San Diego, California (NAPSI) - From busy schedules to picky eaters, mealtime can seem overwhelming for many moms and dads. According to a study by the University of Illinois, some parents report that preparing a meal is so stressful it feels like being in a “pressure cooker.”

The Pampered Chef, the largest direct seller of kitchen tools, is committed to helping these families come together around the table each night. Through its partnership with the Family Resiliency Center, it has developed a few tips to simplify busy weeknight dinners.

• Get in a food mood. Set aside 10 minutes once a week to jot down upcoming meals and build your shopping list. This can save time and cut down your food budget.

• Take stock of your pantry. Before your grocery trip, double-check your pantry to eliminate last-minute trips for “forgotten” must-have items during the week.

• Add a prep step. Cook one extra thing tonight to make tomorrow’s meal easier. This works best with time-consuming steps, such as browning ground beef, preparing rice or cleaning and cutting vegetables.

• Schedule a fuss-free meal. Enjoy a build-your-own-pizza night or soup and sandwiches—bring the family into the kitchen and let the primary cook off the hook, creating a fun family tradition in the process.

• Cook with others. Collaborate with friends to prepare several meals ahead of time that can be frozen and ready to use on nights you don’t have the time or energy to cook.

Another way to make mealtime quick, simple and affordable is with this family-friendly One-Pot Chicken Dinner. It costs about $2 a serving and is cooked to tender perfection in the microwave in 30 minutes, with two options for a side:

One-Pot Chicken Dinner
Serves 4-6

For the chicken:

1 whole chicken (3½-4 lbs/1.6-1.8 kg)

Canola oil for spritzing

3 Tbsp (45 mL) Bell Pepper Herb Rub (or any rub or seasoning mix of your choice)

Select one side:

Herbed Rice Variation

2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped with Food Chopper

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped with Food Chopper

1 cup (250 mL) uncooked converted white rice

2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock or broth

2 garlic cloves, pressed with Garlic Press

1 Tbsp (15 mL) Bell Pepper Herb Rub (or any rub or seasoning mix of your choice)

Garlic Mashed Potatoes Variation

2 lbs (1 kg) “B” size unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes

6 garlic cloves, peeled

½ tsp (2 mL) salt

¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper

1. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken cavity. Trim excess fat from chicken with Professional Shears, if necessary.

2. Place chicken onto Flexible Cutting Mat; lightly spray with oil using Kitchen Spritzer. Completely coat outside of chicken with 3 Tbsp (45 mL) rub.

3. Prepare Herbed Rice or Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

For Herbed Rice, place carrots, onion, rice, stock, garlic and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) rub in Rockcrok (4-qt./3.8-L) Dutch Oven; mix well. Place chicken, breast side up, into Dutch Oven.

For Garlic Mashed Potatoes, place chicken, breast side up, into Rockcrok (4-qt./3.8-L) Dutch Oven. Arrange potatoes and garlic around chicken. The potatoes fit closely around the chicken. No need to add extra liquid; the drippings are enough to cook the potatoes!

4. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 25-30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165° F (74° C) in thickest part of breast and juices run clear.

5. Remove Dutch Oven from microwave. Let stand 10 minutes (temperature will rise to 170° F/77° C). Remove chicken to Large Grooved Cutting Board; carve.

6. For Herbed Rice, stir before serving with chicken. For Garlic Mashed Potatoes, add salt and pepper; mash with Mix ‘N Masher. Serve with chicken.

U.S. Nutrients per serving (One-Pot Chicken with Herbed Rice): Calories 500, Total Fat 22 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 125 mg, Sodium 680 mg, Carbohydrate 30 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 44 g

U.S. Nutrients per serving (One-Pot Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes): Calories 490, Total Fat 22 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 125 mg, Sodium 760 mg, Carbohydrate 28 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 41 g

At in-home Cooking Shows, guests see and try products, prepare and sample recipes, and learn quick and easy food preparation techniques and tips on how to entertain with style and ease—transforming the simple to the spectacular.

For more mealtime tips, recipes and free resources, visit www.pamperedchef.com/mealtimeminutes. For more information, call (800) 266-5562 or visit www.pamperedchef.com and www.facebook.com/ThePamperedChef.

*A Formative Evaluation of Shared Family Mealtime for Parents of Toddlers and Young Children, Health Communication, 2011