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Cooking Tips for Parents

Yes it's true that you have easy access to the kitchen... but you're still a working parent and don't have much time to cook! How do you make the most of your flexible schedule when it comes to mealtime?

© 1997, by Lisa M. Roberts

Here are the "Top 10 Cooking Tips" for Entrepreneurial Parents:

1. Shop in the morning. Take advantage of your time flexibility by shopping for groceries when your kids are at school and most of your neighbors are working.

2. Shop weekly. Avoid frequent (and time-consuming) trips to the food store by developing a weekly ritual. And keep up with your housework at the same time by cleaning your fridge once a week, preferably right before you shop!

3. Prepare home-made soups, roasts and stews. Since you work at home, you and your family can indulge in slow-cooking, warm and nutritious meals any time. Choose a day when your workload is light and/or you're feeling more organized than usual.

4. Cook & eat early. Start preparing dinner around 3:00-3:30 p.m. and plan to eat around 5:00-5:30. This will give you plenty of room for after-dinner bedtime routine, including baths/showers, homework checks and reading time.

5. Rotate dinner chores. Teach your children early on how to set and clear the table so they can help out as they grow. Alternate chores among them.

6. Stock up. Stock up on canned goods and paper products with a monthly trip to your local warehouse store, such as Price Club or BJs. Make sure you have some soup cans and box of crackers for a last-minute, no-fuss winter meal when you need one.

7. Stock up on frozen meats and veggies. Prepare and freeze hamburger patties, buy frozen french fries and frozen green veggies. This will come in handy when you're sitting in your home office and suddenly it's 5:00 and you forgot to make dinner!

8. Take Friday nights off. Give yourself a break from cooking at least once a week. You don't have to spend extra money eating out, but clip those pizza, chicken and Chinese food coupons you get in the mail and order in!

9. Save the big dinners for the weekends. Treat your family to traditional, home-cooked meals on the weekends, when your spouse can ease your child care workload. Make plenty and freeze leftovers for mid-week, quick-fix dinners.

10. Make cooking dates with your kids. You don't have to bake cookies every day to build those cozy, recipe-making memories with your children. Make a date once a week -- or once a month -- with each of your children to prepare a treat for the whole family. (Remember, you work at home, so celebrate that fact every now and then!)


Franks & Beans Hawaiin-style. A quick & easy casserole that kids love (and older kids can make!). Stock the ingredients so you can use this recipe on one of those hectic, can't-do-it-all days (freeze the franks).

Mix the following ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

10-12 franks, cut up in bite size pieces
1 large can baked beans
1 can crushed pineapple
? cup maple syrup OR brown sugar

Grandma Millie's Italian Sauce. Adopt the handy, nutritious and tasty Italian-American tradition of serving macaroni and tomato sauce twice a week. Prepare sauce and serve with meat and fresh macaroni on a Sunday, then heat up leftover sauce and serve with fresh macaroni on a Wednesday or Thursday. Sauce can be frozen in jars. Simple to make; wonderful to eat.

One large onion, chopped
1 small piece of beef
1 small piece of pork
? - ? cup red wine
3 28-oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
4 6-oz. cans tomato paste
raisins & spices

Saute onion in olive oil in a large pot. Add beef and pork, fry lightly on both sides. Pour in wine and let simmer. Blend (in blender or food processor) 1 can of tomatoes with 2-3 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp. fresh basil, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, a handful of raisins. Pour into pot with the 2 other cans of crushed tomatoes. Bring to boil. Stir in tomato paste (add a few cans of water to thin sauce if desired), cover pot and simmer slowly 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally, but thoroughly.

Variations: Fry and drain 1 lb. chopped meat and add to sauce. Also boil 6 Italian-style pork sausages and add to sauce.

© 1997 Lisa M. Roberts, all rights reserved. The above article is an excerpt from How to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide to Home Business, a title highly recommended by La Leche League, Home Office Computing and the Family Christian Bookclub. Order your own copy today!

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