Dinner Makeover: Cooking With My Kids
Single mom Carline Louis-Jacques can never find the time to make dinner. Real Simple helps Carline find recipes that she and her kids can make in advance—or that they can start without her.
‘I Have No Time to Cook’
Carline Louis-Jacques, 49
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Carline’s days as a single mom and a busy ob-gyn never seem to end: She’s out the door many mornings at seven, and on the days her children—Weston, 15 (center), Garrett, 12 (left), and Ethan, 10 (right)—are with their dad, she often works late. When the boys are with Carline, her goal is to be home in time to help with homework and get dinner on the table. “But if my pager goes off, I’m back out the door,” she says. “Babies don’t wait.” Sit-down family dinners are important to Carline, as are healthy whole foods. “I want to practice what I preach to my patients,” she says. Her fall-back meal is often stir-fried chicken and vegetables. But if she’s really tired, she admits, the kids make ramen noodles. Actually, the boys love being in the kitchen, which is a plus. “Sometimes Weston will get things started when I’m on my way home,” she says. “But he needs a little direction. Otherwise he’ll wander off and forget to put rice in the pot.” And he can only help, she knows, if she has a dinner plan in the first place: “Most days I walk into the kitchen with my heart racing, thinking, What the heck am I going to cook tonight?”