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Nutritious Meals for Busy School Nights

August 9, 2018

( Family Features ) When school is back in session, the real test for parents is not in the classroom, but in the kitchen. Between breakfast, lunch and dinner - not to mention snacks - meal planning seems endless and daunting.

With convenient options like canned ingredients on-hand, parents can have the makings of a wholesome homemade meal right at their fingertips.

Canned foods not only help cut down on prep time in the kitchen, but also deliver nutritional benefits. In fact, kids and adults who use six or more canned foods per week are more likely to have diets higher in 17 essential nutrients, according to a study published in “Nutrients.” Plus, cans provide year-round access to seasonal fruits and vegetables, and keep food fresh and flavorful without the need for preservatives and additives.

From on-the-go breakfasts like Vegetable Frittata Minis to hearty dinners like this Beef and Vegetable Soup and everything in-between, a well-stocked pantry - or your “cantry” - full of canned proteins, fruits, vegetables and soups can help busy parents get through the week with creative meals they can feel good about serving their families.

For more information about the nutritional benefits of cooking with canned foods and to find flavorful recipes for the back-to-school season, visit CansGetYouCooking.com.

Tuna Sliders with Green Chilies

Recipe courtesy of Cans Get You Cooking

Servings: 12

1 can (5-ounce) tuna, packed in water, drained and flaked1 can (4.25-ounce) chopped green chilies1/4 cup diced celery1/4 cup diced red onion1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley6 slider rolls, splitlettuce leaves

In large bowl, combine tuna, green chilies, celery, red onion, mayonnaise and chopped cilantro; toss to mix well.Top bottom half of each roll with lettuce leaves; top with some tuna mixture and top half of roll.

Beef and Vegetable Soup

Recipe courtesy of Cans Get You Cooking

Servings: 6

1 tablespoon vegetable oil1 pound lean ground beef1 medium onion, diced2 garlic cloves, minced1 can (14 1/2 ounces) low-sodium beef broth1 can (14 1/2 ounces) sliced carrots, drained1 can (14 1/2 ounces) cut green beans1 can (14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes1 teaspoon dried basil1 cup cooked egg noodles

In 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, in hot oil, cook ground beef until well browned on all sides, stirring frequently. With slotted spoon, remove beef to bowl.In drippings remaining in saucepan over medium heat, cook onion and garlic until tender-crisp.Add beef broth, carrots, green beans, stewed tomatoes, basil and ground beef; over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10-15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. Stir in cooked egg noodles.

Vegetable Frittata Minis

Recipe courtesy of Cans Get You Cooking

Servings: 36

Nonstick cooking spray8 large eggs1/2 cup milk1/4 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper1/4 teaspoon dried basil1 can (8 ounces) mixed vegetables, drained1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375 F. Spray mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.In large bowl, beat eggs, milk, salt, pepper and basil to blend well. Stir in mixed vegetables and Parmesan cheese.Fill prepared pans with egg mixture. Bake until egg mixture puffs and is just set in center, about 8-10 minutes.With rubber spatula, loosen frittatas from muffin cups and slide onto platter.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin and Chocolate Chip Bread

Recipe courtesy of Cans Get You Cooking

Servings: 20 (2 loaves)

4 cups oat flour2 teaspoons baking soda2 teaspoons ground cinnamon1 teaspoon ground nutmegpinch of salt1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened2 cups granulated sugar4 large eggs2 teaspoons vanilla extract1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin2 cups chopped walnuts1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar1 tablespoon milk

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease two 8-by-4-inch loaf pans. In large bowl, combine oat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.In large bowl using mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla, oat flour mixture and pumpkin; beat until just blended. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into prepared pans.Bake 50-55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely.In small bowl, stir confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle mixture over pumpkin bread.