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TOP ATE Time-Saving Dinner Staples! (HG's Product Picks!)
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TOP ATE Time-Saving Dinner Staples! (HG's Product Picks!)

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08.12.11
 

Say you just got home from a long day of work/school/fighting crime/etc., and you're hungry NOW! Here are the TOP ATE items to help you whip up meals in a jiffy. You need these...

 
 
  1. Steam-in-the-Bag Veggies (Fresh or Frozen)

Our message here is pretty simple: KEEP VEGGIES AROUND, convenient ones in particular. These are in the number-one spot for a reason -- quick-cooking veggies can be a great base for any dinner, especially when matched with other items from this list. Fresh picks like the kinds by Mann's (Broccoli Wokly is a longtime fave) are awesome, and frozen finds like options by Green Giant (even the ones with sauce!) and Birds Eye Steamfresh are EXCELLENT.

 
  2. Precooked Meat Substitutes

If this category sounds vague, it's because it's home to SO MANY useful products in the HG arsenal. Frozen meatless burger patties (veggie or soy-based) are great for sandwiches; you can also chop 'em and add 'em to salads, stews, stir-frys, etc. Pre-made meatballs (click here for our picks!) and ground-beef-style soy crumbles (like the kinds by Boca and MorningStar Farms) are also great to keep on hand; both heat up quickly and are super-versatile! Easy shepherd's pie, anyone?

 
 
 
  3. House Foods Tofu Shirataki Noodle Substitute

The big time-saving advantage here is that you don't have to boil water and then wait for your pasta to cook, which is awesome! These super-low-calorie noodles do require draining, rinsing, and blotting, but then you can just throw them in the microwave or a skillet until hot. Choose your sauce (creamy ones work best) and add-ins (the above two items on this list are perfect)! Click here for a classic recipe...

 
  4. Canned Beans

These make an excellent addition to both hot and cold dishes. Green salads are a lot more meal-like when topped with a few spoonfuls of beans, and beans give heat 'n eat soups a fast and easy boost of protein and fiber. Don't forget about fat-free refried beans -- pair 'em with the next product and a bit of light cheese, and you're one microwave minute away from a super-satisfying burrito! Click here for more of the HG 411 on beans...

 
 
 
  5. High-Fiber Tortillas with 110 Calories or Less

You can do SO much with these things, people. Use 'em to whip up a couple of chilled wraps. Bake up a thin-crust pizza. Grab a skillet and churn out a quesadilla. Make them into stylish hats. (OK, maybe not the last one.) Bottom line: These are excellent starters for quickie meals. If you've got a copy of 300 Under 300, check out the "Tortilla Trios" chapter for REALLY easy, three-ingredient recipes! Click here for info on our favorite product pick...

 
  6. Creamy Tomato Soup

Here's the thing about a good creamy tomato soup -- not only is it delicious plain, but it also goes well with a slew of different add-ins. AND it makes a great marinara swap for noodles, veggies, meats... whatever! You can even toss it with some cooked broccoli cole slaw and reduced-fat Parmesan topping for a guilt-free pasta swap. Just look for one with 4 grams of fat or less per 1-cup serving. Amy's Chunky Tomato Bisque is our number-one soup squeeze!

 
 
 
  7. Pouched or Canned Albacore Tuna and Pink Salmon in Water

Another couple of good hot-or-cold options. These go WAY beyond scoopable salads. (Not that those don't rock.) Roll salmon up with fruit, veggies, and teriyaki sauce in one of those tortillas we shouted out earlier. Make Italian-style tuna wraps. Or keep it classic, and make a scoopy salad out of tuna or salmon.

 
  8. Fat-Free Liquid Egg Substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)

"Hungry Girl, aren't we talking about DINNER?" Get over that hurdle -- eggs are GREAT any time of day. And egg substitute is especially great because it's easy to use and cooks incredibly fast. Got some random no-guilt leftovers lying around, but not enough for a meal? Use 'em as the filling for an impromptu omelette! Or you can just throw some chopped items into a mug with light cheese and egg substitute, and have yourself an egg mug. This Chinese-food-inspired mug is definitely evening appropriate. For something more filling, stuff your egg-mug goodies into a high-fiber pita.

 
 

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Did you know that August is Admit You're Happy Month? Neither did we. It was apparently declared by the Secret Society of Happy People. But wait... why is the society "secret" if its goal is to get people to admit that they're happy? Hmmm...

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*The PointsPlus® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.

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