A box type helper can form the cheesy foundation for a quick meal the family will devour.
A box type helper can form the cheesy foundation for a quick meal the family will devour. (Courtesy Photo)

Families are so busy these days. Both parents are working, kids have to go to athletic practices, music programs or what they do best — playing. People are looking to cook food that's quick, inexpensive and something that everyone will enjoy. I'm not much of a box type cooking person, however, I do understand their popularity. You can buy a "helper" meal for $1, add a few ingredients, cook it in 15 minutes, and the family will eat it. I decided to add some secret, easy, pre-made ingredients that will add some nutrition to any of these package meals that your family will love.

For any of the bagged or boxed meals to which you add chicken and end up with a cheesy sauce, you can add 10 ounces of vegetables without a hint of a change in the meal. Ready? Baby food! Think about it. Baby food doesn't have additives; it's just pureed veggies that are hidden in the sauce. I used carrots and squash and there was no change in the taste. Both are high in vitamin A, with no fat, sugar or salt. I also made my chicken breast bites like some Asian recipes by coating them in cornstarch and doing a quick fry for a super-tender protein.

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Ingredients

•3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch pieces

•1 box of "helper" type box or bag noodle meal that has a cheesy sauce

•1 Tbs. cornstarch

•1 Tbs. canola oil

•10 oz. pureed carrots or squash baby food (may add ½ of each)

•1 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped for garnish (optional)

Directions

Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high and fry the chicken (which you coated in cornstarch), stirring continually until done. Remove from heat. In a saucepan, prepare the box or bagged meal as stated on the package. Add the chicken and baby food and heat completely. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Lori Edmonds is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at silkypup@msn.com.



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