Dinner Select - Meal Planning

Quick & Easy Dinner Recipes
Healthy Dinner Ideas
Meal Planning

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Nearly every Dinner Select meal contains both grains and vegetables. Meatless dinners usually include a protein substitute, like a type of bean or soy. Read about our ingredients and shopping tips below.  Click here to read tips on successful meal planning.

GRAINS 
 
BreadShop for whole grain breads.
Buy good quality pasta (look for “durum wheat” in the ingredients). Cook the pasta only until “al dente” – this is the point at which the pasta is tender, but still retains some resistance when you bite into it.
Our recipes use primarily two different types of rice: Basmati rice (for Indian and Thai dishes) and long-grain enriched rice (for everything else). Check the label that cooking time is no more than 15-20 minutes. Instant rice has been precooked and dehydrated, so it cooks in a little less time, but it is expensive and bland.

VEGETABLES 
 
fresh vegetablesAll of the Dinner Select recipes include vegetables. Choose produce that looks appealing…if our dinner suggests green beans, for example, but the green beans at your grocery store aren't in season or just don't look great, then substitute another favorite vegetable.

FRUITS
 
fresh fruitDinner Select weekly dinners do not include desserts. We recommend you buy seasonal fruit and serve along with dinner or as a sweet after dinner. This will contribute to the daily recommended fruit servings for the whole family.

OILS 
 
olive oilWe recommend olive oil or canola oil for most recipes. Both oils contain the best fat composition. Occasionally recipes call for oils such as sesame or peanut oils for their high flavorings.  


DAIRY

 
Some Dinner Select recipes include milk or cream (for sauces or creamy soups) and a variety of cheeses (mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan).  

PROTEIN 
 
beansYou can choose to receive a variety of meat and meatless dinners each week or select any combination of chicken, beef, pork, vegetarian, or fish/seafood. Vegetarian dinners usually offer a protein substitute such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, or soy products.  


SEASONINGS

 
seasoningsDinner Select recipes offer a wide variety of flavors. Here are some of the most common you will see:  

Garlic. Don't even think about substituting with garlic powder. You can't beat fresh garlic. And it's easy to work with. Just cut the top and bottom off the clove and place your chef knife (flat) on top of it; give it a gentle tap to loosen the paper. Then peel off the paper and mince it with a chef knife. Alternatively crush the clove with a special garlic mincing tool.  

Broth. You can make your own soup stock, but it takes a long time. Instead we recommend bouillon paste. When a recipe calls for 3 cups chicken broth, simply stir 3 teaspoons of chicken paste with 3 cups of water.

Fresh herbs. Cooking with fresh herbs gives a lovely flavor and aroma, often not matched by dried herbs. If you do substitute dried for fresh, the general rule of thumb is to substitute one part dried for three parts fresh (dried herbs are more concentrated than fresh). Remember to gently crush the dried herbs in the palm of your hand to release the flavors (oils) of the herbs.

See www.MyPyramid.gov for more information
on balanced meals. 
  

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“I can't thank you enough for your service. Almost every recipe is so easy and delicious, and I hate cooking. I have a preschooler and a newborn, so I need fast dinners that the preschooler will eat, and many of yours are. The shopping lists are lifesavers."
Paula W., Wisconsin

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Our site offers: Meal Planning Tips, Dinner Menu Suggestions, and Easy Dinner Ideas.