dinner in 30-ish

dinner in 30-ish

you know those 90s family movies where the opening scene was the dinner crazies? some catchy song plays in the background and a working mom runs around the kitchen trying to feed her entire family while one kid is crying that their carrots touched their peas and the food always ends up on the floor so only the dog gets fed in the end.

as a kid you think it's funny, but as a mom these classic scenes hit waaaay too close to home. believe me, i'm right there with you covering my eyes and begging her not to drop the chicken.

i'm also here in your inbox, with my fav tips to get dinner on the table for the whole family in 30-ish minutes with less stress. if i could teleport myself into your kitchen to do the chopping for you, i swear i would. but this is the next best thing i can offer. 

read on for some for my tips and tricks to help you prep for dinner success, always have a recipe in your back pocket, and wow them with a meal the entire family will happily dig into — including kiddos with their spidey-sense tastebuds.

just walk slowly when carrying any food to the table, please! 

condiments are king

buy yourself a nice little set of bowls. not cereal bowls but cute, smaller condiment bowls. ones that put a smile on your face whenever you pull them out of the cupboard, like these or these.

why? because filling these little bowls with different condiments and snacks like dips, sauces
(hellloooo garlicky tahini or cilantro jalapeño oil), hot sauces or pickles will help you enjoy the family meal when spices have been toned down so the kids can also enjoy.

a cute trio of dipping sauces is the easiest way for you to elevate the flavors of your family’s dinner without messing with your kids’ tastebuds. so the kids might be having shakshuka for dinner but you’re having shakshuka topped with zhug and labaneh, or cilantro jalapeño oil and fresh herbs. yum.

also, i love putting the dipping sauces out on the table in those cute little bowls because if my kids are interested they can always dip away and try at their own pace. that's what my kids do and i love to encourage it.

eggs for dinner are always a good idea

introduce your kdis to the spice drawer...slowly

i love to play around with spices but i find with kids you have to ease them into the idea of anything that isn’t buttery noodles. i like to start with more neutral spices like paprika and turmeric and once the little ones get accustomed to those you can start weaving in more options like fennel seed, cumin, and coriander. soon you’ll be having the most incredible juicy roasted chicken or pomegranate glazed steak mushrooms coated with an amazing spice rub.

whenever you do introduce a new spice to a kid, always start in moderation. i’ve learned once a kid dislikes something it takes a month to repair their tastebud trust. it’s a tricky dance and one wrong move feels like you’ve undone all your hard earned tastebud exploration work. all i can say is moderation and patience.

one plate family meal, spices included

meals are meant to be repeated

it’s ok to have meals on repeat. that’s why i call this a weeknight ragu. there is nothing wrong with whipping it up weekly because nothing feels better than reaching into your back pocket and pulling out recipes that you know are a sure thing.

but here is the main trick to repeat meals: write. them. down. seriously. start a list right now on your phone. or write them on a sticky note and put it on your fridge. whenever you find a new, easy meal that your family loves? write. it. down.

why? because you will not remember it at 5pm when the dinner crazies start. your mind will be blank. but then you will remember the list, reference it, and be able to whip up dinner in 30-ish.

i might be partial but you could use my dinner in 30-ish highlight on instagram to kick off your list.

commit this recipe to memory. you won’t regret it.

prep will save you come 5pm

do you know how restaurants are able to prepare all those various meals in under 10 mins from order to table? prep. there are cooks in restaurant kitchens that are solely prep cooks. when they are making your omelette they are not slicing mushrooms. they are assembling all the prepped ingredients and adding some eggs.

i think this is a great lesson for home cooks. when you come home from the grocery store and you’re unloading the groceries and (miraculously) have a few extra minutes on your hands, do some prep work. that could be slicing some veggies or whipping up vinaigrettes and sauces. but start by prepping some food so you’re set up for success when mealtime is on the horizon.

prepped, sliced and (almost) ready to go. just add heat.

make food you like and eat meals with yours kids

i know this takes a lot of patience BUT the best way for your kids to try new foods and eat foods you like is to get them in the kitchen with you. involve them when making meals (they will be so proud that they did and they will want to try what they made).

also, eat the food with them. eating a meal is the most bonding thing I think you can do with family or friends. it is a great way to connect AND if they see you eat and enjoy the food you love, they will want to take part in it.

we eat breakfast for dinner a lot which thankfully falls under the category of 30-ish minute meals. and then we enjoy our eggs all together at the table, with fresh bread, chipped veg salad, pre-made tahini and zhug... and all the fresh cheeses. i promise if you show enthusiasm for the food you are eating, they will take part and do the same.

another great example, my girls are well aware of my obsession with fennel. so when i whip up fennel pasta for dinner, they get just as excited as me.

another 30-ish meal that never disappoints.