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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How to spend more time with your kids AND have a daily home-made meal

It all starts with having a weekly meal plan.
Choose recipes with no more than 20 minutes of prep time. That is, the time you have to be active and actually prepare the recipe, unlike the cooking time which is usually inactive and allows you to do other things while the food cooks.

Here is an example for a weekday meal plan. These meals don’t take more than 30 minutes to prepare. If you keep it simple, like in the example below, you will find that you have more time to do fun stuff like go to the park with the kids, because dinner is almost ready and all you need to do is 1-2 quick side dishes!

In the summer it is especially easy because you can grill the food and have fun outside in your backyard, deck or porch and play with your kids while the food cooks.

Grilled Salmon
Grilled baby potatoes
Grilled asparagus
* Do ahead – cook Bolognese sauce for Thursday on Monday/Tuesday night

Grilled steaks
Mashed sweet potatoes
Steamed broccoli

Grilled lamb chops
Israeli couscous
Cinnamon glazed carrots

Spaghetti with Bolognese sauce (reheat)
Small salad

Buffet OR Pizza party = take all the leftovers out and “clean” your fridge before Sunday’s grocery shopping (put it all on flatbread and make “pizza”), OR Light dinner of fried eggs, cheeses, deli meat, veggies, tuna salad, etc

* Do the grocery shopping on Sunday and you are good for the week.
* Do ahead the prep or cooking is best to do in the evening after the kids are in bed. I know it might be the last thing you feel like doing at the end of the day when you can finally rest, but he next day you will be happy you did it. You will feel so wonderful when you know you don’t have the pressure of cooking dinner fast and can do something “funner” instead.
* If you have leftovers, that is the best. Pack everything and have a picnic dinner in the park, or the backyard.

Make your life and easy, keep cooking simple, and you’ll see that having a home-made dinner everyday can be easy. It just takes some practice (or a cooking class, see World Flavors).

Enjoy summer.

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