The Taylor-Jackson Family: Janet and Stuart, Lauren, Erin, Taylor, and Yanna; Psychiatrist and consumer health consultant; Executive vice president of basketball operations at the National Basketball Association
The Challenge: "I tend to make the same dishes over and over again," says Janet, 46, whose four athletic daughters and husband, 52, have schedules that are seldom in sync. "I really need some creative input. My family will kill me if I put another dish of broccoli in front of them."
Like many working mothers, Janet wants to prepare dinners for her family that are nutritious and creative yet broadly appealing—her twins, Erin and Taylor, 17, and her youngest daughter, Yanna, 14, don't always like the same foods. (Oldest daughter Lauren, 19, is away at college.) "I feel guilty that I am shortchanging my family by not cooking more healthful foods," she admitted.
The Strategy: Janet needs dishes that keep and reheat well, since the girls often have different practice and game schedules. Roasted vegetables are a good choice, as is quinoa, a nutrient-packed grain—both taste fine even if they have to sit out for an hour or so at room temperature. A meaty fish like salmon is substantial enough to be served twice (a more delicate fish might not stand up to reheating). And all these dishes can be served together or paired with others—the vegetables would be perfect alongside a roast chicken, for example.
The ginger-honey marinade, used for the salmon, is also delicious with haddock, halibut, or scallops. If Janet doubles the marinade recipe she (like Ellie) can easily prepare additional suppers at the last minute; she can also alter the basic recipe, experimenting with garlic, herbs, and spices. Likewise, the vegetable glaze can be adapted to suit whatever vegetables are in season. With summer zucchini and peppers, for example, fresh herbs could replace the spicy curry powder, and lemon could be substituted for the orange.
Ginger-Honey Glazed Salmon
Orange-Curry Roasted Vegetables
Quinoa with Pesto and Toasted Almonds
A member of the Nutrition Roundtable at the Harvard School of Public Health, Nina Simonds runs SpicesofLife.com, devoted to making mealtimes healthy, manageable, and fun.