flank

Back-to-school dinner dilemma solved

For our family, school starts Aug. 24. I’m not going to lie, I’m excited. As someone who’s generally very schedule-oriented and a big planner, I happen to prefer the more structured timeframe the school year brings. Maybe I’d like the long and lazy days of summer more if I had a couple months off to enjoy them, like the kids … but I digress.

Coordinating after-school pick-ups, sports practices and everything else means that enjoying a “real” dinner together is sometimes a challenge. Working parents, you know what I’m talking about. How many nights have you pretended that peanut butter sandwiches or bowls of cereal count? (Better that than making a habit of swinging through the nearest drive-thru, I would argue.)

On the other hand, a home-cooked 12-course course meal every night isn’t realistic, either – no matter how much your budding gourmands might crave Lobster Thermidor, a made-from-scratch cassoulet or Baked Alaska. So what’s a frazzled family to do? Or, a seriously talented chef, for that matter – maybe one who’s cooked at the Greenbrier Resort or the Eiffel Tower restaurant at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas?

Chef Keoni Chang, corporate chef for Foodland  stores in Hawaii, has some ideas. (Ahhhhhhh, the beautiful island paradise of Hawaii … I can practically hear the surf, smell the plumeria and taste the pineapple!)

Anyway, Chef Keoni – he of the serious culinary chops – wisely suggests a “cook once, eat twice” approach. His delicious idea: keep a Certified Angus Beef ® flank steak at the center of your plans. 

How smart is that?
Fire up the grill on Sunday night and enjoy a laid-back steak dinner with your family … and plan ahead for two rounds of leftovers on the weeknights. (Can I coin a new term – “planned-overs”?)

 Not only is flank steak super flavorful and versatile, it’s a lean cut that boasts a lot of energy-boosting protein. When you cook at home, YOU control the grease factor … and the sodium … and calorie count … and the overall nutritional bang for your buck.

Steak earns a top grade, as far as I’m concerned. Take that, takeout!

Chef Keoni suggested a steak sandwich, and a steak salad. The salad might not go over with picky eaters (ahem … I’m not naming any names!) but I got to thinking that you could use the leftover steak to top a pizza on a whole wheat crust … or fill baked potato skins … or toss into a veggie stir-fry … or whatever your kids would enjoy. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination, and what else you have in your fridge or pantry.

In fact, I’d be willing to bet most chefs, especially those with kiddos at home, have an arsenal of go-to dinners on the fly that feature wholesome, delicious ingredients. I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.

With memories of cereal for dinner, my family would, too!

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Jennifer Schertz

Jennifer Schertz is living the suburban dream with her husband, stepsons and a pair of spoiled rotten Yorkies. A fearless home cook, passionate cookie baker and designer purse aficionado, she also loves to travel and taste each destination’s signature dishes.

2 thoughts on “Back-to-school dinner dilemma solved”

  1. Those are great ideas. I will have to try those and ease some of my wife”s burdens after her long days at work

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