The School Year Survival Cookbook is an excellent resource for anyone who struggles to find the time and energy to get tasty, healthy, kid-friendly meals on the table, especially during those hectic months from September to June. It’s about more than getting the kids to school on time with a healthy packed lunch — it’s about fitting a healthy lifestyle into already busy schedules and resting easy, knowing that the whole family is fed, fueled, and ready to tackle all the pop quizzes, book reports, and after-school activities they will inevitably face.
Laura Keogh, and Ceri Marsh, are the Toronto-based team behind this parent-saving cookbook. Both are journalists who worked for Fashion magazine (as beauty director and editor in chief, respectively), and together they write a blog called Sweet Potato Chronicles, “a website dedicated to all things family food.”
With gorgeous photographs and over 100 easy-to-follow recipes, this cookbook should not be bought exclusively by those with school-age children. It is a great, comprehensive guide to eating nutritiously even at the most hectic of times. Learn how to master meal prep, transform leftovers, and feed even the pickiest of eaters.
Recipes featured in the book include:
The Daily Meal: What is your philosophy of cooking (and/or eating)?
Ceri Marsh: Our philosophy is that food made at home and shared with family is the best food. When your kids get to school ages it can become really tough to juggle their schedules and your schedule and still get healthy food on the table (and in lunch boxes!). We want to help busy families by giving them easy, delicious recipes and the strategies that let them make good food a reality.
How did it inspire the recipes you chose to include in this book?
Laura Keogh: Selecting the recipes for the book was an easy task. We chose dishes that were family favorites that could work within the framework of a busy household. We also wanted to make sure that the recipes complemented all the strategies we offer in the book, because the what to cook was as important as the how do we make it happen. Then, of course, we needed some desserts, because who doesn't?!
What is your favorite recipe in the book and why?
CM: Oh, that's a hard question! I love so many recipes in the book because they're what we make for our families. If I had to pick one, I guess I'd go with the Slow-Cooker Butter Chicken. It's an easy recipe, with very little prep, it goes into the slow-cooker, so you can forget about it, and it yields a lot, so you're guaranteed leftovers. Oh, and it's super delicious! We recipe-tested this one with a lot of families, and it always got rave reviews.
What are some of the foods you can’t live without?
LK: During the school year, I can't live without pantry staples, because they really help me get dinner on the table in a pinch. For instance, things like pasta, eggs, and grains help me create dishes during the week — especially towards the end — when my groceries are running thin. In other words, a frittata is my best friend come Thursday.
Would you rather dine out or cook at home?
CM: Honestly, it depends on the day of the week. On a Wednesday, I want to be home with my family, making sure everyone’s homework gets done, the viola gets practiced, and an easy dinner gets eaten. But on a Friday I'm often ready for a break, and everyone in my family loves a good meal out. We're lucky in that our neighborhood in Toronto is full of great, casual places for sushi, ramen, and pizza.
What is your favorite go-to meal or drink?
LK: My family loves our Orecchiette With Turkey and Broccoli because it's so comforting but I love that it yields miles of leftovers I can use for lunches. In fact, most of our dinners in the book yield more than the average four servings, because we believe you should maximize your time in the kitchen and get more than one meal per effort. It's why we created the Transformer section where you get three meals from one protein. We want more time with our families and less time in the kitchen!
How do you hope readers will use this book? What do you hope they take away?
LC & CM: We hope that people use our cookbook like a workbook in the kitchen. We want to inspire people to give meal planning and batch cooking a try for the ways those skills can decrease your stress and grocery bill. We love seeing images of recipes on Instagram that people have tried — that's the most flattering thing ever.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
LC & CM: We'd love to share the secret to how to get your kids to clean their room, but we don't have it!