I am constantly on the lookout for healthy easy dinner recipes and summer is no exception.
We live a very active lifestyle so the less time I need to spend in the kitchen/galley the better.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love to cook healthy meals for my family.
It is just there are so many other fun things to do in life that the less time spent cooking the better.
At home, I have the luxury of the oven or slow cooker but when on the sailboat I am limited to a one burner alcohol stove and a propane BBQ.
We recently spent 5 days living aboard our boat and 3 of those days we had some grandchildren with us. One of those grandchildren is a type 1 diabetic which made healthy meals even more important although we tend to eat healthily the majority of the time anyways.
Foil Pack Meals
I love these foil pack meals. Simply prepare the foil packs and either pop them on the BBQ or into the oven to cook. I make these often whether at home or on the boat. Add a salad or potatoes/ rice for a complete meal.
Here is a couple of our favorites.
Garlic Parmesan Chicken
1 chicken breast 2 Tbsp butter
1/2 zucchini, sliced 2 Tbsp Parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven or BBQ to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Fold foil in half then open up.
- Slice zucchini into rounds and lay on one half of foil.
- Mix garlic and butter and spoon half over zucchini. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
- Lay chicken on zucchini, season with salt and pepper. Spoon rest of garlic and butter. Top with Parmesan.
- Seal and bake or BBQ at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 – 30 min.
Notes: This serves 1 so make as many foil packs as required for your family. If I intend to cook mine on the BBQ, I wrap it a second time changing direction of where the join is to avoid butter leaking in BBQ. In the oven I set it on a cookie sheet in case it leaks.
4-6 medium potatoes, sliced
1 onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
- Slice the potatoes and cut up the onion.
- Pace a few dots of butter on foil.
- Place a layer of potato on foil, then some onion pieces. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
- Another few dots of butter, then more potato and onion.
- Continue layering potato, onion, and butter till done.
- Final dots of and seasoning.
- Double wrap foil and cook on BBQ or in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes.
Notes: I double wrap the foil for BBQ and set it on a cookie sheet in the oven to catch any messy drips. Be sure to make 1 packet per person.
One Pan/Pot Meals
These are time savers and there is less mess to clean up afterward which I love. This recipe is a welcome change from the usual stir fry.
Mexican Beef Skillet
1 lb lean ground beef 1 tsp cumin
2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 Tbsp chili powder
1 yellow onion, chopped 1 cup salsa
salt & pepper to taste
- Brown beef in skillet. Add onion about half-way through and cook until beef is cooked and onion is translucent.
- Season with salt & pepper.
- Add cumin and chili powder and zucchini.
- Add salsa.
- Cook until zucchini is desired softness.
I serve this either alone or with fresh bread or rolls.
Slow cooker meals
I absolutely love my slow cooker and use it frequently when home. In summer, I can avoid heating up the house by using this rather than the stove.
3 -5 lb roast, beef or pork
1 onion cut in large chunks
6 medium potatoes, quartered
4-6 carrots, cut in large pieces
1/2 – 1 turnip cut in potato size chunks
Salt & pepper to taste
- Season roast with salt & pepper and place in crockpot.
- Add onion, turnip, potato, and carrot.
- Add 1 cup of water.
- Place lid on top and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
I don’t always use turnip, it depends on whether I have it on hand or not. I make gravy with the juices from cooking. Everyone loves this meal. Our 5-year-old grandson always asks for seconds.
16 oz grape jelly
16 oz Heinz chili sauce
32 oz frozen or fresh meatballs
Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Serve over rice or pasta.
Can also be served on toothpicks as an appetizer. I have done this for Christmas or birthday parties with great success. I never have leftovers.
Sheet Pan Oven Meals
I absolutely love the simplicity of sheet pan meals. They take almost no effort and are so tasty.
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into 1/2 inch thick strips
3 bell peppers (green, yellow and red) cored and sliced into strips
1 yellow onion thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
desired toppings: sour cream, sliced avocado or guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded cheese
1 Tbsp chili powder 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 1/2 tsp cumin 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp onion powder salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Lightly grease a large sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray. Cut chicken and vegetables into strips. Lay the vegetables evenly on the pan and place the chicken on top of them.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Combine seasoning ingredients together in a small bowl and stir well to combine. Sprinkle most of the seasoning over the chicken and some of it over the vegetables as well. Spoon minced garlic on top of the chicken and drizzle oil over the entire pan.
Toss everything well and spread into an even layer across the pan.
- Cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through(165 degrees with a thermometer). Wrap the flour tortillas in foil and place in the oven to warm them during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Remove everything from the oven. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the chicken and vegetables and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve warm tortillas with extra topping if desired.
The grandkids always love this recipe with sour cream and shredded cheese. I haven’t figured out how to do this on the boat, maybe a shallow pan placed on the BBQ would do the trick. Any ideas?
As you can see, healthy easy dinner recipes don’t have to be time-consuming or difficult to prepare.
I typically assemble the foil packs in the morning then just keep them in the refrigerator or cooler until I am ready to cook them.
The slow cooker recipes are put together in the morning then cook throughout the day as I am doing other things.
Because I only have 12-volt power on the boat I have not used the slow-cooker aboard. Maybe my husband can figure out a way to use it on a long voyage. Do you have any suggestions on how to use a slow cooker on 12-volt power?
Aboard the boat, I love the one pan/pot meals. They are so quick and easy to whip up. I have even accomplished them on 2 – 2 1/2 foot swells. Any rougher water and we’re eating sandwiches.
The sheet pan meals sure save on dishes and are also pretty simple to through together.
So what are your favorite healthy easy dinner recipes?