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 t https://singleblackmom.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/screen-shot-2014-08-09-at-9-11-15-am.pnghe 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?”
Freeze for Easy Meals
When you’re on the go, a quick and tasty way to have great meals is to prepare them in advance. Casseroles are easy to make in big batches, and everyone in the family can pitch in. The dishes can then go into the freezer, and on crazy nights Carline just has to reheat. Label and date the frozen meals. After 3 months, it’s time to toss them.
Things that can be frozen: Make macaroni and cheese, lasagna, scalloped potatoes and things like that but don’t cook the meals. Freeze it for easy, pop-in-the-oven options that you’ll be happy to serve to your family. Best yet, you’ll be able to stop eating processed foods that are racked with sodium, sugar and preservatives. For breakfast options, make pancakes or waffles and freeze them. You’ll save time and money skipping the supermarket lines to buy the name brand frozen kind.
How to Bake Potatoes
Step 1: Heat oven to 375° F.
Step 2: Scrub the potatoes. Prick them all over with a fork. Rub olive oil on the skins and sea salt (optional) Wrap in alumunium foil.
Step 3: Bake on a baking sheet until tender, about 1 hour.
How to Defrost Meat*
Step 1: Take the meat out of the freezer, remove it from its packaging, and place in a resealable plastic bag. (Make sure the bag is tightly closed.)
Step 2: Fill a large bowl with cold water and place the bag in the water. Let sit until thawed.
*Parents: This technique works only with small to medium cuts of meat. Larger cuts should be thawed in the refrigerator overnight.
How to Make Rice
Step 1: Put 1½ cups water, 1 cup long-grain white rice, and ½ teaspoon salt in a small saucepan.
Step 2: Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat to low. Put the cover on and simmer for 18 minutes.
Step 3: Turn off heat and let the pot sit for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork.