Beat the clock

Do there seem to be more things on your to-do list than hours in the day? With children back in school and activities for all on the upswing, you need a meal on the table and you need it fast! My “Rush-Hour Recipes” are the perfect speedy solution to your daily dinner dilemma. Kids and adults alike will enjoy digging into these delicious meals, and you will love how quick and uncomplicated they are to prepare—letting nothing stand in your way of a healthy home-cooked meal.

Around here everyone loves a good jambalaya, and my Chicken and Sausage Jiffy Jambalaya hits the spot. This five-ingredient, quick version of the Louisiana favorite is an ideal one-dish meal to serve a hungry family. Make it easy on yourself and use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, or frozen pre-cooked, grilled sliced chicken breast fillets. I like to use chicken and sausage in this jambalaya, but feel free to add pork or ham, if desired.

More than 8% of the American population has diabetes, and unfortunately there is no magical diabetes-defeating diet. Instead, diabetics hear an emphasis on portion control, moderate sugar, and low fat, which is the healthiest way for everyone to eat. My Easy Beef Enchiladas meal is diabetic-friendly and is a Tex-Mex crowd pleaser. Combining a few fresh veggies with some pantry staples, this dish is simple and superb. I keep frozen corn on hand at all times to add an extra dose of nutrition to any dish. The sirloin called for is low in saturated fat, helping you cut down on the risk of heart disease. And for a gluten-free option, use corn tortillas and toss in a can of black beans, drained and rinsed, for added flavor and nutrients. Keep in mind that this meal freezes well; you can make a double batch, serve one right away, and freeze the other to pull out on a busy night.

For the ultimate in ease, try the Chicken and Artichoke Lasagna with rotisserie chicken and no-boil noodles. This home-cooked sensation will become part of your regular standbys menu. There is no compromise on flavor with this dish: Creamy mozzarella and cream cheese combine with savory artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and basil. For a zippy future meal, make your own TV dinners by freezing individual portions of this lasagna to pull out when needed.

With three children of my own, and now three grandchildren, I know how busy family life can be. These “Rush-Hour Recipes” will help you serve your family healthy homemade meals all week long with minimal fuss.

3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (rotisserie chicken)
1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup chopped or julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup baby spinach
2 tsp. dried basil leaves
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 8-oz. pkg. reduced-fat cream cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 8-oz. pkg. no-boil lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, combine chicken, artichokes, tomatoes, spinach, and basil; set aside. In medium nonstick pot, whisk together milk, garlic powder and flour; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When mixture comes to a boil, continue heating and stirring until it thickens. Add cream cheese, stirring until melted. Add 1 1/3 cups cream cheese mixture to chicken mixture; set aside. Spread thin layer of remaining cream cheese sauce on bottom of prepared pan. Cover with layer of noodles and half of chicken mixture, one-third of cheese, then one-third cream cheese sauce. Repeat layers of noodles, chicken mixture, cheese, and sauce. Top with remaining noodles, sauce, and cheese. Bake, covered, 45-50 minutes or until noodles are tender. Makes 8-10 servings.

Calories 297 | Calories from fat 32% | Fat 11g | Saturated fat 5g | Cholesterol 67mg | Sodium 439mg Carbohydrates 25g | Dietary fiber 2g | Total sugars 5g
Protein 25g | Dietary exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat

1 lb. ground sirloin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 cup salsa
1 cup corn
1 cup packed fresh baby spinach
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese
10 6- or 8-inch flour tortillas, room temperature
1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce (found in can)
1 bunch green onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13x9x2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In large nonstick skillet, cook meat 6-8 minutes or until meat is done. Drain off excess fat. Add chili powder, salsa, corn, and spinach; continue cooking about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside. Spoon about 1/4 cup of meat mixture and 1 tablespoon of cheese onto a tortilla. Roll and place, seam side down, in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour enchilada sauce evenly over filled tortillas in baking dish, and sprinkle with any remaining cheese and green onions. Bake, covered with foil, 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Makes 10 enchiladas.

Calories 64 | Calories from fat 31% | Fat 2g | Saturated fat 2g | Cholesterol 8mg | Sodium 196mg Carbohydrates 6g | Dietary fiber 1g | Total sugars 2g | Protein 5g | Dietary exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1/2 lean meat

4 oz. reduced-fat smoked sausage, diced
1/2 lb. cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in strips or chunks
1 1/4 cups salsa
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup chopped green onions

In large nonstick skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until done. Drain off excess grease. Add chicken, salsa, and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and add green onions, cooking 5 minutes longer. Serve over rice. Makes 2 servings.

Calories 327 | Calories from fat 20% | Fat 7g | Saturated fat 2g | Cholesterol 116mg | Sodium 1152mg | Carbohydrate 18g | Dietary fiber 1g | Sugars 8g | Protein 42g | Dietary exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1/2 other carbohydrate, 5 lean meat

Holly Clegg is the author of the best-selling trim&TERRIFIC cookbooks, Eating Well Through Cancer and Too Hot in the Kitchen: Secrets to Sizzle at Any Age. For more information, visit or