The days may take many shapes, some flying by at breakneck speed, others unfolding at a slightly more leisurely pace. But one thing is for certain: At the end of all of the days, dinner of some kind or another must be served. When you’re tired and the family is hungry, it can feel like the steepest uphill battle just to figure out what to cook, let alone get it to the table intact.
While we certainly understand ordering out or opening a box of mac and cheese once in awhile, the best way to provide your family with well-rounded nutrition is to cook real food for (and with) them. Luckily, there are plenty of cookbooks, websites and blogs to provide inspiration, short cuts and huge catalogues of family-friendly recipes to help make dinner a quicker, easier, all-around-more-doable endeavor. Here are four of our favorites:
Dinner, A Love Story – Jenny Rosenstrach’s mission is family dinner, plain and simple. Though her blog is full of creative and sometimes cheffy ideas, her number one objective is to help parents feed their families, with strategies and recipes to make that goal a more realistic one. She is the author of three cookbooks: Dinner: The Playbook; Dinner: A Love Story; and How to Celebrate Everything. She is also a contributor to big-name food media like Bon Appetit and Real Simple. Her writing is clear, friendly and conversational, her photos are lovely, and the recipes range from the fun (waffle iron grilled cheese), to the practical (leftover risotto cakes), to the festive (tres leches cake), to the unexpected (miso-butter tofu). Jenny, the mother of two daughters working full time in the food world, ensures that all her recipes have been tested by a professional and vetted by children.
The Seasoned Mom – This helpful blog is written by Blair Lonergan, a mother of three and a cookbook author. Clearly someone who understands how tricky it can be to get dinner on the table for a hungry family, she focuses on smart shortcuts with her slow cooker and “dump and bake” recipes, sheet-pan dinners and four-ingredient dishes. Each one of her recipes relies primarily on common pantry staples and requires just about 10 to 15 minutes of prep. Her well-organized site offers recipes for every meal of the day plus sides, snacks and sweets. Some examples of her tasty, kid-friendly recipes are four-ingredient maple glazed salmon, red pepper soup with grilled cheese croutons, and raspberry fudge brownies.
Jessica Seinfeld’s website – Jessica Seinfeld, wife of the famous comedian Jerry, helped all parents step up their cooking game when she published her first cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, in 2008. This family-friendly book explained how to hide vegetable purees in all kinds of dishes, from burgers to brownies, to help children get more complete nutrition during even their pickiest phases. Her website, which is extremely professional and beautifully designed, is home to an abundance of recipes. There is a specific tab you can click to find the “Fast & Easy” recipes, like wild rice and quinoa stuffing, buffalo chicken nuggets, and harissa roasted cauliflower. Some of the recipes have upwards of an hour’s cook time, but if you look carefully, you’ll see that the active cooking time (where you’re actually chopping, sautéing and so on) is usually between just 10 and 20 minutes.
The Naptime Chef – Kelsey Banfield is a mother and a foodie, and her blog came about as a way to try to balance those two parts of her life. The author of two cookbooks, she doesn’t want to just teach parents how to make dinner quickly and easily, but instead how to fit eating and cooking well into the even the busiest of schedules. Recipes include extra features like the “naptime stopwatch,” which times the recipe from start to finish, and “naptime reviews,” which gauge her children’s responses to the dishes. There is a large catalogue of recipes on the website, sorted alphabetically, as well as by mealtime category and by ingredient. The “Freezer Friendly” and “Potlucks & New Parents” category will come in especially handy during extra hectic times.
What are your favorite food blogs and websites? Let us know in the comments!