Back-to-School Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

On the first day of school, we've got meals that make the grade. Registered dietician Angela Lemond shares ideas for an easy and delicious breakfast, lunch and dinners.

Strawberry Banana Parfait

1/2  medium ripe banana, mashed
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup bran and wheat flakes ready-to-eat cereal

Stir banana and vanilla into yogurt and combine well. In a 10-12 ounce glass, alternately layer the yogurt-banana mixture, strawberries and cereal. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Go Bananas Parfait

2 cups low fat vanilla yogurt
2 large bananas, sliced
1 cup chocolate-flavored cereal
4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

Layer 2 tablespoons of yogurt into the bottom each of four 8-ounce clear glasses. Top yogurt with 2 tablespoons of sliced bananas and 1 tablespoon of chocolate-flavored cereal. Repeat layers until yogurt, bananas and cereals are used up. Drizzle each parfait with 1 tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk. Serve immediately.

This parfait goes great with dulce de leche instead of sweetened condensed milk. If you don't have dulce de leche, you can make it at home! Just submerge a can of sweetened condensed milk (label removed) into boiling water and let it simmer for 2 hours. Make sure that the can is covered with water at all times while it simmers and let it cool completely before you open it.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos with Salsa Verde

These tacos are bursting with bold flavors. Remove the seeds and membrane of the jalapeño if your family prefers a milder flavor, or just omit the jalapeño. Queso fresco is a mild, crumbly Mexican cheese that can be found in many major supermarkets. If you can't find it, feta is a good substitute.

2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 12 thighs)
1 ½ tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium jalapeño, sliced into thin rings (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½ cups salsa verde (green tomatillo salsa), divided
½ cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
24 (6-inch) corn tortillas
½ cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 limes, cut into wedges (optional)

In a small bowl, combine cumin, salt and pepper. Rub mixture evenly over chicken thighs. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken; cook 3 minutes per side or until browned. Transfer to a 5-or 6-quart slow cooker. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken.

Heat remaining ½ tablespoon oil in pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, jalapeño and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender and begin to brown. Transfer to slow cooker. Add 2 cups salsa and broth. Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours or until chicken shreds easily with a fork.

Remove chicken to a large bowl using a slotted spoon; shred with 2 forks.

Warm tortillas according to package instructions. Fill each tortilla with about ¼ cup chicken mixture, 1 teaspoon cheese, 1 teaspoon salsa and ½ teaspoon cilantro. Serve with lime wedges if desired.

Easy One-Pot Red Beans and Rice

This is an easy, one-pot version of the famous New Orleans dish.

½ pound andouille sausage
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ to 1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons ground thyme
2 teaspoons dried sweet basil
1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne
1 tablespoon paprika
2 to 5 drops hot pepper sauce
1 bay leaf
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 green bell pepper, chopped

Brown the sausage with the onion, garlic and celery for about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, kidney beans, 2 cups water, salt, pepper, thyme, basil, cayenne, paprika, hot sauce, bay leaf, and rice. Bring to a boil. Add the rice, decrease heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the green pepper, stir well, cover and let stand 10 minutes. Stir before serving.

Jollof Rice with Chicken and Garden Vegetables

Spanish paella, Italian risotto, South Asian biryani, Cajun jambalaya, Central American gallo pinto ... nearly every culinary culture has a traditional rice dish served as a center plate. West Africa is no exception. Jollof rice - with a different version prepared in nearly every West African country (and maybe even in every family) - is a spicy one-pot dish. Commonly made with tomatoes, onions and peppers, plus rice, meat, poultry or fish, jollof rice can incorporate a rainbow of other vegetables. It can even be made without meat. Fried plantains and salad are typically served as sides.

2 to 2½ pounds chicken drumsticks (8 drumsticks)
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup canola oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger root
2 cups brown rice
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
4 cups sodium-reduced chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
2 carrots, diced
1 lime, sliced, for garnish
Sprigs of cilantro or parsley, for garnish

Season the chicken with black pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken; cook until lightly browned. Remove the chicken from the skillet; set aside. Leave the drippings in the skillet.

Add the onion, jalapeño peppers, garlic and ginger root to the skillet. Reduce to medium heat. Cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onions are transparent. Remove from the heat.

Add the rice; toss with onion mixture. Mix in the tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin and thyme. Cook and stir over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

Arrange the chicken over the rice mixture in skillet. Combine the broth and lime juice in a medium bowl; pour over the chicken. Cover; reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes.

Arrange the peas and carrots over chicken. Cover; continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, until the broth is absorbed, the rice is tender, and the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. Keep covered; rest for 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, garnish with lime slices and cilantro or parsley.

As a variation, substitute or add chopped bell pepper or green beans for an equal amount of vegetables. Substitute cubed sirloin steak, peeled shrimp, tofu or seitan for the chicken drumsticks.

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