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Saturday, April 16, 2011

it's nine a.m. and I'm late for dinner.

It seems, these days, that there just isn't a single evening where I am home to cook dinner and place it lovingly and piping hot on the table just as my family comes in to sit together and lovingly inquire about one another's days, compliment the chef, and enjoy each other's company.

While the thought of having a Norman Rockwell scene at my dining table may remain a pipe dream forever, I would be happy to just have the time to cook the dinner and serve it hot.  Then at least I would have a hot meal to eat while the kids complain about how gross everything is.

However, between baseball practices and karate classes, girl scouts and boy scouts, practice spelling tests and forcing urging the kids to practice the piano, I rarely have time in the kitchen between 2:00 and 6:30.

So, it remains, that I continue to try to find meals that I can do most (if not all) of the prep work and cooking in the morning, and a little bit of finishing up right before we sit down. And I really don't much care for crock pot food. I have only found a couple of things I like, despite trying millions of recipes.

This morning, I added the challenge of finding a meal that made a half of a cabbage and a few carrots magically transform into something the kids will eat.

I love cole slaw. I usually make a cole slaw that is pretty trashy food altogether (I am embarrassed to admit it uses a package of Top Ramen). I decided to try out something different this time, and it turned out to be quite a hit! It requires no cooking, relatively few ingredients, and gets better as it absorbs the dressing. Thus, it is perfect for mixing up in the morning and eating at dinner time.

All I had to do for the last 15 minutes before we ate was to grill some chicken breasts (which I had tenderized and marinated earlier in the day so they would cook quickly) and the spring onions I got in my box this week. Delicious!

As a matter of fact, two of my three kids loved it (and these are kids who were cabbage-shy after a stir-fry debacle that happened earlier this week). Surprisingly, one of the two was my middle son. The one who has been known to wage epic dinner-time battles. The two younger kids ate it up with relish, and the oldest ate it. Not too happily, but not too loudly either.  I am floating on cloud nine right now. Thank you, peanut butter.

Peanut Cole Slaw

1/2 head green cabbage
2 carrots
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 cup peanuts
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Finely cut the cabbage, julienne the carrots, and toss. Mix the peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. Toss together the vegetables, dressing, and peanuts. Top with sesame seeds.