Claire King is a trained chef, master flower arranger, and mother of two. Here’s how she balances all of that while working from home.
I try to have my whole family sit down for dinner every night but, with two kids ages 3 years and 6 months, it takes a bit of organization. Working from home has added an extra layer of complexity. Somehow, it seems like I have even less free time than I did before. I certainly haven’t been able to find the large chunks of time to set aside for cooking. After a few weeks of tweaking, I figured out how to make family dinner happen by planning well ahead of time.
Here’s how I’ve been cooking in 10-20 minute sessions throughout the day. I’ve found that by breaking up the effort, I’ve been able to get all of my office work done and get dinner on the table by 7pm. If you have kids and are trying to work from home as well, this method can be a stress-free (fine, stress-reduced) way to get the quality family dinner you crave.
- 10:00 am: First up is a walk around the neighborhood. I love having this time to prepare myself for the day.
- 10:30 am: Back from my walk. Time for coffee and emails with my littlest co-worker, George. After the first round of emails I prep the cabbage for dinner tonight (Step 1).
- 12:00 pm: Lunch break! While I prepare lunch I also prepare my chicken and snap the ends off of my asparagus (Step 2)
- More emails while my co-worker George slacks off
- 5:30 pm: Time to get the chicken in the oven and also finish prepping my asparagus (Step 3).
- Playtime with Arthur while the chicken cooks
- 6:30 pm: Chicken is ready! Time to flip the cabbage and get it back in the oven (Step 4)
- 6:45 pm: I also make some grits with sour cream, butter, salt & pepper. Instant grits are ready in about 7 minutes.
- 7:00 pm: Ta da! Chicken, cabbage, asparagus, and grits managed to all come together for a big family dinner.
Make Claire’s Favorite Weeknight Family Dinner Recipe
Roast Chicken with Cabbage, Lemon Asparagus and Grits:
Chicken Recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen
- 1 large head of green cabbage
- 1 whole chicken, giblets removed, approximately 3 lbs
- 6 tablespoons butter, separated
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
- 2 bunches asparagus
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup instant grits
- ⅓ cup sour cream
Step 1: Spread 1 tablespoon olive oil into the bottom of a 12” cast-iron pan. Core and cut cabbage into 1” pieces and snuggly fit them into the bottom of the pan.
Step 2: In a small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Season the cabbage with salt and pepper. Place chicken, breast side up, on top of the cabbage. Brush on 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Snap off the ends of the asparagus and place on a sheet tray.
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place chicken in the oven and roast for 45 to 60 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 in the breast. Spoon the remaining butter over the chicken as it roasts.
Thinly slice lemon and place on a sheet tray with asparagus. Drizzle asparagus with olive oil, season well with salt and pepper, and spread everything out evenly.
Step 4: Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from the oven. Transfer chicken to a platter and flip the cabbage. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the cabbage is nicely browned with some crispy edges. Transfer the prepared asparagus to the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.
Meanwhile make the grits according to the package directions. Finish grits by stirring in sour cream, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, salt and lots of pepper.
Step 5: Transfer chicken, asparagus, and grits to serving bowls and enjoy!