Sometimes, I am jealous of the old time sitcoms. The moms are always at home, cooking, happy, dressed well, and can’t wait to tackle another family problem with a broad smile. Here I am running around in my sweats trying to keep it together and with any luck have two meals a day, forget about the smiles. And when it comes to family meals, I know for a fact I lack planning and execution. Sometimes I even feed kids, one at a time to avoid sibling rivalries at the dinner table. However, today I have a chance to ask Mimi Kozma, Master Home Chef, International Food Connoisseur and Star of Food Hero Mimi Kozma TV Series, how to keep it together when it comes to the family dinner table.
Mimi, how would you suggest a busy mom should manage family meals – a pen and a pencil, good old cookbook, excel spreadsheet
Call me old-fashioned, but I like to plan my meals with a pen or pencil on the back of my grocery list. I create them in tandem. While shopping one can always refer to the meal plans. Just remember NOT to throw away the list when you get home!!!
Perfect Seasonal Dishes
With the winter behind us, my family won’t be making chili any time soon. What are your favorite recipes for spring and summer?
To welcome spring and summer, keep the dishes representative of the bounty from the garden. Another rule of thumb is to keep the cooking outside. Some of my favorite dishes would include salads and salsas, anything and everything on the grill (vegetables, seafood, meat, pizza–use the side burner too)! The point is, move the kitchen outside and keep it fresh.
Plan or Improvise?
Is there a core strategy for planning a week of family meals you would suggest?
When planning a week of family meals, always keep the family in the loop. Find out what they’re craving or want to try. Next, take inventory of what you already have on hand–both in the fridge and the cupboard. Now, grab your weekly grocer’s flyer and triangulate (strategize) how you can create a week’s worth of meals with those parameters in mind. Also, as you plan your meals always consider how you will utilize the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. For example, if you grill shrimp with a side of rice one evening, Use the remaining shrimp and rice to make a shrimp fried rice the next day.
What is your personal backup plan if you have no dinner ready and it is almost time for dinner: Cook something quick? Order pizza? Go Out?
Oh, this is a big issue. It depends on the type of day you have had and what the budget will allow. Personally, I’d rather eat pizza, fresh off the heat, so pasta or rice dishes make for a great quick dinner. It can be as simple as pasta with garlic and butter or rice with vegetable stir fry. Save the ‘going out’ option for a time when you can afford to treat yourself to a meal you would not make for yourself at home. Going out should be special and a time to be savored.
Mimi Kozma is a mother, wife, special education teacher and master home chef. Mimi’s love of cooking ran deep and was what inspired her to create Food Hero. Aside from the kitchen, the other motivational factor for Food Hero comes from Mimi’s desire to help people. Through deep soul searching and with the aid of her husband, John, Mimi met Mike Schwartz of Hometown Heroes. Together Mimi and Mike are teaming up to find and surprise a deserving person or family in each episode of Food Hero. Mimi will prepare a tremendous rendition of this person or family’s favorite meal and top it off with a reveal of something completely unexpected.