Sunday, February 28, 2010

Time for Dinner?

A few weeks ago Dr. Crystal and I had dinner with a close group of girlfriends. During this dinner we discussed the usual: work, children, husbands/partners/boyfriends, and food. One of the resounding things that was said around the table was "How do you prepare good nutritious food every night?" As mothers we want to feed our children the best food possible but find ourselves struggling with the balance of work, family and the elusive friend get-together. The best thing Dr. Crystal and I could suggest to our group of girls was to prepare meals ahead of time and put them in the freezer to thaw when time and energy aren't available to prepare your meals fresh. To this most of the girls responded, "I don't want to spend my weekends cooking!" To Dr. Crystal and I this suggestion was logical because we like to cook, we do spend our weekends cooking because it is a hobby of ours, and after this conversation took place we realized this wasn't the case for everybody. In the last post Dr. Crystal offered up a few suggestions for remaking a few "fast food" options, I am here to offer another suggestion – add a quick punch of nutrition on the side of whatever "fast food" item you do choose to go with.

My dinner last night is a perfect example; after spending the day fighting with a two year old about putting a diaper on I was not feeling very creative or energetic to tackle the whole chicken I had originally planned on preparing for dinner. So I boiled some noodles, sautéed some onions, browned some chicken sausage and tossed it all together then topped it with some shredded cheddar cheese. My husband had a spinach salad on the side, I had some sautéed kale, and our son had some sweet potatoes.

Kale – I just discovered kale last night. I had always been scared of cooked kale because of my intense dislike of cooked spinach. Well let me tell you I am so glad that I finally tried it because I love it! See below for the sautéed kale recipe, don't be afraid! Just try it!

Spinach – Spinach salad is a popular option in my house. No matter what we are having my husband usually has a spinach salad on the side as he does not always like the other vegetable options I prepare for myself and our son.

Sweet Potatoes – I almost always have steamed sweet potatoes in the refrigerator. I buy a bag of them from Trader Joe's then cut up 3-4 in 1 inch slices then steam them with the skins on. When they are "fork tender" I turn them off and let them cool a bit. The skins peel right off and both my son and I love them alongside pretty much anything (I add a little salt to mine).You can see all the great things about sweet potatoes in our Thanksgiving post.

Sautéed Kale

·       1 bunch kale, rinsed well, drained & roughly chopped

·       2 Tablespoons olive oil

·       2 garlic cloves, minced

·       ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock or water

·       Salt & Pepper

              Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored.

Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine.

Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Enjoy it and think of all the great nutrients you are getting!


  1. A friend just introduced me to raw yams as a snack. Just peel one, cut it into sticks and enjoy. A lovely alternative to carrot sticks, yummy, crunchy and full of nutrients!

  2. Hi
    Just figured this out

  3. Just tried the sauteed kale - wonderful! We sprinkled it with a little grated parmesan.

  4. As someone who finished a PhD and got tenure while raising 2 challenging children, I sympathize with the need to make good food in short time. 3 tips:
    1. every meal, make 8(or more) servings, so that when you are cooking, you are cooking 2 meals.
    2. use leftovers creatively--in soup, tacos, omelets
    3. buy nutritious prepared food (organic pasta sauce, whole grain pasta, refried beans with no presevatives, etc.)