Five quick, affordable dinner ideas for busy families


— Many families face hectic schedules and tight budgets, especially when kids go back to school. A few quick meal solutions can help you spend less at the store and enjoy more time with your family this school year.

Comforting and convenient, a store-bought rotisserie chicken — with a few other additions — can help you create a complete meal for the family in 30 minutes or less. However, quality is important.

Theo Weening, global meat buyer for Whole Foods Market believes that the best tasting meat comes from chickens raised the old fashioned way.

“Preparing great tasting meat starts long before you bring it home from the store. It starts on the farm,” Weening said. “Check the label and opt for chicken that was raised the way nature intended — on a vegetarian diet with no added growth hormones and no antibiotics ever.”

For example, the rotisserie chickens at Whole Foods Market come from farms that have been certified to the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating System, so consumers can know exactly how the animal was raised.

While rotisserie chicken on its own is a delicious, easy go-to meal any night of the week, don’t forget to shake things up. Try these simple ideas:

• Shredded in tacos or quesadillas: Quick and simple, chicken will be the star of this easily portable meal.

• Cubed in a cooked grain salad: Step up a side dish and make it an entrée. Add chicken to whole grains, like brown rice or barley, for a filling meal.

• Added to rice and steamed veggies: Turn this plain dish up a notch with protein. Pair with your favorite sauce or dressing for extra flavor.

• Added to pesto pasta: Mix whole wheat pasta with pesto, chopped tomatoes and chicken for a well-rounded dinner. 

• Kabobs: Easy to assemble with fresh or pre-cooked veggies, chicken kabobs make a nice addition to your tried and true menu.

Want some inspiration? Try this recipe for Easy Chicken Burritos.


• 2 teaspoons canola oil

• 1 small onion, diced

• 1 cup frozen corn kernels

• 2 cups shredded (about 7 ounces) roasted or rotisserie chicken meat

• 1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice

• 1 cup salsa

• 6 tablespoons sour cream

• 6 large whole wheat tortillas, heated

• 3 cups baby spinach leaves


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and corn (no need to thaw it), and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn begins to brown, about eight minutes. Add chicken and rice, and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in salsa and sour cream.

Line tortillas with spinach leaves and spoon about 2/3 cup chicken mixture down the middle of each. Fold in top and bottom and roll up.

More time saving tips and recipes can be found at

This back to school season, have plenty of dinner tricks up your sleeve to make weeknights simple.