To help families initiate their own dinner routines, Laurie and her Family Cooks coauthor Kirsten Uhrenholdt have launched a new campaign called Home-Cooked Sundays. Here's an excerpt from their book on how to get started:
Inaugurating this ritual will radically simplify your cooking routine during the busy work or school week and guarantee you healthier, calmer, and happier meals. A Home-Cooked Sunday is your family's day to shop, prep, cook, and enjoy a great sit-down dinner together-all the while getting your fridge ready for the week.
To get started, sit down in a comfortable chair with an inspirational cookbook (!) or a box of recipes and write out a plan for three dinners: one for tonight--maybe it's just a simple soup made from all the leftover veggies in the fridge--and two easy dinners for midweek. Then write a shopping list for the recipes and the staples you will need for the whole week. Take the kids along!
Once you get home from shopping, put on comfortable shoes and your favorite music. Have your kids pitch in by giving them a task they can learn by heart (for the little ones, something like pulling broccoli apart and mixing the salad dressing-or, for the older ones, making a batch of tomato sauce). Invite good friends to take part. Pour yourself a glass of wine or a cup of tea and cook up a delicious start to your week.
Prep a few of these recipe staples so you'll always have them on hand when needed:
• Peel three or four onions and one or two heads of garlic (don't chop them yet--they'll get funky) and store in airtight containers.
• Wash, peel, and slice plenty of carrots, celery, and peppers. Chop up a head or two of cabbage, cauliflower, or broccoli. Store them in separate glass jars or containers (adding water to the carrots) and place in the fridge--they'll be easy to grab for snacks or to chop up for soups and salads.
• Wash and prep a large container of salad greens. Refrigerate in an airtight container.
• If you are a kale-loving family, wash, chop, and knead a couple of bunches so they are ready for salads, as toppings for soups, eggs, and beans, or as fillings for sandwiches and wraps. Refrigerate in an airtight container. (Use 1 teaspoon olive oil per bunch of kale; drizzle kale with olive oil and using both hands, knead the kale as you would dough until it is silky and tender, about 30 kneads. Use right away or store covered for up to four days in the fridge.)
• Mix a jar of your favorite salad dressing.
On the Sundays when you have a little more time...
• Simmer a pot of grains or beans.
• Make a big pot of soup or white bean chili.
• Toss a quinoa or chopped salad to last a few days.
• Simmer a batch of tomato sauce for the fridge and freezer.
• Roast up a bunch of vegetables--such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes--so you have a week's head start on side dishes, fillings for sandwiches, salads, and soups.
Join The Family Cooks challenge and make every Sunday a Home-Cooked Sunday!
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com