk Means More
Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (about 3/4 inch thick)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil from sun-dried tomato jar
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed, slivered sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  1. In bowl, whisk half-and-half and flour. Set aside.
  2. Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels. If necessary, cut into four serving-size pieces. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. In large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat sun-dried tomato oil. Cook chicken pieces 3-4 minutes, or until browned. Turn chicken. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken reads 165 F. Transfer to serving platter. Loosely cover with foil to keep warm.
  4. Add sun-dried tomatoes and onions to drippings in skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes, or until onion is tender. Stir in broth. Cook, stirring constantly, until most liquid evaporates. Stir in cream mixture and any accumulated juices from cooked chicken. Cook and stir until simmering and slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan-Reggiano cheese.
  5. To serve, spoon sauce over chicken.

Roasted Chicken and Zucchini Tostadas

Recipe courtesy of Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN, Culinary Dietitian, on behalf of Milk Means More
Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 12 street taco-size corn tortillas
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (2% or 5%)
  • 3 teaspoons lime juice, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded or chopped rotisserie-roasted chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup seeded and chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  1. Heat oven to broil.
  2. Line large baking sheet or 18-by-13-by-1-inch baking pan with foil. Arrange tortillas in single layer on pan. Lightly spray tortillas with nonstick cooking spray. Broil about 5 inches from heat 4-6 minutes, or until beginning to brown on one side. Remove from broiler. Carefully turn tortillas over.
  3. In medium bowl, stir yogurt, 1 teaspoon lime juice and garlic powder. Set aside. In another bowl, toss chicken, tomato, zucchini, remaining lime juice, olive oil, cumin and cayenne pepper.
  4. Spread yogurt mixture on unbrowned sides of tortillas. Top with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Broil about 5 inches from heat 2-3 minutes, or until hot and cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Photo courtesy of Jenny Struik of "Jenny with the Good Eats" (Pasta with Yogurt Sauce)

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