Four easy-to-make meal ideas for busy parents

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JAMESTOWN, N.C. — Kids are heading back to class and all their sports and activities are starting back up.

That means time is tight for parents. But you still have to find time to make dinner for your family. An easy solution is to make meals ahead.

Lisa Hawley at Southern Roots in Jamestown shared four easy meal ideas for busy parents.

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables


• 2 medium chicken breasts, cubed
• 1 cup bell pepper
• 1 onion

• 1 zucchini
• 1 cup broccoli florets
• ½ cup grape tomatoes
• olive oil
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• Italian seasoning or herbs de Provence

1. Preheat oven to 500
2. Chop all the veggies into large pieces. Cut the chicken into cubes.

Place the chicken and veggies in a medium roasting dish or sheet pan. Add olive oil to coat, salt, and pepper, Italian seasoning. Toss to combine.

3. Bake for 15 minutes or until the veggies are charred and chicken is cooked.
4. If you do not feel comfortable cooking on 500, turn the oven down to 400 and cook a little longer. Maybe 10 minutes more.

Crustless Mini Quiche

• Olive oil or pan spray for greasing
• 12 Ham slices
• 8 Eggs
• 2 cups heavy cream or milk
• 1 tub mushrooms, sliced
• 1 pepper, sliced
• 1 tub Cherry or Grape tomatoes, halved
• 1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
• 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
• 1 block Cream cheese

• Preheat oven to 350
• Grease a 12 hole muffin tin with olive oil or spray
• Cut each ham slice in half lengthways and use it to line the bottom and sides of each muffin hole
• Beat the eggs and cream
• Put about 1 Tablespoon of Cream cheese on top of the ham
• Put a little mushroom and peppers into each muffin hole
• Top with tomato and some cheese
• Pour the egg mixture evenly between each quiche
• Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup


• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 onion, diced
• 2 carrots, diced
• 2 stalks celery, diced
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
• 4 cups chicken broth
• 2 cups cooked chicken (pulled and chopped)
• 1 cup orzo pasta
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 lemon (zest and juice)
• 1 handful parsley, chopped


  • Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat, add the onions, carrot, and celery and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and thyme and cook about a minute.
  • Add the chicken broth, chicken and orzo, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the orzo is just tender.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix in the lemon juice, zest, and parsley.

Cheese Tortellini and Chicken


1 Rotisserie Chicken (pull the meat and save 1/2 for another recipe)

• 1 pound cheese tortellini
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 1/4 to 1 1/2cups heavy cream
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 5 ounces baby spinach, thinly sliced
• 1 (7-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes


1. Boil the tortellini according to the package directions.
2. While the tortellini is cooking, prepare the sauce. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until it has absorbed the melted butter, becomes a paste and begins to smell nutty. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream (at first the mixture will be thick and chunky, but it will smooth and thin out), then add the salt and Parmesan cheese. Allow to simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the spinach, chicken and sun-dried tomatoes, then transfer the cooked and drained tortellini to the skillet, gently stirring to coat the tortellini with the sauce. Serve immediately or put into a casserole dish and top with Parmesan (this will keep for several days)

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