15 Healthy Dinner Recipes To Make In a Pinch This Winter

The majority of parents I know are strapped for time in one way or another.  According to my friends, I’m not the only one who struggles with dinner time creeping up so quickly.  We’re always on the hunt for healthy dinner suggestions that can be whipped up with ease – and we’ve compiled our favorite tasty recipes to help make meal planning a cinch this winter.  From one pot wonders to cornmeal crusted chicken nuggets – we’re hoping that you’ll find something you love.  Bon appétit friends!

Thank you FOODIE by MODE Media for sponsoring this post.  Opinions, as always, are my own.


The Ties That Bind

Food is indeed the connective tissue to a person’s family and culture. Specific flavors have the power to transport us back to our childhood kitchens, and so many know what it’s like to have significant pieces of our hearts overseas.

We’ve officially wrapped up the holidays and since childhood I’ve always wished that there was a way to collectively celebrate with my mother’s large family in Colombia.  Since becoming a mother, I’ve grown increasingly in awe of my own mama’s experiences of raising my brother and me – in absence of her large familial support system.

Her heart will always be inextricably connected to her far away family and beautiful land.

Mountains of Colombia, Colombian coffee growers photo 2Beautiful coffee fincas (farms) overseen by my uncle in Colombia.

That’s why working with Western Union was a perfect fit for me. Like so many Western Union customers and immigrants to this country – my mom never considering sending money back home to be out of the ordinary.  Albiet selfless and challenging – it is a standard within so many cultures.

Every Wednesday, the family gets together for lunch, and my mom calls them on the phone to catch up with everyone.  I can practically taste the soup that they serve just by thinking about it.  I hope that my mother visits her family again soon and adore what Western Union recently pulled off for some customers.  I also admittedly fantasized about escorting my mom to Western Union’s NYC retail location to surprise her with authentic family-love-infused dishes just like the people in this moving video.    Have a look. It is sure to tug at your heartstrings.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


How To Cook Like An Italian Grandmother – Casserole Making With My MIL {Sponsored}

I officially have two children in school and am on a continued quest to become a better chef.  With an emphasis on quick and delicious crowd pleasing meals, I’m learning from the best cook that I have ever met in my entire life: my mother-in-law.  I am convinced that one of  her primary secret ingredients is love.  She takes pleasure in creating elaborate meals for her family to enjoy, and I’m determined to learn some of her great family recipes.  But right now, I’ve requested her expertise in guiding me through delicious meals that can be prepared in the midst of busy after school schedules.

Together we recently made a Mushroom and Artichoke Casserole.  It was awesome and easy!
the best casserole recipie Mushroom and Artichoke Casserole

I learn so much every time that I cook with my mother-in-law, and I always appreciate the stories about her own mother’s Sunday dinner table.

cook like an Italian Granny

We prepared our casserole with Country Crock Original Spread.  It has zero grams of trans fat, and 70 percent less fat than butter per serving.  It is also fee of partially hydrogenated oils and cholesterol.

mushroom and artichoke casserole


  • 2 tablespoons Country Crock Original Spread
  • 2 packages frozen artichoke hearts (thawed and chopped)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds penne
  • 1 pound whole-milk mozzarella cheese, chopped
  • 2 pounds whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg

Bechamel Sauce Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons Country Crock Original Spread
  • 4 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • ground nutmeg


Melt Country Crock Original Spread in large skillet, over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and mushrooms, sauteing until mushrooms release juice and begin to brown (approximately 6-8 minutes.  Add the artichokes and vermouth and stir occasionally until liquid is absorbed (approximately 10 minutes).   Add a bit of salt and pepper

Cook Penne al dente

In a large bowl, mix mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, parsley, egg and 2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese.

Bechamel Sauce Preparation

Melt Country Crock Original Spread in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add flour and stir for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in milk, reduce heat and simmer until sauce lightly coats the spoon.  Stir occasionally (approximately 20 minutes).  Stir in 1 1/2 cups Pecorino Romano.  Add a bit of salt, pepper and ground nutmeg.

In a large casserole dish mix prepared ingredients and sprinkle with Pecorino Romano.  Cover with foil.  Preheat oven to 350 F and bake casserole for 1 hour.  Remove foil and increase temperature to 450 F.  Continue to back for approximately 10 minutes.


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.