Practical Solutions to the Problem of No Time to Cook | Kids Out and About Philadelphia <

Practical Solutions to the Problem of No Time to Cook

Do we really need a National Day to Eat Dinner With Your Children?


by Debra Ross, publisher of

We hear a lot how about important it is to sit down and eat together "as a family." I, too, think this can be a terrific strategy for family harmony and consistency in kids' lives, and probably leads to all manner of success in adulthood. Social scientists far more clever than I have probably even figured out ways to measure it. For all I know, they have fancy graphs showing that parents who place a priority on eating a three-course family dinner with differently-colored organic veggies and no trans fats have kids who are 11.7% more likely to become social scientists when they grow up.

Some of these social scientists think it's so important for you to realize the hitherto unrealized benefits of eating with your family that they have even created a National Holiday to draw attention to it. Yep, that's right! How did I ever manage for the last 10 years without being aware that in 2001, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University created Family Day: A Day to Eat Dinner With Your Children. This year, it is on Monday, September 26.

Please forgive my skepticism, but I get tired of being treated like a mindless person who needs Big Brother Social Scientist to tell us the Bleeding Obvious.

Here's what we really need: Nutritious, Delicious, Shortcuts!

The main lack that readers face is not brains, but time. Fortunately, Modern Technology has ridden in on her white horse to save the day (so to speak). We have microwaves. We have crockpots. We have mixers. We even have cute little baby carrots that you don't need to peel. Some of us even have older kids whose job it would be to wash the pots afterward if they didn't have so much blessed homework. And we have lots of information about what makes a nutritious meal with the three (or is it five, now?) food groups taking center stage.

This is all a long-winded ranty way of telling you that will never give you paternalistic nutri-babble, we give you links to...

Dishes You Can Throw Together Quickly and Make Everyone Think You Slaved for Hours


Brazilian Pot Roast in the Crock Pot

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Sage (also with roasted carrots and sweet potatoes

Kid Kebobs (this is kebobs for, and not of, kids)

Beef Taquitos

Easy Chicken Lo Mein

Italian Turkey Sliders

Chicken Taco Soup


Pasta with Prosciutto, Peas, and Cream

Shrimp Scampi

Gnocchi with Zucchini and Parsley Brown Butter

Lemon, Caper, & White Bean Pasta

Cold Peanut Noodles

Fruits and Vegetables

KOAA readers sent in these cabbage recipes

Easy apple sauce even a preteen could make


Tuscan Style Tuna Salad

Mu Shu Vegetables

Two Very Different Easy Sweet Potato / Yam Recipes



(We threw in a couple of extra s's for good measure, because no one seems to know how to spell "desserts" nowadays.)

Pumpkin Pie

Please help us add to this list! Send us easy recipes or, better yet, links to those others have published! Email

©2011, Debra Ross

P.S. Don't tell Columbia's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse that much of this good food is totally addictive. I, personally, couldn't manage without it. My name is Debra Ross, and I am a dinner addict.