photo credit: Todd Coleman
family can live on take-out pizza alone, a mom’s reality is that she has to
cook dinner for the family. Just about every night.
We’re not saying dads,
grandmas or even teenagers don’t sometimes pitch in, but most of the
time it’s up to the mother in the group.
And so, to
the rescue, we have gathered 10 family-friendly tips from cookbook author Katie Workman. These should go a long way to maintaining your
sanity in the kitchen. It’s an eclectic grouping, but raising a family
rarely follows a linear, logical path, either.
- Cook in big batches. There is
little point to making small amounts of spaghetti sauce, chili, or soup.
Double or triple the recipe and freeze what you don’t use for one meal to
eat at another.
- Remember what is in the
freezer. Keep a list either on the freezer door or in a nearby drawer. You
can also keep the list on the computer, if you are that organized. Clearly
mark and date all packets destined for the deep freeze.
- Keep a poker face when you put
something new in front of the kids. If you say: “You probably won’t like
this, but try it anyhow,” your child won’t even give it a chance. On the
other hand, if you say: “You will LOVE this! I just know it!” your
offspring most likely will resist your enthusiasm. (And they might even roll their eyes.)
- Start with small portions. A
big bowl of something can be off-putting, while a two-bite sample is
- Know your cooking dishes. For
instance, a Dutch oven is nothing more complicated than a large, heavy pot
with a lid, which works both on top of the stove and in the oven. Shallow
baking dishes help casseroles turn crunchy-crispy; deeper dishes keep
- Don’t be afraid of the food
processor — either the small or the large one. These are great for whirring
garlic and ginger together, chopping sizable amounts of onion and carrots,
and chopping chocolate. Not so good, though, for mashed potatoes, which
tend to go gluey in the fp.
- Speaking of mashed potatoes,
there are lots of things that can be added to make them special: shredded cheddar cheese; crumbled bacon; chopped fresh
herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme or chives; dollops of pesto; some
mustard mixed with horseradish (or nix the horseradish). Toss peeled
garlic cloves in the cooking water with the potatoes for garlicky mashers.
- Get the kids involved whenever
you can. Let them measure, stir, season. You will have to determine when
they can wield a knife or use the stove, but there are always kitchen
tasks even the youngest child can master. This empowers them. It really
does! And they are more apt to eat their “own cooking."
- Herbs are optional. No one
wants to eat bland food — oh wait! Kids do... A sprinkle of herbs to the
simmering sauce adds flavor, but that scattering of chopped, fresh, green leaves on the chicken breasts
or homemade pizzas could be a deal breaker for the kids at the table.
- Don’t deprive your children of
apple or blueberry pie because you can’t — won’t? — make pie dough. Buy
pre-made pie crust in the supermarket. It’s usually sold near the flour
tortillas and biscuits packed in tubes (which, by the way, are not a bad
remember that although there are times when only take-out will do, homemade is
always the better alternative for flavor, satisfaction, and good health.
is worth it, right?
courtesy of The Mom
100 Cookbook by Katie Workman, published by Workman Publishing. For more, go to The Mom 100 Cookbook.